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.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life -- the sick, the needy and the handicapped. -Hubert Humphrey

1.   Birding in SF Botanical Garden Nov 3
2.   Hippo grunts, birdsong, plant cells burst into growth - Great Animal Orchestra Nov 13
3.   Friends don't let friends drink Peet's
4.   Good news on Knowland Park
5.   Feedback: Single gallon of gasoline yields 20# CO2?/high growth rate vs population
6.   Population ruminations
7.   Yes on F - some solid reasons for voting for it
8.   Farallones Marine Sanctuary AC meeting Nov 8, Half Moon Bay
9.   Managing Land with Science in Hand, Nov 15
10. SBMWatch board wants your input
11.  Claremont Canyon Conservancy November happenings
12.  Audubon restoration Nov 3/Class Nov 24
13.  Questions for politicians on population, immigration, American future
13a It's Global Warming, Stupid
14.  The Economist endorses Obama again
15.  Obambulate -  it's a real word, in use since 1614

16.  Each of us inevitable - Walt Whitman

1.  San Francisco NatureEducation leads Birding for Everyone! in SF Botanical Garden
First Saturdays Every Month
Next one - November 3rd, 10am-noon
SF Botanical Garden, Golden Gate Park
Naturalists NancyDeStefanis and Bill Milestone will lead a hike through the exciting microhabitats of the SF Botanical Garden and spot a variety of local and migratory birds  
Meet in front of the bookstore inside the main gate of the SF Botanical Garden, Golden Gate Park (MLK Drive near 9th Ave. at Lincoln)
Please bring binoculars if you have them.
Adults $10, no one turned away for lack of funds!
Contact Anastasia Marin at or 415-387-9160 for more information.


2.  Musican and environmentalist Bernie Krause coming here to the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco on November 13. Below is a description and here is the link to get tickets:
Bernie Krause - The Great Animal Orchestra
Outspoken musician and environmentalist Bernie Krause has been recording nature’s vibrant chorus – hippo grunts, birdsong and even a tree’s bursting cells – for decades. Author ofThe Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places, he says “a complex and vital beauty emerges hearing the sounds in context with each other.” In the 1960s, Krause replaced Pete Seeger as guitarist for the legendary folk group The Weavers. Now, he uses the language of music to make an impassioned case for conserving one of our most overlooked natural resources, the music of the wild.

"The Great Animal Orchestra speaks to us of an ancient music to which so many of us are deaf. Bernie Krause is, above all, an artist."
– Jane Goodall

Standard: $15 | Members $12 | Students $10
Tuesday, Nov 13, 7:00pm


3.  From Allen Fish:

Friends don’t let friends drink Peet’s.   Last Friday, the stockholders of our 40-year-old, locally-based beloved Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Inc., decided to buy off on the buy-out from Germany-based Johan A. Benckiser, the investment group that owns 10% of Reckitts-Beckiser.  Reckitts-Benckiser is the biggest multinational household chemical products company that you’ve never heard of.  They deal 37-billion dollars a year marketing 100’s of chemical products including Clearasil, Woolite, French’s Mustard, and d-Con.

D-Con is where the environmental angle arises.  As if losing our local Peet’s coffee weren’t bad enough, Peet’s new parent company is a raptor-killer.  One of the greatest, current causes of raptor and predator deaths in the SF Bay Area (and in urban and rural zones all over the US) is d-Con.  Wildcare in San Rafael has recorded rates of rat poisoning at nearly 80% for all predators and raptors brought in for autopsies.  Because this has been known about for well over a decade, in 2008, the US EPA ordered rat poison companies to take these chemical poisons off the market.  Reckitts-Benckiser said not a chance, and today they continue to sell the familiar, yellow, cheese-shaped boxes of candy-colored poison d-Con to anyone who wants to throw it around your house or yard.

For more info on how you can help the anti-d-Con campaign, go to:  For you Peet’s drinkers with an environmental conscience, it’s time to search out a new brand.  I’ve switched to Philz.

4.  Dear Knowland Park Supporters,

What a Happy Halloween! (And if you haven’t seen it yet, check our Facebook page for a new “Trick or Truth” flyer!)

On our website right now, we are featuring a fact-checking document examining some of the many claims made by Oakland Zoo executives and PR spokespersons, including claims made on the KQED Forum radio show. Please check these out at  There’s also a link there to the KQED show if you want to listen to the whole 30-min segment.

Did you see Laura Baker of the California Native Plant Society talking about the No on Measure A1 campaign on TV last night on Channel 7? If not, take a look here: Longtime Oakland zoo member Jean Gregory also expresses her doubts as to whether we really need to pay more taxes just to feed the animals.

One thing is really important to note about this story, which is pretty balanced.

First, Measure A1 is described as a “hot-button” issue. That means all of your work spreading the word has paid off— the media now recognizes that there is opposition to this measure, that it’s credible opposition, and that it’s growing fast.

Another notable thing is that beyond saying “this is not about the expansion,” zoo PR spokesman Nik Dehejia is now saying, “this is not a referendum on the expansion.” In fact, it’s the closest thing to a referendum on the expansion the public has ever had, and raises the question: perhaps we should have to have a public vote before our public parklands are fenced off and appropriated for development, even for “good causes.” The public has never said they wanted to sacrifice parkland for a zoo expansion. And we are hearing that everywhere we go.

And we’ve been out there. Every day, our teams of volunteers are out leafleting at locations around the county. The response has been terrific—we leave with more energy than we came with—and so many new folks have joined us just in the last few weeks,  bringing new talents and creative energy!

Some of that creative energy has gone into writing powerful pieces, and we hope every one of you will take the time to read them and forward/Facebook them to your friends and neighbors.

First, I hope you didn’t miss Mimi Pulich’s great piece on the Park in Oakland North:

Second, Anita Wah’s powerful piece, where she raises some important questions after  digging around in the background on Measure A, appeared Monday in the Berkeley Daily Planet:

And just today, also in the Berkeley Daily Planet, Ruth has a piece on how the whole process of putting Measure A1 on the ballot was designed to suppress dissent:

John Reimann’s guest blog on the social justice aspects of Measure A1 was picked up and reposted by the Ella Baker Center, a respected human rights and social justice organization headquartered in Oakland. Visit their website to read it and add comments:

And while you’re there, check out the good work the Center is doing.

It’s truly unfortunate that so many of our political leaders jumped on the Measure A1 bandwagon without really investigating the facts. This isn’t good government. And it does a disservice to the public to pretend it is.

Speaking of political leaders, you may want to let yours know how you feel about this measure. We do remember very well that every incumbent member of the Oakland City Council voted to deny our appeals and to approve the expansion project, and many of them refused to meet with us at all, though they took special “tours” with the zoo. So when you make your choices, remember that and consider whether other candidates may be more motivated to represent the public interest. Remember, if you don’t want a candidate elected, under ranked choice voting you should leave your second and/or third choices blank rather than listing their name!

The East Bay Express has continued its coverage, reporting that the zoo has spent some $800,000 to date on the Yes on Measure A1 campaign. And EBE readers are weighing in with a lot of discussion:

So you are helping us spread the word the only way we can, given that we are so totally outspent by the zoo’s campaign blitz: through people-to-people contact. And it’s working. We have to keep going in these final days—people are already voting—so PLEASE help us by forwarding these links to others right away.

As always, another way to help is by sending a donation for our campaign fund. We can’t keep going without your help — and we are running short of funds to just keep flyers in the hands of our volunteers. Here’s how to write your check:

Payer Line: No on A1 to Save Knowland Park.

Subject Line: Sponsored by East Bay Chapter, California Native Plant Society

If you donate $100 or more, the FPPC requires that we collect your occupation and employer. (We do not share any of this information with other political groups or anything like that but we have to have it for our reporting purposes).

Mail checks to our Treasurer, Lee Ann Smith, 111 Shadow Mountain, Oakland, CA 94605.

OR - email us at for a yard sign and we will come and pick up your check at the same time! We have a new order of lawn signs — and lest you think “what difference could that make?” let us tell you a story from last weekend. A woman with whom we spoke had already voted—and she regretted having voted yes. She said she had looked around on her street and saw all the Yes on A1 signs and that influenced her. Now, that’s not the best way to make a decision, but we know that seeing a NO on A1 sign does make people stop and think: maybe there’s another side to this? So please do email if you would like one — after next Tuesday they become worthless, but right now they are valuable to our campaign, and all you have to do is email!

We know you’re being blasted with election-related materials, but this election you not only get to have a say in national and state politics, but you have a powerful voice in shaping the future of our local remaining public parklands - and the future of the public process. It’s not right when the politically well-connected can work backroom deals to slide public space and public funds into place for organizations that don’t have to open their books to the public. Help us save Knowland Park for everyone—and help us get politicians back to serving all the people, not only the most wealthy and well-connected ones.


5.  Feedback

On Oct 31, 2012, at 9:24 AM, Greg Suba wrote:
“For every single gallon of gasoline burned, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide go into the atmosphere.  Carbon dioxide is considered a main culprit in global warming."  Union of Concerned Scientists
Hi Jake,
really? how does that pencil out? Admittedly, physics and chemistry have always taken me a few tries to get right.... But the statement above seems counterintuitive. If a gallon of gasoline itself weighs c. 8 pounds (that's what a gallon of water weighs), how does it combust into something that's at least 2.5 times more massive? I'm fairly certain the UCS have an answer, it's just not obvious to me.

I had put out this statement before, many months ago, and asked if this could possibly be true.  I don't recall receiving a comprehensible answer, so I decided to baldly put it out there as if it were true, hoping that one of my sharp-eyed readers would hit the Reply button with either an explanation, correction, or disbelief.

One did.  I'm still looking for the answer.
Perhaps the calculation includes "unseen" atmospheric inputs, e.g., CO2 puffed out during refining and transporting my gallon of gas to my gas station, and all the hot air I exhale yelling at the imbecile in front of me as we're both stuck in traffic, burning that gallon of gas.
I was trying to think along more scientific lines, such as taking oxygen out of the atmosphere and combining it with the carbon, hydrogen, and other elements in the gasoline.  I forgot to mention that oxygen is a much heavier element than hydrogen, and in CO2 there are two atoms of oxygen for every atom of carbon.  But I like your explanation better.

Also--what about:  If I eat 8 oz of food I put on two pounds of weight.  Have you noticed the same thing?  :-)

On Oct 29, 2012, at 4:11 PM, Linda Shaffer wrote:
Jake, dear --  If an economist read the passage from today's Nature News reproduced below, he/she would assume the reference to "high growth rates" in the first sentence refers to the growth of output (Gross Domestic Product, say).  Yet it is clear from looking at the original letter written by Kathleene Parker in the June 23, 2008 issue of High Country News that when she refers to "high growth rates", she means population growth rates, not  the rate of growth of output.  (The 8 countries she lists as projected to contribute "half of all growth on the planet" include countries that are not usually cited as producing lots of output but DO have serious population growth problems.) 

In contrast to this, I suspect that when Ken Boulding referred to "exponential growth" in his very Malthusian statement, he was actually referring to growth in output.  (I don't know the source of this quotation, but whatever else this very interesting man was, he was trained as an economist.)

These issues are complicated enough without confusing output growth and population growth!  In fact, some would argue the actual global problem is simply that the growth of output does not (or cannot) keep up with the growth in population.

Bottom line:  Economists may be mad, but we try not to be unnecessarily confusing.  We urge others to do the same.  :-)

Nations with high growth rates hinder efforts by all for climate and energy solutions.  That includes our own, where economic “elites” swoon at the mere thought of population stabilization…economist Kenneth Boulding said, “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.”  LTE, High Country News 23/6/08
Linda:  Population and growth is a favorite bone to chew on, as you know.

Also, as you know too well, I enjoy beating up on economists.  (Out of regard for you, I do pull my punches and soften my attacks, but I'm not willing to refrain entirely; that would require more restraint than I'm capable of.)  Why do I pick on economists, when there so many others responsible for this crazy economic/political system?  I guess it's because the word economist makes an easy shorthand for the complex (the bankers, businesses, politicians, Babbits, boosters, promoters) and its ruinous effects on us and on the land.  You'll cry "foul", with some justice, but if you want me to stop, give me some shorthand language that fills the bill.

As to your point--the distinction between output and population growth--your point is unarguable.  What is not so arguable is that the two go together so neatly, as a hand in glove.  The boosters are unconcerned about increasing numbers of people--to the contrary, they love it, may even promote it.  The LTE writer knew what she was talking about and was not confusing the two aspects of growth.  (Linda did not agree to that last statement, nor to much of my opinion on the subject of economists.)

Addendum:  Ironically, one of my favorite journals is the well-named The Economist.  From its beginning in 1843 it has focused on growing.  But it is so transparent and so intelligent in its approach to affairs--and it is provocative.  There are not many journals which can make me think, so I value it in spite of the fact that its vision often differs from mine.  Only occasionally does it recognize environmental issues--something that gives me heartburn.  Why do I forgive it on a subject of intense concern for me?  It's that transparency - it is so innocent.  What is the difference between innocence and ignorance?  Not much, except tone and attitude.  I grit my teeth, fulminate, and start to fire off an LTE, then recognize I don't have the time, and go on to the next article, thoughtful and full of rich historical background.  I sigh and go on.

Stray question: 
Economists turn over together.  (Who said that?  I read it somewhere, but don't have the source.)


6.  LTE, Scientific American March 2008
One can only wonder whether the politicians who will be participating in the new international agreement on greenhouse gas any arithmetic.  World population is still growing, and energy demand is growing even more rapidly.  Every year more fossil fuel is burned.  Large new coal mines are being opened to exploit lower-quality coal deposits, and the capacity of new fossil-fuel plants swamps that of new wind and solar installations.  Furthermore, millions of cars per year are being built in or shipped to countries with huge populations that until now have had few private vehicles.  Without drastic population reduction, all our other efforts are fatuous.

Don Hirschberg
Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas

(JS:  I have read articles, and I have had conversations with people, averring that population growth is no longer a problem.  This purblind statement would be contradicted by merely opening their eyes.  If pressed, they will cite countries like Japan, Russia, and Italy, whose low birth rates now force them to cope with the problem of replacing their workforces as those forces become older.  But you cannot extrapolate from this to the worldwide situation; that is simply obvious.  World population has quadrupled just in my short lifetime, and has more than doubled since 1950.)

From Popline, newsletter of Population Institute Nov-Dec 04:

By 2050, the United Nations projects the world will add some 2.5 billion people, an amount equal to the world's total population in 1950.

"It is tragically becoming so-called conventional wisdom to declare that there is no longer a world population crisis," says Werner Fornos, president of the Population Institute.

"This is a load of baloney sliced thick by elitist think tank denizens whose global vision is limited to their own backyards," Fornos said.  Fornos says that there have been widespread population declines in the industrialized world. "But it is a preposterous pipe dream to believe that population reduction is the overriding demographic dilemma of our age."


Proximity makes the heart grow colder.

I am voting Yes on Proposition F in San Francisco and urge you to do the same. The San Francisco League of Conservation Voters (SFLCV) and 11 California conservation groups support Prop F because it creates a plan to move San Francisco from last in the state to first in the nation in water conservation. The plan would outline how San Francisco can:

1.) Start recycling water (the City currently does not.)
2.) Explore local water resources to diversify our system (we are way behind)
3.) Study the feasibility of Restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park (SF is the only city in the country allowed to store part of its water supply in a national park)

Many people have questions about the issue of restoring Hetch Hetchy. Prop F is the only way for San Franciscans to real answers about this issue – without the campaign rhetoric. And, it is a vital first step towards greater water sustainability and water security.

And for the record: Prop F does not raise water prices, does not use general fund budget money,does not drain Hetch Hetchy, does not take away any water or power and certainly does not cost you money.

Watch this quick clip as Campaign Director Mike Marshall explains Prop F at San Francisco's prestigious Commonwealth Club.

Half Moon Bay Yacht Club, 214 Princeton Ave
Half Moon Bay
Thursday Nov 8, 2012,
9:15 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

The public is invited to attend a meeting of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. 

The advisory council provides the sanctuary superintendent with advice on a variety of identified priority issues for the Farallones marine sanctuary and northern portion of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The advisory council, through its members, serves as a liaison to the community regarding sanctuary issues and acts as a conduit, relaying the community’s interests, concerns, and management needs to the sanctuary. The advisory council members represent public interest groups, local industry, commercial and recreational user groups, academia, conservation groups, government agencies, and the general public.

For more information on the Sanctuary Advisory Council, please visit the website at For more information on the sanctuary, please visit the website at


9.  Bay Area Open Space Council

Managing Land with Science in Hand on November 15
All around us are people working to steward the 1 million plus acres of parks, trails, farms, ranches and open spaces in the Bay Area. Also making a home in the Bay Area are scientists who are conducting research and applying it to on-the-ground (or in-the-marsh) projects.

At our Harvest Gathering ( on November 15, 2012 we'll learn about four projects that are bringing together land managers and scientists. We'll get a glimpse of the actual applied science but the focus will be on the "how." How did these partnerships form? What are the keys to a successful partnership between science and land management? What funding is available?
Join us on November 15 to learn about the following projects:
* Sudden Oak Death on the Peninsula with Cindy Roessler of Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and Ted Swiecki of Phytosphere Research
* Sears Point Wetlands and Watersheds in Sonoma County with Julian Meisler of the Sonoma Land Trust and John Vollmar of Vollmar Consulting
* Santa Clara Valley Habitat Conservation Plan with Matt Freeman of the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority and Stu Weiss of Creekside Science
* Research Grant Program of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District with Kirk Lenington and Diane Renshaw

The panel will be moderated by Sasha Gennet of The Nature Conservancy.
The Gathering ( will be held on November 15, 2012 from 10am-1pm at the Brower Center in downtown Berkeley. The program will be from 10am-12pm and a free and delicious lunch will be served at 12pm. There will be plenty of time for asking questions, getting ideas, and sharing stories.

Click here to register. ( Space is limited!


10.  San Bruno Mountain Watch - Join our board for a General Meeting

Sierra Point Yacht Club
500 Sierra Point Parkway, Brisbane
Thursday November 8th, 6:30 - 9 pm

Mountain Watchers weigh in
*San Bruno Mountain Watch program presentations
*Discussion of Mountain issues
*FREE SBMW bumper sticker

We Need Your Input. 
*What's important to you about the mountain?
*What should SBMW be doing?
*How would you like to be involved?
Email us: or call 415-467-6631

6 January 1999
San Francisco Chronicle Op-Ed (submitted, never published):

The Bay Area is incalculably fortunate to have a unique oasis of biodiversity at San Bruno Mountain.  However, as is the case with so many other global treasures, this great fortune is not being handled with adequate care.  In my book, The Diversity of Life, I highlighted San Bruno Mountain as one of eighteen global biodiversity "hotspots" in need of immediate protection, along with the Usambara mountain forests of Tanzania, the Colombian Choco, Madagascar, and associated problems, principally the invasion of non-native species.  More development, as is currently proposed, willl further fragment what is home to hundreds of plant and animal species, including several that live nowhere else.  Current Habitat Conservation Plan provisions are insufficient to preserve this rich biodiversity.

It is imperative that all the open space that remains on San Bruno Mountain be saved.  We can leave our descendants a sorely degraded environment and an example of abuse and exploitation, or we can leave a rich legacy of respectful stewardship--it is our choice.  I urge all Californians to take a stand in favor of conserving San Bruno Mountain.

                                        Sincerely yours,

                                        Edward O. Wilson
                                        University Research Professor
                                        Harvard University


November Events in Claremont Canyon

Saturday, November 3rd Stewardship in the Upper Canyon
You are invited to our monthly stewardship day which this time we are celebrating jointly with Cal students. Lunches will be provided courtesy of Trader Joe's and Safeway and coffee from Peet's.  Meet us at 9:45 AM at sign post 29, 1.5 miles up Claremont from Ashby on the right across from the chert. We will clear the trails and plant the remaining steps at the trail head at Four Corners.

Sunday, November 4th Annual Meeting
Please join us as we celebrate 11 years of protecting and restoring Claremont Canyon. Four to 6:00 PM at the Claremont Hotel. Bring a friend and enjoy wine and other refreshments. Meet other members and learn about what we've been doing and our plans for the future. Our featured speaker this year is Jon Keeley, a nationally recognized expert on wildland fires in Mediterranean climates like ours.

Tuesday, November 6 Garber Park Restoration
Join us for a fun morning of weeding the restoration beds at the Evergreen Lane entrance and clearing invasives from the slope to the fireplace plaza and beyond. Himalayan blackberry, vinca and Cape ivy need to be removed in preparation for Winter planting in December. Meet at the Evergreen Lane entrance to the park at 10 AM. The nearest address is 144 Evergreen. We'll work until Noon.

For more information about Garber Park, go to or contact us at

Saturday, November 17 Restoration continues at Harwood Creek
We will continue pulling invasive weeds in preparation for next month's winter planting in Garber Park, focussing this time on the Harwood Creek area. Cape ivy and Himalayan blackberry are the principal targets. Meet at the Evergreen Lane entrance to Garber Park at 10 AM. We'll work until Noon.

Sunday, December 9 The Birds of Claremont Canyon
Bird walk eight AM to Noon led by Dave Quady, Audobon Christmas Bird Count leader and Kay Loughman, creator of the website Wildlife in the North Hills. Details to follow. Check our website.

Volunteer Opportunity
WHO: Golden Gate Audubon Society
WHAT: Habitat restoration for local birds
WHERE: Pier 94 in San Francisco
DIRECTIONS:  Take Third Street to Cargo Way turn left onto Amador St.(an industrial road which turns right). The address is 480 Amador St in San Francisco (an office trailer for a neighbor). Turn into the gravel parking lot before the chain link fence. Just ahead you will see a small light blue sign next to white barriers. This is the entrance to Pier 94.
Public Transit: Use this Pier 94 map.
WHEN: Saturday, November 3, 2012 from 9:00am-12noon
NOTES: Please wear sturdy, close-toed shoes and clothes that you don't mind getting a bit dirty.  Bring a water bottle if you have one to minimize trash.  We’ll provide instruction, gloves, tools, snacks and water. Join us to improve a site along the Bay.  Activities include learning about the local birds and planting native plants.

WHO: Golden Gate Audubon Society
WHAT: Duck, Duck Goose and Loons  - By late November, millions of ducks, geese, and swans have winged their way from their breeding grounds to spend the winter in California. In this new class, we’ll focus on identifying the nearly 30 species in the order Anseriformes that reside or overwinter in California and discuss the evolutionary adaptations and life histories that distinguish these species from birds with similar aquatic lifestyles such as loons and grebes. The class is geared toward beginning to intermediate wild bird enthusiasts, but anyone curious to know more about this wonderful order of birds will enjoy it.
WHEN: Saturday, November 24, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., plus two field trips, Sunday, November 25, 9 a.m. – noon, and Sunday, December 2, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
WHERE: The class, cosponsored by Literacy for Environmental Justice, will be held at the new EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park in San Francisco. The November 25 field trip will be in San Francisco. Destination of the December 2 trip is the Cosumnes River Preserve in the Sacramento Delta.
DIRECTIONS:  The EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park is located south of Islais Creek along the waterfront at the east end of Cargo Way off Third Street. A parking lot is at the east end of Cargo Way, close to the center. Public transportation options include the T-Third line and MUNI bus routes.
CONTACT:  To sign up, call the GGAS office, 510.843.2222
NOTES: Inclement weather postpones field trips; rain date for the first trip is December 1. Carpooling is encouraged and will be coordinated at the November 24 class. Class size is limited to 20. Fee: $60 for GGAS members, $75 for nonmembers (includes 6-month introductory GGAS membership).

            “A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation,” noted James Freeman Clarke in 1870. Were he around today, Clarke might apply the same sentiments to the journalists who sit across from the candidates at debates.

            During this time of massive unemployment, the state of the economy is appropriately the dominant issue, but I would appreciate some questions with a scope beyond four years. Furthermore, candidates and journalists have ignored the impact that immigration has on unemployed Americans. Here are some questions that will still be relevant after the election:
Governor Romney, you said, “I'd like to staple a green card to every Ph.D. in the world and say, ‘Come to America, we want you here.’” What do you say to the two million people in America who have technological degrees but are unemployed?

            A recent study revealed that there were over two million unemployed residents of the United States with a bachelor’s or higher STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) degree. Moreover, there are about 10 million Americans with STEM degrees not working in their specialties, many of whom might be lured back to those fields with appropriate incentives. Instead, businesses prefer to import foreigners at lower wages.

            This also raises the question of why we are not investing the resources to train our own workforce in technical fields. We have the world’s most advanced universities. Why do we need to import foreign students to fulfill our technological needs?
President Obama, you criticized Romney for outsourcing American jobs to China, but is there any difference between that and “insourcing,” bringing in foreign workers to take American jobs as we do with our immigration policy?

            Since Obama’s inauguration, unemployment has exceeded 8 percent for 43 months, compared to a total of 39 months above 8 percent between 1948 and 2008. Yet, according to the government’s own figures, the U.S. brings in 1.5 million new workers from other countries each year. The government issues almost one million new green cards annually, cards that award permanent residency including the right to hold a job.

            It also issues almost one million temporary work permits under a variety of visas, although many of these workers never leave, so the total number of new work permits issued per year is almost two million. However, as many as half of the green card recipients were already working here legally on temporary visas, yielding an annual total of about 1.5 million new permits to foreign workers.
President Obama and Governor Romney, the British Parliament recently debated a motion to reduce immigration and stabilize the population below 70 million. The current population of the United Kingdom is 63 million. The United States has a population of 315 million, and the Census Bureau projects it to grow to 439 million by 2050, almost entirely due to immigration. Is this an appropriate policy, and, if so, what advantages to American citizens do you see from adding 130 million people to our country?

            British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to bring net migration to below 100,000 a year by 2015. The opposition Labor Party has apologized for its previous policy that allowed high immigration levels.

            But it is not just densely populated Britain that realizes the harm of unlimited growth. In Australia, with just 23 million people, environmentalists and elected officials recognize the inherent degradation of resources caused by continuing population growth. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has renounced the previous policy of massive immigration, calling for “a sustainable Australia, not a big Australia.”

            By contrast, America’s current policy leads to never-ending growth. The Census Bureau projects that a zero net immigration policy would yield a population of 323 million in 2050 instead of 439 million. That is a huge difference and should not that be part of the political debate?
Ric Oberlink is a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) and can be reached at


To read the article, please visit the Bloomberg Businessweek website.

A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.  HL Mencken

JS:  As I expected, The Economist is endorsing (reluctantly) Barack Obama for president, as it did in 2008.  Here are final paragraphs:
We very much hope that whichever of these men wins office will prove our pessimism wrong. Once in the White House, maybe the Romney of the mind will become reality, cracking bipartisan deals to reshape American government, with his vice-president keeping the headbangers in the Republican Party in line. A re-elected President Obama might learn from his mistakes, clean up the White House, listen to the odd businessman and secure a legacy happier than the one he would leave after a single term. Both men have it in them to be their better selves; but the sad fact is that neither candidate has campaigned as if that is his plan.

As a result, this election offers American voters an unedifying choice. Many of The Economist’s readers, especially those who run businesses in America, may well conclude that nothing could be worse than another four years of Mr Obama. We beg to differ. For all his businesslike intentions, Mr Romney has an economic plan that works only if you don’t believe most of what he says. That is not a convincing pitch for a chief executive. And for all his shortcomings, Mr Obama has dragged America’s economy back from the brink of disaster, and has made a decent fist of foreign policy. So this newspaper would stick with the devil it knows, and re-elect him.

with Anu Garg

By the time campaigning ends next week, billions of dollars will have been spent to snag it: the job of US President. All those bucks for a position that lasts only four years with a salary of less than half a million dollars a year. But weighing the post by its salary is like saying that Olympic athletes sweat for years just to pocket a few hundred dollars' worth of gold.
The post of President of the United States carries immense power to make decisions that affect, for better or worse, people around the world. The effects of the actions of a president last for years. Even eponyms (words coined after someone's name) enter the language that reflect their legacy, such as Reaganomics, teddy bear (after Theodore Roosevelt), etc.

This week we feature words that may appear to have been coined after this year's candidates, but they have been in the language even before these candidates were born.

Enjoy these words, and don't forget to vote!

obambulate.:  To walk about.

From Latin ob- (to) + ambulare (to walk). Earliest documented use: 1614.

"We have often seen noble statesmen obambulating (as Dr. Johnson would say) the silent engraving-room, obviously rehearsing their orations."
The Year's Art; J.S. Virtue & Co.; 1917.


Each of us inevitable,
Each of us limitless --
Each of us with his or her
right upon the earth,
Each of us allow'd
the eternal purports
of the earth,
Each of us here
as divinely as any is here.

~ Walt Whitman ~

(Leaves of Grass)

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