Entries tagged with “Joe Biden”.


It’s been a generally good week in this old man’s world. Old is the operative word here. I turned 77 on Monday. My gait is increasingly unsteady, but I’m still carrying about 75 pounds of firewood uphill to Mitchell cabin each day. Lynn took me out for a birthday lunch at River Front Cafe’s outdoor tables beside the Petaluma River. A beautiful scene, and everyone maintained proper distancing. On Thursday, Lynn and I celebrated Thanksgiving, with Lynn’s preparing along with the turkey, homemade stuffing, her own cranberry sauce, and squash raviolis.

And while all this was going on, the fields around Mitchell cabin began turning from brown to green thanks to the rains two weeks ago.

The green shoots attract blacktail deer, and as many as eight at a time have begun showing up for the feast. For dessert, they often dine on persimmons that have fallen from our tree on the other side of the cabin.

The rains also eliminated any further risks of a flareup from the Woodward fire. The fire, which blackened 5,000 acres in the Point Reyes National Seashore beginning Aug. 18, has taken firefighters two months to fully control. The rains should have doused almost all smoldering ashes, the Park Service reported this past week.

Thanksgiving eve raccoon lineup on our deck.

A mother raccoon with her four kits show up outside our window every evening hoping to be fed, and we usually give them a few handfuls of dog kibble.

The raccoons around here appear to be thriving although further south around Muir Beach and inland to Mill Valley distemper has begun showing up in raccoons and foxes, WildCare warned this week. Coyotes and skunks, as well as domestic dogs, are also susceptible to the disease.

The organization noted, “Wild animals with distemper may exhibit a lack of coordination or balance, approachability, seizures, and/or discharge from eyes and nose….

“Concerned residents who see an animal in distress should call WildCare’s Living with Wildlife Hotline at 415-456-7283 or contact Marin Humane at 415-883-4621.”

Canada geese — heading to Drakes Estero for the night — fly over Mitchell cabin around sunset daily. They don’t wear masks, but they do maintain social distancing.

Also flying over head.

Something many of us said thanks for yesterday occurred in Washington. Donald Trump, who keeps denying he lost the Nov. 3 presidential election, finally said he will leave the White House by Jan. 20 if Democratic president-elect Joe Biden wins the electoral college vote on Dec. 14. Biden racked up 306 electoral college votes three weeks ago and needs only 270 to win. Trump in comparison picked up only 232 votes, which may account for his hair turning gray in the week after the election.

It’s been a chaotic week. Former Vice President Joe Biden with Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate won last week’s presidential election by 5 million votes, but President Donald Trump kept filing lawsuits in an attempt to hold onto his office.

America has long been the guiding light for democracies around the world. Our elections are fair. We have a free press. We cooperate with our international allies for the good of the planet.

For the past four years, however, we’ve had a president who tries to run this country as if he were a dictator in a banana republic. Our president often insults the leaders of allied countries; frequently insists the American press is full of “fake news”; and has begun claiming our elections are easily rigged. Not surprisingly, respect for the US has plummeted around the world.

Many West Marin voters were exuberant last Tuesday as they lined up outside the polls in Point Reyes Station to help decide local, state, and national elections.

Other voters who live around town, myself included, voted in advance, using a dropbox in front of the Health and Human Services office where Tuesday’s voting was held. Still others voted by mail. Trump, meanwhile, criticized absentee voting as unreliable even though he himself has often voted by mail. 

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris spoke out for racial harmony in their public appearances.

In California, which has twice as many Democratic voters as Republican voters, the Biden-Harris victory had particular significance. Harris “has been the first person like her to hold every office she has ever won,” The San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday. “She was the first woman and person of color to serve as San Francisco district attorney. She was the first woman and first person of color to be attorney general of California. She was the first Black senator from California.”

She is also the first Asian American to be elected vice president. Her late mother, Shyamala Gopalanwas born in Madras, India. The mother was a biomedical scientist who had worked at the Lawrence Berkeley Research Laboratory and other medical-research institutions.

The vice president-elect’s father, Donald Harris, is a Jamaican-American born in Browns Town, Jamaica. He’s a professor emeritus in Stanford University’s Economics Department.

Trump supporters display a “Black Lies Matter” sign while parading across the Golden Gate Bridge. (Chronicle photo, Aug. 29, 2020)

During the campaign, both Biden and Harris talked about the need to improve the criminal-justice system in locales where Blacks encounter noticeably more-aggressive police behavior than whites.

The Trump campaign in contrast played to his supporters’ racism. Trump spoke of the Black Lives Matter movement as “terrorism.” 

He referred to Mexicans who had fled to the US to escape violence at home as “rapists and murderers.” On the other hand, he said he’d like to see more immigration from (white bread) Norway.

In Point Reyes Station, candidates of all stripes created their own form of chaos by flooding the public with political mailings. There is no home delivery of mail in town, so postal customers have to check their boxes in the post office every day. Many postal customers immediately threw out — along with ordinary junk mail — much of the political mail they received during the lead-up to election day.  

As a result, the three trash cans in the post office lobby began overflowing daily onto the floor, so the post office removed them and posted this sign. 

Now that the election is over, the sign is down, and trash bins have returned to the post office lobby where they’re receiving normal amounts of unwanted mail.

Most townspeople I’ve spoken with are hoping to see the rest of their world also return to normal now that the election is over and Trump is proving to be the loser.

Nor is the relief limited to West Marin. Prominent heads of state throughout the world — with notable exceptions in Russia and initially in China — quickly congratulated Biden on his victory.

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Midway through Thursday night’s debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, I became so offended I walked out of our TV room. That unfortunately left Lynn to watch the debate alone.

I mentioned this the next day to a woman who works in town, and she responded, “That’s just what happened in our house.”

Why were we offended? When people know that someone is lying to them, most folks feel insulted. The liar apparently thinks they aren’t well enough informed to recognize the lie. Nonetheless, that was Trump’s repeated tactic, even though much of his audience saw through at least some of the lies.

The orange liar. (Reuters photo by Leah Millis)

As The San Jose Mercury News reported after the debate: “Trump’s performance was riddled with false claims, on topics ranging from the coronavirus to foreign policy to immigration. And while former Vice President Joe Biden made some missteps and stretched the truth at times, his comments essentially hewed to the truth.”

Despite what Trump said, his administration did not respond well to the Covid-19 pandemic, initially discounting its seriousness. By today more than 8.5 Americans have been infected and 224,000 have died, with the number of cases currently spiking. Yet Trump insisted the worst is almost over. He also promised that vaccinations for millions of Americans will be available far sooner than experts say is possible.

Vice President Joe Biden in 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

While offering no evidence for the claims, Trump repeatedly said Biden had received $3.5 million from Russia and was making money in China. Biden, as I would have expected, flat-out contradicted the falsehoods, and The Wall Street Journal subsequently determined that Biden is not doing any business in China.

As for the candidate’s getting the $3.5 million from Russia, The Mercury News pointed out: “Trump was seemingly trying to raise an allegation previously made against Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, but there’s no connection to Joe Biden.

Hunter Biden

“Hunter Biden also denies the allegation he received $3.5 million. Hunter Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires, told CNN that Hunter Biden was not an owner of the firm Senate Republicans allege received the $3.5 million payment in 2014.  A partisan investigation conducted by Senate Republicans, whose report was released this month, alleged that Elena Baturina, a Russian businesswoman and the wife of late Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, sent $3.5 million in 2014 to a firm called Rosemont Seneca Thornton, and that the payment was identified as a ‘consultancy agreement.’ The report did not provide any further details about the transaction.

“Hunter Biden was a co-founder and CEO of the investment firm Rosemont Seneca Advisors. But Mesires said Hunter Biden did not co-found Rosemont Seneca Thornton. It’s not clear what connection exists between Rosemont Seneca Advisors and Rosemont Seneca Thornton. Neither the Senate report nor Trump have provided any evidence that the payment was corrupt or that Hunter Biden committed any wrongdoing.”

I suspect that, like me, quite a few Americans are offended by Trump’s repeated attempts to mislead the country.

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There’s certainly been a lot going on this past week, some of it very good and some of it very bad. On the good side, I would count the Democratic convention with its focus on education, empathy, reducing racism, stopping climate change, raising working-class wages, and expanding healthcare.

On the bad side, I would count the coronavirus pandemic, which in less than six months has killed 175,000 Americans and sickened 5.6 million. In West Marin, the most unavoidable bad side is the huge wildfire in the National Seashore, which was only 5 percent contained at 6 p.m today after four days of firefighting.

The Woodward Fire as seen from Mitchell cabin in Point Reyes Station Tuesday. The fire west of the Point Reyes National Seashore’s Bear Valley Visitor Center and just south of the Woodward Trail, broke out Tuesday following lightning strikes, which ignited numerous wildfires around the Bay Area.

What was first spotted as a three- or four-acre fire….

quickly grew to hundreds of acres and then thousands. The fire more than doubled in size Thursday night to 2,260 acres. (Marin County Fire Department photos)

While all this was going on here, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden halfway across the country in Wisconsin eloquently addressed his party’s convention, earning praise from even conservative news media.

The Woodward Fire was ominously reflected in the clouds over Inverness Ridge at sunset Tuesday.

Meanwhile the Covid-19 pandemic continues to keep almost everyone on the streets in West Marin six feet apart and wearing masks. The pandemic has taken a terrible toll on many small businesses. The Bovine Bakery on Point Reyes Station’s main street is remaining open by selling its pastries out the door to mask-wearing customers.

Likewise donning face masks at the Democratic convention in Milwaukee Thursday were (from left): Dr. Jill Biden and her husband, presidential nominee Joe Biden; vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff. The importance of safe, loving families was a major theme of the convention.

An air tanker approaching the Woodward Fire Friday. Air support for the ground crews was late in arriving because most planes were being used to fight the many other lightning-caused wildfires elsewhere in Northern California. Cal Fire aircraft finally began showing up Thursday, and more arrived Friday. With the fire grown to more than 2,260 acres, residents of Olema, Bolinas, Inverness Park, and Inverness were alerted that a mandatory evacuation might be ordered.

A “super scooper” collects Tomales Bay water to drop on the fire. (Marin County Fire Department photo)

A Cal Fire helicopter over Mitchell cabin Friday en route to the Woodward Fire. The heavy air traffic low over Point Reyes Station went on throughout much of the afternoon.

Aside from the fire, the convention, and the pandemic, life around Mitchell cabin also had its tranquil moments this past week. Here a jackrabbit contentedly grazed beside the cabin Sunday.

Also relaxing. The stray cat we’re sheltering had been roaming with raccoons when we brought her into the cabin three weeks ago. Here she watches one on Tuesday eating kibble with a skunk on our deck. She’s five to six months old and in need of a good, permanent home. A veterinarian has confirmed her good health.