Wednesday, May 25, 2011

MRSA and other Super Bugs: Antibiotic-Proof But Succeptible to Pot

Medical Marijuana: The Ultimate Anti-Bacterial that Stops MRSA

Medical Marijuana Fights Bacteria

Research has found that

cannabinoids kill super-bugs

that phamacuticals can't.

"Unable to effectively fight the
rapidly-evolving bacterium, medical marijuana
could be a “miracle cure.
"

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), infections such as MSRA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) cause illness and even death for tens of thousands of people each year. In 2005, for example, MRSA was responsible for 18,650 deaths in the United States. That’s more than the number of people who died from HIV-AIDS. Now researchers have found that medical marijuana has unique anti-bacterial properties that fight MSRA and other infectious bacteria.

European researchers tested five cannabinoid compounds created exclusively by the cannabis plant: THC, CBN, CBD, CBG and CBC. As the researchers reported in the Journal of Natural Products, all five cannabinoids have the ability to kill MSRA and other bacterium.

MSRA and other bacteria have evolved to be resistant to most of the standard pharmaceutical anti-bacterial agents, making them increasingly deadly and hard to control. These bacteria commonly transfer from person to person in hospital settings, but there are increasing reports of infections in the general population. MSRA and other “super-bugs” are most likely to attack people who have weak immune systems or have undergone medical procedures. The most worrisome fact is that this bacterium can be spread through casual contact.

With pharmaceutical anti-bacterials unable to effectively fight the rapidly-evolving bacterium, medical marijuana could be a “miracle cure.” That’s because cannabinoids appear to kill deadly bacteria in ways that differ from how pharmaceutical anti-bacterials do it. Because super-bugs have evolved to handle pharmaceutical anti-bacterials, the different anti-bacterial mechanisms seen in cannabinoids make cannabinoids particularly promising as a way of halting the spread of virulent infectious organisms.

Before marijuana was criminalized worldwide in the early 1900s, it was widely used as an anti-bacterial agent. Medical historians tell of marijuana salve, tinctures and smoked marijuana used as long ago as the 17th century to treat infections of the skin, lungs and eyes.

And ever since medical marijuana made a resurgence when it was legalized in California and other states beginning in 1996, researchers and marijuana advocates have noted that cannabinoids fight cancer tumors, infections and related conditions.

Marijuana knows how to keep its own secrets. Giovanni Appendio and the other researchers who published the recent study about cannabinoids’ anti-bacterial effects said that despite extensive testing, they were unable to determine exactly how and why marijuana is so good at killing MSRA and other bacterium that cannot be easily killed by standard pharmaceuticals.

Medical marijuana patients can take advantage of this knowledge by asking dispensaries, doctors and medical marijuana products manufacturers to provide marijuana tinctures, topical formulas and other marijuana products that fight bacterium.

Stay tuned to Big Buds for more information about marijuana’s unique medical effects. With marijuana already known to have so many other medicinal benefits, it’s almost no surprise to find out that it might also be the super-medicine for fighting super-bugs!


Linda's Hearth notes: This article is from Big Buds Magazine, online, for May 25, 2011. , I had a life-n-death struggle several months ago with MRSA, and a few years ago one of my children had to fight it and luckily is still with us. Another of my children also has a compromised and busy immune system. This is the first GOOD news I've read about the fast-evolving critters. Pass it on!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Teen Suicide and Violence Linked to Big Public Schools

Opinion, from Yahoo news

IS HIGH SCHOOL BAD FOR

TEENS' MENTAL HEALTH?


Every two hours, a teenager in America takes his or her own life. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth, and the rate of teen suicide has roughly tripled since 1960, the year I was born.

The heightened risk of suicide among gay teens has recently pulled the issue into the national spotlight, especially the "It Gets Better" campaign initiated by Dan Savage, but the rates for all teens are astonishingly high.

What is behind our high rates of youngsters taking their own lives?

Scientists have identified many contributing factors: Discrimination, the number of sexual partners, substance abuse, being dumped by a romantic partner, parental divorce, child physical and sexual abuse, bullying, and even excessive video-gaming play a role.

Scholars at the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center have offered a novel contributing factor to teen suicide: high school.

In a careful and persuasive paper released last fall called "Back to School Blues: Seasonality of Youth Suicide and the Academic Calendar," Benjamin Hansen and Matthew Lang point out that suicides for 14- to 18-year-olds drop abruptly during June, July and August.

"The decrease in suicides for 14- to 18-year-olds during the summer months is stark, while the 19- to 25-year-olds see a slight rise in suicide rates during the summer," the authors point out.

"The fact that 15- to 18-year-old suicide rates decrease in the summer, but the 19-year-old suicide does not, suggests that the high school calendar is playing a prominent role in youth suicide," they conclude.

Suicide is not the only violent act teens are more likely to commit while school is in session. A 2003 National Bureau of Economic Research paper, "Are Idle Hands the Devil's Workshop? Incapacitation, Concentration and Juvenile Crime," by Brian Jacob and Lars Lefgren, used the natural variation produced by teacher in-service days to estimate whether school increased or decreased juvenile crime.

The answer? School attendance appeared to increase violent juvenile crime by almost 30 percent.

How could more time in school lead to more violence and suicide?

Hansen and Lang point to the "stress" created by the high school environment, but they also point out: "Although research has shown that alcohol consumption, poor self-esteem and sexual activity (are) related to youth suicide, there is little discussion about the fact that these risky behaviors tend to originate at school."

Jacob and Lefgren call it a "concentration" effect. Schools are places where the teens massively outnumber the adults, and the peer-driven social interactions increase the risk of violence.

"Lord of the Flies," in other words.

Adolescents torture each other, they fear for their place in social heirarchies of their own making, tempt one another to abuse drugs and alcohol and to engage in short-term sexual activity that results in anger, jealousy and (when dumped) depression.

We group children into large schools primarily for bureaucratic convenience. But teens do better when they spend more time with adults, who are civilized, and less time interacting in cultures created by peers, who are not yet.

On the whole, it makes you wonder why anyone ever objects to home-schooling.


(Maggie Gallagher is the founder of the National Organization for Marriage and has been a syndicated columnist for 15 years.)

More from Maggie Gallagher:

A former editor at the National Review, Maggie Gallagher is co-author of “The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.”


Ellie Foster Memorial Service Saturday May 28th 3 pm at the Santa Cruz Quaker Meeting @ 225 Rooney St, S.C., Potluck Follows

In loving memory of Eleanor “Ellie” Speer Foster

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 10:32pm





In loving memory of Eleanor “Ellie” Speer Foster who died of congestive heart failure on April 27, 2011 in Santa Cruz, California. An activist, humanitarian, and dedicated advocate for peace and justice, Ellie was known and loved by many in and beyond the Santa Cruz community.

Ellie was born in 1926 in Milwaukee to Eleanor Garton and Rolo Clayton Speer. She received a B.A. from Redlands College in 1949, and completed an M.A. in Psychology in the 1980s. Following graduation from Redlands, she and her husband, Herb Foster, began a long and inspired life together as social activists. In 1949, Herb and Ellie moved to Vienna, Austria, to work with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) helping WWII refugees. In 1952, they moved to Chicago where they served as directors of the Interns-In-Industry Program of Saul Alinsky’s Back of the Yards Movement.

After three years in Stockton, CA, they finally arrived in Santa Cruz in 1958. Devoted to improving the lives of children and youth, Ellie became the founding director of the Santa Cruz County Head Start Program and later served as director of the Santa Cruz YWCA. In the 1980s, she worked with UCSC’s Peer Counseling Center, and as a Marriage and Family Counselor.

Ellie was a lifelong Quaker, pacifist, and peace activist. In the early 1960s, Herb and Ellie started the Santa Cruz Friends Meeting, which first met in their living room on Miles Street. In the 1980s, Ellie was the local director of Witness for Peace, and she was involved in direct nonviolent action in Nicaragua.

She participated in many other nonviolent activist movements, including serving as co-founder and member of the Santa Cruz Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and as a member of the Salt and Pepper Shakers Affinity Group during the Lawrence Livermore anti-nuclear action in 1983. Most recently Ellie participated with the Raging Grannies, an international peace organization.

Surviving Ellie Foster is her beloved family, including her husband of 62 years, Herb Foster, sons Ken and David Foster, daughter-in-law Margo McBane, grandchildren Monica Foster, Onawa Foster-Tannheimer, Bard Foster, and Etta Foster, and great grand-children, Leticia and Kobe Allen. Ellie was preceded in death by her daughter, Joan Foster, in 1973.

Memorial services for Ellie Foster will be held Saturday May 28th 3 pm at the Santa Cruz Quaker Meeting (225 Rooney St, Santa Cruz). A potluck will follow. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Resource Center for Non-Violence: RCNV Donations, 515 Broadway, Santa Cruz, CA 95060; or American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102(or online as gift in honor of a loved one: http://afsc.org/).


Linda's Hearth note: for folks not familiar with streets in City of Santa Cruz, Rooney St is off of Morrisey Blvd, DeLaveaga neighborhood.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

PeaceCamp2010 and the Lodging Six Trial ~~ University Students Perspective


County Shouldn’t Punish Civic Activists:
Several Peace Camp 2010 demonstrators
face criminal charges
Published May 5, 2011 at 3:19 am

Illustration by Louise Leong.

The right to assemble is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution for a reason: liberty depends upon it.

This week, the Santa Cruz County Superior Court is moving forward with the trial of six people accused of illegally camping outside government buildings in the summer of 2010. Five men and one woman rolled out their sleeping bags over the summer with dozens of others who protested a city ordinance that bans sleeping outside at night in public places.

Peace Camp 2010, as it became known, began July 4 on the county courthouse steps and continued to Santa Cruz City Hall, where it ended in October. Many demonstrators were cited and arrested, but judges dismissed nearly all violations except for those of the six defendants in this week’s case.

Eliot “Bob” Anderson, Arthur Bishoff, Collette Connolly, Christopher Doyon, Gary Johnson and Ed Frey stand accused of breaking a state lodging law by participating in the protest against the anti-camping policy. If sentenced, the group could face jail time, exorbitant fines or community service.

On Tuesday, four defendants were found guilty, Anderson was dismissed because of a hung jury, and Doyon did not show up to court. He is now facing a warrant for arrest. Sentencing is expected on May 10.

The protest was intended to scrutinize the constitutionality of a policy with questionable implications. While thousands of homeless people reside in Santa Cruz County, there are only a couple hundred beds in county shelters to accommodate them.

Demonstrators argued that local governments’ insistence on presenting a wholesome image is infringing on the basic rights to life and liberty, including the very personal decision of where to sleep at night.

Because the camping ordinance criminalizes sleeping outside of a private residence, thousands of people need to “get on their feet” or “get out of town.” Unfortunately, both of these clich├ęs are easier said than done.

Unemployment has made even the most qualified job seekers desperate for minimum wage employment. People without residences are often excluded from jobs, and while there are a few exceptions, most find the transition from street life to mainstream society painful and ultimately unsuccessful.

To top it off, state and local governments across the country actively expel the homeless with strictly enforced anti-camping policies. In more extreme cases, the homeless are bussed to other places.

Ordinances like the one in Santa Cruz exist across the country. The logic for many cities is that if sleeping outside is allowed in one town (especially a beautiful one with a mild climate), then the homeless will come flocking to sleep on the streets.

This may be true. However, the exclusion of residence-less persons from a community is both elitist and immoral. Santa Cruz should be concerned with maximizing liberty, not avoiding a population of people who sleep on the streets.

There is no point in targeting these six demonstrators, especially in light of charges being dropped against all other protesters. It is a way for the city to show that it is tough on crime. Yet, shouldn’t we be congratulating these protesters for recognizing a potentially unconstitutional policy and taking action against it?

Beyond the questionable ethics of the policy itself, there is no reasonable explanation for why these six people specifically are facing court charges.

The right to assemble is a clear and non-negotiable right in this country. It has been essential to important social movements throughout U.S. history: abolition after the Civil War, women’s suffrage after that, progressive reform in the 1930s, and most present in the recent consciousness, the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

For Santa Cruz to claim that the assembly of those six protesters was illegal because they were in sleeping bags is appalling. Peace Camp 2010 was a peaceful demonstration and, as such, it is protected under the First Amendment.

Basic rights are not contingent on a person’s residential status. Each of us has the right and the responsibility to protest unfair and discriminatory laws.

Memorial Service for Ellie Foster is Saturday May 28th, 3 pm, Quaker Meetring House

In loving memory of Eleanor “Ellie” Speer Foster

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 10:32pm





In loving memory of Eleanor “Ellie” Speer Foster who died of congestive heart failure on April 27, 2011 in Santa Cruz, California. An activist, humanitarian, and dedicated advocate for peace and justice, Ellie was known and loved by many in and beyond the Santa Cruz community.

Ellie was born in 1926 in Milwaukee to Eleanor Garton and Rolo Clayton Speer. She received a B.A. from Redlands College in 1949, and completed an M.A. in Psychology in the 1980s. Following graduation from Redlands, she and her husband, Herb Foster, began a long and inspired life together as social activists. In 1949, Herb and Ellie moved to Vienna, Austria, to work with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) helping WWII refugees. In 1952, they moved to Chicago where they served as directors of the Interns-In-Industry Program of Saul Alinsky’s Back of the Yards Movement.

After three years in Stockton, CA, they finally arrived in Santa Cruz in 1958. Devoted to improving the lives of children and youth, Ellie became the founding director of the Santa Cruz County Head Start Program and later served as director of the Santa Cruz YWCA. In the 1980s, she worked with UCSC’s Peer Counseling Center, and as a Marriage and Family Counselor.

Ellie was a lifelong Quaker, pacifist, and peace activist. In the early 1960s, Herb and Ellie started the Santa Cruz Friends Meeting, which first met in their living room on Miles Street. In the 1980s, Ellie was the local director of Witness for Peace, and she was involved in direct nonviolent action in Nicaragua.

She participated in many other nonviolent activist movements, including serving as co-founder and member of the Santa Cruz Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and as a member of the Salt and Pepper Shakers Affinity Group during the Lawrence Livermore anti-nuclear action in 1983. Most recently Ellie participated with the Raging Grannies, an international peace organization.

Surviving Ellie is her beloved family, including her husband of 62 years, Herb Foster, sons Ken and David Foster, daughter-in-law Margo McBane, grandchildren Monica Foster, Onawa Foster-Tannheimer, Bard Foster, and Etta Foster, and great grand-children, Leticia and Kobe Allen. Ellie was preceded in death by her daughter, Joan Foster, in 1973.

Memorial services for Ellie Foster will be held Saturday May 28th 3 pm at the Santa Cruz Quaker Meeting (225 Rooney St, Santa Cruz). A potluck will follow. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Resource Center for Non-Violence: RCNV Donations, 515 Broadway, Santa Cruz, CA 95060; or American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102(or online as gift in honor of a loved one: http://afsc.org/).


Linda's Hearth note: for folks not familiar with streets in City of Santa Cruz, Rooney St is off of Morrisey Blvd, DeLaveaga neighborhood. for exact directions see our website: http://santacruzquakers.org


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tent Cities Dispersed and Destroyed

High court hears arguments in Providence’s eviction of homeless

01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, May 11, 2011
By Tracy Breton

Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE –– Tent cities that have sprung up around the country have become a symbol of the problem of homelessness. Sometimes, shelters become too crowded to accommodate everyone. Sometimes, the homeless decide that shelters are unsafe, that they’d do better to band together and find a place outdoors to reside.

On Tuesday, two volunteer lawyers representing homeless people who, for a time during 2009, lived in a city park off Pleasant Valley Parkway, urged the state Supreme Court to vacate a preliminary injunction issued by a lower court judge.

They argued that the city used the wrong legal vehicle to try to eject the homeless group.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bedford and De Simone claimed that

Lanphear had no authority to issue an

injunction. The city should have either

prosecuted each of the people criminally

gone to District Court to try to eject each

of them civilly as a landlord would

with a tenant, or hauled them before the

Municipal Court for violating city

ordinances, they asserted.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Although lawyers Peter G. De Simone and Neville Bedford conceded after the hearing that the high court could not just order the city to reopen its parks to the homeless, they hope the court rules that Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Lanphear erred in issuing the injunction against their clients, and that by being forced to jump through more legal hoops, the state or its municipalities will approve some outdoor space where the homeless can live in nicer weather.

De Simone noted, in an interview after the hearing, that a few federal courts, including those in California and Florida, have sanctioned tent communities in public parks. He also asserted that if the City of Providence was forced to criminally prosecute the homeless for camping on its land, it would be easier for the defendants to litigate their civil-rights issues.

The justices questioned whether the case was moot since the homeless never balked at being ordered to leave the tent city they erected in September 2009, after Lanphear issued his preliminary injunction.

Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg also questioned whether the court had authority to consider the issues raised when all of the people appealing, except for one, were identified as Jane Does and John Does.

“What are your appellants’ names?” Goldberg asked Bedford. When he named the one person identified as an appellant — Barbara Kalil — Goldberg responded, “so that’s the only client you have.”

Justice Francis X. Flaherty asked: “Who has a stake in this outcome? We don’t know who it is.”

De Simone told the court that the reason the parties were unnamed except for Kalil was to spare them the stigma of bad publicity.

He and Bedford argued that the court should order full briefing of the issues and then hear more arguments, instead of ruling at this preliminary stage, because “the issues are of extreme public importance.”

But Goldberg replied: “The unnamed parties aren’t before us. We can’t give unnamed parties any relief.” The case is still before Lanphear, she said, because he never issued a permanent injunction. She told the lawyers they were asking the Supreme Court to rule on the validity of a preliminary injunction “on somewhat amorphous grounds.”

“This is an amorphous population,” Bedford replied.

“The law is not amorphous,” Goldberg told him.

Bedford persisted: “This is a class of people, impoverished people who have no place to live.” In papers submitted to the court and in their oral arguments, he and De Simone argued that the situation that the city faced at the park is apt to repeat itself this year.

Eric Hirsch, a sociology professor at Providence College who’s been compiling Rhode Island homeless statistics for almost two decades, says there has been an increase each year from 2007-2010, “particularly with regard to single adults, who increased from 1,850 to 2,461.”

Bedford and De Simone claimed that Lanphear had no authority to issue an injunction. The city should have either prosecuted each of the people criminally, gone to District Court to try to eject each of them civilly as a landlord would with a tenant, or hauled them before the Municipal Court for violating city ordinances, they asserted.

Senior Assistant City Solicitor Kevin F. McHugh argued that the case is moot, and that the Supreme Court should dismiss the appeal. The matter is not apt to repeat itself because the people are no longer living there and Lanphear’s order applies to parks citywide, he said.

McHugh said the city alleges that the tent community members were trespassers, not tenants, because city parks close at 9 pm and no one has a right to camp there overnight. But he said the city did not want to arrest the homeless people, “have them prosecuted, incarcerated, have them fined a fine they can’t pay. We have discretion as to how to proceed,” he argued.

“A group of people living in a city park with open refuse, storage of propane tanks that create the potential for fires…The health and welfare of the general public were part of the grounds for asking” for the preliminary injunction, McHugh told the court.

tbreton@projo.com

Has Branding Peaked In Mass Marketing? What's Next?

Is Generation X the Last Mass Brand-Loyal Group?

Crest, Cheerios, Atari, Cherokee, TAB – All big brands from the 1980’s able to successfully mass market their wares to brand loyal consumers. Although the American consumer had thousands of brand choices then, just as they do today, it did seem a simpler time for brands able to build brand loyalty.

In the latest Crowd Science JustAsk! study on the topic of Brand Loyalty, one of the most interesting findings was gap in brand loyalty between Gen-X and Gen-Y. The percentage of those that agreed with the statement “Once I find a brand I like, I tend stick with it” was far higher for Gen-X than other age groups at 42%. Compare that to 33% of those under age 30 agreed with the same statement. Additionally, those under 30% far outweighed other age groups when asked if they “Like to try different brands”.

What a Difference a Decade Makes

Those who graduated high school in and around the 1980’s were brought up in the last great age of mass media. With television as the primary digital option for kids in the late 1970’s and early 1980s, children were an easy and willing audience to market sugary cereals and sodas, toothpaste to clean those sugary teeth, and the latest Mattel toy, or Garanimals outfit to.

Gen X was also the first consumer technology demographic, ushering in products like Atari and the Apple Macintosh, providing the first glimpse of our multi-media futures. Regardless of popularity of other entertainment vehicles of that time, like movie theatres, arcades and radio, most of the kid-population was focused squarely on their televisions for Saturday morning cartoons featuring v.1 versions He-Man, Smurfs and Transformers.

Followers of advertising history must be amazed at the plethora of mediums and channels today’s kids have been born into. Recent studies have found that kids spend more time consuming media than ever. In late 2010, The Kaiser Family Foundation released a study that found kids aged 8-18 years old spend more than 7 and half hours a day engaged in digital media entertainment. Even more fascinating was the finding that most of these kids are multitasking across mediums. When you add up the time spent on each device, the number of hours that today’s kids spend consuming media rises to nearly 11 hours a day!!

Brand loyalty for the masses was arguably perfected during the post-war boom of the 1940’s and 1950’s when TV became mainstream. At that time, content was wholly created by big brands whose product placement was an integral part of the Howdy Doody program kids were tuning into. There weren’t as many choices, and lots of Ovaltine was sold, proving that creating a loyal audience was as straightforward as producing a once weekly 30-minute program for children.

Accelerate past color television and the multi-television household to the late 1970s and 1980s where more content and brand advertising choices began to flourish. Brands were still able to provide influence via mass media, with kids buying everything they could find with HR Pufnstuf or the New Zoo Review printed on it!

These days, big brands are still….BIG, and they are still able to successfully reach their targets. But few of them can rely on TV and billboards to grab the same level of brand affinity they once were.

Gen-Y continues consuming mind-boggling amounts of TV content, too. But at the same, time they are texting, listening to music and updating their Facebook status on their smartphones, while flipping through US Weekly, and watching a Netflix on their laptops!
New York Times blog writer Matt Ritchtel talks about today’s kids being “Wired for Distraction”. For brands – both big and small—this means they will have to get more creative and more personalized to breakthrough that kind of noise just to get their brand noticed – let create a brand affinity.

And ironically, the youngest kids today are more brand-aware of, and attracted to, more grown-up brands like Starbucks and Burberry than they are to Coco-Puffs or GoGurt.
On the upside, brands can feel comforted in the nostalgia of their loyal Gen-X customers. They are introducing the toys, movies and foods that they loved themselves as kids to an entirely new generation (Gen-Z?) of future brand loyalists!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Were they Lodging? Guilty, guilty, eleven times guilty, and one verdict hung

Demonstrating Against the Sleeping n Camping Bans:

Free Speech takes a Back Seat to County Aesthetics

by Becky Johnson
May 3, 2011


Evening at the courthouse last summer.
"Oh, what a mess, how can anyone STAND them?"
The top of Ed Frey's truck that brought our porta-potty each
evening and returned it by quarter to 8 am every morn.


Santa Cruz, Ca. -- Jurors delivered a verdict this afternoon in the Peace Camp Six trial. Guilty, Guilty, Guilty, Guilty, and Hung. A sixth defendant, Chris Doyon, was absent and a bench warrant was issued. A good Samaritan paid Doyon's bail, but that "fact" was irrelevant to District Attorney, Sarah Dabkowski, who reported to SENTINEL reporter that there is a warrant for Doyon's arrest. But then facts were never set in stone for Dabkowski.

Why just last January, Dabkowski said "lodge" means "they can't lodge, can't live, can't stay the night, can't sleep somewhere, can't set up roots somewhere if they don't have permission."

However, despite no definition being contained in the actual language of PC 647 (e), Gallagher supplied his own!
Not waiting for the prosecution to take a stab at what "lodging" means in a legal sense, Judge John Gallagher jumped forth and issued his own definition, creating the perhaps greatest grounds on which to appeal the verdict.

Gallagher told the jury that they should use this definition of lodging: "to lodge means to settle or live in a place, that may include sleeping"

Not only had this been a hotly disputed item at the hearing where Frey challenged the Constitutionality of the law based on it being "vague and overbroad" especially due to the lack of a definition, the defense did not have time to digest the meaning of Gallagher's hand-chosen definition in order to prepare a proper defense. Needless to say, neither did any of the defendants last August, September, and October. I mean, for a homeless person to comply, they'd have to stop "living in a place" since 647 (e) covers the entire State of both public and private property!

Then Gallagher sternly told the jury that "Even if you disagree with the law, you must follow the law." This is standard practice in Santa Cruz County courts but has no legal authority. Jurors are allowed to vote their conscience, and rule on the totality of circumstances. They may consider whether a law is being selectively enforced, or that the prosecution is largely political. They can judge the value of the law itself and find "not guilty" even if the evidence is clear that that law was broken. Being a juror is the most powerful position a single person can have on the justice system, far greater than as a voter. Being a foreman of a jury is perhaps the most influential position a citizen can have in influencing how our laws are applied. This jury was having none of that.

"Ignorance of the law is no excuse," the jurors trumpeted self-righteously. But they themselves were ignorant of the law. So were virtually all of the dozen or so police officers and deputies who testified. After Lt. Steve Plageman testified that in his 23 years or so as a deputy, he'd never written a PC 647 (e) citation before August 6th in his life, the DA objected every time defense attorney, Ed Frey asked about their experience in enforcing the law. Judge Gallagher sustained it every time. They were told the issue was "irrelevant."

But was it? How can anyone, much less a bunch of homeless people without access to computers, televisions, or home libraries going to know about an ordinance that law enforcement had never used before? And no one could know what Judge John Gallagher was imagining the definition of illegal "lodging" would eventually be.

Yet the jurors, like contestants at a beauty show, mouthed important truths about justice and the importance of the law, while failing to see a stark example of selective enforcement right in front of their own eyes. It was obvious from the testimony of a dozen police officers that 647 (e) was ONLY being enforced to shut down an otherwise legal protest against laws which criminalize sleeping, and was ONLY being enforced at City Hall and on the steps of the Santa Cruz County Courthouse.

Defendant, Eliot "Bob" Anderson was not convicted when the jury hung on one juror's opinion: That a homeless person should not have to gas their dog, to use one of our local homeless shelters for the night. Eleven jurors disagreed. No one can sleep well tonight in Santa Cruz County.

"We live in a society where our system elects representatives by the voters of California. They pass our laws," the Jury spokesman, Mr. K said following the verdict. "And if the people think the law is wrong, then they should actively work to change it." He also admitted that had Gallagher NOT given the jury a definition of "lodging," they could not have come to a verdict as easily or at all.

Fresh with a victory, it is now possible that sheriff's and SCPD may now feel emboldened to use 647 (e) more widely now> ANY homeless person, whether sleeping or not, in the day or the night, can be arrested for "settling in, or living in a place, that may include sleeping" or for " intending to spend the night without permission" (as DA Dabkowski challenged, as if that were a crime) on both public and private property." Since public and private property encompasses the entire state of California, they cannot avoid committing the law....ever.

Sigh. More homeless jury trials are upcoming. Gary Johnson faces a jury trial for sleeping twice in twenty-four hours, something our doctors encourage us all to do. And Linda Lemaster has a pre-trial before Judge John Gallagher in Dept 2 at 9 am on Wed. May 4th.

"I don't think we could have come to a verdict without a definition," said the jury foreman after the end of the trial.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Amazing, Ceaseless Justice Advocate Ellie Foster

It is with great sadness that I share with you the news of the passing of my mother, Eleanor "Ellie" Foster

by David Arthur Foster on Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 2:14pm


armyoffice15_1.jpg

Ellie in action, in a pic from 2007. thanks Mark.

Dear friends,

It is with great sadness that I share with you the news of the passing of my mother, Eleanor "Ellie" Foster. Ellie had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure several months ago and complications brought her back to the hospital on Easter day.

The extended Foster family had initially wanted to bring her home with the help of Hospice but her condition made transport very risky and we ultimately decided that it was easier for us to simply move into Dominican Hospital as a household to share with Ellie in her final days. Ellie remained lucid and loving and full of humor up to the end and passed away peacefully Wednesday evening, April 27th.

Ellie was 84. My father, Herb, will continue to live in the granny unit next to our house on Miles Street in Santa Cruz with the help of 24 hour care from In-Home Support Services and family members. He has Alzheimer's so in spite of having visited Ellie in the hospital for a very wonderful goodbye he is having to re-live the news of her passing several times each day. He is slowly transitioning to a new level of relationship to Ellie.

Here's to Ellie.

David Foster


Linda's Hearth note: She left on Easter. I have heard that Friends (Quakers) are among the helpers with Foster family for planning a memorial service for Ellie. They will need a huge location to say goodbye to Ellie Foster! I miss her so much. I will add news here and on my fb page to follow up.

.

Lyrebirds Weave Chainsaw Noise Into Their Mating Songs

Back in the 1930s there was a bird, an Australian bird, who had this thing for a human lady. The lady's name was Mrs. Wilkinson (I couldn't find her first name) and she lived in Australia. So did the bird. It visited her daily for food. She named it "James."

bird montage

Adam Cole/NPR

When James the bird decided to woo Mrs. Wilkinson, he built a mound in her backyard, stood on top of it, and sang. Mrs. Wilkinson, naturally flattered, invited some human friends to listen.

According to those who were there, on one occasion James sang for 43 minutes. Because James was a superb lyrebird (that's what they're actually called), his songs included sounds he had heard in the woods and suburbs where he lived. Lyrebirds are probably the world's most gifted mimics and according to Wikipedia, James' love song to Mrs. Wilkinson included a kookaburra's laughing song, the calls of cockatoos, wattle-birds, starlings, parrots, an automobile horn, a rock-crushing machine and a jackhammer.

These birds are amazing. If you've never heard a lyrebird do a perfect imitation of a chainsaw, let me introduce you to Chook, a superb lyrebird now resident at the Adelaide Zoo.

Source: YouTube

Chook lived in a cage next to a panda exhibit while it was under construction so presumably that's how he learned to do perfect renditions of hammers, power drills, and car alarms. Many birds can mimic sounds but lyrebirds are the masters. They are nature's living tape recorders, and sometimes their songs can be troubling.

For example, when the BBC's David Attenborough ran into a lyrebird deep in the Australian woods, the bird not only sang the songs of 20 other forest birds, it also did a perfect imitation of foresters and their chainsaws, who apparently were getting closer. That same bird made the sound of a car alarm.

The lyrebird remembers.
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These birds were, in effect, recording the sounds of their own habitat destruction. And they were doing this, ironically, inside their mating songs.

Are Lyrebirds Accidental Historians?

The birds, of course, don't "remember" where they picked up these sounds. For them it is just a noise. But scientists do wonder how old are these sounds? Lyrebirds can live 40 to 50 years.

In 1969, Neville Fenton, an Australian park ranger, recorded a lyrebird singing a song that sounded very much like a flute, a flute being played by a human. After much sleuthing, Mr. Fenton discovered that 30 years earlier, a farmer/flute player had lived near the park and played tunes to his pet lyrebird. That lyrebird downloaded the songs, then was allowed to live wild in the park.

Phrases from those flute songs apparently became part of the local lyrebird songbook. A scholar named Norman Robinson figured out that the songs wild lyrebirds were singing in 1969 were modified versions of two popular tunes from the 1930s, "The Keel Row" and "Mosquito's Dance."

Listening to a lyrebird sing may be like listening to very old tapes, writes blogger Alexander Trevi in his fascinating blog Pruned. When you go to the zoo and hear a lyrebird making buzz sounds like a saw, are you listening to something that happened yesterday, or is the bird telling you something more disturbing?

It is...interesting to imagine that a similar soundtrack might have been playing in their home forests before being rescued and brought to their present cages. What visitors are listening to then, are the narratives of their displacement, from their own voices. Their birdsongs are a kind of strange audio tour though environmental degradation and ecological extinction.

Well, maybe. I don't know how Mrs. Wilkinson felt during her serenade, but when I hear Chook, the Adelaide Zoo bird, doing a perfect human whistle on YouTube, so uncannily real it feels like there's a guy walking right behind him off camera, I know I'm hearing a bird rendering of a very specific person who once absolutely whistled that very tune. Who was he? Or she? I don't know. The bird doesn't know, but it's fantastic to hear.

Lady and the lyrebird
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