Archive for November, 2015

“Christmas Questions”

November 29, 2015


What’s next?

How can things get stranger?

Has our world become a giant lunatic asylum staffed by morons and run by inmates – the laughing stock of whatever intergalactic universe may or may not exist?

But that’s harsh, the Herald Angels sing.

It’s Holiday time – so let’s look at the bright side.

Donald Trump will never be President of the United States.

Nor will Dr. Ben “Casually Catatonic” Carson.

Nor Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley, whose name I can finally recall just in time to no longer have to.

Bernie Sanders is still a long shot against Hillary, while Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio seem to be scooping up support from former Trump and Carson enthusiasts like elephant handlers in a circus.

The rest of the field is miserably moribund — competing for the title: “Best Also Ran.”

I was listening to KFI AM 640 out of L.A. on Friday when news of the Planned Parenthood assault in Colorado Springs broke. The announcer, Tim Conway, Jr., instantly lamented, “Watch! Liberals will cite this is another example of gun violence and domestic terrorism!” He was right. It is. Perhaps Tim was being facetious. While KFI offers relatively conservative programming, it is brilliantly staffed and Tim is dependably hilarious – as is his more famous father.

We just saw Vladimir Putin push his luck with President Recep Erdogan of Turkey, who promptly shot down a Russian jet when it crossed into Turkish air space for less than twenty seconds. Any serious retaliation by Russia could trigger a cataclysmic conflict. The United States is treaty bound to defend Turkey as a member of NATO – a deal becoming decidedly dicey.

Dr. Carson labels certain Syrian refugees as “rabid dogs”, then heads for the Middle East to hang out with a few.

Not to be outdone in inexplicable conduct, Donald Trump, ever plunging to new depths of decadent disgust, makes fun of a crippled New York Times reporter, finally claiming that the poor man is brazenly using the bloated bully for publicity.

In poll after poll, two-thirds of our fellow citizens consistently claim, “the country is heading in the wrong direction.” Similarly, an even stronger majority insists that Congress sucks and politicians can’t be trusted, so we need “outsiders ” to run government.

All of this crazy talk comes from reputedly “average folks “– whining at the sidelines as though they have had absolutely nothing to do with failed expectations. Respondents either voted or didn’t vote in recent elections. Not voting is also a vote. Nothing comforts many of us like the soothing insulation of self-imposed ignorance.

Look out. Here comes Baby New Year 2016 in three short weeks. I want to yell – “Go back! Go back! It’s a trap!”

Yet irresistible optimism concludes this narrative. If nothing else, let’s enjoy the rest of good old 2015 and celebrate its pending retirement, wishing joy to the world and happiness to all.

On Saturday, I hope you will make plans to be on the scene for a major Oakhurst annual highlight as our Community Christmas Tree Lighting takes place come 5 PM at Road 426 and Highway 41, sponsored by Sierra Tel and hosted by Century 21 Ditton Reality and Victorian Village.

I’m informed there will be carol singing, pine cone decorating, a petting zoo, pony rides, and free hot cider, cocoa, cookies and hot dogs – all of which might more wisely be consumed by our little ones AFTER they enjoy the bounce house.

Earlier in the day, our December meeting of the Oakhurst Democratic Club takes place at Denny’s with breakfast at 8:30 and a timely program at 9:30. Michael Baird, Administrator at Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church, will be discussing “Homeless for The Holidays” and providing updated information on our area homeless. There will be ample time provided for questions and you don’t have to be a Democrat to attend. Or a Presbyterian.

No one even checks.







“Bark for Bernie”

November 15, 2015

Dog Barking

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was a pioneer in behavioral psychology who won a Nobel Prize in 1904 for his work on conditioned responses.

Pavlov is classically referenced as discovering that dogs salivating at the sight of food could also be conditioned to do the same at the sound of a bell, providing a pattern was established in which such was rung as a matter of routine just before feeding time – the doggies reacting to the bell as though it was food itself.

More than half of American voters seem to be similarly predisposed to dismiss Bernie Sanders as a viable candidate for president since he is a self-declared “socialist” – this word conditioned through the years by dubious definition and careless commentary as being the same thing as a “communist.”

A recent Gallup survey measuring electorate bias indicates that 93% of us would vote for a Catholic, 92% for an African-American, 92% for a woman, 91% for an Hispanic, 91% for a Jewish candidate, 81% for a Mormon, 74% for a gay or lesbian, 73% for an Evangelical Christian who believes the world is 6,000 years old and cavemen rode dinosaurs and 58% would even back an atheist. But only a minority 47% would support putting a socialist in The White House.

Such mindless conditioning is desperately in need of righteous revision.

There’s a major disconnect here as far as Bernie Sanders’ campaign is concerned. It’s truly astounding. Issues the Senator endorses score majority support across the board – many by impressive pluralities.

A resounding 84% of voters, including Democrats, Republicans and Independents, agree that money has far too much influence on political campaigns and 77% think there should be limits on amounts individuals, corporations or political action committees can spend on their favorite issues or candidates. That’s what Bernie says.

80% of registered Democrats are in favor of a “Single Payer Option” in health insurance, also known in Bernie-talk as “Medicare for All.” Sadly, such a concept was the first casualty in early 2009 health care debates when President Obama completely left it off the table in a doomed effort to obtain early Republican cooperation.

73% of Americans want Citizens United (2010) overturned, not believing that “corporations are persons” and “money is speech” — underscoring the fact that concern about the dominance of elections by corporations and the wealthy is overwhelmingly bipartisan. That’s a biggie with Bernie.

67% of our people believe there is obvious unfairness in the current national distribution of wages and wealth across the board.

64% of us state that many major corporations are not paying their fair share of taxes.

63% would favor Bernie’s “College for All Act” which would provide free education at public colleges funded by a small tax on Wall Street transactions, including 47% of Republicans who are comfortable with the idea.

57% of our citizens are not opposed to Same Sex Marriages.

My colleague, Alan Cheah, was wonderfully succinct in his Sierra Star column of 10/25/15 discussing “socialism” when he asked in puzzled challenge – “What are we afraid of?”

Questioning Senator Sanders about taxes during last Saturday night’s Democratic Presidential Debate, a reporter seemed stunned to learn that the rate on upper incomes was a full 90% under President Dwight Eisenhower, true American hero and prime architect of the Normandy Invasion as leader of all Allied Forces during World War Two. Sanders promised his final number would be significantly less than that – then joked – “I’m not that much of a socialist compared with Eisenhower.” Even Hillary had to laugh.

An honest review of what Bernie Sanders represents brings quite a revelation. Senator Sanders is the new voice of mainstream America as our young lead the way.

In a late October NBC News/Monkey Survey poll of probable Democratic voters between the ages of 19 and 29, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton by an outrageous 2 to 1 ratio – 54% to 26%.

Millennials are paying attention and on the march.

I’m betting they won’t get fooled again.

“Community Radio” – Part Two

November 15, 2015

Classic Radio

Kevin Bowman of KRYZ-LP in Mariposa spoke before an overflowing crowd Saturday morning at the November meeting of our Oakhurst Democratic Club.  He spread the gospel of Low Power FM.

As outlined in last week’s column, the Federal Communication Commission licenses “Low Power FM” stations to provide small communities such as Oakhurst with local radio programming otherwise unavailable.

Such service offers area clubs, churches, schools, educational forums and other non-profit organizations a volunteer supported opportunity to discuss issues, promote events, and otherwise exchange thoughts and ideas on an interactive, participatory basis.

While KRYZ-LP is operating at 98.5 FM in Mariposa, this same public frequency was clandestinely licensed to Oakhurst on July 13, 2015 by a thus far phantom group calling itself “Radio Catholic” and headed by one Father Daniel White of Los Angeles. Although the FCC approved call letters of KOLS-LP are said to stand for “Our Lady of the Sierra”, initial investigation determined that Father Joel Davadilla, Pastor of “Our Lady of The Sierra” did not authorize the project and knew little about it.

Father Joel did report that Father White “though not assigned to our Lady of the Sierra Catholic Church, is a priest from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles who has his own residence close to the Bass Lake Area. He made mention to me about the beginnings of a Catholic Radio Station here a year ago to broadcast Church events and the like. This was all of his own initiative.”

After discovering KOLS-LP’s existence, I examined its FCC application in September and wrote to Father White at his residence in Winnetka, California – a Los Angeles suburb. Congratulating him on obtaining the license, I explained that the Oakhurst Democratic Club had scheduled a meeting on “Community Radio” for November 7th and invited him and his group to take part. This was to specifically share with us his pledged intentions of providing local programming to the people of Oakhurst, such being a critical requirement in being granted FCC permission to broadcast.

In subsequent communication, Father White agreed to do so.

Having had no further contact after three weeks, I sent him a note on October 19th, repeating my request.

He has yet to acquiesce.

What Father White did do is stop by the offices of the Sierra Star and speak with both Publisher Betty Linn and  Editor Brian Wilkinson in an effort to suppress my “For Your Consideration” column and keep any news of KOLS-LP out of the public eye. Obvious, such an attempt at maintaining “radio silence” was to no avail.

100% of current KOLS-LP airtime is exclusively a rebroadcast of national EWTN programming out of Birmingham, Alabama — this already easily accessible in Oakhurst on Sirius/XM Radio, both Dish and Direct Satellite TV, and via the Internet.

Founded by 92 year-old Franciscan nun Mother Mary Angelica, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world, reaching over 230 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories.

Mother Angelica

Although there would appear to be obvious infirmities in Father White’s KOLS-LP application formally submitted to the Commission as well as demonstrable deficiency in “Radio Catholic” conduct since receiving approval, I have extended to Father White one final chance at redemption.

Unless he signals appropriate penance and agrees to provide meaningful opportunity for local programming origination and adequate studio facilities in Oakhurst to facilitate production of same (another Federal requirement) – a formal complaint will be filed with the Commission demanding sanction, fines and other available remedies, including license revocation.

We need “Community Radio” in Oakhurst to be truly “catholic” in nature, a word defined in Webster’s as being “of general scope or value; all-inclusive; broad in sympathy, tastes and understanding.”

That means for all people, parties, pursuits and persuasions.

As in – democracy.

“Community Radio”

November 4, 2015


Once upon a time, there was no TV.

This was roughly from the dawn of man to the late ‘40’s, when the wonder of televised black and white images accompanied by FM sound was introduced into living rooms across America.

In my hometown of Syracuse, an RCA 8TR29 with a 10-inch screen sold for $948.00 in 1948 – the equivalent of $9,524 in today’s dollars — big bucks back then. Our family had to wait a bit for our first set. So it was that I grew up with radio alone as my primary gateway to the world.

Even this technology was then still relatively new. The first federally licensed radio station, KDKA in Pittsburgh, signed on the air 95 years ago this very week on November 2, 1920.

By 1941 when I was born, there were countless receivers coast to coast tuned each week to local variety programs, news, sports, and commentary. Audiences were riveted to the networks for such classics as Lux Radio Theater, Amos & Andy, Jack Benny, The Lone Ranger, Bob Hope and dozens more, but it was the local connection that truly bound us together.

Even after television revolutionized our culture turning listeners into viewers by the millions — local radio still featured fully staffed news departments monitoring police, fire and weather radios, reporting important nearby events, tracking local politics and covering municipal court houses well into the ‘60’s. If it happened down the street, you’d hear about it in minutes.

Then all that was gone, primarily since replaced by nationally syndicated conservative talk on the AM band and computer-driven, consultancy programmed music stations on the FM side with most becoming little more than 50,000 watt iPods. For broadcast communication, the new global village had become a lonely old town.

But in 2000 — a wonderful thing happened. To address a critical need for local program origination, the Federal Communication Commission created Low Power FM radio service, authorized for noncommercial educational broadcasting. With an effective radiated power of 100 watts, “Community Radio” would cover approximately a 3.5-mile radius, not enough to serve a territory, but certainly a town or two.

This Saturday morning, I hope you’ll join us for the November meeting of the Oakhurst Democratic Club at Denny’s when Kevin Bowman of KRYZ-LP in Mariposa tells us all there is to know about our adjacent county’s “Community Radio.”

KRYZ-LP features prominent club events, significant regional issues, local news, extended interviews, wide reaching panel discussions and emergency broadcast programming.

Kevin reports that volunteer operated KRYZ-LP is designed to engage Mariposa citizens with a station dedicated to being a participatory medium in which home town listeners can be an important part of a vibrant, interactive radio experience.

Current local programming features Jon Youngblood with “Mariposa Town Talks”, “Easy on the Ears” is guided by Ron Judice, Michelle Marcell gets “Curious and Curiouser”, Chris Adcock visits the “Haunted Steakhouse”, Stephanie Means brings us “Fire in The Head”, Eve Elder tames “The Musical Managerie”, while Saturday’s speaker at Denny’s, Kevin Bowman, brings listeners both “Public House” and the Irish flavored “Slainte” with Trudy Williams.

You can find KRYZ-LP on the Internet at or 98.5 on the FM dial, but not on your Oakhurst radios for two reasons.

First, there are some serious signal blocking ridges between here and Mariposa. Secondly, there seems to be – a possible interloper in our midst.

With absolutely no local content featured and efforts made to avoid publicizing its existence, KOLS-LP has occupied 98.5 FM, licensed to Oakhurst, since July of this year. Operated by “Radio Catholic” and exclusively featuring programming from the EWTN Catholic Radio Network, the KOLS-LP call letters stand for “Our Lady of the Sierra”

Intriguingly, Father Joel Davadilla, Pastor of Our Lady of the Sierra, did not authorize the project and doesn’t know much about it.

I’m sure we’ll have much more to share at our Saturday meeting, a leading Washington law firm having been engaged to check things out for all of us.

Community Radio – KOLS — “Keep Oakhurst Locally Served.”

“68,400 Square Feet of Solid Rock & Roll!”

November 4, 2015


My old friend Ron Bearup has some farmland in upstate Michigan and just went wild – creating the largest tractor-mowed book title in the history of literacy. This “Local DJ” covers 68,400 square feet with letters 80 feet wide and 60 across with 20 feet of spacing in between. It lies directly in the flight path to Harbor Springs Municipal Airport on Lake Michigan. When asked why he did such a thing, Ron said, “I liked the book!”