Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saved By Baseball. by John Parulis

There’s something going on in the USA right now-
changes and challenges. Perhaps not since the Great Depression has the US been faced with such serious mounting economic and social problems. The experts say things will be getting worse. My mom told me that when she was a kid growing up in the Depression, that people and communities helped each other. It seems like we’re being called on to turn in this direction again, and we have the signs on how it’s to be done.
I point to the 2008 Boston Red Sox. Yes, a baseball team, but not an ordinary baseball team. In 2004 Boston beat all the odds to come back from a 3-0 deficit against the New York Yankees to win the American league pennant race and then go on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4 zip in the World Series. The doubters were far flung and pretty vocal, but some say “magic” prevailed. Yes, magic did prevail and now, against the Tampa Bay Rays, a similar story is being played out again. Down 3 games to 1, the Red Sox came back from the crypt to tie the series and play the final game 7 tonight in the 2008 American League pennant race. The Red Sox are a kind of ‘spiritual team’ in that they mirror for the country as a whole, the stuff it takes to overcome tremendous odds and defeat.
They’ve shown on so many occasions, that persistence, great team work, focus and talent can beat the odds. They do it in style, with grace and with authority. Pitcher Jonathan Paplebon, typifies this spirit best of all, in the Red Sox club house. The guy even looks like he meditates before ascending the mound to deliver his Zen like flurry of well placed pitches. Red Sox baseball, the “American Pastime” has become a metaphor for triumph and survival in hard times. Seeing one team do it and not be fazed by the specter of loss is an inspiration that travels deep into the hearts and minds of the soul of America. It sticks with kids facing similar challenges in their own lives, and it sticks with grown ups, thereby bridging generations with a message a hope that is unifying and uplifting. The US needs the Red Sox like it needs fresh air. The country was pretty much born in Boston, so it isn’t so surprising that the path to a greater way of being would come from that same blessed city by the Atlantic. And yes, by a baseball team no less.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


And why? Consider this reprint from the Environmental Protection Information Center

The Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit, SMART is deeply connected to NCRA and NWP. A build for one is a boon for the other. Read this before you vote on the Billion.3 Tax Proposal to fund SMART.

The End of the Line for the NWP
The Northwestern Pacific Railroad (NWP) spans approximately 300 miles between Shellville, north of San Pablo Bay, and Arcata, California. Beginning in Healdsburg, the rail line runs directly adjacent to the Russian River, then in Willits it begins a 110 mile stretch through the Eel River Canyon, a Wild and Scenic River and one the most geologically unstable and seismically active areas on earth. The NWP follows the Eel River until it meets with Humboldt Bay, where it is estimated that more than 90% of the saltwater marsh habitat has been lost due to the railroad.

The unstable geology, frequent seismic activity and high rainfall along the route of the NWP make it one of the most illogically placed railroads in the world. The NWP travels at an average distance of only 30 feet from the Eel and Russian Rivers and Humboldt Bay, with its track below the high water mark in many locations. Floods are common in both the Eel and Russian Rivers, and the track is frequently swept away during peak flows. Through the canyons of these rivers, the railroad runs through the "inner gorge" area, which is extremely steep and susceptible to landslides. These steep slopes are cut at the bottom to make a flat surface for the track, which also cuts into the "toe," or bottom, of many landslide features along the route. At many locations the track is laid on top of fill that is placed into the rivers. "The terrain presents steep relief in the Russian and Eel River Canyons. These canyons are up to 3,000 feet deep and the track runs near the river level at the bottom. Slopes are generally 25 to 40 degrees within these canyons with some localized steeper areas where there are nearly vertical sections of up to 100 feet high. The Eel River is incised into the toe of these slopes and there is generally a 30 to 60 foot high bluff (45 degrees or steeper) at the edge of the river. Near Rio Dell, there are 200 to 300 foot-high nearly vertical cliffs…" [URS Greiner Woodward Clyde, 1998]. The geology of the areas along the route of the NWP consists of the "Wildcat Group," "Yager Formation" and "Franciscan Complex," all of which have frequent landslide and other "mass wasting" events. The rocks included in the "chaotic mixture" that make up the Franciscan Complex include "graywacke" material, which is known locally as "blue-goo" because its blue colored soil constantly liquefies and oozes downhill during saturated conditions. Id. The Wildcat Group is found near Scotia and Rio Dell, where there are 200 to 300 foot high rock cliffs that "break along intersecting joints and bedding, forming wedges and toppling blocks that fall onto the tracks. These blocks present a hazard to the railroad and are sometimes large enough to damage the track, embankments, and retaining structures." Id. Slopes with the Yager Formation commonly experience rotational and translational slides, slumps, debris flows, and other types of landslides. Id. The railroad also traverses along and across numerous fault lines, with the primary forces in the region being the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. Additionally, rainfall in this area can exceed 100 inches in a winter season.

Construction of the NWP was completed in 1914. Its problems started from the very beginning, when it was flooded and wiped out by landslides before it opened, and then when a giant landslide blocked the return of dignitaries to Eureka during the NWP's grand opening event. The railroad has been continuously damaged since this time, constantly closing down because of landslides and other problems. The NWP was owned by Southern Pacific Railroad until the mid-1980's. In 1983 Southern Pacific attempted to abandon the northern portion of the railroad, saying it was costing the company much more to repair and maintain the line than they could make. During administrative proceedings on the abandonment before the Interstate Commerce Commission, the president of Southern Pacific said that it was costing the company an average of $1,000,000 each month to maintain the line between Willits and Eureka, and that the company's losses totaled approximately $70,000,000. Of the abandonment, he stated that "We're not happy being here, but we're so certain there is no possibility of a viable operation that this is the last harrah." The Interstate Commerce Commission denied Southern Pacific's application for abandonment, and Bryan Wipple, a Eureka businessman, purchased the line in 1984. Just two years later, Wipple filed for bankruptcy. The Willits-to-Arcata portion of the line remained under a court-appointed trustee until 1992, when the State of California formed the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) to purchase and manage the NWP. The NCRA has since purchased the entire line from Sonoma County to Arcata. After the NCRA purchased the NWP, the track suffered extensive damage in four of the six years before the Federal Railroad Authority officially closed it in 1998. During the winters of 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1998, "[h]igh water in the Eel River and Outlet Creek washed away railroad embankments along several sections of track. Some culverts and drainage structures under the tracks were blocked with debris, causing failures. Landslides cover the tracks in several locations." Draft Environmental Assessment, January 2000. When the entire line of the NWP was officially closed by the Federal Railroad Authority in 1998, "the FRA had already issued emergency orders on the [railroad] as clearly failing to meet Class I standards." URS Greiner Woodward Clyde 1998.

In addition to landslides, fiscal mismanagement and other problems, the history of the NCRA is replete with violations of the law. At numerous places along the track, hydraulic fluid, diesel fuel and other toxic contaminants are actively leaking into the Eel and Russian Rivers and Humboldt Bay due to negligence on behalf of the NCRA. Water samples have shown these toxic spills are having dire consequences to water quality and aquatic life, with extremely high levels of lead, diesel, fluorene, barium, cadmium, silver, and other toxic chemicals. For example, water samples detected lead, which impacts aquatic creatures at levels as low as 14.0 parts per billion (ppb), at a concentration of 2,900 ppb in Outlet Creek (tributary to the Eel River). The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board filed numerous clean-up and abatement orders against the NCRA due to these problems, all of which were repeatedly ignored by the NCRA. Other state agencies also took various enforcement actions for the hazardous pollution stemming from the NWP, but the NCRA repeatedly violated the orders issued by these agencies as well and refused to clean up these areas. In 1997, the Department of Fish and Game, the Department of Toxic Substances Control and the Regional Water Quality Control Board filed a lawsuit against the NCRA/NWP for numerous violations of the Fish and Game Code, Health and Safety Code and the Water Code. To settle the suit, the NCRA entered into a consent decree in 1998, giving the court and the people of California their word that they would immediately clean up these sites and take restorative action to address the pollution problems caused by the NWP. However, to this day the NCRA has not taken any steps to stop these problems, even in areas where open containers are overflowing and spilling petroleum products directly into the soil and water. In addition to these water quality violations, the NCRA has also violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and other environmental laws. Early in 2000, the NCRA attempted to circumvent the ESA and the National Environmental Policy Act and carried out illegal "hazing" activities to frighten away bald eagles and other birds. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that reconstructing and operating the railroad will disrupt the nesting activities of the bald eagle. Rather than waiting until after the nesting season for the bird was completed, the NCRA began driving trucks up and down the railroad right-of-way, blasting recorded construction and railroad noises at 90 decibels. Their hope was to drive away all the bald eagles and then wildlife agencies could not say that reconstruction or operating the railroad would harm the listed bird. EPIC sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Authority as soon as we became aware of the situation, and threatened court action unless the illegal activities were terminated. Shortly after, FEMA demanded that the NCRA stop the bird hazing and they ceased. Of course, if the NWP is reconstructed and operations begin, habitat along the Eel River will again be lost for the bald eagle and other rare birds.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

No on SMART Protestors Harassed at Train Rally

September 24, 2008- Marin County brightpathvideo

SMART train opponents had one of their signs spat on and their posters blocked and tampered with by train supporters at a rally that was held today at Larkspur California’s Cal-Park tunnel to celebrate the commencement of the construction work on the tunnel. Present at the meeting were representatives of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, Assemlyman 6th District, Jared Huffman, former Marin Supervisor, Cynthia Murray and SMART chair, Marin Supervisor, Charles McGlashan. Both McGlashan and Huffman downplayed the significance of potential harm to endangered species living along one of the trains Marin corridors, Gallinas Creek. Train opponents site traffic congestion,
increased development and spiraling costs as problems minimized by train supporters.

For more information on the “real” impacts and costs of the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit, see

Friday, March 14, 2008

Webster Tarpley on Guns and Butter

Critical commentary on the impending collapse of the US economy. A must listen for all.
Plan accordingly. From Sept. 17, 2007 broadcast.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Michael Parenti

On Jan 22, 2008, Parenti blasts through misconceptions regarding the motives of the ruling elite to reveal a deliberate strategy to control our lives.

from John Parulis,

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

PART 2- Family Court Crisis - Our Children at Risk

Part 2 of 2- This 12-minute trailer introduces a brewing nightmare in family courts across America: children are routinely being placed by the family court in the sole custody of their abusive parents. This film exposes a few outrageous cases from Marin County, California.

Part 2 looks at the big business and money motives behind the family law machine; it urges California's Chief Justice Ron George to fix Calif's courts, and it proposes a solution that would protect children. This film is a call to action if you care about this grave injustice that must be seen to be believed.

Family Court Crisis - Our Children at Risk (Part 1)

Part 1 of 2- This trailer exposes a brewing nightmare in family courts across America: children are routinely being placed by the family court in the sole custody of their abusive parents. This film exposes a few outrageous cases from Marin County, California. It must be seen and heard to be believed.

Part 1 introduces the cases and looks into Parental Alienation Syndrome (or PAS, the reigning paradigm in family courts); plus we take a look at the role of court-appointed mediators, therapists & evaluators in a broken system run amok that is damaging the lives of far too many children. This is a national outrage- please spread this film link to educate everyone you know! Thanks- only together in numbers can we bring about real change.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Harsh Winds and Rain Rock Marin County

brightpathvideo filmed some of the intense water flows through San Anselmo and Corte Madera Creeks, on Jan 4, 2008, areas of damaging flooding two years ago.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Gallinas Creek Activists Keep Push to Save Clapper Rails

Video thumbnail. Click to play
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Gallinas Creek activists push on in the New Year, despite slapp suits and developer friendly San Rafael City government.
Click on the picture of John Parulis to play our latest clapper rail video. John has been filming the endangered clapper rail at Gallinas Creek for over a year, in an area that is under consideration for a massive sports complex development. Please visit for more.