This guy makes Trump sound wishy-washy

Conservative candidate Jair Bolsonaro was the leading vote getter in the first round of voting to elect Brazil’s next president, and is expected to win the October 28 runoff.

Bolsonaro’s main attraction to voters is that he has managed to avoid being implicated in any of the political scandals that have engulfed the country’s political elite in recent years.

Voters are clearly fed up with corruption and crime, and are looking to Bolsonaro to get both under control. Like most populists elected in the last 2 years, he is viewed as the anti-establishment candidate who will overturn the established order. Voters may be getting more than they bargained for.

His plan to get crime under control includes the loosening of gun laws for self-defense and giving police “carte blanche” to kill suspected criminals. Due process? What do you expect from an ex-army officer was staunchly defends Brazil’s past dictatorship.

But there’s more. Balsonaro has defended torture, advocated beating children to stop them from turning gay, argued that women deserve lower pay than men, and said minorities must “bow to the majority or simply disappear.”

Finally, in a country that has endured a massive recession, Bolsonaro proudly states he knows nothing about economics. God help the world’s fourth largest democracy.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

No wonder conservatives love Brett Kavanaugh

“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled by apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election…Revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars of money from outside left-wing opposition groups.”

–Brett Cavanaugh, responding to charges of sexual harassment and other unjudicial behavior

There’s nothing conservatives like better than a good conspiracy theory: It makes it so easy to understand the complex world we live in and the unwillingness of many Americans to roll over for Donald Trump.

He didn’t go into detail about “outside left-wing opposition groups,” but Kavanaugh was probably referring to billionaire investor George Soros, who is apparently the source of every anti-Trump demonstration launched in the last two years.

Conservatives want to believe that only people paid by the likes of Soros would oppose the president. I can’t wait to see this kind of thinking applied to the issues the Supreme Court has to deal with.

Posted in Donald Trump, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Bear River has a near death experience but remains undefeated

Clinging to a lead of 2 points entering the fourth quarter will test the mettle of any team, particularly if the team won its five previous games by an average of 45 points.

But Bear River’s football team proved up to the challenge last week when it scored a 4th quarter touchdown to finally put away Center by a final score of 16-7 in the league opener for both schools.

Now that it has escaped the equivalent of a near death experience, life should get easier for the Bruins tonight when they host an undermanned Lindhurst team. Look for a final score that resembles what the team did in its first 5 games.

Meanwhile, Nevada Union showed that its pre-league record of 3-2 (the team’s best in several years) was more illusion than reality as Placer simply took apart the Miners. Apparently dropping down 2 rungs in competition to become competitive wasn’t far enough.

Expect more of the same this week as NU entertains Oakmont, a team that should be about 4 touchdowns better than the host.

*          *          *

The top 3 of the Foothill 4 won their games last week to remain closely bunched at the top of our ratings. Only Placer among the leaders figures to have a tough game this week, so Colfax and Bear River will probably be fighting it out for the top spot next week.

This week’s rankings are:

  1. Bear River        6-0         136.3
  2. Placer                6-0         132.8
  3. Colfax                6-0         132.0
  4. Nevada Union  3-3          86.4

This week’s predictions:

Oakmont over Nevada Union by 25.5 points

Rio Linda over Placer by 5 points

Bear River over Lindhurst by 45.5 points

Colfax over Marysville by 38.5 points

Last week’s results: I predicted Nevada Union would be blown out by Placer (it was) and that Bear River would be win a close game (it did).  But I was off on Colfax, which I said would lose to Foothill. It won by 17 points. Still, I’ll take a 2-1 record to start the season.

Posted in Bear River football, Colfax football, Nevada Union football, Placer football, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is Bear River this good? Are Miners really back from the dead? We’ll find out starting tonight


Is Bear River’s football team as dominant as it appeared to be when it flattened its 5 non-league opponents? Is Nevada Union back from the dead after 5 seasons of truly horrible football?

Well, it’s hard to tell as both team begin league play tonight because their opposition to date has been less than formidable.

With 13 players back from last year’s section championship team, the Bruins are expected to do well–they should be a year better (experience does that at their age) and they know they can win tight games.

BR has started the season like a house on fire, winning each of its games by an average of 45 points. The Bruins have scored 50 or more points 3 times and 49 points twice. Meanwhile, their defense have given up just 31 points.

But then you look at teams they played: A combined record of 7-18. Just one of them has a winning record. So how good are the Bruins?

Tonight’s league opener against Center (4-1) should provide a partial answer to that questions. Center is by far the strongest team BR has faced this season, and if my power numbers are accurate, should lose a close game to the Bruins.

After enduring almost a decade as the punching bag for the Sierra Foothill League, Nevada Union has dropped down 2 notches in class to join the newly formed Foothill Valley League.

The Miners appear to be improving as the season progresses, going into tonight’s league opener against Placer on a 3-game winning streak  after dropping their first two. That’s more wins than they’ve had in an entire season for several years.

But non-league records can be deceiving. The Miners’ 3 wins have come against teams with a combined record of 1-14 while the 2 teams that beat them are 6-6 at this point in the season.

Placer (5-0) is the first team NU has faced this season with a winning record, and the power numbers suggest things will not got well in Auburn tonight. On the other hand, Placer is one of the few teams NU has played well against in recent years, and beat last year’s section championship team.

Here are my predictions for tonight’s league openers involving the Foothill 4:

Bear River over Center by 3.5 points

Placer over Nevada Union by 44 points

Foothill over Colfax by 20 points

*                *                *

Three of the Foothill 4 enter league play with perfect 5-0 records, and all of them have winning records. But all 4 teams played soft non-league schedules so it’s difficult to decide if these records are for real or mirages.

We’ll start finding out for real tonight. Here is each school’s power rating going into tonight’s games:

  1. Bear River          5-0          134.1
  2. Colfax                  5-0          132.1
  3. Placer                  5-0          128.2
  4. Nevada Union   3-2            86.9
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Musk’s mad at the media for reporting the truth

Tesla founder Elon Musk is becoming increasingly disenchanted with the media’s treatment of his company, and he’s threatening to return fire.

Tesla has received plenty of negative media coverage recently: Missed production schedules, questions about working conditions at its factories, a negative review by Consumer Reports, and criticism for abandoning the people’s car, the $35,000 version of the Model 3.

Elon Musk: Down on media

Musk said this kind of coverage is driven by reporters under pressure to get “max clicks”–the modern version of “they just want to sell more newspapers”–and is biased because of advertising by auto makers and oil companies.

“The holier-than-thou hypocrisy of big media companies who lay claim to the truth, but publish only enough to sugar-coat the lie, is why the public no longer respects them,” he tweeted recently. “Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication. Thinking of calling it Pravda.”

He didn’t explain how the public is supposed to rate the “core truth” of an article it didn’t research or report on, but nobody bothers with the facts anyway when it comes expressing an opinion on the internet.

The idea reflects Musk’s penchant for publicly battling media outlets, analysts and investors who raise questions about his business, a tradition of high-tech hot-shots who come to resent the media after early encomiums turn to criticism when their companies’ performance doesn’t live up to the hype.

Even successful companies eventually turn on the media. Despite Apple’s success and generally glowing media coverage, Steve Jobs came to loathed the media over time, still reflected today in the company’s penchant for being closed-mouthed with the media and paranoia about any employee who leaks to the media. (It produced a multi-page internal memo on the subject recently, which of course was leaked to the media.)

Like many of his peers, Musk over promises, under delivers, and then wonders why he gets criticized. The company has repeatedly blown production targets in recent years as it burns through billions of dollars in cash, and now it has essentially conceded it is giving up producing a car for the masses.

Long derided as a manufacturer of expensive toys ($75,000 and up) for eco-elitists, Tesla announced it would produce a car for the masses–the Model 3–for around $35,000. That prompted nearly 500,000 people to put down $1,000 deposits for the car. Now Musk has announced a new $78,000 version of the Model 3, conceding the $35,000 version would cause the company to “lose money and die” if built right away.

“The problem is investors have given Tesla a nearly $50 billion market cap in the belief the company will up-end the global auto market, not become a niche, high-end electric-car company,” The Wall Street Journal reporter Charley Grant wrote recently in its “Heard on the Street” column. “What that latter company is worth is hard to say, but it isn’t the current market valuation.”

No wonder Musk’s upset with the media.

Posted in Economy, Environment, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Lehman expected to be named next county executive officer

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to meet behind close doors Tuesday to consider a successor to county CEO Rick Haffey, and most people will be shocked if the job doesn’t go to current assistant CEO Alison Lehman.

Alison Lehman

The supervisors apparently haven’t looked at any outside candidates, and Haffey has recommended a successor. “I believe that the transition will be a smooth one,” Haffey told The Union last month, basing his statement on the supervisors’ response to his recommendation.

If Lehman gets the job, her appointment will continue a recent trend of promoting insiders–in a couple of cases, without even bothering to look at outside candidates. When John Foster retired as police chief, Grass Valley officials made it clear his successor would be one of two lieutenants in the department. The current city managers of Grass Valley and Nevada City were also appointed from inside.

Appointing insiders has the advantage of making a seamless transition to a new leader who can “hit the ground running.” It also increases the possibility the incumbent will stay for the duration instead of moving onto a new position in a couple of years, as was the case in the sudden departures of recent Grass Valley and Nevada City managers.

But it also means you’re more likely to get business as usual, particularly if the new person has never worked anywhere else. While there are a lot of people around here who don’t want to see any change, the world around us is changing rapidly and we’re going to have to adjust even if we don’t want to.

Haffey was the No. 2 guy in the Rood Center when he got the top spot almost 15 years ago, and it looks like Lehman is poised to follow in his footsteps. Supervisor Dan Miller appears to be onboard.

“Personally, I like to explore possible replacements in-house because the transition would be much more seamless, and an in-house candidate will typically have a very good understanding and knowledge of our community,” Miller emailed The Union.

Miller may also have in mind the reception he got from Lehman when he joined the board almost four years ago. Lehman was given the job of giving Miller a tour of county operations, and she reported at his swearing-in that he was a star student.

“I’m truly looking forward to having Dan on the board,” she said. “In getting to know him, it has become clear that he has a strong commitment to the community. He’ll be a welcome addition to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors. He’ll be an effective supervisor.”

That should be worth a vote in Lehman’s favor on Tuesday.

Posted in Government, Nevada County Board of Supervisors, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Referendum on Diaz as election officer starts this week

This week could go a long way toward cementing or sinking the reelection hopes of county Clerk/Recorder Gregory Diaz, who is facing two opponents in the June election.

Nevada County is one of the few counties test driving the state’s new vote-by-mail system, and the test will begin this week with the mailing of ballots to all registered voters in the county and the opening of voting centers for those who don’t want to mail back their ballots or prefer to vote in person.

Gregory Diaz

Diaz is basing his reelection campaign on his professional expertise–he’s been clerk/recorder since 2007–so the smoothness with which the new voting process proceeds will be a referendum on his competence.

His two opponents–Mary Anne Davis, events manager at The Union newspaper (where I’m a freelance columnist), and Elise Strickler, an analyst in the county CEO’s office–have no experience in the field. (Strickler worked in Diaz’s office for four years in another capacity.)

Diaz likes to tout his expertise when it comes to running elections, but his track record in Nevada County does not instill confidence that everything will go smoothly.

Ballots sent to vote-by-mail voters for the 2016 general election were missing a page listing nine of 17 state propositions and three local measures. “The page just didn’t get stuffed in the ballot by the printer,” an election office employee explained.

Managing outside vendors has been a recurring problem for Diaz’s office. Ballots in 2016 (late getting verified) and 2014 (printing error) were delayed because of screw ups that weren’t caught by his office. Then there’s his interpretation of election law, something he’s supposed to know.

Americans for Safe Access Nevada County launched a drive in 2014 to quality a medical marijuana initiative for the ballot. State law required the promoters to obtain valid signatures of 20 percent of county residents who voted in the most recent governor’s election.

In this case, that was 2010, when 45,657 votes were cast in the county for governor. That meant the promoters needed to obtain a minimum of 9,131 valid signatures to get the initiative on the ballot.

But Diaz came up with another number, claiming they needed to obtain 9,928 signatures, 20 percent of all voters even if they didn’t cast a vote in the governor’s race. Diaz was the only clerk/recorder in the state to come up with that novel interpretation. He eventually reversed himself.

WHERE’S WALDO? Is Diaz actually running a reelection campaign? If you Google “Gregory Diaz for county clerk/recorder” you get…nothing. No campaign web site, no Facebook page. Davis has both and Strickler has a Facebook page.

Maybe he’s trying to emulate former county Clerk/Recorder Kathleen Smith, who spent no money on advertising and did practically no campaigning when she ran for the office in 2006. The Union endorsed Diaz, but Smith won anyway.

Posted in County Clerk/Recorder Gregory Diaz, Elise Strickler, Government, Mary Anne Davis, Politics, Uncategorized | 5 Comments