Posts Tagged With: strength


The Democratic Establishment: corrupt, mendacious sellouts.

There, I said it.

You’ve seen what I’ve seen. Take the Presidential campaign. The Democratic Party schedules Presidential debates during NFL playoff games, to try to ensure that no one takes any interest whatsoever in our Presidential campaign or our issues, so that name-recognition will carry the day. The Democratic Party cuts off one Presidential candidate’s access to the most important tool of campaigning, the voter file, not long before the first primary. The Democratic Party quietly repeals the prohibition against accepting campaign contributions from lobbyists.

God forbid that our voters might choose someone that our party elites might not want – someone who is not as corrupt and feckless as they are.

Why don’t we just call it what it has become: the UnDemocratic Party.

And the funniest/saddest thing is that the Party Politburo does it with one excuse and one excuse only: that they are choosing “the strongest candidate for November.”

Excuse me?

Our Party Politburo is so deeply incompetent that they shouldn’t even be choosing lottery ticket numbers, much less candidates. Based on their track record, I wouldn’t even trust them with paper vs. plastic. They would screw up a one-car parade.

And yet the party bosses want to seize the power – from our voters – to decide whom our candidates should be. Their motto is simple: “the voters be damned.” Or as Joni Mitchell once put it, “don’t interrupt the sorrow.”

This is an edited version of what a prominent, former democratic Senator had to say about our process of selecting a candidate. It is a basic quarrel with the convention delegates and how they are “designated” from their home party to select a candidate. I tend to think the same way as the “corrupt, mendacious sellouts”, I want someone who is strong enough to win. But, he has a point too, that we don’t trust the people on the ground to decide what is best for us and I’m rethinking my mental alliance with the powers that be. I trust that the people are disgusted and they know best. But, do I trust the candidate to fend off the opposition in the general election when attack ads, and lies will muddy the waters and sway voters away from ideal candidates?

Sadly true.  Party control is an issue in both parties that can overwhelm the refreshing voice of true reformers.

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My mother is gone, but when I think of her, I remember how strong and resilient she was. She was at her mother’s bedside through the birth of her 11 siblings. She comforted her at the death of two of those children, one at age 4, another at age 8. She lived through many tragedies but remained her grand children’s darling gramma. And, great-grandchildren, too. She was religious, faithful, polite, patient,  always helping others but able to build her own dreams. She had a catering business late in life and made it a whopping success. She did it all with civility and grace. What an example she was to me.

I have many mother’s in my life to celebrate, my daughters, my daughter-in-law. And each of them is a wonderful mother with dedication and the values we believe in and share. They too, raise their children and pursue their dreams. They are each unique with varying abilities. Women, as mothers, contribute so much to our culture, our comfort, our love, our greatness as a country, we  stop to salute them today and not forget them tomorrow.

It amuses me that at one time women were considered the weaker sex. I’m grateful my husband never considered me weak. He always recognized and acknowledged my own gifts and I have become the proud matriarch of my clan.  I’m proud to recognize their strengths and revel in my own.






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Shangai is an impressive city for its ultra-modern skyscrapers, shopping, culture,  night life. You can easily think you are in a Western city with a grand Chinatown.  With  camera/disk problems I have  few pictures to show you. The night scene photo above has no attribution but it came from a tourism website. Our first night in Shangai, after our daytime city tour, we have dinner at the gorgeous Hilton Hotel and ate bland food. It was decent, but by comparison with the rest of China, we decided it was our worst meal so far.  On balance, we had our first real alcoholic drink. Good scotch.

It has been a long day but that night,  we are taken to visit the tallest building in the world with 88 floors. (Since eclipsed by the 105 story Japanese building with-in sight of it.) We don’t go up an elevator, we ascend, seamlessly, all 88 floors in 45 seconds,  with no sensation of being on an elevator whatever. An endless line of tourists paid $7 for the ride. It goes without saying the views are spectacular. It is a Saturday, and the waterfront is alight with skyscrapers projecting ads 20 stories tall on the sides of their buildings. We see a video of men who illegally parachuted from the building. We drink it in, reluctant to leave. The waterfront buildings are alight on Saturdays and Sundays. During the week, the lights are turned off as a cost saving measure. Smart!

The next morning, we visit the Children’s Palace, very aptly named since Mau took over  mansions from the decadent rich ministers and government employees and devoted them to boarding schools for gifted students. The education is free and only those identified by their teachers with special talent may attend. Children  move to cities all over China where other “palaces” are located. Some concentrate on art, or music, science, dance, sports, martial arts, gymnastics, etc.  We were impressed with the pictures these young kids drew and painted.  The walls going into the school are  filled with exceptional artwork.

Another room held  a music class with students age four to sixteen learning the violin. First they tap out the music, then hum the notes, then  strum the notes. The teacher strikes her stick loudly when a mistake is made and scolds. We cannot understand her words, but we understand her tone.

Next we watch as  five girls play for us on a zither-like ancient instrument, similar to a harp in sound. It may be admirable to help children achieve  their special potential, but we found the fierce discipline offensive. Not a smile  from any student and we can’t help but wonder where goes their childhood? Talented and unhappy is not  a good goal. The parents are honored that their child is chosen and wouldn’t think of turning down this opportunity.

After lunch, we visit a silk factory. Employees stand. Again, we see poor working conditions. The cocoons are drowned and the larvae removed. The fine fibers are twisted into a fine yarn size, then dyed in special batches of color to be woven into shirts, scarves, ties and rugs.  Hard work. Bats of coarser silk, are used to make comforters with a reputation for being very warm compared to their light weight.

The process of making a comforter was fascinating. Each bat of silk is stretched and stretched and fit on a form like a fitted sheet fits a mattress. After several bats are stretched, it becomes a comforter and is fitted into a case for size, queen, king or double. I bought two, at $10 each. Of course, a fancy cover to make them beautiful, costs twice as much. One woman from our group opted to make her own cover. A machine squeezes them so tightly, they fit into a small purse sized case with a handle.  Cool!

After dinner we attend a show that is the highpoint of Shanghai and all tickets have been sold out for months. Chinese acrobats are famous for their extraordinary muscle control and balance as they do difficult feats in slow motion. A girl balances a tray of glasses in her mouth while doing carefully modulated trapeze acts. Another balances on one hand while doing contortions with her body, forming a butterfly, frog, cricket, then she jumps to the opposite hand and becomes her own twin. Breathtaking twists, falls, jumps from unbelievable positions. High jumping, hoops, tumbling comic acts…we hold our breath and gaze entranced at such talent.  On the way back to our hotel, we catch our last look at the fabulous lighted Yangtze River boats and skyscrapers and know we are looking at a burgeoning new capitalistic economy that is rocketing skyward to awe the world.





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It is unusual to find someone who has a  link to Monte Wolfe, the legendary mountain man who disappeared over sixty years ago.  Mark Bonar, who moved here in the 1950’s is that man.

In college, he met his wife, Barbara La Teer, who was a native of West Point, Calaveras County. They had three children, Mark Richard, Lynne Alison and Lauren Ann. Mark became close to his Father-in-law and through him, the larger than life character of Monte Wolfe with whom Paul La Teer had crossed paths.

“I hadn’t fished since I was a kid in Idaho,”  said Mark.  “Paul invited me fishing. I went out and bought a primitive fishing pole and reel, and as we began hiking, I heard the first of many stories of Monte Wolfe. Our fishing expeditions became regular, enjoyable occasions. Paul hiked all over the rough and wild back country and was in terrific shape.  And, that is how he encountered Monte’s one room, “first” cabin, which became known as the Upper Cabin,  in the mid 1930’s. It was situated in plain sight along the Mokelumne River and right along Paul’s fishing site. Monte had left a foot- high stack of canning jars piled next to the cabin.

(These two reproduced pictures of Monte and the first cabin were taken from my newspaper article on Monte in the 1980’s and were taken by Harry Schimke.)

” Paul had heard rumors of a newer cabin and as he prowled the high country, he spent the late 1930’s  trying to find it. When he did find it, he was met with a 30-30 deer rifle by an unfriendly Monte Wolfe.  During that encounter, Monte had visitors, presumably the Linfords,  who had befriended Monte and who claimed to be guarding his privacy. Monte was a social person but could be unpredictable and not someone to mess with, so Paul never became a friend of his.”

Veda Linford wrote a book about Monte and once cared for him when he broke his leg. The Linford’s probably knew him best. Monte divulged little about himself and seemed to like being a bit mysterious, for good reason. He was arrested and tried for stealing in Tuolumne County as Ed Mc Grath, not something the locals were likely to forget.

He lived totally off the land on fish, deer, and  whatever game he could trap for food and pelts. Some of it was legal and some of it was not. He had many a run-in with the Calaveras County game warden and the law.

“He would routinely break into local cabins and take food, mostly canned food which was standard fare at the time. He’d usually leave something to replace it, or leave a note of thanks signed Monte The Wolf.”   He would attempt give something in payment at a later date, perhaps a mess of fresh trout.

Paul recollected a story of one of Monte’s encounters with a game warden who walked up to Monte’s camp to find a lot of grouse feathers around it. The warden questioned him. Monte steadfastly claimed that he had seen no grouse and that the feathers must have blown in. Another time, a rifle that went missing from Sonora, out of someone’s car, was spotted hidden in a hollow sugar pine near his camp.

There were many incidents of things gone missing that irked people and the authorities. He was so adept in the woods and a dead shot with a rifle, people were not inclined to challenge him in his own territory, which encompassed three counties, Calaveras, Tuolumne and Amador.

(To be continued tomorrow.)


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