sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

September 30, 2014

Mandy Nagy – @Liberty_Chick – FUNDRAISER

Filed under: politics — edge of the sandbox @ 7:57 pm

Please help Mandy Nagy in her recovery:

The Camp Of The Saints

[NOTE: This post will stay here, at the top of the Dispatches, until further notice. See new posts below]

As you may recall, my very good Friend In The Ether, Mandy Nagy, suffered a stroke in early September.

William Jacobson has been updating us nearly every day on her condition here.

She’s going to require a good amount of rehab, so Bill has put together a Fundraiser to help her and her family with some of the expenses she will incur in the coming months.

Please give what you can.

And leave a word for Mandy at Bill’s post — he’ll make sure it gets to her.

If you’re the praying kind, well, that won’t hurt either.

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Suspected East Bay Area Pacifism Outbreak

Filed under: Bay Area politics, politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 11:13 am

From the Department of You Just Can’t Make It Up, all italics are mine:

Those who know Alameda resident Stephen Michael Petersen were stunned to learn Monday that their friend — a guitar player who fronts a folk band — was one of two men arrested on suspicion of setting a string of fires in the city that damaged or destroyed several homes and businesses.

Petersen, 27, is a well-liked musician who hosts an open mike night in Alameda and keeps a strict vegan diet, according to his friends. But he was nabbed by police at 2:43 a.m. Sunday in front of his apartment amid a rampage of fires that began to break out within a 7-block radius just before 1 a.m., authorities said.

“I’ve known him for five years and consider him a friend,” said 28-year-old Jesse Strickman, a musician who has performed several times with Petersen. “He’s a very nice guy. He is extreme, but I don’t think he would do anything that would hurt anyone.”

Petersen’s brother, Eric Marcrum of San Diego, said police arrested the wrong person.

“It does not sound like anything my brother would be involved in. He’s a pacifist. He abhors violence,” said Marcrum, 40. “I want to see these charges dropped, and I want to see him released.”

Right.  And he hasn’t been tried yet.

The other suspect, 22-year-old Andrew Resto Gutierrez, said to be a transient who frequents Alameda, was arrested at 4:49 a.m. Sunday, police said. A day later, authorities were working to see how the men were connected, said Alameda police Lt. Jill Ottaviano.

No one was injured in the fires that ultimately racked up $3 million in damage and displaced four families, Alameda fire officials said.

No one was injured?  It could be the first known case of pacifist arson.

The first fire was reported at 12:56 a.m. — a trash bin blaze on the 1300 block of Regent Street that crews quickly extinguished. Soon crews from multiple East Bay agencies were responding to a rash of fires that they would spend hours putting out, said Capt. Jim Colburn of the Alameda Fire Department.

At 1:39 a.m., someone set the back of a two-story home on the 1100 block of Regent ablaze, causing an estimated $100,000 in damage. Then a two-story Victorian duplex on the 2200 block of San Antonio Avenue was set on fire, Colburn said. Four sleeping children escaped from the rear unit, but there was $300,000 in damage.

Children are a burden on mother Earth, aspiring musicians and transients.

The most devastating fire was reported just after 4 a.m., after Petersen’s arrest. At least five businesses were damaged when a fire spread from the alley behind a commercial strip on the 1600 block of Park Street, Colburn said.

The fire destroyed Angela’s, a Mediterranean-style restaurant, and Brite 1-Hour Cleaners. Investigators estimated $2.6 million in losses.

Are Brite 1-Hour an eco-friendly chain?

‘Out of character’

Justin Vanegas, 29, another musician in the Alameda scene, said he is one of Petersen’s closest friends. The two trade off doing sound engineering at Rooster’s Roadhouse on Clement Avenue. On Saturday night, Vanegas said his friend was working at the bar and got off his shift around 1:30 a.m. before walking home.

“This is completely out of character,” Vanegas said. “I think he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This whole thing just doesn’t add up. I’m really confused. None of this makes any sense at all.”

According to his friends, Petersen graduated from San Francisco State University and is straight edge, a hard-core punk subgenre whose adherents refrain from using drugs or alcohol.

On the other hand, if he’s fronting a folk band, he has to be a drinker.

On Aug. 25, Petersen posted a picture on his Facebook page of a Germanic rune on an anarcho-communist flag, which he said shows he is a “pagan but anti-fascist.” 

The Germanic rune symbols was used by the Nazis and continue to be used by the neo-Nazis.  There are all sorts of anarcho-Nazis running around Ukraine now, mostly fighting monuments, but killing people, too.

In a line describing himself, Petersen wrote, “I believe in non-violence adamantly, I’d rather let you hit me than try to hurt you, for in the words of Gandhi: ‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.’”

Me, I’m for self-defense and against destruction of property.

‘Not a violent person’

Strickman, who fronts the band Dear Indugu, had Petersen sing on his most recent album.

“I opened for him, and he’s opened for me,” he said. “He’s not a violent person. He is very political and really believes in animal rights.”

Hitler was a vegetarian.

Vanegas added, “He definitely has the protester in him, but he’s never violent in any way, shape or form.”

September 26, 2014

Meantime in Ukraine

Filed under: Ukraine — Tags: , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:32 am

Does anyone wonder what happened to Euromaidan?

In February this year, after Ukraine’s deposed president Victor Yanukovich fled. Yulia Tymoshenko, frequently described in the Western press as “jailed opposition leader” and whose release was a rallying cry of the protesters, spoke before the crowds assembled in Kiev’s Independence Square. Tymoshenko, who in the subsequent election, characterized by low turnout across the South-East, moderately high turn-out in the center and sky-high turn out in Lviv, Ternopol and Ivano-Frankovsk regions, got just under 13% of the total vote*, urged the protesters to remain on Maidan to put pressure on politicians.

More militant types did not. After first flirting with the idea of running for president,** Pravy Sektor leader Dmytro Yarosh, focused on forming privately-financed National Guard troops that the US is slated to train next year. While National Guard was shipped to Donbass to fight the insurgency, others regrouped into urban mobs, like those used in Odessa massacre.

By the middle of summer, the types who stayed on Maidan did so because they had nowhere to go. The newly-elected Kiev mayor Vitaly Klitschko, one of the leaders of the winter’s protests, removed the activists in early August. The occupiers of the barricades resisted some and burnt a few tires, but were easy to evict.

Yet now, barely a month and a half later, Maidan appears to be back. The nationalist faithful, who witnessed the retreat of Ukrainian armed forces on the eastern front, feel betrayed by their talentless generals.  Plus, they are frustrated with slow pace of political transformation, mainly lack of action on lustration of their most hated opponents, Communists and Party of Regions. That the revolutionaries are unhappy became clear with two resignations. One was that of Ukraine’s Security Chief and a co-founder of Svoboda (formerly Nationalist-Socialist Party) Andrey Parubiy from the Cabinet, and another — of Tetiana Chornovol, an anti-corruption crusader and a widow of a national guardsman, from the national anti-corruption committee.

On September 17, several hundred protesters, most of them with Svoboda signage,*** burnt tires outside Rada demanding adoption of lustration bill. Kiev Post reported:

Earlier on Sept. 16, Ukrainian MPs failed to pass this legislative initiative, to which the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Oleksandr Turchynov said that lawmakers will not leave the session hall until the bill is adopted.

The law was adopted on the 3rd attempt. Russian news agency ITAR-TASS picked up that the bill will not apply to President Petro Poroshenko who, as Turchynov explained, ” is not falling within the ambit of the lustration law because he was elected by people at elections.”  Poroshenko comes from Party of Regions stronghold of Odessa and has been on all sides of Ukrainian politics, including a stint in Yanukovich’s government.

“Public art” piece captured above was recently erected in Dnepropetrovsk, a city that in an April Gallup poll showed to have a Russian-leaning majority. The local newspaper cheerfully described the installation as ” a remarkable monument to Lustration in the form of French guillotine with Ukrainian Trident” Here is an ethnic angle: One of the popular Maidan chants was “москоляку на гиляку” or “Moskals (derogatory for Russian) to the gallous”.

On Sptember 17 Pravy Sektor waived the flags of the Nazi-era Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists protesting in front of presidential palace. They protested another recent law which granted autonomy to the separatist-controlled areas in Donetsk and Lugansk regions and amnesty to separatists. Yarosh threatened to march his men back from Donbass to Kiev within 48 hours, but this threat is yet to materialize (link not click-safe).

The Right Sektor’s relationship with its more moderate allies had been a rocky one. In March this year, for instance, they besieged the Ukrainian Parliament demanding revenge for the killing of their buddy Sashko Bilyj, allegedly shot while resisting arrest, but, the gossip has it, could had been assassinated on orders of Tymoshenko’s Fatherland Party.

Time is not on Poroshenko’s side. He ran out of resources for the war, his country’s economy is in a tailspin and it is not clear how he plans to keep his compatriots warm in winter. Last week, Poroshenko went to Washington, bringing back a few throws and comforters, but no salo. As conditions on the ground deteriorate, I’m not sure who would be the forces, inside Ukraine, loyal to its current president.

Earlier this month Russia watchers noted the disappearance of references to “Kiev junta” from Kremlin-controlled TV channels, which led to speculations that some sort of deal between Putin and Poroshenko had been worked out. This is not to say that Poroshenko will turn on his people because a pivot towards Russia might be exactly what Ukrainians wanted him to do.

Another interesting Ukrainian poll was released a few days ago. Ukrainians were given names of foreign leaders and asked whether or not they view them positively. A run-away winner, admired by 62% of responders, was Oleksander Lukashenko, the dictator of Russian satrapy of Belarus. It could just be that Ukrainians never wanted a revolutionary pro-Western type as a head of their country. They wanted a triangulater, somebody who can reconcile the East and the West, and who, if he steals, hopefully he wouldn’t steal too much, or would at least do something for them, too.

*Curiously, Tymoshenko’s wiki page is as shy about the disastrous 2014 presidential run as it is defensive of her multiple luxury real estate holdings.

** The winner of the “far right” vote was the dwarfish terrorist Oleh Lyashko of Radical Party who made out with over 8% of the electorate.

*** The protesters weren’t bothered by Svoboda’s own Oleh Tyahnybok’s mansion in a national park near Kiev.

September 9, 2014

Things I Learned This Summer

1. The reassuring wisdom of Darling Husband is immense. Darling Daughter won a coloring contest this summer. She’s not without an artistic streak, but in the case of this particular project, she dialed it in. When we turned in her work, we thought she would learn a lesson when she finds out that she blew it because she didn’t do her best. Imagine our surprise when DH received a message that she got first place in her age category. Oh no, is she going to rest on her laurels now?
We congratulated her, but then told her that she needs to consider that not enough kids entered the contest, and that she needs to try harder next time if she wants to keep winning. I guess I have my issues. After a few days DH told me to chill: She learned an important life lesson, that, as Woody Allen said, 90% of success is showing up.
“Although,” DH quickly added, “Woody Allen tried to take his words back and made an entire documentary to repudiate it. Not to repudiate that he slept with his daughter or anything like that, but to repudiate that he believes that 90% of success is showing up.”
2. To further quote my husband, if open concept homes are such a good idea, how come nobody thought of it before? These days flippers try to demolish every wall in the house, save bedroom walls. Open concept houses look nice and zen, and they sell like hot cakes because buyers find it easy to imagine themselves living in spacious, light-filled homes.
The reality of living in them is different, and once moved in, owners begin carving out rooms of their own, mancaves, and other areas to escape family members. Also, open concept homes are not good when it comes to containing mess.
3. Who is Joel Gott?
4. Local governments can be pretty darn ridiculous. We decided to remove an old chimney on our roof, and the contractor told us that because it’s visible from the street, he’s not comfortable working without a permit. So I went to the City Hall and payed a hefty fee. The clerk told me about the paperwork I’m required to submit.
“Do you know Photoshop?” She inquired. She asked me to take pictures of the roof from various vantage points and submit them for review together with the pictures where the chimney is photoshopped out.
After I turned in my paperwork, they sent letters to our neighbors asking if they don’t mind if we remove the chimney. Next they told me to post the permit application in front of our house and mail them the picture of the posted permit.
Finally, the City Hall also wants to know if I plan to close the gaping hole in my roof and how.
5. Who is Joel Gott?
6. нет пророка в своем отечестве. I’m Putin’s troll. Or so say some of my compatriots when I point out certain… Problems with their understanding of the place where I happen to be born and raised. The place happened to be eastern Ukraine.
Everything Ukraine is pretty much inside baseball. What I hear again and again that there once was a country called Ukraine that Russia took over, starved a whole bunch of Ukrainians and brought Russians in their place, and that’s how Russians ended up in Ukraine. It’s true about Holodomor.
I do believe that we should had dispatched Kissinger to negotiate unified unaligned Ukraine and to assure Russia’s assistance in the Middle East. To risk a nuclear war (or even an economic downturn) over strongly Russian-leaning regions in a country with intractable corruption and social problem and no unifying national identity does seem a bit excessive to this blogger — and that’s why I’m Putin’s troll.
DH, again, quips that he’s still waiting for his paycheck from ZOG, and now where is his paycheck from FSB?
7. We have a new neighborhood school now. It the old one was Tijuana meets Hanoi, the new one is Portlandia. I have to say I prefer the latter because something like education does take place in it.
8. My children got in trouble this summer for simulating a gun with their hands and saying “Poof!” Daddy explained that when he was young, he had a holster with two guns in it and he played World War Two with his brother. Ah, the good old days!
9. Encouraging an ostensibly independent 7-year-old to walk down the block on her own can be a challenge these days. At first DD like the idea, but after some consideration she said “who’s going to watch me?” I told her that when I was her age and I wanted to play, I didn’t pester (ok, I used different language) my mom about my availability (her language) for play dates, I just went outside.
Next thing I know, she rolled on her scooter out of the park. That’s more like it.
…we are not fully moved in and unpacked. My desktop is not configured yet, and I hate typing on my mini, so I can’t say I’m back to blogging.

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