Cartman303Local journalist and culinary connoisseur “Scoop” Cartman is atop the ramparts again, warning the villagers of the invisible curse that has doomed our community to darkness and despair. The ghosts of the Revolutionary War roam freely among us, unseen by the untrained eye. It is only through the perseverance of Scoopy that the citizenry will know which businesses are inhabited by the spooks. Some of his more militant followers are vowing to boycott anything associated with the name of one prominent poltergeist. Never mind that the family business has contributed more to this community than the lot of them combined will ever match in their lifetime. They are cursed by virtue of their bloodline and the buildings they occupy. Sins of the father and all.

I generally don’t go for these exorcistic exercises. The spooks don’t bother me. If I started avoiding places because there might be a few disagreeable entities hanging around, I’d probably have to lock myself in the house and have my groceries delivered. I just hope the grocery store survives, along with the rest of the town. I mean, boycotts can go both ways, and once you start down that road you can make the problem worse. More empty storefronts, until you’re left with a ghost town. Now that’s spooky.

Besides, the ghosts may be annoying at times, but they are generally harmless. It’s the damn zombies you have to watch out for. You’ll know them by their sunken faces and the dark rings around their eyes. They never sleep and are prone to violence and mayhem, fueled by amphetamines and other toxic concoctions. If you want to make the streets safe for your kids, get rid of the zombies. If you want the community to be a welcoming place for visitors, get rid of the zombies.

Scoop rarely mentions the zombies, preferring to concentrate on outing apparitions in our public places. But the zombies are proliferating, and the State has been told that many of them will have to be released from custody due to overcrowding. Others will be transferred to our local facilities, and then put back on the streets with time off for good behavior. The ghosts are merely ghosts, and their power to affect the living is limited to the rattling of chains and bumps in the night. The zombies will be looking for something to eat.

Scoop’s other favorite target is the local newspaper, which he believes is possessed by evil spirits. It’s all superstitious nonsense, but it gives his audience a place to focus their fear and anger. If anyone is adept at manipulating the news, I would put the Scoopster at the top of the list. Of course, he would say that he is merely passing on public information. It’s not his fault if the villagers burn down the castle, hoping to purge the boogieman.

You see, Scoopy wants our community to be homogeneous, a nice place where everyone agrees with everyone, and we do what we are told. Wreathes of homegrown organic garlic will keep the zombies away, if you believe hard enough. The newspaper will be full of happy agreeable news. The tourists will return and the people will prosper once again. A high tech hippie Stepford. No ghosts allowed.

I know…It sounds like a fairy tale. Something you’d read to the children to scare the bejesus out of them if they’re not good. Is that someone knocking on the door? Trick or treat.

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145 Responses to BOO!!!

  1. Michael Anderson says:


    The local Facebook comments are much worse than on these handful of local blogs that are out there. I am amazed that so many people are willing to publicly write about their fellow Nevada County neighbors in such derogatory ways. What I find particularly offensive in the local Facebook comments is a “call to action” to boycott this business or another, based upon their alleged political beliefs. This is not a good way to go in our small town(s).

    I agree with you completely that whether or not you eat at someone’s restaurant around here, or read their magazine, or have them fix our computer, should be entirely based upon the quality of the service or product you receive.

    One might think that I feel that way because I own such a small business, but I actually felt that way just a short time after I moved here in 1988, well before I started my business in 1997 and while I was working for the largest private employer in Nevada County (one of those so-called evil corporations, even though this one really was evil ;-). I realized then that when you are at the lunch counter with someone with whom you are supposedly politically opposed, you can still find a lot of ways to get along and discover common interests. This kind of sympatico is much harder to achieve in urban areas, where most people self-select the types of people with whom they associate. We are actually lucky that we are stuck with each other, face to face.

    In terms of the blogs, you and Jeff do the best job of keeping comments from veering off into libel, innuendo, smear campaigns, and invective. It took a while for both of you to get there, and you went about it differently, but you both require real names, you both don’t tolerate bad behavior, and you are willing to edit out, and even ban, bad players (including myself, so I have personal experience).

    Todd’s blog, for example, does none of this and is universally ignored. Russ tried very hard to keep the reigns on those horses, but eventually decided that a Nevada County politics political blog was too much to wrangle (and I certainly don’t blame him for that, but at least he recognized that moderation was the key).

    Rebane’s Ruminations is still a work in progress and I sure hope George gets a handle on his moderation problems since his topic matter is always entertaining (if not pejorative) and his comment numbers speak for themselves regarding the high level of interest. But he tempts an echo chamber if he continues to refuse to wrangle.

    I do agree that it is hugely unfortunate that Jeff continues to bash The Union (and I have indicated my opinion regarding this to Jeff numerous times), and I ignore those posts on his blog and never comment underneath. I continue to subscribe to The Union, going on 26 years w/o interruption, and I don’t plan to quit anytime soon. Since I am a subscriber, the paywall is no longer an issue for me now that web access is included in the subscriber price (I refused to pay extra for online access when that was the first confused business model–even just a couple of bucks a month–since I already had the paper copy). What fixed it was a smart marketing change, and it’s all about perceptions.

    As I have mentioned to Jeff before, he and Shannon should continue to publish their high-quality magazine and let the chips fall where they may. IMHO, the other long-time regional mags are being challenged by Sierra Food-Wine-Art’s superior product.

    That all being said, The Union has done a horrible job with social media and their comments section is non-existent. Why is that? It is such a waste–here you have the largest print publication in Nevada County and they don’t know how to run a moderated comments section? That’s just plain silly. Go down to Cafe Mekka, find a Millennial who’s hanging out on her computer all day (well, after trimming season anyway), pay her $10.50 per hour to moderate The Union comments, and watch the magic happen.

    And speaking of blogs, George Boardman I would love to comment on your new blog but the software is broken. I cannot contribute so far. Is there a known problem?

    Michael A.

  2. rl crabb says:

    Yes, Michael, we do live in a small fishbowl, and it behooves us to try and find whatever common ground exists. With politics stuck out on the extreme fringes, it’s a tall order. More attention needs to be paid to the zombie problem. We were visited by them last month, and they made quite a mess of our garage. When the local constable came to file a report, I mentioned that it was strange that they took a few sentimental items and left things that were worth money. “Tweakers,” he opined. I hope they enjoy my collection of old National Lampoons. I kept them as mementos of an era when humor didn’t have a problem with overt racism, sexism, and potty jokes. These were the guys who made “Animal House”, and most of those sequences were drawn from their own experiences. These days, colleges are devolving into politically correction facilities. The free exchange of ideas is being replaced with a hard-nosed attitude of exclusion for those who mouth blasphemy. Scoop would feel right at home.

  3. Steve Frisch says:

    I have not seen Jeff call for a boycott of any specific business…did I miss it? Can you please point me to the statement?

    • rl crabb says:

      “Of course, he would say he is only passing on public information. It’s not his fault if the villagers burn down the castle, hoping to purge the boogieman.”

  4. Jeff Pelline says:

    For the record, I have never called for a boycott of any local business.
    I’m not even sure what you’re referring to. Do you mean “Nevada City Eats,” run by Robinson Enterprises?
    We ate lunch there yesterday. The pork taco was too salty, but I’m sure they will work on it.
    All the best with your “cartooning” and “lampooning.” I know it entertains you and your readers.

    • rlcrabb says:

      All one has to do is look over your past posts, like I did. There is no need for a skilled propagandist to push an agenda without overtly telling people what to think or act upon. Referring to The Union as “The Tea Party Gazette” is about as explicit as it gets. I don’t know anyone at the paper that is a member of that clan, yet you persist in labeling it as such. Why? Because they print letters and opinion pieces that don’t jive with your worldview? Are you saying there isn’t any opportunity for rebuttal? I’ve called you on that numerous times over the years, and will continue as long as it persists.
      Sorry to hear about your taco. Maybe they were rubbing a little salt in the wound for your “non-partisan” review. It seems to have had the desired effect on your readers.

      • Chris Peterson says:

        I find humor in the fact that Mr. Pelline ate there the next day.

        NCIS Gibb’s rule #39- “There’s no such thing as coincidence.”

        I hope he had the good grace to at least tip well.

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        The Union’s ongoing primary sin seems to be not ignoring Republicans or the TP types. Even saying something nice about one of them from time to time.

        Ackerman’s primary sin seems to have been getting rid of Pelline’s position.

    • Chris Peterson says:

      Ireread Bob’s piece, and it certainly doesn’t accuse “Scoop” of calling for any boycotts. I would think that a person who writes out of a sense of community information could read at least as well as he pontificates, but such is obviously not the nature of today’s public advocate. Rather, innuendo is the key to today’s self-acclaimed expertise in such matters, ie., “cartooning” and “lampooning”, as if those have less credence in our history than pedestrian rumor and opinion.

      I did really enjoy the “Golly, did you mean” question in his response. I guess the Faux News innocence disclaimer has become a standard “journalistic” exercise, however sophomoric.

      There is certainly no doubt about which enterprise takes more talent. Let me know when Mr. Scoop’s meanderings ever reach the same level of talent that Bob has shown for decades. Maybe then I’ll pay attention to his writings; which, to this point, are merely blue plate specials on a zombie menu.

    • Barry Pruett says:

      We went trick or treating tonight with good friends one of whom works in the DA’s office which is above Nevada City Eats. Tonight I was told that the burritos are large, amazing and cost only five bucks. I am looking forward to seeing if my food inhaling 16-year old can handle it.

    • Barry Pruett says:

      No thanks. I already have the personal opinion of a good friend without an agenda. Maybe next time.

      • Ken Jones says:

        No agenda Barry, just good Mexican food at Plaza de Jalesico. Quality over quantity. Good prices too. Try the molcajete.

      • Steve Frisch says:

        A burrito agenda?

      • Steve Frisch says:

        Seriously, how does a recommendation for a good burrito turn into a political issue?

        I love this quote:

        In politics, madame, you need two things: friends, but above all an enemy.- Brian Mulroney

        • Barry Pruett says:

          I do not know Steve. I think that is a question for Cartman.

          • rl crabb says:

            For the price, you can’t beat a Jimboy’s taco. Local outfit that made the big time. I still remember the one on Mill Street in the days of yore. Don’t know their politics. Don’t really care.

        • Chris Peterson says:

          Oh, I don’t know Steve, let me think.

          Maybe when a guy makes comments that stir talk of a boycott against a restaurant for political reasons, then comes back the next day and suggests an alternate eatery?

          I’m sure his higher-level minions will be heard saying, “I’ll have what he’s having..” lol

          • Jeff Pelline says:

            I’ve eaten at both Nevada City Eats and Plaza de Jalisco. No agenda there.

          • Ken Jones says:

            Personally I just enjoy good Mexican food. Really don’t care about politics or agendas in regards to good food.

          • Jeff Pelline says:

            The flip side to this discussion is “Do you only want to eat burritos at places where the owners are politically like-minded.”

            I’m with you Ken: I just enjoy good Mexican food.

          • Chris Peterson says:


            You should run those comments on your blog and confuse the hell out of your readers. If we ate out of political leanings, you’d never find a conservative eating Mexican food to begin with. (Remember American fries?)

            And I love the Mexican cuisine so much…I married one!

          • Michael Anderson says:

            You married a burrito?

          • Chris Peterson says:

            I will take that for levity, Michael. The fact that I once called her “my little burrito” is something I’m still paying for.

            Actually, she’s an Arizona Indian who’s family was forced to take the name Garcia when we corralled them at Fort Collins. (And I do most of the cooking anyway.)


          • Michael Anderson says:

            Yeah Chris, a weak attempt at comedy. Thanks for the pass.

            Out in Paiute country, on my way to my favorite desert art festival every year, the Cui-ui band pulls out their big plywood signs reading “Indian Tacos” at about 15 large gravel pullouts along Highway 447, each with a cook trailer, picnic tables and benches, a couple of porta-potties, and maybe a shade structure of some sort. Thousands of people stop both on the way in and the way out, and the few times I have stopped I couldn’t really tell any difference between an authentic Mexican taco and an “Indian taco.” I’ve always wondered about the etymology of this unique foodstuff.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            Whether pasties, pasta, flatbreads, or rice, every region had it’s particular way of turning dried product into peasant meals. Certainly, tortillas was a southwestern favorite.

            My first foray into the culinary world of my wife’s ancestors came at the hand of her grandmother, a small woman of the Quechan tribe, with a face that appeared to be a thousand years old, and the giggle of an 8 year old. One bite of an afternoon snack and I thought my face was going to melt off my skull which, of course, brought yet another giggle to her smiling face.

            I thought I was the brunt of some evil joke, until the rest of the family began chowing down on the same fare with not so much as a whimper. Not quite what they sell to tourists along the highway, and a far cry from Mom’s meatloaf and my Italian grandmother’s pasta fazool.

            I miss that old woman.

  5. rl crabb says:

    Oh, and by the way, before any of you out there start with the snarky comments, let it be known that you will be deleted unless you have something relevant to add to the discussion. I’ll do the “entertaining” around here.

  6. Steve Frisch says:

    Bob, I understand your on-going feud with Jeff, but this is an incredibly unfair accusation, and one that is unsupported by the facts. Jeff Pelline has never called for a boycott on any individual business.

    On several occasions on Jeff’s blog he and other posters there, myself included, have spoken out against the idea of boycotting individual businesses because of their politics. Just because another poster said they would not eat at a particular restaurant is not cause to fling mud like this.

    You are actually engaging in the very behavior that you are charging Jeff with.

    I think that Michael has correctly pointed out above that Jeff (and Shannon) have probably done as much or more than any other entity to drive business to our local community.

    I also find it offensive that you continue to use ridicule to portray Jeff, as evidenced by your serial portrayal of him as Cartman, and fail to step in and stop other people from using ridicule. Do we really think it is OK to ridicule people as a means of making our points?

    These blogs could be a force for good; at times heated, yes, but still enabling a respectful and useful discussion of community issues. Instead they are a place where people are regularly threatened and ridiculed.

    I stopped posting on Rebane’s site because one of the regular posters was threatening to go to my employers and complain about my comments. So much for differentiating between personal and professional speech. The same poster attempted to intimidate Michael by pointing people to his business site and interfered in his business by claiming he was going to eliminate his employees health insurance.

    Re: The Union and the “Tea Party Gazette” label, do you deny that The Union editorial policy and and coverage took a decided turn to the hyper-conservative under the leadership of Jeff Ackerman? Jeff Pelline’s portrayal of them as the TPG reflects a broader view in the community that The Union was and continues to be out of step with the mind set of the community. The Union has every right to be out of step, but the community, Jeff Pelline included, has every right to point that out. If you think of Mr. Pelline as a ‘skilled propagandist’ and critique his use of his skill to forward an agenda, how can you be blind to the idea that Mr. Ackerman was also a ‘skilled propagandist’, and fail to recognize that The Union continues to struggle to reclaim its impartiality and role as a reflection of the broader community? I read and subscribe on-line to The Union. I recognize a bias, whether from the left or the right, when I see it, and like most I compensate for it. But to deny a bias simply stretches credibility to me.

    Jeff pointing out that bias narratively is his art, like your art is pointing out the failings (and glories) of our greater society (and at times community) through cartooning. How is his editorial freedom any different than yours?

    I love your art and think it often highlights important ideas. Like Michael I think you have done a pretty good job moderating the insanity on your blog. But the value of your art is diminished when you engage in this sort of character assassination, especially when it is demonstrably false.

    Critique Jeff for his ideas: not for his physical characteristics or by not being truthful about his positions.

    • Chris Peterson says:

      Wow. For a bunch of professional writers, I’m amazed at your ability to actually comprehend a written statement, ie.:

      ” Some of his more militant followers are vowing to boycott anything associated with the name of one prominent poltergeist.”

      Where is Bob’s accusation against Mr. Pelline in that sentence?

    • rl crabb says:

      Steve, as long as the there is a “Tea Party Gazette” there will be a Scoop Cartman. What goes around comes around. I’ve been in this biz for a long time too, and I know how bias works. I see a blog that professes to be independent and continually sticks it to the right while ignoring the excesses of the left. And don’t give me that “reality has a liberal bias” crapola. I’ve also worked around Democratic politics long enough to recognize donkey dung when I smell it.

      • Steve Frisch says:

        Well, besides the point that in my opinion reality does have a ‘liberal’ bias, especially since the advent of the Enlightenment, my objection is to the implication that Jeff is supporting or encouraging boycotts, not to the contention that he is not impartial. Critiquing his bias is fair game, and actually should be encouraged, that is how we vet ideas.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          “reality does have a ‘liberal’ bias, especially since the advent of the Enlightenment”

          Current left-liberal ‘progressive’ politics has as about as much to do with the Enlightenment as s**t has to do with shinola.

          A good case can be made that the progression of global warming-biased climate science (the subject over which I picked up animosity from the likes of Frisch, MAnderson, Keach and even Pelline) is a near repudiation of the scientific method that was one of the main gifts of the Enlightenment. For example, how has climate science progressed in the #1 figure of merit, the response of the climate to a doubling of CO2? The scary rough guess in 1979 was about 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius. After on the order of $100 billion worldwide spent over 34 years on the science of global warming, the range of possibilities according to the IPCC is (drum roll)… from 1.5 to 4.5C.

          This is perhaps the only scientific question that has had that many billion$ thrown at it without any narrowing down of the “consensus” besides bringing up the lower bound from 1.5 to 2C in the AR4 only to be forced to bring it down to 1.5 again in AR5 due to a conflict with reality that couldn’t be swept under the rug.

          No, I didn’t get that from Rebane, he got it from me. Physicists like Nir Shaviv have derived answers more on the order of 1.2C (no feedbacks at all) give or take about 0.3 degree. Some have it even lower.

          The IPCC process is essentially Aristotelian Science. The experts know the answer, the rabble need only repeat it.

          The warming of the latter 20th century was very real, just dominated by natural factors unrelated to CO2.

          • Michael Anderson says:

            Greg , nowhere in the previous 37 comments did I read anyone mention global warming or climate change, but for some reason you always need to somehow squeeze that into the conversation.

            And you also continue to mis-characterize my current personal thoughts and opinions on AGW, but that’s OK because I know you need to keep a going-on 5-yrs.-old tiff alive in order to continue the serotonin squirts.

            Anyway, Bob’s original post was about online behavior, so let’s just stick to the subject this time. Russ has a very nice blog that is about nothing else but AWG if that is what you’d like to talk about.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Actually Michael, no where in the previous comment string did anyone mention Greg Goodknight. I intentionally did not personalize my comments. As far as I am concerned anyone else who cannot stick to the point of the post and engage in a meaningful discussion will never earn a response.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            MA, until Frisch piped up, no one here wrapped their politics in the cloak of The Enlightenment, either, and since Frisch has been such a warrior for Climate Change, that was fair game.

            Sorry to burst your bubble, but that was aimed at Frisch, not you.

            Frisch, both you and manderson made identifying comments that could only have been referring to me; it’s more than a little disingenuous to claim you weren’t “personalizing” your comments while whitewashing your own ugly and defamatory antics on the other blog.

          • rl crabb says:

            Okay, let’s nip this one in the bud. I don’t give a flying fuck about your ongoing feud, and no one else does either. If you want to do a Hatfield/McCoy redux, start your own blog.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Thanks Bob…Michael, here is my plan, I never respond to Greg again and he will go away, because it will fail to satisfy. I invite you to join me.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            Well, even though I definitely have my differences with Greg, this site would be the lesser for his leaving and I strongly wish him NOT to go away. He may be completely off base, politically speaking, (lol), but I find his comments intelligent and interesting.

            No, we can’t all “just get along”, but we can have civil disagreements. File the rest for in-person attitude adjustments.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Chris, I was not suggesting he go away from the site, I was suggesting that if Michael and I never responded to him here or on any of the other blogs he would quickly tire of the feud.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            And Steve,
            I wasn’t suggesting that you suggested it. And that is the crux of the matter; that on a blog, or anywhere we communicate without the aid of voice inflection and optical observance, there will be misunderstandings in meaning. Such is the inherent weakness of the written word. (Or in the case of a great novel, the strength.)
            It’s why I always smile when some guy says he figured out what hieroglyphics say and what was meant by those writing them..

          • Chris Peterson says:

            You did say, if you didn’t respond to him, “he will go away”, not the subject will be dropped. Big diff.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Chris, you are correct, I said ‘he will go away’ and that was vague.

            What I like about you is that you assume language is a dangerously imprecise tool if not carefully wielded and err on giving people the benefit of the doubt. That is an admirable characteristic.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Nipping it in the bud would have been earlier; that bud had already gone to seed. Checking, the FUE made a comment in his own sandbox:

            “RL has been doing his best this week to keep the tea people on “unequal footing” in our community, so he can stay relevant. He created a fued [sic]on his blog, starting with a post that was a lie to begin with, and they when it got out of control he resorted to “f-word” to stop it. Unbelievable.”

            Unbelievable indeed, since it was Pelline’s buddy driving the “fued” which wasn’t started by RL lying as Jeff claimed.

            Most one dimensional political representations are a line from Left to Right. Jeff’s is labeled from Moderate to Far Right. Even Frisch did this here, with a suggestion the former Union publisher Ackerman was “hyper-conservative”, whatever that means. Pure Alinsky, but then Alinsky just was a summary manual of effective rhetoric, which, you might recall, was Pelline’s major at Cal.

          • rlcrabb says:

            If I’m a liar Scoopy is a double-dog liar, so there. Perhaps you’d have to have worked around him for awhile to see it. He never mentions that The Union was a great paper when he was there, or that he was a proponent of paywalls in one of his early posts. He also never mentions that it was he that cast the first stone in this pissing match with the paper. According to the prestigious rlcrabb poll, which amounts to me walking around town and having people tell me what is wrong with The Union, Scoopy was even more unpopular than Ackerman when he was sitting in the editor’s chair.
            And I never told him to go fuck himself. If you’ll notice, that was posted in an unrelated article, when I was talking about someone else. See how easily he twists words?

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            RL, to steal some of the immortal words of Dr. McCoy in the Friday’s Child episode dismissing the testimony of some Klingon, “What the FUE has said is unimportant, and we do not hear his words.”

      • Steve Frisch says:

        By the way, since you have been in this business a long time and recognize bias when you see it, would you agree that The Union had a conservative bias under Jeff Ackerman’s leadership? Would you agree that building community credibility and expanding readership to include a broader range of community support (whether due to past bias or challenges from the disruptive influence of technology in the media) is one of the challenges facing The Union in the post Ackerman era?

        • rl crabb says:

          Every print newspaper in the world is struggling these days. That’s obvious. And as you mentioned, Jeff Ackerman is no longer at the helm. Rebane no longer has his bi-weekly column. So just who is this invisible hand of the Tea Party skewing the news? I’m sure you must have noticed the comments on the right hand side of local bloggery have expressed dismay over an editorial criticizing the recent government shutdown, and The Union’s articles that talk about global warming in a favorable light. Hardly the kind of propaganda you’d see from the Tea People.
          Back when I was working for rival papers in NC, I used to flog The Union on a regular basis. That’s because they were most definitely biased during the seventies and eighties. The current management doesn’t even come close.
          I see a good deal of support for SYRCL, The Center For The Arts, Utah’s Place, and any other worthwhile effort to make this a better place to live.
          And I see Scoop has chimed in with another “implied slam” on the paper for running a story about someone threatening someone with a chainsaw. Yeah, ignore the zombies. Bury it behind the classifieds.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      “I stopped posting on Rebane’s site because one of the regular posters was threatening to go to my employers and complain about my comments. So much for differentiating between personal and professional speech. The same poster attempted to intimidate Michael by pointing people to his business site and interfered in his business by claiming he was going to eliminate his employees health insurance. ”

      Let’s be clear, here, Steve. You and Michael were both way over the personal line with wildly false claims about me (some of it involving Haldol) before I asked you for contact info for your board (which you failed to provide even after I wrote you as you reqested). I suppose you thought it was funny until I raised the ante.

      And, for the record, I never claimed MA was going to eliminate his employee’s health insurance, nor did I point to his web site. Frisch, your reputation for accuracy and “truthiness” is intact.

      • Michael Anderson says:

        Greg wrote: “And, for the record, I never claimed MA was going to eliminate his employee’s health insurance, nor did I point to his web site.”

        In RR, alluded to my website. And you didn’t claim that I was going to eliminate benefits but you did ask me if I was going to dump my employees into the exchange. Sort of like asking me if I was going to stop kicking kindergartners any time soon.

        I ignored the question since I don’t play whack-a-mole with pushers of rhetoric or logical fallacy.

  7. Steve Frisch says:

    Chris I respectfully disagree that the crux of Bob’s post did not accuse Jeff of either directly calling for or at a minimum empowering and encouraging others to call for boycotts of local businesses. This is confirmed by Bob’s post at 5:12 am

    “Of course, he would say he is only passing on public information. It’s not his fault if the villagers burn down the castle, hoping to purge the boogieman.”

    It is further confirmed by Bob’s post about The Union:

    “There is no need for a skilled propagandist to push an agenda without overtly telling people what to think or act upon.”

    The main point I am making is that Bob is engaging in the very form of innuendo that he is claiming Mr. Pelline is, and thus the charge itself is inherently hypocritical.

    • Steve Frisch says:

      By the way Chris, my question at 4:49 am was intended to give Bob the chance to clarify his position. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. He clarified it.

    • Chris Peterson says:

      Who among us is not a propagandist, to one degree or another? Mr. Pelline is no more responsible for the actions of his radical “followers” than Bob is of his, but both are fully aware of the power they yield. Are Mr. Pelline’s comments beyond reproach? Can a person who’s function is to lampoon others’ opinions not do so for certain individuals? Is there some unspoken rule among professionals that they cannot make light of another’s writings? And were not Mr. Pelline’s comments of a nature that could be seen as a call-to-arms by some of his more ardent followers?

      Along your lines of a claim to impartiality, it seems that you need to allow each to express himself in his particular manner, and not give one license to comment without artistic rebuttal of the other, whatever form that may take. Even at this moment, some radical follower of your own may be calling for a buycott of all things having to do with RLCrabb.

      • Steve Frisch says:

        I certainly agree with you that we are each propagandists to one degree or another. I make no claim of impartiality. I am pointing out precisely the same thing you are, that one needs to, “allow each to express himself in his particular manner, and not give one license to comment without artistic rebuttal of the other, whatever form that may take.”

        I do not seek to deny Bob his thought, or expression, or seek to inhibit his artistic rebuttal, I am merely disagreeing with his conclusions and pointing out where I believe it is inaccurate and unfair. Readers like us make the final determination.

        • rl crabb says:

          By the way, Steve, I also notice that Jeff holds up Moonshine Ink as a model The Union should follow. It’s a nice publication that reflects the demographics of your area, although I detect quite a bit of class warfare in the comments. Lots of references to the hated rich and their “gas-guzzling SUV’s and BMW’s”. In the land of ice and snow, what exactly are the peasants driving? It must be particularly galling to live in McClintock Country.
          The demographics of us downslopers is decidedly different. Many more retirees who tend to fall into the conservative category. Yes, Jeff is correct that it is changing, but any newspaper that did not reflect that end of the market would have even more trouble attracting subscribers. It’s a tough fence to straddle, and someone will always be offended by the way the paper covers the news.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Bob, I like Moonshine Ink, but I agree with you that it has a slant, and I think that at times some of its articles are poorly researched.

            I think what Jeff is pointing to is Moonshine Ink’s business model, which is more geared toward a combination of print and on-line publication and a wider variety of advertising which tends to diminish the influence of single sectors of the economy on its editorial content, and its record of community outreach, which is very strong. Amongst other things Moonshine Ink has made an on-going commitment to outreach in the Latino community, which tends to engage our often newest and least empowered residents to be a fuller part of the community.

            I think residents are less concerned with the gas guzzling SUV’s than they are the attitudes of the visitors driving same. I find the whole “us” versus “them” mindset to be a distraction. No American has exclusive rights in their community. Our mobility is a fact of life, and rights don’t end magically some where on I-80.

            The official car of the mountains is the Subaru Outback, which does not exactly get good gas mileage to begin with. The whole SUV issue is really a red herring in my opinion. I drive a 11 year old Honda hybrid and a Versa, which is a company car, and only need to chain up about 3 times a year.

            Yes, it is galling to many in Truckee to represented by Congressman McClintock, particularly when he seems most outspoken on national policy and less engaged on locally relevant policy, like infrastructure, transportation, and a realistic approach to federal land management policy, but I think most residents are much like me, they recognize that Mr. McClintock has one of the largest geographical districts in the state, and he represents a broad range of constituents.

            I have been particularly outspoken about the differences demographically and socio-economically between Truckee and the western county, as evidenced by recent posts at both Mr. Pelline’s and Mr. Steele’s blogs.

            Finally, I agree a community newspaper has to represent a broad range of community values to be relevant, but in the case of The Union it seems to always be a little behind the times as far as who the community actually is. I believe that Mr. Ackerman contributed to a mind set that held The Union back by too transparently aligning with one segment of the community. In a rough and tumble media world this seems to be a recipe for stasis or shrinkage, not growth.

          • rl crabb says:

            Actually, I see the community itself struggling with a vision of its future, but that’s another topic for another post.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Well I think you are dead on correct about that one!

  8. PeteK says:

    Boycotting a business because of ones politics is just buffoonery. I have many friends that belong to all the different parties. Some I can talk “politics” and others I know to steer clear because our views are so different. They are no less my friend, we take our own views to the ballot box and deal what is dealt. Some of the blogs just get too personal and just damn right nasty when an opposing view is expressed. Its just bad karma all around in a small town if your going to blast someone because of their political beliefs…comes back to bite you in the ass.

    • PeteK says:

      I meant “boycott” not “blast”
      (I had to take off my shoes to tally up the last security question)

    • Steve Frisch says:

      Pete, a business I once owned was the subject of an organized boycott in the mid 1990’s. I heard about it from friends and just grinned and bore it until the community issue people were exorcised about was over. Ironically over the years I have worked with several of the same people that boycotted my business on other issues, and have grown both fond of and friendly with many of them. In a small town the person you boycott or ostracize may be the person who looks out for your kid when they are stranded, saves you house from a fire, or raises money for a good cause when someone is down on their luck. Life is too short and people ate too important to be captured by what you accurately describe as ‘buffoonery’.

  9. San French says:

    Lots of prickly hairs here today. Halloween’s the perfect time for it. Let the hairs rise up and wiggle on!
    Speaking of slinging mud and raising hairs; back in the 80’s there was a local business man who owned a popular hot spot in NC. Word had it that the mud was thick and quite hot about him, his establishment et al. He decided to even the score by papering the town(s) ~ literally… with an incredibly vitriolic diatribe naming names and deeds of those in high..and low..places. I believe he skipped town shortly thereafter. I guess that’s how they did it before the internet!
    I say do what you will but do no harm. Happy Halloween everyone.

    • Chris Peterson says:


      We are all propagandists to one dgree or another, and all of us individually “boycott” businesses everyday. I boycotted the local Taco Bell yesterday because I had just ate there the day before. I inadvertantly started a larger buycott by mentioning to my co-worker that I was going to another place for lunch instead. That person said, “Yeah, you’re right, let’s go somewhere else.” Viola! Instant mini-boycott.

      On the other hand, someone who actually organizes such an action, whether by statement or innuendo, to do harm to another for political, or any other reason, is being a thug activist. The people who own a particular operation may, or may not, be despicable but, those who work there are the one’s harmed. (Personal experience.) Personal choice is one thing; organized boycotts are another, the scope of which those calling for such actions seldom have the brainpower to think through.

      Happy Ghouling, my friend.

      • San French says:

        Chris~ Couldn’t agree with you more. I can’t recall ever intentionally boycotting any local business. Doing it with malice is just wrong. I’m just not that political..or mean, by nature. I just go where they have stuff I like and need. SPD … ’nuff said.
        The situation I made reference to above was fueled by malice, ignorance and drugs… a bad combo all the way around. And yes, innocents were indeed harmed.
        Over the years, seeing people behaving badly has taught me how NOT to be. Tally Ho!

  10. Greg Goodknight says:

    RL, I’m sure there is a glossy local advertiser, otherwise devoid of content, that will point out a supplier of local organic anti-zombie garlic in a tasteful gift basket for the holiday giving season.

    On the second day of working for a local mom and pop company that was desperate to get a project working and out the door (multiple embedded processor hardware had been designed and two separate failed software projects to get it going came and went before me), my boss Jim, the owner, came into my office just to tell me a little story. He had in the not too distant past walked into a local shop that he specifically named (hardware or auto parts, I don’t remember which) and KNCO was playing in the background as a couple of employees were working. It was the morning, and Rush Limbaugh was on.

    As a result, he would never again go into that store. Jim wouldn’t actually tell me to never listen to Limbaugh but the message was clear. He walked back out after the story was over, there was no other point to the visit.

    That little company has had a significant turnover in engineering.

    • Chris Peterson says:

      As with any company, it takes a while to get the best working for you.

      And as someone who has been in charge of up to 250 workers of insanely diverse backgrounds, I can tell you that, as long as you don’t cause friction in the workplace, and do your job well, it don’t make a tinkers damn what your personal demons are to me.

      On the other hand, if I walk into a place of public business, and they’re playing Rush rather than Pandora or Musac, it’s a statement that lingers when planning my next trip into town. Catering to a specific crowd is Business 101 stupid.

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        Nice zinger, CP. That company has been around for many years, and the engineering staff, besides the founder, was zero after the last two left when I walked in the door. Last I saw they were again advertising for the same position. Imagine that.

      • Chris Peterson says:

        And I realize that playing KNCO, your local station, is not necessarily a political statement, but a lot of money is spent on studying colors, sounds, lighting, etc., when opening a business that caters to the public. Not controlling that content can have a negative effect. Your work environment was obviously not under such pressure; at least not for any business reasons.

        Hey, maybe the guy just wanted to chat, and you took it the wrong way. Some of us do that, you know.

        • Chris Peterson says:

          And there’s got to be other reasons for your leaving. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say, “I had to quit. The guy was a freakin’ liberal.”

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          No, it wasn’t a chat, and I took it exactly the way he wanted.

          Lectures by the boss on politics were not rare.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            Then good on you. That would suck, and something no one should have to put up with.

            I currently have a VP who constantly emails me the latest political attacks of a conservative nature. I don’t care a bit what his views are, but the workplace is the last place for that sort of thing. I told him he should tone it down, (he’s a friend, and it’s not like I’d be hurting if he got mad). He’s setting himself up for a lawsuit and putting everyone’s security on the line for stupid crap, not to mention creating an atmosphere that allows such things on lower levels. He’s an otherwise smart guy; he just can’t let it go.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            Those emails go to everyone below him, by the way; not just me. Just plain dumb.

  11. Steve Frisch says:

    The question Bob offhandedly posed above, does “reality has [have] a liberal bias”, is a pretty good question.

    My off the cuff answer was “yes, reality has a liberal bias.” By that I meant that reality, that is defined as ‘the state of things as they actually are’, has a liberal bias in the modern world.

    I have to say I hope that is still true, because it is often difficult to place contemporary history in the same quality of context that we can place recent history, say in the last 50 years, or even the history of the world in the last 350 years.

    To understand that we first must define ‘liberal’; for that I prefer the definition in my dictionary, “open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.”

    Or one could take the definition from Merriam-Webster of Liberalism as a political philosophy:

    “A political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties; specifically: such a philosophy that considers government as a crucial instrument for amelioration of social inequities (as those involving race, gender, or class)”

    Or one could take the definition of “Liberalism” from Wikipedia:

    “Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas such as free and fair elections, civil rights, and freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free trade, and private property.

    Liberalism first became a distinct political movement during the Age of Enlightenment, when it became popular among philosophers and economists in the Western world. Liberalism rejected the notions, common at the time, of hereditary privilege, state religion, absolute monarchy, and the Divine Right of Kings. The 17th-century philosopher John Locke is often credited with founding liberalism as a distinct philosophical tradition. Locke argued that each man has a natural right to life, liberty and property and according to the social contract; governments must not violate these rights. Liberals opposed traditional conservatism and sought to replace absolutism in government with representative democracy and the rule of law.”

    I think there is little doubt to most people that the history of the world in the last 300 years has been a movement toward more openness to new behaviors and opinions, a tendency to discard traditional values, greater freedom of the press, more free and fair elections, more freedom of religion, more free trade, and greater property rights, both domestically and more clearly internationally.

    That is not to say that there are not threats to a free press, religion [or lack thereof], free elections, trade, and private property, or resistance to discarding traditional values; some would prefer to hold on to traditional values, but I doubt they would hew to the values of before the Enlightenment, and threats exist to the other rights mentioned, that is why we must remain vigilant to protect those rights.

    Many people fear that modern history has seen a restriction on these freedoms, but I would posit that if they put these freedoms in their historical context, we would see we actually have more rights today than we did 50 years ago. If we looked globally we would see a dramatic and rapid expansion of these rights.

    I would tend to agree that I fear the contemporary era has seen a ‘backslide’ in the march of liberalism as a political philosophy, a potential for a return to traditional social institutions, particularly in the USA: the NSA’s behavior, campaign finance rulings, the decline of confidence in science, the propensity to define property rights narrowly to favor only one owner of property, political correctness, the decline of civility, all are signs that we may have turned a corner back toward ‘traditional’. But the jury is out on whether that is a historical trend or merely our own perception of our times.

    So, if reality is the state of things as they really are, and liberal is openness to new ideas, then ‘reality has a liberal bias’.

    • rl crabb says:

      I’m with you all the way on civil liberties, Steve, and I think my views on that have been strewn all over this blog from day one. My beefs with our present liberal (or progressive if that’s what you prefer) government is its attempts to limit individual liberty, and the ability of local governments to operate efficiently in the best interests of their respective districts. It doesn’t help that when we complain about this mandate or that, they treat us like welfare cases that should be grateful for their generosity and enlightened legislation. Of course there need to be federal and state standards, but one size don’t fit all. I’m sure you’ve run into that in your dealings with Sacramento, etc.
      I’m also concerned about the amount of money that is being squeezed out of taxpayers’ and consumers’ pockets. It may not affect the top 10%, but it does constrict spending by us peasants. How many small businesses are willing to sink their money into expanding when they don’t know from month to month what it’s going to cost them?
      Jobs are preferable to government handouts, and after five years you’d think the economy would be recovered more than it has. Blaming it on Bush won’t work forever. I’ve said it many times before: When everyone is dependent on the government, everyone votes for the government. That will only work until the well runs dry. The Dems had plenty of opportunities to right many of these wrongs before they lost their airtight majority in 2010 and chose to rest on their Obamacare laurels. If that doesn’t get fixed by November of 2014, they are going to be in big trouble.
      And I see that Scoopy is whackin’ at me again over on his side of the tracks. I haven’t gone away, dude. I said what I wanted to say and am happy to give it a rest until you start fibbin’ again. Shouldn’t take too long.

    • Chris Peterson says:


      I find your conclusion at cross purposes with your argument.

      You state that, of late, we have taken a step back from our forward march into liberal thinking, (which IS the reality), then you state that reality has a liberal bias. If reality is, to you, defined as things as they are right now and, according to your argument, it is a reality that conservatism is on the rise, then how can reality have a liberal bias? Are you parsing by percentages, or taking the last few hundred years as an overall movement and discounting today’s reality as an anomaly?

      I happen to agree with all of your statements relating to the time period from the Enlightenment on, but you are also absolutely correct that there is a conservative backlash afoot; those who, for whatever reason, (usually through dictation), pine for the “good ol’ days”. But to state categorically that reality has a liberal bias seems to me as a statement of personal outlook rather than the complex social movement we experience on a daily basis.

      I would rather that you were correct in your observation, but such is, sadly, not the case, otherwise; we would all be swept along by such a strong and well-tested movement. I would even argue that many, nay most, of our government figures who claim to be liberal are anything but. Greed trumps politics.

      And Bob,
      We are, at least, headed in the right direction, as far as the deficit, (50% smaller than when O took office), and jobs, (more than the last administration), albeit at a snail’s pace compared to where we were. Free trade has wiped out those jobs we once depended on, and they ain’t coming back anytime soon.

      • rl crabb says:

        Ah yes, free trade, a gift from both parties that keeps on taking. Ross Perot had that one right, at least. Still, I would posit that there would be SOME relief from these doldrums if there was more certainty from the govmint. Here in Sunny California the voters okayed more income taxes on the wealthy to plug the leaks. Most municipalities have raised their sales tax, which hits everyone. The legislators here introduce dozens of new bills every session that would tax your property or your car or your soda pop or your parking tickets, etc. etc. etc. You never know until they hit Jerry’s desk whether or not the beast is coming to bite you.
        And deficits, as I’m sure you know, are different than debt.

        • Chris Peterson says:

          Deficits and debt are indeed different, but insofar as Obama, and a republican House, is concerned, the cut in the deficit is their doing. The debt is where it is because we continue to fight against the economic forces put into play by past administrations. I really don’t think Oman had much choice when it came to the debt; it was either going to be a mass influx of cash, or depression on a worldwide scale. We have, in fact, saved the world from at least a decade of economic ruin by our actions. (So far)
          With derivatives now completely off the scale from what caused this debacle in the first place, and Congress passing legislation yesterday, in a bi-partisan vote, that removes ALL of the restrictions we had put into place to prevent it ever happening again, the other shoe could fall at any time. And next time, the good ol’ American taxpayers won’t have anything left in the kitty to rescue everyone’s ass.
          The GDP of the whole world is only like $35 trillion, and the derivatives are somewhere around $700 trillion. Once again, it’s all just voodoo paper; no hard goods to back it, and as of yesterday, our savings accounts are back in the mix.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          RL, much of recent state tax increases went to backfill public employee pension funds, but those and other unfunded liabilities still promise to swamp state finances eventually.

          The leaks haven’t been plugged, just some water pumped from the bilge to help keep the ship of state afloat for another few years.

    • Steve Frisch says:

      Well, I am with you Bob on the current administrations acceptance of limits to individual liberty especially when it comes to the NSA surveillance issues and the Patriot Act. I am particularly concerned about the point that key administration officials seem to have not known about the lengths to which the NSA was engaged in surveillance. But I am under no illusion that this level of surveillance started under the current administration nor that it was not countenanced by national security leadership across multiple administrations of diverse political persuasions. So I am with you on this one and a pox on both their houses. We have allowed fear of harm to limit our individual liberty and that needs to be reversed.

      When we speak of ‘individual liberty’ though we are talking about more than just our 4th amendment rights or our right to privacy; we are also talking about our other civil rights, such as freedom of thought and conscience, speech and expression, press and assembly, religion, to exercise our franchise, the right to equal protection, and rights to be free from discrimination based on sex, race, creed, color, national origin, etc.

      I would posit that no American administration regardless of political philosophy has an unblemished record in these areas, but certain political philosophies value them more, and fight for them harder. A liberal political philosophy as defined above seeks to break ‘traditional’ barriers, and thus perpetuates a broader extension of civil rights than a conservative one.

      Thus we see that while the Obama administration is full of crap on national security they are advocates of a broader set of civil rights in other areas.

      Sure there are examples of abuses of power, like the purported IRS scandal, although I personally know of at least three ‘progressive’ organizations that were denied 501 c4 status while we have yet to find one Tea Party group that was actually denied that status. And I do not propose that those abuses not be day lighted.

      But if we look at the positions of most of the current conservative political philosophy in the US we see a tendency to try to limit the voting franchise, limit women’s rights particularly when it comes to health care, limit inclusion in our society through opposing immigration reform, limit representation by supporting gerrymandered political districts, limit citizenship by rewriting the 14th amendment, limit the franchise by seeking to repeal the 17th amendment granting direct election of Senators, limit freedom based on sexual orientation by opposing the recognition of same sex marriage.

      I want to be very careful to state that I am talking about liberal and conservative political philosophies and that does not necessarily equate to political parties.

      It is indeed true that ‘conservatives’ whether Democratic or Republican opposed the extension civil rights during the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, and liberals whether Republican or Democratic tended to support. Republican champions of liberalism in civil rights, like Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller and Everett Dirksen should be applauded. Of course, while we applaud them, we should also recognize that they would have almost no place in the current conservative party.

      • Barry Pruett says:

        As far as labels go, I think that liberal and conservative are both fundamentally flawed in the USA. The American conservative label indicates free markets but regulation of behavior while the American liberal label indicate regulated economies and no regulation of behavior. Freedom means freedom. The new conservative movement seeks both free markets and freedom of behavior…libertarianism. The Tea Party while portrayed as ultra-conservativism is in reality libertarian at heart. Most Tea Party supporters are libertarians at heart.

        • rl crabb says:

          If the Tea Party professes to be libertarian, they have a strange way of showing it in the candidates they choose in many of their primaries. It looks like your ultra-conservative candidate for Gov. is going to be whacked in Virginia next week, whereas the guy who was criticized for hugging Obama in New Jersey is headed for a huge victory. Something to consider for 2014 and beyond.
          The liberals, on the other hand, are regulating behavior on a scale that defies description. At some point it’s going to bite them in the ass.

          • Barry Pruett says:

            I agree. Libertarianism is really where most of the public is…my opinion. Balance a budget and leave people alone, but that does not appear to be true for all candidates or all people.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Many of the “tea party” persuasion have some classic liberal/libertarian in them, just not that much. In Virginia, the flawed Dem and the flawed Rep are both losing votes to the Libertarian gubermatorial candidate, but the GOP’s Cuccinelli is the bigger loser.

            If the GOP wants more libertarians in their camp they’ll have to move more to the social libertarian side, metaphorically splitting babies in different ways. For example, you can be “pro choice” while still being “pro life” by agreeing all but late pregnancy abortions are no one’s business but the woman’s, and that includes whose money is used to fund the procedure. You’ll have fewer Rebanes and Steeles fighting you if you don’t use their taxes to kill babies. And for 3rd trimester abortions, the ethics is essentially similar to that of separated conjoined twins; let medical practitioners handle it on a case by case basis.

        • Steve Frisch says:

          I actually think you are right that we have to be very careful about the labels. The definition of political philosophies and definition of political parties are fundamentally different things.

          I agree that the stated purpose of the Tea Parties are more libertarian, but I would ask why if they purport to support constitutionally limited government, lower taxes and deficits and free markets, they speak out so clearly, almost uniformly, and regularly on abortion, immigration and gay marriage?

          Although the original organizing principles of the Tea Parties may have been to avoid social issues as a means of building a movement on fiscal and governance issues, it has not worked out that way in reality.

          In my humble opinion the Tea Party stated avoidance of conservative social and religious factions within the Republican party, and its claim to be a decentralized movement, has been a fiction from the beginning, an attempt to avoid those issues in order to build constituency, but an ever present undercurrent that actually unifies its ‘membership’.

          • Barry Pruett says:

            Not surprisingly, I agree with you. Personally, I am very libertarian (aside from abortion) and I find myself gravitating more and more to the libertarian party. I am torn (and have been for a long time) between fixing the republican party and building the libertarian party.7

          • Steve Frisch says:

            We may one day find ourselves in the same libertarian party, albeit with radically different definitions of individual liberty.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Barry, I gave up on fixing what used to be the Anti-Federalist party on the California ballot, the Democrats, a number of years ago. We have a huge Federal government because we’ve had two dominant Federalist parties for the better part of the last century.

            As far as I can tell, Frisch doesn’t mind any infringment of liberty that a majority vote of a deliberately misinformed electorate might pass.

      • Barry Pruett says:

        Sorry for being a little off topic Bob. I do enjoy discussing these issues with Steve and Ben.

  12. Steve Frisch says:

    Chris: Entirely appropriate critique. But I think either you misunderstood my statement or I did not make it clear enough.

    There was a modifier: “But the jury is out on whether that is a historical trend or merely our own perception of our times.”

    Perhaps it was unfair of me to throw that moderator in.

    What I mean is that if one looks at the continuum liberalism is on the rise, say over 50 or 350 years, but SOME people think there is a ‘backslide’ occurring here.

    Once again I think we need to go back to the definition of liberalism and differentiate between the actual definition and how the term is used to label positions. I recognize that the labels people bear and the philosophies they espouse may not be the same thing.
    For example, I would agree with you that many identified as ‘liberals’ today are actually centrists or statists. I would even go so far as to state that I think President Obama is a predominantly a centrist/statist even though I agree with many of his initiatives.

    But while we are seeing what may be a retrenchment IN PORTIONS OF THE US we are also seeing liberalism expanding in other portions of the US and globally. More people have more access to civil liberties, freedom of religion, free speech, property rights and the rule of law today across the world than any other time in human history. Although we are fond of identifying the “1%”, and may recognize that in highly developed capitalist economies the gap between the rich and the poor may be growing, more wealth is shared more broadly across the world than any other time in modern history. In the US at the same time we are seeing political strife over issues like the size of government and tax policy, we are breaking down the barriers for sexual orientation, race, and gender.

    I do see the ‘conservatism’ of today as an anomaly. The reality is most of the ideas espoused by self identified American conservatives, and the more vocal Tea Party libertarian contingent; restriction on abortion and immigration, expansion of gun rights, elimination of the income tax, repeal of the 17th and restriction on the 14th amendment, etc. are almost exclusively outlier opinions, and don’t actually reflect the majority, or the way courts are interpreting the constitution. I think there has always been and there always will be a contingent that pines for the “good old days”, but that does not define where we are in reality.

    For me though the jury is still out. If anything history teaches us that we rarely see our times as they really are and must step back a few decades to see a larger reality.

    • Chris Peterson says:

      Well, from my perspective, we have definitely moved to the right in the last 30 odd years. Worldwide; I agree with your statements, in the US; not so much.

  13. Jeff Pelline says:

    There’s some revisionist history going on here: I supported you when The Union’s management considered eliminating your cartoon to save money during the recession. We had a discussion about that over lunch, as you know.
    In any case, you have let the comment stream get out of hand. I never called for a boycott of any local business. Please correct that.
    Many thanks,

    • rlcrabb says:

      Yes, you did support me back then, and you pushed through my short-lived daily version of “It Takes A Village Idiot”. When the economy tanked, you gave me a heads up when the axe fell. I thanked you for that, and I’ve mentioned it several times on your blog and this one. And as I pointed out to Steve, I never said you called for a boycott. It’s your comment stream that perpetuates these “outings”. You’ve pointed out businesses that support CABPRO in the past, and although you’ve never boycotted those places yourself, some of those who follow your blog stated in your comment stream that they weren’t going to pass through those doors again, Nevada City Eats being the latest example.
      My beef with you is the attitude you’ve taken since you left the employ of The Union. If you had an ounce of class, you would have let it go and moved on. Instead, you decided to attack the paper and Jeff A. relentlessly. You’ve provided a forum for the people on the left who hate the paper, and played it to the hilt. Then you whine about our divided community. Give me a break.
      There’s always room for improvement in a daily paper, especially in these changing times. It’s the first draft of history, and it is never perfect. We are fortunate to have Yubanet, KNCO, KVMR and a plethora of blogs and websites to cater to anyone’s tastes. You have chosen to speak to the left, even though you profess to be “in the middle”. That’s the real joke here. You get a lot of flak from the right wing blogs, mostly because of that stance. If there was any balance in your reporting, you might stunt some of that criticism.(There will always be some Dragon Turd that persists in polluting the discussion, but no one takes them seriously anyway.)
      As for me, well, satire is my business. As long as you persist in this personal jihad on your public forum, I will respond in kind.

      • Barry Pruett says:

        Bob: Jeff continually informs his readers which businesses donate to or support conservatives. It is a dog-whistle boycott. It is the readers responding to the dog-whistle, but clearly by Jeff blowing the whistle he is attempting to elicit behavior in a pathetic attempt to punish local business for their free speech. It is sad and there is no place for it in our small community.

        • Chris Peterson says:

          Overheard at a high school football game last Friday night:
          “Did you know that John Phillip Sousa was a socialist?”

          In all fairness; some dogs can hear the dog-whistle in a tuba recital.

        • Steve Frisch says:

          Hmmm, Barry, that is both public information, and to the typical resident of Nevada County who has their eyes open, relatively common knowledge. We see it when we see the political signs that go on peoples properties in election season or we see who sponsors local events. I hardly think Nevada County residents need Jeff to tell them who is a conservative. Our local conservatives seem quite vocal about that all by themselves.

          And there is an element of the pot calling the kettle black here. You disagreed with me on a public policy issue, Prop 23, and published links to and information from the tax returns for the organization I work for. You even implied that I might be engaged in activities that were not allowed under my tax status. If that was not an attempt at intimidation and attempt to discourage my free speech on a public policy issue based on the information included in public documents, I don’t know what is.

          But I have to just grin a bear that, although I do object to and attempt to correct the misrepresentations, because I work in a field where tax forms are public information.

          [By the way I have forgiven but not forgotten that, and appreciate our rapprochement because I think your posts often bring up very good points.]

          The fact remains, Jeff has not called for boycotts, and Bob’s comments came about as close as one could come to charging that he did without actually saying so, that there is not a dimes worth of difference between the two.

          • Barry Pruett says:

            I understand your point. My point in connection with Prop 23 was that political speech by 501c3 entities is limited…not yours individually. Jeff’s point is to limit individual political speech by attempting to harm for-profit business. The issues about which you and I are discussing are not apples and apples. There is a little nuance.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            I was not only clearly within my legal limits, my organization has spoken out in the past about a number of public policy issues, and we continue to do so. We write support letters on legislation, supported convening a state Constitutional Convention, support a state-wide focus on a new economic development policy, and support Sierra Nevada funding in a state water bond.

            I must also point out that posters on these blogs regularly conflate my opinion as an individual and the official position of the organization I work for in an attempt to limit my individual speech, and you have not spoken out against that. That is an attempt to harm my business, whether for profit or not for profit.

            You chose to pick an issue around which to comment on the activities of organization I work for, and don’t hold other nonprofit organizations, some of which you are involved with, to the same standard.

            I am willing to respectfully disagree about this issue, but that is the functional difference between a Fuji and Red Delicious apple.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            When Steven Frisch, CEO of the so-called Sierra Business Council, speaks out in favor of something like Prop 23 which would arguably do damage to SBC lines of business (including rent seeking carbon sequestration schemes), can he really be speaking only for himself?

            What is sauce for the chick-fil-A goose should be sauce for the SBC gander.

            Pick any CEO of any big company: were they to be publicly defaming people they don’t like on blogs large or small, they would be roasted by the public and their board.

      • rl crabb says:

        Now Scoopy is chastising the paper for not linking to Russ Steele’s Sierra Foothills Commentary blog, even though when Russ had a regular column in the paper the Scoopster complained about it endlessly. Typical.

      • Bob:

        The problem for you guys started when Pelline invited you to lunch and you chose a modest Chinese restaurant instead of an expensive joint where he could give his expense account a work out.

        I’m thinking of the local equivalent of Doro’s in San Francisco, where I had lunch with Herb Caen many years ago. He never mentioned his good friend Jeff Pelline.

        • Jeff Pelline says:

          I worked at The Chronicle for 12 years with Herb, parked next to his Jag for years, visited with him daily, walked the picket line with him, socialized with him in our neighborhood while listening to Peter Mintun, attended his funeral and have letters from him in our house, including a particularly sentimental one to me and my wife for our wedding. Do not belittle my friendship with Herb Caen to score points on your friend’s blog.

  14. Barry Pruett says:

    We went to Gavin Newsome’s winery in Napa last night, Awesome scenery and awesome wine…no caveats, Great wine.

  15. Steve Frisch says:

    While we are sharing our favorite Star Trek episodes I’ll share mine. It was the episode titled Day of the Dove. In Day of the Dove there exists a creature that appears as an energy field that feeds on fear, anger and hate. In the episode both Federation and Klingon crews are on the Enterprise. To perpetuate its existence the creature feeds information into the ships computer banks and plants ideas in the crews minds that lead to confrontation and violence. The more fear and anger the stronger the creature gets.

  16. Jeff Pelline says:

    During elections, my personal blog (which covers politics) routinely informs readers what conservatives and liberals donate to election campaigns, including Barry’s:

    In the Congressional race for district 7, it is interesting to see that locals were contributing and/or involved in a campaign out of their district. This included Barry, whose is a big political ally of McClintock candidate Igor Birman:

    The real issue is what Steve stated:
    In politics, madame, you need two things: friends, but above all an enemy.- Brian Mulroney

    We also have been to Odette Estate if that’s what you mean. He’s a newbie, but Stagg’s Leap has the best Cabernet wines. We have belonged to Stelzner’s wine club for years. You should try their malbec.

  17. Jeff Pelline says:

    For the record, I never called for a boycott of any local business.

  18. Barry Pruett says:

    He is also privately emailing me too. While Jeff has not actually called for a boycott of local businesses, it is my opinion that his selective reports to his readers about political contributions by local business and comments hereinabove have the effect of a dog-whistle which leads to people not visiting certain businesses. It is also my opinion that he intends to cause such effect, but that is only my opinion.

    • rl crabb says:

      I think I made it rather clear that I didn’t accuse him of calling for a boycott. This stuff goes back so far that I don’t have the time or energy to pick out any specific posts. I’ll just link to his site and let readers sift through his own words, and those in his comment stream. I won’t even get into the times he’s implied that I am a “racist enabler” or when he called me “phony”. And he seems to believe that he is somehow insulated from being caricatured, despite his very public presence.

      • Chris Peterson says:

        “despite his very public presence.”

        All of this taken into context by one who no longer lives in the area he grew up in, Pelline, et al, is a very small character in the grand scheme of things, and before this discussion, someone I had never even heard of. Of all the years I lived in the Nevada City/Grass Valley area, I don’t remember hearing his name even once, and I knew most of the folks in the community.

        He, and others, seems to me to be a self-acclaimed mover-and-shaker of incredibly limited scope. I seriously doubt that, even in my old community, much attention is paid to his opinion, much less his being a name on the lips of the average Nevada County resident. (I seriously doubt if he could successfully boycott a hot dog stand, if he so desired.)
        Perhaps that is the reason behind the loss of his position at the Union. Truth be told, I seldom ever read the Union in all the 30 some years I lived there. I never found it that relevant to my life. Back then, I preferred Dan O’Neil and Herb Caen.

        I’m here for the comments and artistry of RLCrabb. The rest of you are either icing on the cake, or a fly in the ointment, and Pelline is just a fruit fly in another room. (Nothing personal; I just don’t care.)

        • Chris Peterson says:

          I do remember when a very young Robert Crabb was featured in the Union because his bike, which he used for his paper route, had been stolen, and the community bought him a new one. (Page one with a picture, I believe.)
          I was somewhat amazed that the guy, who sat next to me in Mrs. Richard’s 6th grade class and drew an incredible Cyclops, made the paper.

        • Jeff Pelline says:

          I’ve never heard of you either. But I did work alongside Herb Caen for 12 years.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            I remember when Caen, who had connections to Nevada City, relayed in a column how a native born resident overheard two people remarking on how the area had grown so fast that they hardly knew anyone anymore. Amusingly, the native born person had no idea who either of them were.
            And I’m not the one who thinks he’s a larger-than-life community figure. (No pun intended.)

    • Barry Pruett says:

      I need to clarify this post, as I went back and read the subject posting on Jeff’s blog. I was not the “political contributions” post that was the problem, it was the pointing out that a local business supports conservative causes in a different post.

      The link is here.

      Pointing out the a local business supports CABPRO and a conservative speaker is what I found highly objectionable, not the selective reporting of political contributions. I accidently ran the two posts together.

      • Jeff Pelline says:

        Robinson Enterprises chooses to identify ITSELF with CABPRO in a very public way: by passing out the brochures at its “California Fresh Bistro” in Grass Valley, as the blog item pointed out. In fact, it’s right at the check out stand (which I probably should have noted as well).

        I happen to find that politically provocative, like when Flyers placed the huge John Doolittle campaign sign in front of the gas station on Brunswick.

        Talk about wearing your “politics on its sleeve.” But to each its own. Having said that, there can be unintended consequences. Duh!

        • Barry Pruett says:

          We like the restaurant reviews on your blog usually. The point made here by both me and Bob is that when doing a review of a local restaurant and mixing it with partisan politics including that the owners support conservative groups has an intended consequence. Hence the dog whistle analogy to which you protest so much. Why not focus the food reviews on that which is relevant…like food?

          • rl crabb says:

            That’s right, Barry. For someone who bemoans the politicization of the Constitution Day parade (or specifically, the Tea Party having a float), Jeff is good at pointing out only the politics of those he disagrees with. When was the last time he mentioned a restaurant that belongs to the Sierra Business Council? Perhaps his ideal eatery would be a restaurant where you could have your cake and eat it too.

  19. Petek says:

    I believe it was some of the posters on Jeff’s blog that called for a protest… not Jeff himself.

  20. Jeff Pelline says:

    Barry and Bob,
    Why don’t you just apologize for stepping in it royally from the get-go and call it a day? You know, “Man up.”
    First you made a false accusation that you later clarified (oh and it was complete with a cartoon that ridiculed my physical characteristics); then you conceded you “accidentally” confused the post about campaign contributions with one about a new cafe opening (“oh, my bad,” you say), and now it’s still my fault that Robinson Enterprises actively promotes CABPRO at its “California Fresh Bistro” in Grass Valley, has been the headquarters of CABPRO and has its name “Robinson Enterprises” on the front door of the new bistro (for a liquor license) — and all this public knowledge turns off some of its would-be customers. Imagine that. I’m not the one mixing a business with politics. That’s not a “dog whistle”; it’s a megaphone (from the business).
    Despite all this, I still buy gas at Robinson Enterprises, I eat at the new cafe, and I ended my post with: “Good luck with the venture! And thanks to Owner Lowell Robinson for all you do in our community.”

    • rlcrabb says:

      Down Fido. I never said anywhere, from the very beginning, that you called for a boycott. Then I said it a few more times in case it didn’t sink in. It’s my opinion, by my reading of your blog, that you are leaning to the left end of field. Nothing wrong with that, except that you won’t cop to it. You know, transparency. Anyone can read your posts and decide for themselves whether that’s true or not. And to be perfectly clear, everything I say here is my opinion alone. I am not speaking for the editorial board or the management of The Union.
      Now, as for my caricature. This is known as satire, the same kind of satire you condone on your blog when The Union is referred to as The Tea Party Gazette. I like it. It’s funny, but you’d be hard pressed to prove it’s true. I see no evidence that the newspaper is aligned with any political organization. So it’s a rural myth, in my opinion, that you see fit to perpetuate. My caricature of Scoop Cartman is satire also. You’ve put yourself in the public sphere, and that means the same rules apply to you. If you feel it portrays you in a negative light, then consider those you’ve chosen to ridicule. Nobody likes it. If you feel there is a South Park character that better reflects your stature, I’m all ears.

      • Judith Lowry says:

        You are wrong Bob. Your caricature of Jeff is an ad hominem attack and a hatchet job beneath your talents.
        Jeff has never negatively commented on your appearance that I can remember.
        Disagree with him all you want, but let’s keep it above the belt, okay?

        Both you and Jeff serve a valuable function in this town.
        As our old friend Jubal Harshaw believed, gadflies are utterly essential.
        Keep up the good work.
        And peace, gentlemen, please.

    • Barry Pruett says:

      Blaming the owner of a local business for you behavior in pointing out political action by the owner in a food review article instead of taking personal responsibility? That is rich. This behavior of yours is nothing new. KVMR and Rebane. KNCO and Limbaugh. The Union and any conservative. “No agenda here.” Ok Cartman…we believe you!

  21. Jeff Pelline says:


    Let’s be clear here: You wrote a blog post about me that contained a false accusation. Otherwise, I would have never come to your blog to respond. I do not comment on your blog, or the local political blogs — stopped that a long time ago.

    In the end, I appreciate that you clarified it. You also got some good advice in this email thread: It’s more constructive to criticize people for their ideas, not their physical appearance.

  22. Chris Peterson says:

    Who the hell is this guy?

    He says, “Let’s be clear”, then makes a false observation. Then he says good advice was given on physical appearance, and none exists.

    Mr. Pelline; you need to reread your own post on your own site. You DID make a political observation in a restaurant review. Some of your readers DID state that they won’t go there for that reason. Bob DID explain that clearly, ad nauseam. And whether or not your reflection in the mirror resembles Bob’s caricature of you has not been a topic of this debate, except in your own mind. (I think you need to come to grips with how ANYONE would draw you.)

    At any rate; any press is good press, as they say. You’ve gotten exposure through Bob’s site that you would never have gotten otherwise. As I said previously, I had no idea you even existed before this site lampooned you for your own actions.

    Please return your seat to it’s slanted and obscure position.

  23. Jeff Pelline says:

    You are wearing your own highly conservative political agenda on your sleeve. It is always “rich” to watch you in action.
    You also are not a very careful reader (nor is Chris): This is not a “restaurant review:; it is an article about a new business in town on my personal blog. Go back and read it. I hadn’t even eaten there when I posted this. You “accidentally” confused the issue — again — but I think you do it on purpose.
    Like Barry, the politics of Robinson Enterprises’ owner is an open secret: It hands out CABPRO literature at its “bistro” in Grass Valley, its headquarters has been home to CABPRO’s office. It donates money to candidates that Barry openly supports (including Igor Birman).
    That offends some people, just like it offends some people to see the CABPRO literature at B&C Hardware. And just like it offends some people to see Doolittle signs at the Flyers gas station.
    To each his own, but it’s a risky decision for any business. But don’t take my word for it: If Anthony Melchiorri (of Hotel Impossible) were to review a bistro, however, I am certain he would tell him to put away the political literature.
    Nonetheless I wrote: “Good luck with the venture! And thanks to Owner Lowell Robinson for all you do in our community.” And I eat there, and I buy gas at Lowell’s gas station.
    As for Bob and Barry, they made false accusations, and I’m glad they clarified them.

    • Barry Pruett says:

      Imagine a real journalist…like Matt Renda at The Union…publishing that a new restaurant is opening in town and oh by the way they support CABPRO. The Union (real journalism) would never do that. That is the issue. But you are never wrong. Hopefully this blowback with make you think twice…but that presuppose that you thought once.

  24. Steve Frisch says:

    Seriously, can’t all of you guys just let this nonsense go? It’s been almost a week. Everything that can be said has been said.

    Both Bob and Jeff are going to continue being social critics, and sometimes we will agree with them and sometimes we won’t.

    There are many more interesting ideas that came out in this thread.

    I think I need to go back to work!

    • rlcrabb says:

      I agree, Steve. I just finished rereading my satire and all the comments, and I believe there has been enough evidence presented from both sides of the argument for readers to form their own opinion on the subject. Let’s not get overly repetitious. Okay?

  25. Jeff Pelline says:

    BTW, I should also have pointed out that this article on my blog about this business on Union Alley was published on October 14: Not only hadn’t I eaten there; it hadn’t even opened! How can you “review” a place that hadn’t even opened?
    First, the false accusation. Then the “dog whistle.” Now the “restaurant review.” All from a business that is very public about its politics. I think you’re running out of options.

    • Chris Peterson says:

      For a guy who claims that he doesn’t post on other people’s blogs, you sure have a lot to say on this one.
      And if the eatery hadn’t opened yet, you were spreading a rumor based purely on conjecture?
      I agree with the rest; enough of this foolishness.

      • Jeff Pelline says:

        I only came here to comment, because a false accusation was made against me. The conundrum, and Steve has faced this, is whether to ignore them or address them. In this case, I should have just hired a lawyer for a few hundred bucks to send Bob a certified letter and let him handle it from there. I’ve made this same mistake a few times over the years. The “blowback” cuts both ways. Have a good day.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          Since no falsehood was written (note Jeff has not provided an actual quote that was in error) I doubt Jeff would have managed to get an honest lawyer to harass the esteemed RL Crabb.

          Since both Pelline and Crabb are public persons, the threshold for defamation is quite high even when there is a false statement of verifiable fact: you have to prove actual malice.

          The best treatment of the subject that I have found is from the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

  26. Jeff Pelline says:

    I’m writing a personal blog, not a newspaper article. Thanks for the “blowback,” though.

  27. steve cottrell says:

    This has been an interesting exchange of claims and counter claims, for sure, but talk of boycotts –– real, intimated or nonexistent –– seems an appropriate topic for a county that was home to the first community-wide boycott in this nation’s history.

    Sure, economic and social ostracism has been around for centuries, but the term “Boycott” has not. It emerged in the early 1880s, in Ireland, named for ruthless English land agent Charles Boycott. Long story, but not for this subject thread. (And I realize the phrase “ruthless English land agent” is a redundancy –– at least to this Irishman).

    By the mid-1880s the term “Boycott” had drifted across the Atlantic, and in 1886 was applied and used by name in Truckee as white citizens boycotted Chinese businesses and any white-owned business that employed Chinese. Newspaper headlines and stories of the time referred to the “Boycott” –– a new word for this country.

    I realize no royalties from its sale, so I don’t think I have a conflict of interest when I offer the following link to a 2007 posting on Moonshine Ink:

    It was a small book that Wally Hagaman and I collaborated on in 2004. Maybe he still has a few copies for sale?

    • Michael Anderson says:

      Ah, the voice of reason, once again all the way from Florida. Thank you Steve Cottrell for continuing to grace us with your kind words when I am sure you have much better things to do in the City of St. Augustine, like hobnobbing with Andrew Young or attempting the resurrect the ghost of Ponce de Leon.

      BTW, very much enjoyed your sideways poke at Mssr. Weaver, regarding his recent rant in The Union about the boardwalk on Commercial. Great comedy all around.

      Yes, the local blogs seem to have taken an even darker turn recently, probably due to some spiked pumpkin cider doled out at the local homeless shelter, or maybe some itinerant trimmers from Moscow, Idaho are wagging their magical crystals to wig out Nevada County.

      Thank you Steve for the etymological history of “boycott,” you are a deep well of such information even if you can’t give us directions to the Fountain of Youth. Steve F. also provided some info. on the local blogs about the horrible Chinese history in Truckee a couple of years ago–I spent some time on the Internet researching the subject but never came across “The Chinese Must Go!” Next time I see Wally in town I will be sure to ask him about it.

      Thanks again, Steve.

      • steve cottrell says:


        Thanks for the kind words –– much appreciated. And if Bob will indulge me for a few off-topic sentences, I’ll comment on something you wrote.

        To mention Andrew Young and St. Augustine shows good knowledge on your part. What happened here in 1964 never registered on the national scene the way events at Selma, Birmingham and other Southern cities did, but Andrew Young often talks about how it was only here in St. Augustine that he was actually attacked and beaten. If you haven’t seen the documentary “Crossing St. Augustine,” I recommend it.

        Not long after arriving here, Susi and I attended the dedication of a downtown walkway named for Mr. Young, and he was present for the ceremony. A couple hundred attended; maybe more. When the speeches ended, I sought out two men I wanted to meet and talk with –– and to thank them for what they have done to make this a better nation that it would otherwise have been.

        The first person I went up to was Dr. Robert Hayling –– a true hero of the Civil Rights Movement. Here’s a link to a profile about Dr. Hayling:

        He is a gracious, classy man and I’m glad I had a chance to meet and talk with him. And I’m especially glad that I had a chance to thank him for what he did in the ’60s.

        The other person I sought out that afternoon was George McGovern, who had a second home here in St. Augustine for the final few years of his life. I happened to approach him at a time when attention was focused on Young and MLK III, and McGovern was standing alone at the edge of the crowd, so we had an opportunity to actually have a conversation –– fifteen minutes, at least. And as Susi and I were talking to him, his administrative aide came over and asked if we would like our photo taken with the senator? Naturally, we said yes, and she later e-mailed me a copy.

        In 2014 there will be several events here recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, so I’m sure I’ll have a chance to meet Mr. Young at some point. I look forward to that day, because there’s much I’d like to talk with him about, too.

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