It’s a big night in America, not really: The latest Republican presidential debate goes down in just a few ticks on CNN. Not sure about you, but I’ve had enough. I tend to think about national elections in sociological as much as political terms, so I’m admittedly and kind of awkwardly drawn to the over-the-top spectacle of menace and greed that characterizes this year’s Republican pack. These candidates can be quite entertaining when the rhetoric doesn’t devolve into the worst sort of nativism, Ugly Americanism, and actual violence. But it always devolves, and now we’re neck-deep in a rolling GOP embrace of the politics of maximal obnoxiousness, complete with Donald Trump supporters threatening to light a protester on fire at a campaign event this week.
It was entertaining to listen to kooky Carly Fiorina lie her way into our hearts, for awhile at least. Now it’s just excruciating to behold her snippy nonsense. Chris Christie’s buffoonery is always good for a chortle, but can that guy shut up already, too? And Jeb Bush? I could never see how the American electorate was going to tolerate an Election Day that featured Clinton II against Bush III, especially given the overwhelming evidence that Bush II was the worst president in American history, and Bill Clinton was a philandering neoliberal buffoon. One or the other, please. Bush is fortunately doing his part to make sure a Clinton v. Bush redux is not in the offing—last seen at 5% in the polls, and still trying to convince voters that his brother kept America safe. Still, it looks like we’re stuck with Jeb and these other single-digit GOP candidates for a little while longer, loaded down as they are with dark dollars and demented egos, and apparently driven by a persistently wrong prediction that Trump has got to implode one of these days. Meanwhile, the fanatical and intensely unlikable Ted Cruz is making his run up the polls in Iowa and is now being media-groomed by the likes of a corrupted Wolf Blitzer as an increasingly palatable alternative to Trump. Screw that noise: Let’s go kill some fascists, in the spirit of Woody Guthrie.
THIS BOOKSTORE KILLS FASCISTS
A very cool bookstore-teahouse and community space in Lagunitas has reopened. The Western Gate Revolutionary Tea House, which I wrote about last year, recently got its permitting situation sorted out with Marin County and is back in business after a very long hiatus. It’s a peaceful place to kick back with some tea and a book on permaculture, and count your many blessings—not to mention the many blessings of the Marin Land Trust, which just notched its latest big-ticket land purchase in West Marin, reports the Marin Independent Journal’s Nels Johnson in today’s paper. Rapacious real-estate developers of a Trumpian persuasion, stay away!
THESE CUPCAKES KILL FASCISTS
Also of note in West Marin is the recent opening of Beth’s Community Kitchen bakery in Bolinas, after a very long build-out of Beth’s new digs. It seemed to take forever, but was worth the wait. The flagship Beth’s in Mill Valley is still going strong and the new outpost in Bolinas has seen a very steady flow of customers in a space that’s been a bit of a bad-luck zone for other businesses that have tried to have a go at it. Grab some pastry and look out the window as you count the Bernie Sanders bumper stickers on cars pulling in to the adjacent gas station—and take a minute to appreciate the Bolinas Community Land Trust, which uses revenue from gasoline sales to fund affordable housing in a town and a county that’s in dire need of some redistributive real-estate justice.
THESE REDWOOD TREES KILL FASCISTS
The Bohemian has been getting lots of mail from Santa Rosans who are upset about a proposed plan to reunify Courthouse Square downtown that could or would mean the death of several so-called “legacy” redwood trees that are on the site. It’s an unfolding story that has downtown business owners calling for more parking, as hordes of tree-loving residents of Santa Rosa have argued that the trees are Santa Rosa’s contribution to pushing back against climate-change catastrophe. I spoke with a couple of city officials this week who explained that the city has been taking public comments about the plan, which would close off a block of Mendocino Avenue in order to link up the two Balkanized bits of public space into one very cool downtown park for the People. The upshot is that some trees will be felled, but there are assurances from the city that there won’t be some stump-humping outburst of clear-cutting to accommodate business owners or anyone else. They are working overtime to try and save those legacy redwoods, says the city, and speaking of legacy: How about that big Paris climate-change victory for Obama? I for one can’t wait to not listen to what the GOP presidential candidates have to say about it tonight. I’m sure some of it will be laughable, and scary as hell at the same time.