Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016
by AVA News Service, October 8, 2016
1 Timothy 5:2 Older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.
"WATCHING the news yesterday, MSNBC and CNN in particular, I was struck at the hand ringing over Don Trump saying he tried to f*** a married woman… What? This guy has been married three times, had numerous public affairs, and these Holy Rollers are shocked at a little locker room language. Hell boys, where I come from they used to call the Cheerleaders the “locker room queens”… I suppose that would be sexist these days, just meant they liked to mess around a little…
They got plenty on this guy without this crap. Old Hillary Clinton's productions against Don Trump are getting predictable and boring, can’t wait to see her do the Hokey Poky at the debate with Bill… Puke! And by the way, the leaker of this hit was NBC, ever watch MSNBC? They fricken hate Don Trump… Like Wavy says, ‘Nobody for President’.”
THIS REMARK from a man on the AVA's comment line, prompted me to ask several women to respond to my observation that if you secretly recorded most men, they'd regularly fire off Trumpisms in the company of other men.
(One) Good lord, Bruce. Maybe a mic in a strip joint, a bar, a locker room or some other testosterone-driven enclave where men have to take it out and see who has the biggest one. I guess if all men are that misogynistic, women should leave men behind in the gutter and move to their own country. Trump reeks of a kind of sleaze that I guess white men in America admire and want to emulate. Pounding their chests. .I never lose! Me such Big Man!!!! Thump. Thump. Thump. Look at me and worship!"
(Two) "I said the same thing, almost verbatim, to the hubby. I am not at all surprised at The Donald's rhetoric. And even extreme PC boys are most probably watching online porn. It's sad and pathetic, but it is a fact."
(Three) I think comments are one thing, I think “just grab her by the pussy” — when accompanied by numerous stories, about actual physical assaults /pussy grabs /kissing without invitation by Mr. Mega Groper – is something else. Groping without permission — and continuing to grope after hearing NO!! – is assault. And what’s this lawsuit about raping two women when they were 13 that’s going to trial after the election? It’s definitely a real thing, not an internet false meme, with two allegations now, but I have no idea if plaintiffs are legit. But we know Drumpf hung out with Epstein and Roger Ailes, and it’s not just “allegations” against those bastards.
Did you see the story about the woman who he put up against the wall in HIS DAUGHTER’S BEDROOM! In his own pregnant wife’s home? That’s creepy as hell.
Don’t tell me “most men” would do that. You could say the allegations/depositions in this Jill Harth case in Kristof link above — she sued for sexual harassment some years ago, but such suit was withdrawn for a settlement of another suit alleging Trump didn’t pay herself and her husband (we know that’s standard behavior) could all be lies. But it fits the pattern. And I think Jill Harth’s comment in such Kristof story regarding how Drumpf thinks he’s god’s gift to women fits the pattern too — he genuinely thinks women should be pleased he grabs their crotch or kisses them without invitation. Because he’s narcissistic to such a degree.
AND “most men” I’m quite sure don’t consider themselves as highly or as highly attractive to women as Drumpf does, so the part re: “if you’re a star” … you can do anything you want to women is NOT something most men would say about themselves. I expect it’s something the women-hating men in the women-hating men’s rights groups might say about women in general (obviously, I hope it’s obvious, I’m not saying all men’s groups are women-hating, but plenty are).
Nobody I know is surprised. If the GOP politicians who are withdrawing endorsements are saying they are ‘surprised’ — that’s covering their ass, IMO if they weren’t outraged before, why be outraged now? Because it was a pretty white woman? Sounds about right to me. I think it’s more like the straw that broke the camel’s back, and maybe the most important factor: realizing efforts to “civilize” their nominee have failed, and they do believe now, more than ever, he will lose, and so it’s cover their ass time for their own reelection or political future. I feel (surprisingly) like Mitt Romney’s comments are sincere."
(Four) A man replied, "Don’t have to ask—she’s been sputtering about it for nigh on 24 hours. I’m not sure how Trump’s ha-ha-just-kidding-funsies stacks up with Bill’s raping of the intern in the Oval Office, or Hillary calling Monica “a narcissistic looney-tune” but if we stand back the editorial writers will sort it all out for us.
(Five) Of course they would. That's my opinion. I should have said, of course they do (after all aren't most men's brains located between their legs?) Couldn't resist, sorry.
(Six) Yes, indeed, I agree about the wire, etc! No question (and it's a damned good thing no one's wired me [that I know of!]). I'd be tarred, feathered, dunked and possibly beheaded. What makes The Donald's remarks stand out from those of regular guys is not the dirty words, nor his descriptions of what he tried to do and would like to do — fucking, tits, pussy —all that is ho-hum, what-else-is-new, standard-issue. It's the naked revelation of his supreme alpha-chimp arrogance. The most telling words were: "When you're a star, you can do anything!" Then you hear the giddy, eager, nervous, lickspittle laughter of the sub-chimp sycophants all gathered around him, and you can hear him bloating up on their worship. Most men are not "stars," and can't make such a declaration from such a lofty position. That it's on tape is just a gift from the gods. I'm in heaven over this; has anything ever been as much fun as watching Mr. Family Values Christian Fuckface Mike Pence contort himself around THIS, to stand by his man? I saw Sick Rantorum on Bill Maher a few weeks ago doing the same thing. Poor Rick — I almost felt sorry for him. He looked like a man being forced to eat moldy haggis. Then I remembered what he's said and done, and any possible pity evaporated. Of course, Pence's and Santorum's agenda for women — if made into law — would be way worse than just getting your pussy grabbed or titties fondled or Trump's slimy tongue in your mouth. Those sick fucks would send women back to the quack, to die in blood and pus on motel room floors.
(Seven): “I'd say 50/50.”
[later] "I was feeling optimistic last night..today, more like 20% would abstain?"
(Eight): “Sadly, true. Just as 1 out of 5 women are raped in college.”
(Nine): “But that doesn't make the man remotely fit to be president.”
SPEAKING OF BILL MAHER (The Major Writes): “The ‘good billionaire’ Mark Kuban who now supports Hillary was the go-to billionaire chosen by Maher’s production crew to show us that the ‘good billionaires’ love Hillary. Much stupidity ensued Friday night, and much of it from Kuban (also the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball franchise). But one tiny bit of reality intruded in Maher’s “Real Time” when one of his guests — an otherwise ho-him liberal from England — pointed out that the tax code is rigged for the rich. OMG! Kuban almost shit his Dockers! Kuban jumped on the poor brit-lib saying that all the billionaires use the “carry-forward losses” loophole in the tax code because otherwise they wouldn’t invest in anything! In other words the good billionaire, the one who supports Hillary (and vice-versa) needs the non-billionaire American taxpayers to bail him out when he makes a bad investment and loses money. The billionaires win when they win and they win when they lose. Same as the banks which are subsidized by ordinary depositors ever since Hillary’s husband destroyed the Glass-Steagal separation between the Kuban-style speculation-bankers of the world and ordinary investors and savers who subsidize them and their bad decisions. Bash Trump all you want — he certainly deserves it. But don’t tell me that Hillary’s economic policies (and the Koch brothers who support her) are any better than Trump. Probably worse.”
COMMENT OF THE MORNING
If Trump is Hitler, the Democrats are Vichy.
MENDOCINO COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYERS FACING HOUSING CRUNCH
EDITING REX OUT
Mendocino TV decided to "edit" Rex out of the "Livestream." Here is Terry's reason:
We apologize to our audience and the edited video is now up. Rex Gressett represented himself as a legitimate candidate several hours previous to this forum. Due to his admission that he is not a legitimate candidate for office, we at Mendocino TV feel that, in an effort to be fair to the other candidates we needed to edit Rex Gressett from our candidates forum, which is now done.
As a follow up to the removal of Rex Gressett from our City Council Forum I feel an explanation is necessary. Rex has gone howling to the moon over the ill treatment he has undergone. This lunatic forgets that he has written to the newspapers to denounce his candidacy twice previous to our Forum last Wednesday. He is having problems establishing tenancy because this dog has fleas.
Meanwhile he ignores one of the worst environmental disasters to visit the Noyo Harbor. While his scow is sitting on the floor of the river leaking pollutants, squatting outside of City Limits, Rex thinks that pretending to live in the city gives him some right to run a campaign of threats and insults to gratify his dream of being a citizen journalist while being egged on by others who want to hide behind his pretensions of relevance.
Rex licks the hands of the men on the City Council while he barks at every woman on the City’s Staff as if they are paid to endure his vile insults and lies, hiding his misogynistic attitude behind a veil of Free Speech and his “Constitutional right to be an assh*le.”
The lack of civility in this year’s election process has got to stop. Rex stepped over several boundaries.
Rex is a loquacious storyteller who never quite makes a point, isn’t accurate and shows a complete lack of understanding how government gets funded.
We edited out 30 minutes of irrelevant commentary that could have been better spent getting to the backlog of questions on Marianne’s list. One third of the total show was wasted on his chatter. How rude to the rest of us. Especially to our audience, we are sorry. He denied that he wasn’t really running, ranted to his supporters and made great threats so, at a very short notice, Marianne agreed to allow him on the show with several conditions.
Rex’s thinly veiled insults directed at Scott Menzies and his continuous fawning over Bernie & Will was inappropriate as we attempted to create a fair atmosphere for ALL of the candidates. Using our forum to canvass for another candidate is disingenuous at best, may be outright fraudulent but is certainly rude.
Our responsibility to a journalistic ethos tells us that when we discover we are being used to spread a fraud and we discover that the information given to us is fraudulent, I can choose to edit that fraudulent statement from our forum. A time consuming task but I’m happy with the results.
* * *
REX'S VERSION IS THIS:
I attended the MCTV Fort Bragg candidates’ forum last night as a candidate and there were some interesting developments.
Earlier in the day I rode my moped down to the TV studio that Terry and his wife Marianne McGee are putting together by sucking up city money and building a private business with it. I stopped down thinking it a mere social courtesy to tell them I would be attending as a candidate as we had already arranged by email and in person.
When I arrived I was surprised (first surprise) to be told that no indeed Sue Ranochak of the County elections office had declared by (surprise) edict that I was not to be allowed to participate in The Forum. I demurred. This I thought is at the very least highly unlikely. No, no, that’s not it, burbled Mr. Vaughn apparently retrieving something from deep memory. It was your campaign manager that told me you were out. Well, I suggested, put me back in. At that point Mr. Vaughn had a little tantrum and a little pushing and shoving was involved. My personal composure was not affected. I could have easily kicked the little marshmallow’s ass. But politics and public advocacy are rough games. Lose your temper and they very certainly will bury you. I am in this for keeps, I am winning and I mean business therefore I simply left, but left wondering not a little.
I sent out a flurry of emails including one to the mayor who replied with platitudes. And most of all I sent out emails to the other candidates. Various people called various other people and when the hour appointed came, I went.
To my mild surprise they let me in. The seating was prearranged for me to be on the very end of the line of candidates.
It was a call in show. I was permitted to explain that although I was a legal candidate and would be on the ballot I was exercising my firm political right and moral obligation to support the better candidates as I called it, Bernie and Will. I told the audience that the nomination process for the city council is a secret process, and in fact the two candidates that have far the widest support, did not file officially until the last possible day. I explained to the audience that I originally ran because I thought that I had to, reluctantly and knowing better than anybody that I would probably suck at it. But at the time there just did not seem to be any choice. When I met Bernie Norvell, I was immediately a supporter. I am just slightly less enthusiastic about Will Lee, but damn. This is it. This is what we worked for. Here were two men who understood not how, but that city hall had been stolen by criminals.
They got that. And very clearly they had the guts to do something about it. Perhaps not as histrionically as I might have done it. But I also knew they would be more effective, and critically had no less violent indignation at the crass presumptions of a brazen political machine. I said that under these conditions my obligation was to not split the vote but to support the stronger candidates. A No frills political decision. A regular thing in political life.
The forum was a call in show. And again to my surprise there were a lot of callers. I was expecting the KZXY/Z thing where they have call-in shows and then the callers don’t call. But no. The lines were comparatively hopping.
As the night progressed one clear idea emerged from both the discussions among the candidates and from the preponderant number of callers.
The subject of grants kept coming up. One caller after another referenced the CDBG grants [Community Development Block Grants]. The grants that have been the excuse for everything. People were saying they were not what they seemed.
One person after another commented in their various ways that this money was given only to economically disadvantaged communities.
A number of points were raised. Will Lee pointed out that the city got to keep some of the money their own wicked selves. And gradually it emerged that the reduction of our city into a ghost-town due to the destruction of prosperity from the City’s declination to develop the mill site. That the lack of progress and the increasing addiction to drugs, all of these wonderful things and our stolid immovable poverty rate of 50% has been hell on the most of us, but they got us grants.
Without poverty Linda Ruffing could not have held the medical/mental illness power structure and the newspaper and the city council, together in a single constituency,
There were tangential discussions. The insanely complicated and obstructive city zoning ordinance was pointed out to be a major, indeed legendary business stopper, and that it had little use other than as a tool of disempowerment for the community. Everybody knew where they mete out injustice according to the inland plan.
When it was his turn Scott Menzies, the darling of the Ruffing machine, rambled unintelligibly about his obsession with martial arts and by a long leap of comparison thought it would stand him in good stead as our leader. That is if I understood him. He did not say much else.
After the cameras were off we all had that moment of bonding that comes with participating in the extremely inconvenient and time-consuming task of self-governance. Usually there is coffee. And we went home.
In the morning we found out. I was being surgically removed post-appearance from The Forum. Being on the end of the lineup of candidates, my image was easy to edit out. And apparently although The Forum had gone out live, it was going to be released with all of my remarks, contributions, inane blunders and everything else wiped from the program as if they had never occurred.
Later in the day, the pressure from social media must have been acute. I am told that it was. But at the last they allow you to see the whole thing if you log on. Otherwise you get the edited version. I am told that the unedited version has a bunch of technical intrusions. Loud noises and so forth, weird.
I damn sure know that I should write a bit more about this. But I hardly know what to think. Maybe it is evidence that we have pushed them to the point where they are reduced to desperate measures like this.
This is manipulation of the public perception with Soviet Style brutality, this is the obstruction of free speech so bald and brazen that we must really be grateful to be given a window through which to observe the range and power of the system of disinformation that we have in Fort Bragg.
Given that, it as certainly worth it.
FRESH ORGANIC CHESTNUTS from Chestnut Ridge Ranch in Boonville are for sale at $8/lb. Chestnuts are being harvested today. Email me your telephone number and how many pounds you need. The farmer will contact you directly. Delivery may be possible on the coast. Sam: email@example.com
CALTRANS REPLACES CULVERT Featured in 'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,' Thanks Steven Spielberg by Sending Him a Hunk of Rusted Steel
by John Ross Ferrara
Caltrans District 1 has reached out to famed Hollywood director Steven Spielberg after restoring a historic piece of Del Norte County infrastructure this summer.
While replacing the culvert near Little Mill Creek in Del Norte County, Caltrans employee Clayton Malmberg was excited to learn he was working at a site featured in the 1982 film “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.”
On behalf of Caltrans, Malmberg sent out a thank-you letter to Spielberg, along with some photos of the site and a rusted piece of corrugated steel from the old culvert.
“Thanks for the memories,” the letter reads. “Movies like ET were a part of our youth and working on the site has brought back some of those memories.”
The letter was sent out in July, but Public Information Officer Myles Cochrane said Caltrans is still waiting for a response.
“We still haven’t heard back from Stephen Spielberg but were hoping if enough people see this he’ll write back,” Cochrane said.
In order to get his thoughts on the gesture, LoCO’s people reached out to Steven’s people. After a surprisingly easy Google search, the Outpost was put in touch with Spielberg’s publicists’ assistant Lauren Elliott.
“I don’t think we actually received anything,” Elliott said. “Something like that usually crosses desk.”
Elliot said that the package may have been handled by a lower-level assistant before reaching her desk, and that it may take several weeks before she can confirm if the Academy Award-winning director received the package.
Ouch! Sorry Caltrans, it looks like Spielberg is too busy to be bothered with fan mail. But don’t let that get you down. Remember, if we keep E.T. in our hearts and minds, he’ll always be right here.
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 8, 2016
Contreras, Duncan, MacDonald
EDUARDO CONTRERAS, Ukiah. Drunk in public, impersonating another, probation revocation.
CHARLES DUNCAN, Willits. DUI, probation revocation.
DENICE MACDONALD, Bayside/Ukiah. DUI, suspended license
Martinez, Nelsen, Sandoval-Reyes, Travis
EVANGELINE MARTINEZ, Laytonville. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
DALLAS NELSEN, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
JOSE SANDOVAL-REYES, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
KENDALL TRAVIS, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation.
STRAY DOGS OF SAN MIGUEL
by Hugh Scaramella
Phillipe was drowsy this Sunday. He had been up half the night chasing a mongrel bitch through the hills of eastern San Miguel. It wasn't her scent that attracted Phillipe so much, which was unusual for him. No, Phillipe was fond of this young halfbreed because he was enamored with the sheer delight of playing with her. On Saturday they had chased each other around and around the Plaza de Nuestro Santo. In and out of the platano stands, through the legs of not a few hombres passing the time at the center of the plaza.
At one point Phillipe had hid under the skirt of an obliging Señora. It was then that he had become separated from his new friend. After a night of searching, Phillipe had returned to his sleeping place at 3am, Sunday morning with nary a trace of her.
Phillipe yawned. He was ensconced, hiding if you will, under raised wooden slats serving as a sidewalk which abutted Don Alfredo's carniceria, located at the esquina where the south edge of Plaza de Nuestro Santo met Avenida de la Revolucion.
Alfredo, the owner of the carniceria, was not actually a don. Some years back he had purchased some land in far-off Tuxla Gutierrez that turned out to be nothing but useless swampland. After Alfredo's incessant talk of the wisdom of his land deal, his neighbors had awarded him the ironic title of Don Alfredo to signify his propensity to mismanage things.
This spot under the slats was Phillipe’s place. He had established territorial rights to it through a series of vicious incidents when blood had been shed on not a few occasions. It was a constant nuisance for Phillipe to maintain his privileged status as Numero Uno Perro at Don Alfredo's carniceria. Several times Phillipe had wandered off, disgusted with the constant throng of challengers — mongrels, desert wanderers and even Yanqui dogs from far-off Texas and New Mexico forever testing him. However after several days of hiatus, Phillipe would become hungry and dissatisfied with the more meager victual selection available elsewhere, even at other carnicerias and he would faithfully return to Don Alfredo's carniceria to challenge successfully whoever had succeeded him as Chief Scraphound.
Actually Phillipe did not fight all that much, at least by San Miguel standards, where dogfights were more common than bullfights in the Plaza del Sol. His fights were quick and clean, almost always a win. Once he had been outwitted by a large black dalmation mix from neighboring San Luis Potosi and a gaping scar on his right upper forehead in front of his earlobe was evidence of this loss. Phillipe’s head actually had actually been in the jaws of this ferocious animal almost twice his size and had not Mamacita Hernandez, who runs the liquada stand next to the plaze, been quick with her broom handle to stop the fight, Phillipe might have been dead that very day.
As it was, the dalmation was only able to stay at the carniceria for a week before his owner returned to San Luis Potosi, and Phillipe quickly regained his place.
It was not Phillipe’s physical acumen which set him apart from most of the other dogs in San Miguel. He was not a particularly large dog even by Mexican canine standards. About two feet high, he had brownish tan fur all over except for a long white swath on his chest and another patch of white surrounding his left eye. His ears were small and his face squarish with fine white teeth kept clean by the large bone supply available to him. His body was sound and supple with a well muscled haunches and powerful front legs made strong by his incessant chases up the hills of eastern San Miguel. It was his cunning really that set Phillipe apart from his peers. His capacity for logistics, tactics, in battle and in play, was his advantage. In battle he could sense a weakness in an adversary immediately, be it a weak foreleg or a reluctance to engage in heavy to combat, and he unerringly set in to exploit the opponent’s weakness usually in short order. He was also clever at choosing locations which would either give him the advantage of surprise or protection.
Probably much of his of this perceptiveness was hereditary, combined with a puppyhood that was none too easy. He had become separated from his mother when he was just five weeks old and had fended for himself in the back alleyways of the poorer sections of the town for many months until he had developed the skill and curiosity to set out to explore his environs.
As a young dog Phillipe had run with a pack of other homeless dogs: Muchako, who had met his end early on at the paws of a mountain lion that the young pack had encountered one cold winter day; Alrededor, "Around" in Spanish, so named because of his ceaseless tail chasing no matter what time of day or activity the pack seemed to be engaged in; Simeon, probably Phillipe’s closest ally and playmate, was almost three feet high and white with long hair and a sharp pointed face who had been adopted by a nearby hacienda to be trained as a sheepdog; and Luchadora, "fighter" in Spanish, the only female, who had several litters and whose territory was now an alleyway about 100 feet from Plaza de Nuestro Santo.
They had all been frisky, happy pups, those five, as they slowly found each other in the tangled web that was the maze of streets and alleys composing San Miguel's western barrio. Each had for some reason been isolated from its mother and left on its own.
After the group was formed, each day was filled with adventures that alone probably none would have attempted by themselves. Rabbits and mice were attacked by teams of two and three, and sorties out of the barrio became common. Fights were the norm among the group, mostly in play, sometimes serious. Phillipe liked to come along with Simeon, the more aggressive pup of the pack, probing garbage cans and exploring dark alleyways where rats and insects abounded.
But soon, Phillipe came to his dominant place — quite naturally. He was quicker than the others, more alert. He would be first to take off into the dry open fields after an errant hare which might wander towards the town in search of water or grass.
Slowly, the group gained self-confidence as they made expeditions outside the narrow confines of their barrio upbringing. Phillipe and Simeon would be the leaders of the expeditions, sniffing out the route and confronting potential adversaries as the others would hang back, waiting to see if additional support was needed. One time, the two leaders had actually confronted a young bobcat, larger than both pups put together. What a scamper occurred as the bobcat bared his teeth at the pups and gave chase, nearly capturing Luchadora. It was probably only a recent feeding which slowed the bobcat sufficiently and dulled his hunting instincts to allow them all to escape unharmed.
After a time, the group began splitting into two distinct pairings, especially after Muchako’s death; Simeon and Phillipe began making more and more forays by themselves, leaving Luchadora and Alrededor to their own devices. After several months of this weaning from the group, Phillipe and Symbian had gravitated to the town's central plaza, the Jardin, as their territory, while Luchadora became pregnant by Alrededor and soon gave birth to her first litter.
The human community of the town gathered at the Jardin during the day in various social groups to sit and talk and listen to the noisy sparrows in the delicately manicured fir trees dominating the Jardin’s grassy landscape.
Across the street from the Jardin, among the adobe pillars fronting the textile stores selling Mexican clothing to the tourists, stood numerous human food vending stalls selling hot food cooked in large, flat metal tins, rounded and heated by charcoal underneath. Hefty women would set up their stalls early in the day, frying up chicken, rice, beans, hot salad and of course tortillas to wrap up the entire concoction.
Phillipe and Simeon soon discovered that this area was an excellent source of food, as uneaten stuff off customers plates would inevitably be offered to whichever dogs were idling by in the area as well as refuse being left at the end of the day.
The two yearlings became a successful foraging team among the Jardin’s food stalls, usually getting their fill of food by midday. Fortunately for them, most of the other dogs pilfering at the Jardin were loners, who did not want to confront the combined strength and skill of the two yearlings. So Phillipe and Simeon would spend their mornings begging from the customers of the hot food vendors and their afternoons, after a among the clipped fir in the Jardin proper, and occasionally a game of ball or stick with one of the human children.
Phillipe’s attitude towards the human population of San Miguel was ambiguous. As a stray, his interaction with them was casual but most contact occurred during his time foraging for food. Phillipe perceived some humans as friendly and helpful, especially the ones who threw food his way and cooed him and touched his fur when this was allowed. However, other humans would shout and throw things at him, especially the ones who seemed to stay inside most of the time. Toward these humans, Phillipe retained deep fears. Because of his ambivalence, Phillipe was timid about having much to do with the human population except when they were extremely friendly. Phillipe preferred to remain independent, withdrawn to a great extent, except when hunger moved him to enter the human sphere.
Phillipe did make one exception to his normal standoffish about humans, and that was his ongoing relationship with Mamacita Hernandez who ran the liquada stand next to the Plaza de Nuestro Santo.
The Jardin and the Plaza de Nuestro Santo are two different places. The Jardin is the central plaza of a Mexican town — most cities have one. In San Miguel the Plaza de Nuestro Santo where the carniceria was located was some blocks away from the Jardin near the cathedral.
In Phillipe’s yearling days Mamacita Hernandez did not run the liquada stand near the Plaza but was one of the numerous food vendors near the Plaza. Mamacita, a large hefty woman in her 40s with seven children and an alcoholic husband (marido) who flitted around Mamacita as a fly or bat when he was sober and not whoring or working on the nearby ranchero, became acquainted with Phillipe as he made his daily round in search of food near the stalls of abutting the Jardin.
Normally Mamacita Hernandez did not take a liking to strays like Phillipe. Dogs carried disease and provoked fights among themselves and despite the fact that she needed them periodically to eat up a mess, she was forever shooing them away from her cooking stall.
But for some reason no one completely understood, Mamacita took a liking to Phillipe.
Their relationship evolved over time and was probably helped along by Phillipe's basic timidity toward humans. Of course he was as assertive as any hungry dog when a chicken wing or neck was cast to the street, baring his teeth to all comers and growling. But when approaching the eating area at Mamacita’s stall he had a quiet almost respectful air about him that soon won him the affection and favor of the Mamacita. She began showing favor to Phillipe by allowing him to clean out the garbage pails filled with the day’s refuse and throwing him a piece of overcooked chicken now and then. Soon Phillipe began spending more and more of his time around Mamacita’s table and it became known in the Jardin social circles that Phillipe was becoming Mamacita Hernandez’s street dog.
Of course, Mamacita had her own reasons for taking on the quiet Phillipe as her street dog. One dog, if strong and alert, would keep the others away from the cooking stall, thus preventing thievery. The Mamacita would also have a dependable animal on hand to dispose of food waste whenever such services were called for.
Soon after Phillipe had become Mamacita’s street dog, events transpired which led to Simeon’s departure from San Miguel and his vocation as a sheep dog would commence.
It happened like this: several weeks after Phillipe had been attending daily table at Mamacita’s, Domingo, the foreman of the Macias Hacienda, the largest cattle and sheep hacienda in the state of Guanajuato, came to Mamacita Hernandez’s slightly drunk on tecate, a drink made from fermented cactus. The Mamacita did not care for Domingo but tolerated him because he sent large numbers of ranch hands, imported from the nearby state of Guerrero, to dine at her table and paid her well, 12 pesos each.
For this, Domingo expected free food whenever he was in town and he took many opportunities to visit Mamacita Hernandez’s stall for a plateful of chicken, rice and beans. He was a small dark man with a heavy stubble beard, which he shaved every three or four days. His clothes were mostly red shirts and white pants with a sweat soaked straw hat on his head. Rumors among the humans were to the effect that he was not even Mexican, but an Argentine from the Pampas, who had forged immigration papers and had hired a Mexican language tutor to modify his accent. No one knew for sure. He was known as a hard-driving employer and not many humans were said to favor his company. People concluded that he lived for his work and his paycheck which was thought to be over 15,000 pesos a month.
As Domingo approached Mamacita’s eating table one day Phillipe was lying contentedly near the blazing fire of Mamacita’s cookstove. He had taken advantage of two overturned plates of food earlier in the day and was dozing, waiting for something to stir his interest enough to move him from his lethargy.
As Domingo approached the stall, he nodded his head to the Señora, saying nothing, and took his place at her table along with two other men who were finishing their coffee with milk, a drink that was one of Mamacita’s specialties.
Domingo began examining his surroundings, familiar to him by now. Quickly, Phillipe, still dozing, came into view. Phillipe’s eyes opened at this point and his eyes met Domingo’s. Domingo's eyes shifted away from the encounter and he paused momentarily for some thought. Then he barked at the Mamacita: "Where’d that stray come from?"
Mamacita stopped her preparation of Domingo’s meal and turned from the grill covering the hot fire to face him.
Domingo was notorious for kidnapping young dogs for his hacienda where they were transformed into vicious watchdogs or perhaps if they were young, large and intelligent, sheepdogs. Given Phillipe’s small stature there was little chance that he would be trained to be a sheepdog and in all likelihood in short order he would be turned into a ruthless watchdog.
The Mamacita, having pondered her response for a moment, responded to Domingo's question.
"A gift from my mother, Señor Herrera." The Mamacita turned her full attention to Domingo, neglecting the chicken on the fire that was nearly ready to burn. "She gave it to me as a gift before she died. On her deathbed she made me promise that I would take care good care of it and protect it until its own death."
"On her deathbed your mother gave you this dog, Señora? When did your mother die?"
"Eight months ago, Señor Herrera, in Aguacalientes."
"I did not see you wearing black as a mourning sign."
"No, I did not, Señor, for I felt that would be bad for my business and discourage customers and I was much in need of money."
"Well, I need that dog for my Hancienda. We are very short of watchdogs and that one has fine teeth and strong haunches. I will make an exception in your case, Señora, and pay you for your mother's dog — 200 pesos for him — agree?"
Mamacita paused and thought, frowning as she did so.
"No señor, he is worth much more than 200 pesos. I would not consider any amount less than 2000 — if I was to sell him, which I cannot because of the oath that I made to my mother on her deathbed."
"I see, Señora. I see."
Neither Domingo nor the Mamacita were sure of their next move at this point. Both had staked out positions and neither was likely to endure a defeat on the issue so quickly joined. Mamacita turned to rescue her burning chicken from the fire and Domingo turned to mumble something to the other men who were about to leave the table.
At this point, Simeon approached the table from around the corner where he had been attending another dinner table. Simeon was larger than Phillipe, stronger in countenance from appearance, with white fur except for tan in his cheeks and nose. Of late he had begun coming by Phillipe’s table as he was not chased away by Mamacita. As he approached, Mamacita put out her hand with a chicken neck in it and Simeon accepted it happily. Domingo returned his attention to the Señora, eying Simeon.
"Is this your dog also, Señora?"
"Yes, Señor, also a gift from my mother on her deathbed."
Domingo scowled. "And I suppose you also made an oath to care for this stray mongrel as well?"
"Yes Señor, also to my mother on her deathbed."
"And I suppose you won't part with this half-breed for less than 2000 pesos either?"
"Yes, Señor, and even at that price I would feel the weight of my mother’s spirit upon me when I go to Mass."
Mamacita passed Domingo his plate, heaped with grilled chicken, rice and beans, and tortillas. Domingo eyed the food and then looked up at Mamacita.
"You know, Señora, I provide you with many customers for your food."
"I know, Señor."
"And there are many other Señoras with good tables around this Jardin where I could send my men."
"This too I know, Señor."
"Well, perhaps you should in this one case be somewhat disrespectful to the memory of your mother and part with one of your dogs. I will go to 500 pesos, not one peso more."
The Mamacita’s eyes dropped as she considered her position. She busied herself at the fire for some moments, finally turning to Domingo.
"All right, Señor, because you provide me with many good customers, I will sell you the white dog for 500 pesos, my mother forgive me for what I'm doing."
Domingo slowly nodded his head with approval, his mouthful of chicken and beans, eyeing Simeon who was gnawing on the chicken neck on the far side of Mamacita’s stall.
Slowly Domingo reached into his rear pocket for his ever present stretch of hemp cord, kept for just such occasions. After taking the hemp firmly in his right hand he grabbed another chicken neck from the grill and slowly made his way toward Simeon, smiling and holding the chicken neck out for him.
As Domingo approached, Simeon looked up, surprised and somewhat suspicious. However, his desire for a second chicken neck soon overcame his suspicions and he moved slowly towards the neck in Domingo's outstretched hand. As Simeon reached for the chicken neck, Domingo grabbed Simeon by the scruff of the neck and fell on the dog’s back, holding Simeon motionless with both of his strong arms wrapped around the dog's torso. The chicken bone dropped to one side and Simeon lashed out at Domingo with his teeth from both sides.
But these attacks were futile as Domingo had positioned himself so that his head was out of range of the dog’s teeth. In an inkling, Domingo had tied a taut noose around Simeon’s neck and was off the dog. Immediately, Simeon attacked Domingo, teeth baring, but a quick kick in the cheek by Domingo sent the yearling reeling. Clearly, Domingo was experienced in capturing strays for the Macias Hacienda. Domingo reached into his side pocket for another small piece of rope and deftly tied Simeon’s mouth shut. It would be several weeks before Simeon would be allowed the freedom of mouth movement without that rope except for feeding.
Domingo returned to his meal and the Señora reluctantly gave him a nod of approval for his work. Domingo ate contentedly for ten more minutes or so and then reached into his wallet and brought out a crisp 500 peso note which he handed to Mamacita.
"You can buy many rosary candles with 500 pesos, Señora."
"I will need them, Señor."
And so began Simeon's life as a sheepdog at the Macias Hacienda.
* * *
(Mark Scaramella notes: This story was Chapter 1 of an unfinished novel by my brother Hugh Scaramella which he began in the 1980s for a writing class he was taking at SF State after returning from a couple of years traveling in and around San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. The story draws from Hugh’s personal observations while there. I recently came across this typewritten manuscript in Hugh’s personal belongings with the hope that there was more. My brother had told me that he had written drafts of one or two more chapters in which Phillipe takes up with a new group of strays with further canine adventures, eventually coming into conflict with a much bigger and stronger stray which threatened both Luchadora and Phillipe’s food supply. After some extensive and tense buildup, there was to be a big confrontation which would pit Phillipe’s skill, cunning and band of strays against the bigger dog’s size and strength. But my brother could never decide how the encounter should end and gave up on the project, leaving only this first chapter.)
Regarding the dead tree dilemma, advocating for cutting 55 million trees in our national forests. The author makes the unsubstantiated claim that California’s drought is largely the result of too many trees left unharvested.
This is exactly the opposite of the facts. Forests (trees) play a key role in the water cycle, as they help reduce evaporation, store water, and contribute to atmospheric moisture in the form of transpiration. This means that cutting down trees in the name of economics will exacerbate drought conditions by exposing surface water to more evaporation. Cutting down trees is known to reduce a forest’s watershed potential.
In the Sierra, moisture from tree transpiration is pushed up the slopes, where it forms into clouds and then comes back to Earth as rain from the typical summer thunderstorms. With more than half a million acres of forest already clear-cut on private land by large timber companies like Sierra Pacific Industries, we are already seeing far less frequent summer thunderstorms. To deal with higher temperatures and less winter rain, we need more trees to increase the ability of the soil and hold and slowly release the rain we do get.
James Feichtl, Belmont
GOING, GOING, GONE?
by Carolyn Lochead
Evidence of what scientists are calling the planet’s Sixth Mass Extinction is appearing in San Francisco Bay and its estuary, the largest on the Pacific Coast of North and South America, according to a major new study.
So little water is flowing from the rivers that feed the estuary, which includes the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, Suisun Marsh and the bay, that its ecosystem is collapsing, scientists who conducted the study say.
Human extraction of water from the rivers is not only pushing the delta smelt toward extinction, they say, but also threatening dozens more fish species and many birds and marine mammals, including orca whales, that depend on the estuary’s complex food web.
The findings by scientists at the Bay Institute, an environmental group, underline conclusions already reached by state regulators and are intended to buttress the environmental case for potentially drastic water restrictions in San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area, and among farmers in the northern San Joaquin Valley.
The State Water Resources Control Board moved last month to require that Californians leave far more water — 40 percent of what would naturally flow during spring — in the San Joaquin River and its three main tributaries, the Tuolumne, Merced and Stanislaus rivers, in an effort to save fish species.
That would double the amount of water protected from human use in most years, according to the board. Last year, only 10 percent of the San Joaquin River, the second-largest in the state, reached the delta, as the rest was diverted or stored upstream. The Tuolumne, which is San Francisco’s main water supply, is one of the state’s most over-tapped rivers, with about 80 percent of its normal flow directed to human uses.
Jon Rosenfield, the lead scientist on the Bay Institute report, said people take so much water from the rivers that the estuary’s entire ecosystem is in collapse.
“Our estuary is being choked” by a lack of fresh water, Rosenfield said. Over the past four decades, he said, urban users and farmers have diverted so much water from the rivers that in all but the wettest years, severe drought has become a permanent condition for wildlife.
UC Davis fish biologist Peter Moyle, who is not connected with the study and had not viewed its results, confirmed in a telephone interview that native fish species in the estuary face dire conditions.
“You don’t have to look far to find documentation of the Sixth Extinction,” Moyle said. “It’s happening now in California.”
Moyle said that of the roughly 120 native freshwater fish species in California, “over 80% of those are faced with extinction by the end of the century if current trends continue.”
“I always tell people there’s always going to be an ecosystem out there; it just may not be one we like,” Moyle said, “and it’s increasingly headed in that direction.”
The study, which was sponsored by the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, a quasi-governmental agency, found that lack of freshwater flows, especially during the ecologically critical winter and spring months, has had profound effects. These include:
(x) Looming fish extinctions. In addition to the delta smelt, which farmers often blame for water cutbacks, five other native fish species are severely endangered. Among them are two runs of chinook salmon, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and Central Valley steelhead. Dozens of others, such as fall run chinook salmon, white sturgeon and the Sacramento splittail, are in severe decline, listed currently as “species of concern.”
(x) Starvation of fish-dependent species. Orca whales off the coast rely on chinook salmon for food. As salmon populations plummet, the whales are exhibiting signs of food deprivation and reproductive failure. Other marine mammals such as seals and fish-eating birds — pelicans, terns and cormorants — are also affected. Twenty-two species of birds in the estuary are listed as endangered, threatened, or species of concern. Habitat loss is the main stress, but it is compounded by a decline in available food.
(x) Diminished freshwater to the Gulf of the Farallones. This national marine sanctuary just outside the Golden Gate is a hot spot of marine and avian life fed by a plume of brackish water — part fresh and part saline — that has declined as river flows into the estuary have fallen.
Increased salinity. Lack of freshwater has harmed zooplankton that lie near the base of the food chain, providing food for fish and birds. Salinity changes encourage invasive species such as the overbite clam, which in turn reduces phytoplankton at the base of the food web.
(x) Lack of sediment. Reduced river flows mean less sediment is deposited on the bay’s beaches and tidal marshes.
“The bottom line is we’ve simply diverted too much water for fish to be able to survive,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, in announcing the draft rules last month. The board is taking public comment until Nov. 15 and plans to issue final rules next spring.
The board’s 40% target for river flows is a third lower than the 60 percent level that the board recommended in 2010. The new target is a compromise to try to help wildlife without imposing draconian cutbacks on cities and farms.
Rosenfield said the 40% target is too low and won’t work. “Forty percent isn’t a river,” he said.
But modeling by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which opposes the plan, found that even a smaller target — 35%— would lead to water supply cuts of 42% to 52% in drought years, said commission spokesman Charles Sheehan, who added that up to 188,000 jobs would be lost among the agency’s 2.6 million Bay Area customers.
“It’s hard to see how our community continues to thrive and prosper with that level of water rationing,” Sheehan said.
Chris Scheuring, a lawyer for the California Farm Bureau, a farmer group, said farmers in the northern San Joaquin are expected to put up a stiff fight.
“I hear talk from our membership up on the (tributaries) that they are not in a lay-down mode on this one,” Scheuring said. “It’s just too big for them to not push back.”
Scheuring said that “in a vacuum, a biologist would want all the water back in the river, but that’s just not human reality.”
With close to 40 million people in California, he said, “the idea that we can just sort of stop diverting from our rivers — the argument hardly even needs to be made against it.”
(The San Francisco Chronicle)
THE COMEDIAN LOUIS C.K. was working at Trump’s Castle in Atlantic City where he started to notice a disturbing trend. “I saw this thing happening where buses were showing up from all over the country with little old ladies,” he explained. “They take what little they have…They take that nothing, the little tiny scraps, and they turn it into chips and they pour buckets of money into his machines.”
When Trump and his toupee finally made an appearance in Atlantic City, Louis was shocked to see that he just walked around, expressing absolutely no gratitude to the folks who filled his coffers. “He didn’t say ‘thank you’ to anybody, he just walked around… and when I was in the elevator with him I just looked in his face, and he was just miserable looking. And everybody was so excited to see him, and they’re giving him everything.”
At this point, C.K. came up with the theory that fueled that Horace and Pete punchline. He recalled thinking, “He has everything, right? And they’re leaving on the same bus just with nothing; they’re ruining their lives. And I saw this like as a reverse-charity… These women, these old ladies, they don’t need anything. They live in a shitty place and they have two dollars, and they’re like, ‘Eh, I don’t need it, it’s ok, he needs it!’ If he looks in the mirror, and he has ten dollars, he’s going to kill himself.” He concluded, “He has a $10 billion deficit in his heart. So if he doesn’t have that much money, he’s nothing. So they were like, ‘Donald, you take this!’ Because they’re invested in his charity… Thank you for your money, now I need control over your lives.’”
— Amy Zimmerman
THE SWAMP OF THE SUBCONSCIOUS
by Manuel Vicent
(Translated by Louis Bedrock)
Schoolboy James Joyce had just completed the spiritual exercises at San Ignacio. The meticulous description of the death rattle of one's final mortal moment, the putrefaction of the body that would be food for worms, and the just punishment of eternal fire had branded a terror onto his soul forever.
One must imagine the adolescent Joyce, his face plagued with acne, kneeling down in the confessional box of the chapel of the Belvedere High School of London, being caressed on the cheeks by a smarmy Jesuit while he poured out his evil thoughts and carnal sins in the darkness of the confessional booth. Every time he got stuck, the father confessor would encourage him to continue with another slap on the neck as if he were spurring on a colt to jump over a hurdle. He knew that once he was forgiven, he would stumble once more and would be gnawed by regret. And thus it would always be. It was from this muddy quagmire that he would extract the best pages of his literature.
He came from a progenitor who was a spendthrift, a drinker, and profoundly Catholic. During one of his economic breakdowns, before he enrolled his son in Belvedere High School, he had sent him to The Christian School--an institution for the poor--an event that the proud spirit of Joyce tucked away in a remote corner of his subconscious as a humiliating fall from grace.
He enrolled in medical school but promptly changed to the study of languages and comparative grammar in the Catholic University of Dublin, located next to Saint Stephen's Green Park; however, not even there could he free himself from the tormented saints and the votive candles of tallow found in the byzantine style church housed in the same building.
In the center of the city was Trinity College, the synthesis of the elitist Protestant spirit of Ireland, and although the students of both systems of training and belief shared the meadows of the park of Dublin, young Joyce grew up pouring out his rebellion against the complex of an impoverished family, Irish nationalism mixed up with priests, and Protestant arrogance that supported the British invader--the three nooses that were choking him. The only solution was to run away. Joyce had been born in 1882; at the age of twenty, he made his first attempt at escape. He went to Paris and after wandering around Quartier latin like a dog without a collar, he returned to the grimy turf of Dublin.
One day, the sixteenth of June 1904, he crossed paths with a girl standing in front of a store window on Nassau Street. He flattered her. She returned a smile and it was the seal that would unite two lives from that moment until death. Nora Barnacle was a redheaded girl from Galway who worked as a waitress in Finn's Hotel, right next to Trinity College. Uninhibited, illiterate, realistic, cheerful, and ready for anything, the girl taught the repressed young man to free himself from the Catholic morality. One Sunday evening, the couple was walking around the wharfs of the port of Dublin; when they found themselves in the dark, sitting on a stairway in a deserted alleyway, she, with some expertise, helped him to experience the delights of masturbation, an act that resulted in a storm of guilt and retrospective jealousy in the morbid mind of Joyce: an adverse effect of his Jesuit education.
Nora Barnacle helped Joyce get out of the country permanently. Like two fugitives, they left without ever looking back, headng for any destination that wouldn't require dealing with the harangues of the Irish separatists, the appalling sermons of the Catholic priests, or the elitism of Trinity College.
Joyce hated neophytes who went to purify themselves on the wild, rocky isles of Aran where the roots of Celtic culture were preserved. At the other extreme was the rationalism of Europe. Joyce accepted the position of Professor of English at Triest and there began the pilgrimage that would carry him to Rome, to Zurich, and to Paris, although he never managed to get Ireland off his back: he carried it around like a hump until the end of his days.
The relationship between Joyce and Nora was a continuing erotic storm in which she controlled the rudder with extraordinary mastery. At times she excited him with pornographic cards during his absences, other times she teased him leading him around by the reins only to later submerge him in depths of pure lechery. She did this without failing to care for him and to attend to every detail of his domestic life.
One day Nora told him the story of Michael Bodkin, a boy who was in love with her. It was her last night in Galway, which she had to leave because of a job in Dublin. The boy tossed a few pebbles against her window and when she looked out, she saw him in one end of the garden crying, trembling under a downpour of rain. The boy died from pneumonia 15 days later. Nora always believed he had died for her.
This incident began to bore into the mind of Joyce who couldn't find a way to elude that ghost until he transformed him into the protagonist of "The Dead", the most profound story of his book Dubliners.
Even before he had published anything, except a book of poems titled Chamber Music, his classmates saw Joyce as a genius who spilled through a succession of pubs like the foam of a pint of Guinness.
All of the residual bitterness from his antipathy toward the clergy and his family flowered in the book A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, which was published in the North American magazine The Egoist thanks to the good offices of his protector Ezra Pound. This book began to refill his memory with bits and pieces of his past and served as an overture for his great book, Ulysses.
He was merely an obscure professor of languages lost in a Europe that was between two world wars. He was going blind because of childhood iritis--an inflammation of the iris, and he wore a patch over one eye like a pirate of literature. It was rumored that he was writing an epic story. While Europe was filling with rubble, Joyce was in Zurich working like a caterpillar fabricating a story about an Irish Jew named Leopold Bloom who realizes a tour of Dublin in twenty-four hours. The action takes place on June 16th of 1904 in memory of the day in which Joyce met Nora Barnacle in front of the store window on Nassau Street.
During his round, this common man, who had eaten a roasted pig's kidney for breakfast and was carrying a potato in his jacket pocket, releases a stream of consciousness that serves as an excipient for his dreams and his unspeakable desires that arise from the murky depths that sustain the life of any ordinary citizen. Meanwhile, his wife waits for him in bed until the early hours of dawn, her passion and her memory throbbing.
This entire flood of putrid slime that had been poured into the soul of Joyce in Belvedere High School and The Catholic University of Dublin overflow from that faraway confession booth of his adolescence into the pages of this bulky tome.
Although it appears obscene, it is but the logbook of an everyday antihero, a navigator of asphalt, who discovers Ithaca within the garbage dump of his own being.
Ulysses was published in Paris in 1922 by Silvia Beach, the North American owner of Shakespeare and Company bookstore located at number 12, rue de l'OdÃ©on. It is one of the 8,000-meter summits of world literature and it is best scaled along the northern face where one always finds the best mountain climbers.
THE DANCE OF DECEPTION
by Scott M. Peterson
Dr. Astrid Scholz is a genius. A Ph.D. in energy and resources from UC Berkeley, she ran an Oregon nonprofit named Ecotrust for ten years. ‘I’m very proud of my accomplishments there,’ she told me. Doing it all on her feet. With ‘The Dance of Deception.’
In 2007, the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative crippled the California fishing industry. Taking one-fifth of the Golden State’s best ocean fishing areas away with the stroke of a pen. Designating them as Marine Protected Areas — or MPAs. With ‘science’ cooked up by Dr. Scholz and Ecotrust. And then hidden from the public. Why? Because that science is so darned amazing — it shows precisely where all the money is. Like a friggin’ treasure map. At least according to Dr. Scholz — The Dancer.
If it can’t be replicated, it ain’t science. Everybody knows that. ‘The science behind California’s MPAs is absolutely replicable,’ she insisted. ‘I designed it.’ There was a note of pride in her voice. Then we got down to business. About something on her website. Where she mentions The Dance.
It was done for money, she explained. With foundations. Telling me how the people who run billion dollar charities aren’t very bright. Which is where the deceit comes in. So I asked how often she’s done it. ‘More times than I can count,’ she said. ‘Everybody does it.’ Pushing my eyebrows up. And prompting my next question — What’d keep that from happening to science?
Dr. Scholz was less specific on that one. Telling me how bulletproof Ecotrust’s network security is. And what classy people work there. Plus the fact that Ecotrust is a nonprofit. Making their work un-FOIA-able. Referring to the Freedom Of Information Act. So nobody on earth can take advantage of it. With the exception of authorized personnel.
Then I asked, ‘Would it surprise you to learn that an Ecotrust scientist went into the commercial fishing business after getting that information?’ Dr. Scholz said that was impossible. Then I told her it’d happened. And there was more. The very same scientist contradicted what Dr. Scholz said about the replicability of that science. Telling me there was no way to verify where the fish were. Throwing Dr. Scholz and Ecotrust squarely under the bus.
Arguing that point, Dr Scholz dismissed my unnamed source as ‘mythical.’ Insisting that Ecotrust’s science had been done by folks with letters after their names. And couldn’t be unraveled by lesser minds. Breaking ground for my next inquiry. Was her science done by fish scientists? ‘Of course not,’ she answered. ‘It was all about socioeconomics. So it was done by lots of scientists.’ All of them with college degrees. Uh-huh.
Rebecca ‘Beck’ Barger was one of them. She holds a BS in cultural anthropology from Appalachian State University. Making her a perfect fit for Dr. Scholz’s little science project. She’s not hard to find either. After gathering all that valuable information for Ecotrust, ‘Beck’ went into the commercial fishing business. With a fleet of six boats at Half Moon Bay. As the owner of an outfit called Small Boat Seafood. She’s got a website and everything. Including a phone number and email address. Something the brilliant Dr. Scholz apparently hadn’t considered.
I asked ‘Beck’ a direct question — What’d keep an Ecotrust employee from going into the commercial fishing business after collecting all that valuable commercial fishing information? ‘Nothing,’ Barger giggled.
‘The business of social change is broken,’ according to Dr. Scholz. That’s on her website too. So I asked if that statement was science or speech. ‘It’s both,’ she said. Then she started namedropping. Claiming support from the Rockefeller Foundation. Who also has a website. So I gave them a holler. To check out Dr. Scholz’s Dance Partners.
The communications veep at Rockefeller is Neill Coleman. Who was kind enough to send me a link to their latest Form 990s. Revealing millions in support for Ecotrust. But zero for Dr. Scholz. Huh. He’d never heard about ‘The Dance of Deception’ before. They’ve even got a Code of Conduct prohibiting it. Which got me wondering about the origin of that phrase.
It started as an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review from 2008. The author was William Foster. Who saw it as a solvable problem for nonprofits. By raising more money. It was mentioned again by Elli Malki in 2014. He saw it as a budgeting issue. By spending less money. And again — was solvable. Both authors are fairly well-known in the nonprofit world. But Dr. Scholz told me she’d never heard of them. So I got Philanthropic Professionals, Inc. on the horn. Out in Billings, Montana.
That’s Laura Nelson’s operation. She’s been in the nonprofit fundraising business since 1992. Who couldn’t make heads or tails of Dr. Scholz’s dancing career. ‘But I’ll tell you one thing,’ she chuckled. ‘Once a nonprofit starts deceiving donors, the business of social change is definitely broken for everybody.’ Dr. Scholz had claimed that her hit rate on grant proposals was 100%. When I told Nelson about that, she just laughed. ‘Of course she did,’ Nelson added, ‘If someone’s willing to cheat donors, what’s to keep them from lying to a reporter?’ Adding that her own hit rate on grant proposals is only one-in-four.
Then she said something I didn’t expect. ‘Ph.D.s make lousy employees,’ she confided. ‘I’ve hired them before. But never again.’ Why? According to Nelson, they’re lazy. They’re arrogant. And they’re unreliable. Particularly in scientific studies. Where they’ve been known to — well — just make stuff up. Like Dr. Diederik Stapel. The Dutch psychology professor — and Ph.D. — who got caught using fake data in his research papers. At least thirty of them. One on racial stereotypes. Like Adolf Hitler did with that whole ‘Master Race’ thing — but with a Ph.D. Then right after getting busted, Stapel got straight back to work. Teaching philosophy at the Fontys Academy for Creative Industries in Tilburg. That’s in the Netherlands — where Dr. Scholz is from. Yeah.
California fishermen really got fucked on the MPAs here. Winding up with one for every seven miles of coastline. While Oregon — where Ecotrust and Scholz are located — got one in seventy. Why? As Dr. Scholz described it, a little old nuisance called Democracy got in the way. California’s MPAs got picked by a private agency. Oregon’s got picked by their governor. There was a hint of disdain in Dr. Scholz’s voice as she said that. As if elected officials have some loathsome disease. Taking us back to my original point.
Interviews with subjects like Dr. Scholz would be incomplete without zingers. Questions that should be asked — but seldom are. So I let ‘er fly. ‘Why should I trust you?’ I asked. ‘You deceive charitable foundations for money.’ Dr. Scholz responded by doing something familiar. She giggled. Just like ‘Beck’ Barger had. Leaving her answers with little impact after that. But me with a couple more bullets.
Nonprofits are public entities. Ditto for compensation. So I asked Dr. Scholz about her salary at Ecotrust. How she felt about it nearly tripling — while the income of California fishermen plummeted. Inspiring her to tell me how lucky we all were for having her around. Because it could’ve been so much worse. Taking me to Dr. Scholz’s former employer — Ecotrust — for one last question.
The Rockefeller Foundation has a code of conduct that prohibits deception. It’s even posted online. But Ecotrust doesn’t. Neither does Dr. Scholz. Do their funding sources know about that? Just to make sure, I sent them an email. Through Carolyn Holland, Dr Scholz’s replacement. With a copy to Neill Coleman from the Rockefeller Foundation. Holland got right back to me — anxious to schedule an interview. Which was funny. Because before then, I couldn’t get the time of day from her. I told her that until Ecotrust published a Code of Conduct like the Rockefeller Foundation had, I didn’t see the point. Copying Neill Coleman in plain sight. Something that Holland wasn’t able to do.
Then I circled back to Dr. Scholz. To see if what I’d heard from her a few days before had changed. Sure enough, it had. She distanced herself from being ‘the’ designer of the MPA selection process. Even though she’d taken credit as primary author on a 2003 paper with six others. Identifying that process as ‘our’ design. Okay.
Next, she made a clarification. ‘The Dance of Deception’ isn’t something that everybody does. But ‘a phenomenon well known to anyone who does fundraising for non-profit organizations.’ Dr. Scholz backed that up with a 2004 article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Written by a frustrated fundraiser named Melinda Tuan — and fellow Dancer. According to Ms. Tuan’s account, she co-founded the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund — or REDF — in 1997. But the folks in charge there claim that REDF wasn't founded until November of 2003. And got zero in the way of public support before 2004. Which tends to explain Ms. Tuan’s frustration — but not her confusion. Her resume speaks volumes. Supposedly providing ‘hands-on assistance’ for REDF fundraising until 2003. Where it’s hard to see her raising anything but expenses. Ms. Tuan claims a Masters of Business Administration from Stanford. Which is hard to imagine for somebody who can’t tell time.
The only other citation Dr. Scholz gave for that ‘phenomenon’ was William Foster. The fellow whose name she didn’t recognize a few days earlier. The last clarification was about her batting average on grant proposals. Saying it was ‘better than average’ — but with no baseline data. Or round numbers for that matter. Suggesting equal precision for the ‘science’ she did at Ecotrust.
I also heard from a fisherman named Paul Schuyler. He operates a 30’ trawler out of Half Moon Bay. Named the ‘Flyer.’ Schuyler was one of Dr. Scholz’s precious subjects. He told me all about ‘Beck’s approach. Wearing a low-cut top with lots of makeup. And making plenty of eye contact. ‘She wanted to know where the halibut were,’ Schuyler said. Which is what she’s fishing for right now. So I asked if he’d been honest with her.
‘Hell no,’ Schuyler laughed. ‘I’m not stupid.’
LITTLE DOG WITH ORANGE BALL
ONE (1) BLOODY AZTEC OBSIDIAN-RAZOR-ENCRUSTED CRICKET BAT.
The recording of last night's (2016-10-07) KNYO and KMEC Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available to download and keep and skip around in via
Or you can get it from here (I've been told it's easier):
Also at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find links to a vast library of things to read and play with and learn about, things that might not necessarily work via radio but are nonetheless worthwhile, that I found while putting the show together, and all of it for free. Such as:
Olga Podluzhnaya Uutai on something like /Yakutia’s Got Talent/).
A comically frenetic Klein bottle distributor. A Klein bottle is a three-dimensional representation of a four-dimensional object, and this man’s robot-managed inventory of real Klein bottles occupies the cramped crawlspace under his house. Take a tour.
If antidepressant medicine ads were honest.
And, you know how in /Doctor Who/ every once in awhile the Doctor calls an event or plot point a fixed point in time that he can do nothing about? This is like that.
Ocean waves roll in breaking so softly
The fireball sun is brilliant and happy
Visitors arrive and promptly relax, because
This is island living! Do you not know?
We are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean
At the mercy of the Hawaiian Fire God and
Queen Surf (once a 50's popular beach side
Spot with a Polynesian garden and Samoan bar)
And really powerful spiritual forces here
Aren't working with anybody, because they've
Got their own agenda serving ancient mysteries
So set your big sails and hoist up the anchor
Because whatever you come across on this day
You must go beyond, leaving the swaying palms
And following trade winds to a further shore
Where the drum beats and luau will never end.
–Craig Louis Stehr