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June 2010

Pacifica Businesses Raise Money for Schools

I and my entire staff here at Hair Techniques, along with Lisa Piccinini, owner of Curves here in Pacifica, have been running a six-week promotion called Budget Cut Blues Buster. At Hair Techniques, clients who wanted us to donate $10 from their service that day signed a sheet of paper, and WE donated $10 of their service that day to the school of their choice. At Curves, Lisa donated half of membership fees from women who signed up to join Curves for 1 year. Lisa also played lots of creative games throughout each day, which also raised donations for the school of choice from her members each day. The money raised after six week from BOTH businesses was substantial and was turned over to the schools in a ceremony June 18. Along with my staff Christina Clyne, Randa Barboza, Natalie DeChateau, and Jenny West from Hair Techniques, and Lisa Piccinini, owner of Curves, I would like to invite YOU to thank all our customers for participating in this fundraising drive. This is our first time doing such a fundraiser for our local schools and we are hoping to make this an annual fundraiser as our way of giving back and helping those who might need it the most: Our Kids and Our Schools! I would like to especially thank MY Staff (who have contributed even though they have no children of their own).



Book Review: Destiny Disrupted—A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes

La illaha il-Allah wa Muhammad ur-Rasulillah. There is no god but God and Mohammed is his messenger. By so saying, one may convert to Islam. 

Tamim Ansary, who leads the oldest free creative-writing workshop in the Bay Area, has spent most of his adult life in North America but was born and raised in Afghanistan. A brilliant scholar and fine historian, he knows the West's assumptions about the Middle East, and he contrasts both cultures, answering many of the questions Americans might have. Who are these Muslims? How did they develop, and what passions and beliefs sent 19 Muslims into a suicidal attack on the World Trade Center, and America into an apparently endless war against ever increasing numbers of opponents.  Wasn't Islam once and for all finished when the Ottoman Empire fell during WWI? How did it rise from a footnote to history to its present position as a threat to the most powerful armed forces ever known? 

It's an old, old conflict. If we go back to about 570 CE, the birth of Mohammed in Mecca, and follow history from a Muslim point of view, we see the rise and fall of Islam, and many of the reasons the Middle East might fear the West. It's not good versus evil, as we have been told. The story is far more complex. For example, many do not know that Arabs and Jews both considered themselves descended from Abraham, and share the stories of the Old Testament in common. 

The depth of thought, philosophical reflection, and factual detail of this book make it a magnificent read, written by a master of English prose. It is relevant at this moment as it may never be again.

Jim LeCuyer

Public Transit: Energy Independence Every Day

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The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has put the importance of helping America be energy-independent into sharp focus. Taking public transportation is one way an individual can help reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. For more information on how taking public transportation is an investment in American independence, click According to APTA, public transportation saves the equivalent of 900,000 automobile fill-ups every day. On the Peninsula, Caltrain riders save 27,000 gallons of fuel every weekday while SamTrans riders, who typically travel shorter distances, save 4,500 gallons. Not only does public transportation increase energy independence, people who ride public transportation save on average $9,293 a year. The Transit Savings Report calculates average annual and monthly savings for transit users. The report examines how an individual in a two-person household can save money by taking public transportation and living with one less car. For help with trip planning on SamTrans or Caltrain, call 1-800-660-4287 or visit or

Yee Bill Stops Texas Textbook Massacre in Calif.

SACRAMENTO – The Assembly Education Committee approved legislation June 16 in response to the extreme right-wing curriculum changes made in Texas last month. Despite receiving broad bipartisan support in the state Senate, the bill to ensure California textbooks are not affected by the Texas alterations was passed in the Assembly committee on a 6-2 party-line vote. Due to the number of public school students in the state, the changes in Texas could drastically influence  textbooks throughout the country as publishers often develop materials based on the standards of larger states. “The idea that politicians in another state can control the content of our textbooks should trouble all Californians,” said bill’s author, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco). “With this bill, California makes a very clear statement that we reject the revisionist history approved in Texas and that our kids should be provided an education based on facts and not political ideology.” Specifically, SB 1451 would require the California State Board of Education to review all social studies textbooks used in the state to ensure that they have not been changed as a result of textbook changes in Texas. “While some Texas politicians may want to skew their educational standards, California should not be subject to their backward curriculum changes,” said Yee. “The alterations and fallacies made by these extremist conservatives are offensive to our communities and inaccurate of our nation’s diverse history. Our kids should be provided an education based on facts and that embraces our multicultural nation.” Among the curriculum changes approved in Texas are:  reducing the scope of Latino history; encouraging students to question the legal doctrine of separation of church and state; terms such as “capitalism” replaced with “free market"; labeling civil rights programs that protect women and people of color as having adverse “unintended consequences”' emphasis on “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s,” including favorable mentions of the Eagle Forum, Moral Majority, Heritage Foundation, the National Rifle Association, and Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America; more positive portrayal of Cold War anticommunism; removal of third-party presidential candidates; labeling Confederate General Stonewall Jackson as a role model for effective leadership and a statement from Confederate President Jefferson Davis to accompany a statement from President Abraham Lincoln; to include country-and-western music among the nation’s important cultural movements, while dropping hip-hop from the same list. “These curriculum changes are completely unacceptable,” said Yee. “Our children deserve better.” SB 1451 must be approved by the full Assembly before consideration by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Los Angeles). [from a Yee press release]

Brown Rice & Whole Grains: The Way to Go

By Bill Hendrick, WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, M.D.
June 14, 2010 -- Replacing white rice in your diet with brown rice may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new study. The finding is important because the consumption of white rice in the United States has increased dramatically in the past few decades, and about 18 million Americans have type 2 diabetes. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health say eating two or more servings of brown rice weekly seems to be associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, they report, eating five or more servings of white rice per week is associated with an increased risk. Qi Sun, MD, now an instructor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues at Harvard estimate that replacing 50 grams daily of white rice (uncooked, equivalent to a one-third serving) with the same amount of brown rice would lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by 16%. Replacing the same amount of white rice with other whole grains, such as barley and wheat, is associated with a 36% reduced risk. The study is published in the online journal Archives of Internal Medicine. The researchers say the study is the first to specifically examine white rice vs. brown rice in relation to development of type 2 diabetes among Americans. “Rice consumption in the U.S. has dramatically increased in recent decades,” Sun says in a news release. “We believe replacing white rice and other refined grains with whole grains, including brown rice, would lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.” White rice is created by removing  the bran and germ portions of brown rice. The authors say that more than 70% of rice eaten in the U.S. is white.

Brown Rice Reduces Diabetes Risk
The scientists examined rice consumption and diabetes risk in 39,765 men and 157,463 women in three large studies -- the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study I and II. They analyzed responses to questionnaires completed every four years about diet, lifestyle, and health conditions. After adjusting for age and other lifestyle and dietary risk factors, people who consumed five or more servings of white rice per week had a 17% increased risk of diabetes, compared to people who ate less than one serving per month. But eating two or more servings of brown rice per week was associated with an 11% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to eating less than one serving of brown rice per month. White rice has a higher glycemic index than brown rice, the researchers say. That index is a measure of how fast a particular food raises blood glucose levels, compared with the same amount of glucose. “The high glycemic index of white rice consumption is likely the consequence of disrupting the physical and botanical structure of rice grains during the refining process,” the authors write. “The other consequence of the refining process includes loss of fiber, vitamins, magnesium and other minerals, lignans, phytoestrogens, and phytic acid, many of which may be protective factors for diabetes risk.” They recommend replacing white rice and other refined grains with brown rice to try to prevent type 2 diabetes. Brown rice, the researchers say, often does not generate as fast an increase in blood sugar levels after a meal.

Whole Grains Recommended
The study also reports that: The biggest eaters of white rice were less likely to have European ancestry or to smoke, and more likely to have a family history of diabetes. Eating brown rice was not associated with ethnicity, but with a more health-conscious diet and lifestyle. Brown rice consumption was low in the study population. The U.S. government’s release of the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans identifies grains, including rice, as one of the primary sources of carbohydrates and recommends that at least half of grain servings come from whole grains. “From a public health point of view, whole grains, rather than refined carbohydrates such as white rice, should be recommended as the primary source of carbohydrates” for people in the United States, Frank Hu, MD, PhD, of Harvard, says in a news release. Samantha Heller, MS, RD, former head of the New York University Langone Medical Center’s Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention Program and a spokeswoman for Diabetes Restaurant Month, an educational program sponsored by Merck, says in a news release that refined grains “can wreak havoc with blood sugar levels and energy” and increase the risk not only for type 2 diabetes but for obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and other health problems.

SamTrans: May the Bus Be With You

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Leave the car at home and discover how easy it is to get on the bus and go to fun destinations. SamTrans encourages bus ridership on the Peninsula and coastside with its promotion, including games and prizes. Complete a survey and get a special gift. Over the next few months, look for the new SamTrans bus and tent, where you can win a $25 Clipper transit card:
  • June 17-20: San Mateo County Fair, San Mateo Expo Center
  • July 7: Harris Community Center Summer Camp, Menlo Park
  • July 24: Coastside Farmers’ Market, Half Moon Bay
  • Aug. 7: Kahuna Kupuna Surf Contest, Linda Mar Beach, Pacifica
  • Late August: Serramonte Shopping Center, Back to School, D.C.

Fun places to go: and 

(We realize that bus service is somewhat limited out here at the beach, but we still encourage coastsiders to use SamTrans to get around locally and commute to/from Colma and Daly City BART, where real rapid transit begins. We thank Matt Levie for raising this issue. See comment thread below.)


Ballplayers Still Respect "Imperfect" Umpire Joyce



Ironically, Major League Baseball umpire Jim Joyce, who infamously blew an out call at first base to deny Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game, was named the best ump in an ESPN poll of 100 ballplayers. (Polled players also said not to extend instant replay to out calls, favoring the current policy of video only for disputed home runs and foul balls.) After Joyce saw replay of his blown call, he admitted his mistake and apologized publicly and personally to Galarraga, who accepted the apology graciously. Maybe Joyce and Galarraga could tour the country speaking on good sportsmanship. God knows the country, and all sports, could use a bit more of that, and a little less horn blowing.



Ultrasonic Anti-Bark Devices: "Bark Off" or Ripoff?

Do ultrasonic anti-bark collars and handheld devices work? They are based on use of positive punishment to teach a dog not to bark. Positive punishment is one of the four types of learning theory to explain how dogs acquire information and behavior. The terms are positive and negative punishment, and positive and negative reinforcement. These are not value judgments. The animal receives something (positive) or something is taken away (negative). Ultrasound anti-bark devices use the same learning theory as shock collars and citronella spray collars, but the unpleasant consequence for barking is a sound rather than a spray or shock.

I have no experience with ultrasonic devices but would imagine the results would be similar to shock collars or spray collars with perhaps less discomfort. So sometimes, on some animals, the devices would work. Some animals develop phobias, because they are not sure what causes the irritating sound (the dog doesn't know if that unpleasant sound came from the child he just barked at); and because wind can cause some devices to go off, the dog can become confused, upset, and perhaps more neurotic. Sometimes dogs just get used to the pain or discomfort and ignore the sound (on shock-collared dogs I have seen burn marks where the dog ignored the pain to continue a behavior). Sometimes the underlying reason the dog is barking (not enough exercise or mental stimulation) can turn into self-mutilation or other stress relief if barking is discouraged.

Ultrasonic devices can be a quick fix or they can create other issues. If possible, the reason the dog is barking could be relieved, and alternative behaviors could be positively reinforced.   More exercise (perhaps at a dog park) and mental stimulation (through Kongs and other puzzle toys) can often help cure the problem.

Bev Kingsbury
Canine Behaviorist
Pawsitive Thinking
Using the S.C.A.L.E. to balance your dog and excel in training.

Utah Republicans Would Gut Social Security

"Utah's Republican Senate candidates have outlined a vision for reforming Social Security that includes raising retirement ages, private accounts and, in Mike Lee's case, taking the retirement safety net away from the federal government and letting states run it. "Somewhere down the road we need to ask: Is the federal government the right government to be administering this?" Lee asked. "You don't find a retirement system in [the Constitution]. That, with the 10th Amendment, says it's a program best administered by the states." Lee's proposal would mark a historic shift in the 75-year-old program, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in three cases in 1937 is a constitutional exercise of federal power. ... For his part, Lee also proposed significant increases in the retirement age for younger workers, suggesting that for workers 20 years from retirement, the age at which they would qualify for benefits should be raised by one year every other year. That means a worker who is 47 years old now -- 20 years from full retirement under the current system -- would not be able to retire until he or she is 77 years old, adding an extra 10 years to their expected period of employment."


Birds vs. Dogs on the Beach

Referring to a recent Parks, Beaches & Recreation hearing on this controversial issue, Dyer Crouch of the seabird protection group says, "I made an error during taping and claimed that a Santa Barbara beach was 'private.' Many have claimed that this beach (often compared to Pacifica State Beach) is a state beach. I meant that an 'entity' other than the state holds it as a public beach. Coal Oil Point, the beach in question, is held and operated by UC Santa Barbara, which allows the public to use parts of the beach. I also described a 'take' witnessed at Pacifica State Beach, and that this was a federal offense. I should have qualified that better. When it is an animal on the Endangered Species List, then it is a federal offense."

Wetness Protection Program for Green Sturgeon

The National Marine Fisheries Service has finalized Endangered Species Act regulations to protect the southern population of green sturgeon from “take” and other harmful activities. The take prohibitions make it unlawful to kill or harm southern green sturgeon and could require changes in operations of dams and water diversions, commercial and recreational fisheries, dredging operations, and pesticide applications to protect the green sturgeon, an ancient and imperiled migratory fish species that has survived since the Jurassic era.

“The southern green sturgeon population has fallen to precariously low numbers, and these regulations should help protect the few remaining spawning sturgeon from the Sacramento River from harm by water projects, overfishing, and pesticides,” said Jeff Miller, conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity.

The new regulations, created under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act, prohibit all unauthorized “take” of southern green sturgeon throughout their spawning and rearing range in the Sacramento, Feather, and lower Yuba rivers, as well as in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay. Because of the similarity of appearance between southern and northern green sturgeon, any green sturgeon in marine environments, including the mouths of coastal rivers, estuaries, and marine waters in California, Oregon, and Washington, are protected from take.
The green sturgeon, Acipenser medirostris, is one of the most ancient fish species in the world, remaining unchanged in appearance since it first emerged 200 million years ago. Green sturgeon are among the largest and longest-living fish species found in freshwater, living for as long as 70 years, reaching 7.5 feet in length, and weighing as much as to 350 pounds. Sturgeon have a prehistoric appearance, with a skeleton consisting of mostly cartilage and rows of bony plates for scales. They have snouts like shovels and mouths like vacuum cleaners that are used to siphon shrimp and other food from sandy depths. For more information about the green sturgeon, visit:

Coastsider: Midcoast Groundwater Study

San Mateo County has released the report on the third phase of its midcoast groundwater study. Coastsider will release an analysis of the report in the near future. You can read the conclusions and recommendations after the jump. Or you can download the report from Coastsider and draw your own conclusions. The Phase II report released last year raised the alarm of risk of saltwater intrusion due to overpumping in some areas of the midcoast.