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Member since: Wed Feb 23, 2005, 03:32 PM
Number of posts: 6,498

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Sea lions in the Sacramento River.

Hiking along the river near the I-80 bridge, my son and I saw a giant black head breach the water and snort in a deep bass whuff. Could not figure it out. Whales? Giant otters? We'd seen otters in a small wetlands area near the American River Parkway.

But these shapes -- massive. Broad backs, giant heads -- there were at least two near where we were sitting by the river's edge, and then we saw perhaps three more down near the railroad bridge on the way back.

My son googled 'seals in the Sacramento River', and came up with this --


She was taking pictures by the river Friday morning when she saw it.

“I couldn’t tell what it was,” said Grear.

Scott Buhl, a Wildlife Response Specialist at UC Davis, knew immediately

“Oh that’s definitely a California sea lion,” said Buhl looking at some cell phone video I shot Friday morning.

Not a dolphin, porpoise or seal, but a sea lion in the Sacramento river.

“He was just hanging out enjoying the day and didn’t seem to be in any distress,” said Buhl.

Buhl, says the the sea lion appears to be a healthy male, weighing roughly 400 to 500 pounds.

“It could definitely surprise you and startle you to see a sea lion staring back at you,” said Buhl.

It’s not uncommon to see a sea lion once every year or two in the River explained Buhl.

And of course a few idiots immediately suggest killing them. Just -- you know, because.

Humans. Ugh.

They were gorgeous. Beautiful. Heart-tugging. Awesome. Amazing experience on a Sunday afternoon.

herstory writes

in the end it was itinerant old pot farmers
green grocers and pot smoking clerks
T.A.'s with things in the closet
typecast kid stars and their momentous assistants
painfully awkward shyboys
sisters of no mercy
tripe mongers and vishnu programmers
secret keepers
pawn shop sweepers
ted behind the safeway
the critical mothers worried about the sun
superstitious wand waving sage burners
little short thinkers
super tall drinkers
the worst and the best
types and offtypes and notypes
persectured songsmiths
fancy little rich snobs who read
and every member of democraticunderground
who saved the human race
from the soviet ghost invasion of two thousand and sixteen
let us drink to them tonight
tell the stories of their mild and scattershot bravery
their hopeless losses
their impossible contraindications
their savaging and their comforting and their sweet wisdom
that lifted the species and sent it out
to the infinite
where it belongs.

One wonders, as an American --

If a foreign government secretly invaded and controlled the highest levels of our government, are we bound to policy enacted by the foreign agents while the invasion was active?

Asking for a friend. Name of Gorusch.


Netflix is showing this film; I'm having trouble watching it.

Why? It's just too damn powerful.


Because Jackie Robinson is probably the finest American story there is.

Maybe Martin Luther King, just maybe -- but Jackie Robinson...

There you go, there's the test --

True Americans love Jackie Robinson.

It's the best story ever told in this nation.


Met my first Trump voter the other night.

Late twenties, ex-military, ex-MP. Half African-American, half Italian. Works at the facility across the street. We were both leaving late, so I introduced myself in the parking lot. I made a political comment that drew the admission from him that he had voted for Donald Trump. This was difficult for me to hear -- but I kept my temper in check and sought out an actual discussion.

'Why?', of course, was my first question. The young man tried to explain that he gets his news from 'all over', that he had examined both candidates, and chose Trump. Trump has disappointed him, however, and he wishes he could take it back.

I wanted to know more. For an hour we stood in that dark parking lot talking; it only got heated once, and I backed off. Clearly he was feeling guilt about it. 'Why would you vote for such a man?'

1) Because Hillary was going to spend all sorts of money on prisons, he had read. 'Replacing private prisons, you mean?' He didn't know what that was. Horrified when I explained it.

2) Because Barack Obama was a tool of the 'white elitists'. 'Why would you say that?' 'They'll never let a black man be president for real', he answered, as if that was an absolute fact. Evidence? 'He legalized gay marriage.'

WTF? 'Are you a homophobe?' 'No, my brother is gay.' 'So you support gay marriage, but because Obama legalized it, he's a tool of white elitists?'


Aaaaand that was about it. A lot of feeling and mushy logic, no facts. But now he feels stupid because Donald isn't doing anything like what he promised.

I let him know how I felt about his falling for and enabling a Russian sneak attack on our nation, and how the ever-increasing body count will be kinda on his karmic record.

'If Mueller indicts him, I'll have to spend the rest of my life repairing the damage I've done.'

Not your typical Trumpling. Still --

'Have you ever heard of Citizens United?'

No. And he's horrified when I explain it. 'Republicans did that? That should be totally illegal!'


You know, it was good that I kept the rage in check. But it was dismaying for me to realize just how f%#@ing stupid people can be. Nice guy, young fellow with a future, may have condemned his nation to the flames because he could not think critically.

The conversation ended well. Maybe I made an impact. Hope so.

We live in the heart of the beast.

"I envy you. You North Americans are very lucky. You are fighting the most important fight of all - you live in the heart of the beast."

-- Che Guevara (1964)

Every sentient, honest American knows we are living through an Event. I post this to suggest that we all take care of ourselves -- re-resolve to stay as physically and mentally healthy as possible, to stay in communication with loved ones and our support network, and to rededicate ourselves to growth and the acquisition of wisdom and skills. Times like these are guaranteed to magnify our personal flaws, but we don't have to help that along. It's never too late to adapt, rise up to and conquer these times, not until we're all face down in the dirt, and that is an important fact human beings tend to forget in the face of the Overwhelming.

I don't think any of us living have been though any experience remotely similar to this one, but our ancestors certainly have. Consider an early tribe of humans or even pre-humans betrayed and given over to a competing tribe by a member seeking more power. Such betrayal has always depended on sowing demoralization and despair to succeed. The individual resolution of the remaining loyal members to regain and recommit to a cohesive social order is the bane of the betrayer, and the measure of the true strength of the tribe.

Mueller notwithstanding, this is going to be tough. Destructive self-medication, withdrawal and isolation, storing stress in the body, and allowing anxiety-driven certainties of doom to take hold serve only the betrayer. We're not the Greatest Generation; we're probably going to have to be better than that, because the lines aren't clear, the enemy is inside the gates, the task does not present itself, and that's what's going to make it all the more difficult to overcome.

Still we Resist. Democratic Underground embodies and strengthens the myths and rituals of my tribe. I hug you all.

Donald Trump Is Homer Stokes.

Sooner or later, he'll be run out of town on a rail.

Let Patton into your heart.

Crazy, over-the-top, and right about the Russians.

Dangerous Posturing Inside A Strange And Unsurvivable Bubble.

So I went backpacking this weekend, weather.com looked nice but didn't say anything about the foot of snow already on the ground. I took the Big Dog for his first time out (rescue, older, haven't had the chance to take him), and the kids made me promise not to traumatize him with any risk-taking behavior, to which I solemnly pledged agreement.

So we find ourselves a little cheap motel in Pioneer. I've stayed there before; nice little place. We day-hiked in the snow and had a blast before collapsing back into the motel room to cook and shower. Great vacation. I loved it, he loved it.

Bits of a problem, though, especially Saturday. Why? First day of hunting season.

Three things:

1) 300 pound guy in brand new camo on a brand new 4-wheel ATV (also camo), two scoped rifles in the special holders, boots that looked like they never touched ground, giving me the bloodlust drug-glare. Every hunter I saw was toting twenty grand of tech crap, down to satellite tablets mounted on their ATV's. Every one of them was vibrating like they were on meth, but I think it was just the Bloodlust Drug. I try hard not to judge, but every one of those hunters I saw had the same weird jittery glee, and every one of them was clearly offended that I was not dressed like them nor doing what they were doing.

Naked guy with a knife or a spear slipping through the trees tracking a deer? I'm better with that, can almost respect the devotion to craft. Buncha guys roaring around on trails using satellite tech to murder herbivores? Stupid and ugly.

2) Truck full of hunters at the motel. One older guy sees my Obama sticker, postures and leers at me -- clearly, I'm supposed to be afraid of him; he's got some mental picture of how guys like me are less-than, and he's a-gonna skeer me with his NRA shirt. What I'm really thinking is: dude, you shouldn't mock strangers, you can never tell when you're gonna run into the Bad Dexter, the guy who'll track you down and kill everything you ever loved for the joy of it. I learned that lesson along the way -- the Truly Dangerous always mask. Best to be friendly to strangers. Plain Darwin.

3) Woman in the line at Vic's IGA testifying to the cashier, who echoes her sentiment. Rumbles of agreement from up and down the line -- we gotta teach these kids to fear god, that's what's missing --

Gave me chills. The Clean Hunters and the NRA T-shirt guy didn't scare me, but that lady at the store did. I suddenly felt like I was in Crazy Town, and better watch my back.

I did get a sense of Hard Times. Pioneer looked a little dirtier than last I saw it, more shuttered shops and stands, more destroyed and decaying houses --

I get the Primate Thing. We all tend to look for someone to blame, and we all tend when pressed to let our rage and fear guide us, even expressing it as a Holy Truth -- but history clearly shows that walking that path leads either Nowhere or Badwhere, and the Better Angels and a little Barbara Tuchman will tell us that thoughtful reason and reading and inner study are probably a better bet.

It wasn't all bad. I met cool people here and there, like the Sikh guy at the liquor store and the lady running the front desk at the motel, the big family with kids and dogs hiking to Devil's Lake -- but I live in my own kind of bubble these days, and bumping up against the Other was startling and Weird.

World's still here. Today.

The Goldfinger Theory.


The rest of the world now believes that scourge of our planet is us.

I wish I understood why people persist in seeing his rhetoric as isolationist. He sounds to me like a Bond villain announcing that he seeks world domination. Of course he always issues disclaimers that he doesn't. But it's obvious that he believes the US has the right to dictate how the world works and has no respect for multilateral institutional or international law or treaties.

It's not the "madman" theory. It's the "Goldfinger theory." And that's not exactly the same thing.

He's itching for war. You can feel it.

Mueller's Kitchen's getting hot. He's got to get out of there somehow. Even if it's over the ashes of everyone else.
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