Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Warning From History Israel Election 1996

Right wing hate speech and Hamas terror attacks, turned a 20 point lead by Shimon Perez over Benjamin Netanyahu into a last minute victory for Netanyahu!

Here is a recap of the events leading up to that election:

1993:     Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed the Oslo Accords signed by Prime Minister Yitzahak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.  Rabin, despite his extensive service in the Israeli military, was disparaged personally by right-wing conservatives and Likud leaders who perceived the Oslo peace process as an attempt to forfeit the occupied territories
November 4, 1995 Minister Yitzahak Rabin was assassinated by an ultra nationalist radically opposed to Rabin’s peace initiative and the Oslo Accords.  Netanyahu was the head of the right-wing Likud party and leader of the parliamentary opposition in 1995. In a film by Amos Gitai “Rabin, the Last Day”, we see Netanyahu speaking at rallies where his supporters held up posters calling for the deaths of Rabin, Peres and Arafat and the extermination or expulsion of all Arabs on Israeli-held land. He surely saw the homemade images of Rabin in a keffiyeh, or Palestinian-style headscarf, and the other images, the ones depicting Rabin wearing an SS officer’s uniform. He saw people staging a mock funeral for Rabin, carrying a coffin through the streets. He saw all those things and said nothing about any of them. Indeed, he embraced that situation as a political opportunity.

1996: After Rabin’s assassination Netanyahu’s popularity plummeted as he was seen by many Israelis as being at least partially responsible thru his hate rhetoric. Shimon Perez the Israeli Prime Minister called for early elections and was ahead of Netanyahu by 20 points early in the election cycle. 

However, the country was hit by a spate of suicide attacks by Hamas including the Jerusalem bus 18 massacres and other attacks in Ashkelon and the Dizengoff Center, which killed 59 people, severely damaged Peres' election chances. Polls taken in mid-May showed Peres ahead by just 4-6%, whilst two days before the election his lead was down to 2%. On election day Netanyahu won by 1%.

For people who feel comforted by Trumps drop in the polls, be aware of past history; let’s hope it is not repeated! Remember a few days ago there was near panic at the NY airport caused by people making lots of noise celebrating Usain Bolt’s Olympic achievements. Fear makes people irrational! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Harmony Ridge Music

Music being one of my passions I started an on-line music business in about 1995 at the very beginning of the World Wide Web (WWW) called Harmony Ridge Music (HRM) Harmony Ridge Music Archive. I was discovering some wonderful music back then and enjoyed sharing it with family, friends and acquaintances. In particular I was intrigued by women artists especially female singer songwriters. At that time before a lot of exposure on the internet I noticed many of these talented artist were virtually unknown or had a small cult following. In starting HRM I intended to gather as much information on artist and present a complete expose on their music and life. In the early days I did a complete discography and biography on each artist including many longish sound clips. I dedicated the site to female artist and and was a pioneer in promoting independent artists thru the internet.
Danielle Dax
Danielle Dax from the UK was in particularly fascinating to me and she had a large cult following world wide, but still was virtually unknown. I was able to contact Danielle's manager in England and worked out an agreement to sell her music and other items thru HRM. Soon I had an extensive layout on Danielle including all her music for sale thru the site. At that time and for many years HRM was the Danielle Dax site and the orders started to roll in. Following after Danielle was Tanita Tikaram also from England, Joan Armatrading, Sheila Chandra, Happy Rhodes, Ani Difranco, Iris Dement, Nancy Griffith, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams and Dar Williams. In the end I had over 500 artist listed including an extensive World Artists array from Ofra Haza and Chava Alberstein (Israel), Haris Alexiou (Greece), Kari Bremnes (Norway), Lila Downs (Mexico) and  Aziza Mustafa Zadeh(Azerbaijan) to name a few of the many. Harmony Ridge Music was a pioneer and set the bench mark for how independent artists were presented on the WWW.
Iris Dement 1994
Fat Fry Santa Cruz, CA
The business thrived fairly well in the early days on a very low budget and grew modestly for about 5 years. In the early 2000's the first crack in the armor started to become apparent and that was the emergence of Amazon and downloaded music. Frankly this blindsided me as my love was for the music and not technology. I had no interest in bogging myself deeper into web programming and I did not have the resources to hire my way out of it. As these new technologies changed the music industry many of my business partners bit the dust and Harmony Ridge Music faded into history.
When I look back on this time, I realize I probably let a golden opportunity slip thru my fingers, the mistake I made was not asking for or seeking help. Although I do have some regrets, I'm so thankful I did this because the benefits were wonderful, fantastic music, attended many performances and met great people and artist. Although it was not the success I expected, I cant imagine the regret I would have if I had not tried it!    

  Here are some personal photos of a few artists I was able to photograph in concert:
Alison Krauss 2001
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Ani Difranco
1995 High Sierra
Music Festival

Hazel Dickens
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Michelle Shocked
Bear Valley

Victoria Williams
Bear Valley

Gillian Welsh
Strawberry Festival

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

San Francisco's Fog Back For Now

Fog Rolls into Pillar Point Harbor
We are now into the 5th year of drought for the Central California coast from Monterey to Point Reyes. Climate change and drought have significantly changed the normal weather patterns that have be entrenched in our area for as long as records have been kept. Last year in July ocean temperatures soared to near record highs in the entire Gulf of the Farallones and Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuaries hovering around 64F for many months. This resulted in higher humidity, reduced fog and increased temperatures throughout the bay area and in particular the coastal areas. The predicted monster El NiƱo helped but did not make a significant dent in the drought at least not in central California!

Buoy 46012 San Francisco
Water Temp July 2016 55F
Water Temp July 2015 63F
     So far May, June, July and into August the water temperatures are cool and the normal SF Bay fog pattern has returned to normal. Recently there was a typical summer heat wave in the Bay Area which created a near 47F temperature differential, temperatures in Livermore 105F temperatures in Moss Beach 58F. Pretty amazing when you consider Moss Beach and Livermore are only about 30 miles apart!

Cooler water, up-welling and other global mechanisms have conspired to attract wildlife especially humpback whales in great numbers along the coast. In the last several days, I spotted humpbacks ~3 from Mussel Rock, about 3 more at Linda Mar and about 7 from Devils Slide in Pacifica. On almost any day, whales can be spotted along the coast lunge feeding and frolicking to the delight of spectators but to the dismay of the local sheriff trying to keep traffic from blocking and clogging the roads!

Humpbacks Lunge Feeding
Near Surfers Beach

From Devils Slide
Not seen this Behavior Before