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MCT: Thursday, November 14, 2019

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COOL, CLOUDY CONDITIONS can be expected today, with light rain expected in some areas Friday morning. Sneaker waves and building surf are expected along area beaches this afternoon through early Friday morning. A warming and drying trend is expected over the weekend through Monday. Additional light rain will be possible Tuesday and Wednesday. (National Weather Service)

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Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over #3 seed Mendocino was a lot closer than many thought it would be. It was a hard-fought battle throughout. And to say #1 seed Anderson Valley has dominated Division 3 over the past 10 years would be an understatement — they have won championships in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018 & 2019.

(Earlier) Division 3 Soccer Championship Today 2:30 PM

Boonville 'Brawl For It All' - #3 Mendo & #1 AV

Let's face it - Mendocino has NEVER done well against the powerhouse teams of Anderson Valley - until this year.

Indeed, the record reflects that Mendocino is 0-10 against the Panthers dating back 12 years:

  • 10/02/2019 2-1 (L)
  • 9/26/2016 11-0 (L)
  • 9/25/2013 12-0 (L)
  • 10/22/2012 5-1 (L)
  • 9/16/2011 14-1 (L)
  • 10/20/2010 8-1 (L)
  • 09/17/2010 8-0 (L)
  • 10/23/2009 6-1 (L)
  • 10/17/2007 7-0 (L)
  • 09/14/2007 6-0 (L)

Anderson Valley has dominated Division 3 playoffs since 2010 - except in 2011 when they were the defending champion and #1 seed and were upset in the quarterfinals on penalty kicks (4-2) by #8 seed Emery High. That year, #4 seed Redwood Christian took the championship.

But winning six championships in nine years in impressive: 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2018.

This year, Mendocino (7-5 league, 9-6 overall) has a REAL chance of upsetting the Panthers (2-1-1 league, 5-2-2 overall - Maxpreps) - as indicated by their willingness to take a forfeit rather than play the Cardinals in the last game of the season - a game that was postponed due to the PG&E PSPS "outage."

The Panthers know they were fortunate to escape Mendocino with a 2-1 victory after a furious second-half comeback attempt by the Cardinals saw their 2-0 first-half shrink to 2-1.

And we're confident in predicting a Mendocino victory (and their first championship this century) today in Boonville - something that was a fantasy only three years ago.


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Ukiah police are investigating gunfire in a residential neighborhood involving two vehicles, damage to a nearby parked car and a pile of shell casings. Several people dialed 911 about 9:05 p.m. Tuesday, reporting 8 to 9 gunshots and the sound of vehicles fleeing the area of Observatory and Helen avenues in southwest Ukiah.

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Gassing Up in Navarro (photo by Annie Kalantarian)

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by Marilyn Davin

After passage by Californians at the ballot box, legal challenges, religious opposition, then finally the support of long-time opponent the California Medical Association, the California End of Life Option Act was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on October 5, 2015, and took effect the following year.

On a recent November morning in 2019, I had a front-row seat in a close friend’s living room. I was honored to sit quietly in a circle around Jeanne’s hospital bed, say good-bye and tell her how much I loved her, and to share her closely considered assisted death under the conditions of our state’s hard-won new law.

Jeanne was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer 18 months ago, and like every other cancer patient I have known, hoped for a miracle that would reverse the stark survival stats of this virulent and relentless disease. This brings us to the first fork in the road: go home and get your affairs in order or enter what I call Cancerland. Jeanne chose Cancerland.

Once you enter Cancerland your life as you’ve known it ends. Since Jeanne had Medicare and high-end private gap insurance, it was a full-court press. Five days a week were filled with appointments with oncologists, psychiatrists, end-of-life physicians (there is only one in our wealthy suburban area who will take it on) and a small army of techs who performed PET scans, cancer-marker blood tests and whatever else the medical/pharmacological industries have dreamed up. We even went to UCSF, where’s there’s a wing devoted just to pancreatic cancer. The dimensions and breadth of this business are staggering. It’s no wonder we’ll never see single-payer in our lifetimes.

Then one sunny day chemo began. Because her cancer had metastasized to other organs, Jeanne’s chemo contained a series of brand-new, uniquely super-aggressive chemicals. She felt sick all the time, lost her hair, pretty much couldn’t eat, and had chronic diarrhea. Her skin was so dry she couldn’t touch her arms without touching off an avalanche of dry flakes. Her regular scans continued, of course, and one day the cruelest thing imaginable happened to my friend: a scan showed that her tumors had shrunk into near non-existence. Hope – that sneaky deceiver – returned. Maybe she would beat the odds, maybe she’d see her grandkids graduate from high school, maybe a new medical break-through would save her, maybe she’d feel healthy again, maybe she’d even rejoin the blithe and unconscious ranks of the still-well.

It all suddenly seemed possible. She would be the exception who beat it, cancer would take her off its kill list. In a rush of new optimism she discounted the cautious tone in her oncologist’s voice when he told her that her response to chemo was unprecedented and truly remarkable but…still… she had Stage IV pancreatic cancer, which basically hides out in your body, waiting patiently for chemo to end so it can burst forth into full bloom.

And she did get a few more months, though there were a couple of scares. There was the spot in her breast, which proved to be benign but became the first chip in her hope for a full recovery. Waiting, always waiting. Then she started to feel sick, really sick, and her abdomen filled up with so much liquid that she couldn’t fit behind her steering wheel. Finally she was admitted to the hospital for a week, where she couldn’t move at all and had to be belted into a chair. The cancer was everywhere. She’d hit the wall.

When I visited her she was wearing her red DNR wristband and said she wouldn’t live like this, that she had watched her own mother die in agony from the same cancer and promised herself she wouldn’t suffer through that and put her kids through it. Her voice was strong, clear, determined. She knew what she wanted. Jeanne finally went home with hospice, where she lay stiffly like a graying statue in another hospital bed, this time at home.

Jeanne’s end-of-life doctor, an activist in the “Death with Dignity” movement, prescribed the so-called “cocktail” of chemicals that would kill her in her own living room less than half-a-week later. She had just taken three anti-nausea pills when I arrived at her house with two other close friends. We sat in a sort of semi-circle around her bed, where we waited a little more than half an hour for the next drugs, which I think relaxed her in some way. Jeanne’s nervous little black-and-white rescue dog periodically walked up to her bed, her black claws clicking and clacking on the hardwood, before retreating to the back of the room. She knew something was up. The drugs that would stop Jeanne’s heart were still about half an hour away.

Jeanne was mostly alert as we all chatted. She was an introvert and appreciated peace and contemplative quiet. But people can be funny when they’re uncomfortable or nervous and soon the group was bantering across the bed about how many cup holders there are for the kids in a large SUV, who had the first VW Beetle, what a granddaughter’s theatrical production was like at camp. I realized that many people are uncomfortable, perhaps even fear silence. I hope that anyone reading this will remember that if and when he or she finds him or herself sitting in a living room in a similar circumstance. It’s OK to just be quiet and hold someone’s hand. The dying person doesn’t need to hear the latest joke, how cold it is on the East Coast, how expensive it is to live in the Bay Area. Jeanne was way, way past those meaningless temporal concerns. She wasn’t afraid. But she knew she was staring Death in the eye and that Death wouldn’t be the first one to blink.

Under the law, a dying person choosing assisted suicide must take all end-of-life meds him or herself. So someone in the kitchen would prepare the meds, mix them with lemonade, and hand them over with a bowl of sorbet to cut the bitter taste.

Her son finally handed her a heavy white ceramic coffee cup, the kind you see in diners, with the third and final drugs that would end her life. After the first taste Jeanne’s face was a mask of horror; the taste must have been awful. But determined as I knew her to be, she took a few bites of sorbet, gamely picked up the white cup and drained it. Within only a few minutes her eyes rolled back in her head so only the whites showed. Her son kept trying to close them. We thought for sure it must be near the end. But then things became uncertain as Jeanne’s breathing seemed to stop before starting again with a sharp gasp. How would we know when she was really dead? After about half an hour she just wasn’t breathing anymore and it was over.

There’s no moral here. Had Jeanne not chosen the terms of her death and gone naturally into a coma, her final hour could have been much the same. But she had a choice, and that is what made all the difference. If it were possible for her to come back…just for a minute…to tell us so, I know she would say she chose her own, best path without regret.

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MARCUS CALDWELL pled guilty to forcible rape and three counts of penetration with a foreign object, along with one count of first degree burglary on the morning set for his jury trial, Tuesday, November 12th. Details of the crime did not come out in court – one of the chief reasons for a plea bargain is so the victim doesn’t have to re-live the rape in front of a room full of strangers, a jury, and answer the insinuating questions of a callous defense attorney, but what’s called a “factual basis” for the plea was read, to wit: “In the early hours of January 21st , 2018, Caldwell entered a residence [address not to be disclosed] on Tomki Road in Willits with intent to commit sexual acts and forcibly raped one Jane Doe {whose identity is to be protected} and on three separate occasions penetrated Ms. Doe with a foreign object.” Mr. Caldwell is facing 16 years in prison, eight years for the rape, and two years each for the four remaining counts. Judgment and Sentencing was set for December 19th 9:00 am.

— Bruce McEwen


ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE, Oct. 30, 2018 — On 1/21/18 around 6:43 AM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to the 2600 Block of Mitomka Way in Willits after a 30 year old female reported a man forced entry into her home and forcibly raped her. The suspect then fled the location. The victim was transported to Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits where a sexual assault examination was conducted and biological evidence obtained. Even though the attack happened in darkness the female victim was convinced, due to physical characteristics she noted during the assault, that her attacker was Marcus Caldwell, 27 years of age, also living in the Willits area. Caldwell was known to the victim prior to the assault. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives were called out to respond and conduct further investigation. It was discovered the suspect cut the power to the house prior to making entry. Caldwell was later contacted and he denied being involved in the attack. Caldwell volunteered his DNA sample to detectives, indicating the sample would clear him of any wrong doing. On 10/24/2018 Sheriff's Detectives were notified by the California Department of Justice Laboratory the DNA comparison had been completed and the results were matched to that of suspect Marcus Caldwell. The case was reviewed by the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office and a warrant issued for the arrest of Caldwell. On 10/26/2018 Sheriff's Detectives located Caldwell while he was working in Anderson Valley and he was taken into custody on one count of forcible rape. He was lodged into the Mendocino County jail with bail being set at $500,000. Caldwell was arraigned in the Mendocino County Superior Court on 10/30/2018 where his bail was continued at $500,000 and a no-contact restraining order was issued by Judge Moorman prohibiting Caldwell from having any contact with the victim in this case.

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by Bob Dempel

A good friend of mine’s wife called a few months ago and asked me to call her son. I called the young man and found out that he and his live in girlfriend were going to get married. I had volunteered to perform the ceremony, when it occurred. The son informed me that no date had been set. Since they already had a child no urgency seemed needed. Several months went by and I again called the son to inquire about a date. The ceremony was again put on hold due to an impending second child.

Not wanting to get caught flat-footed, I applied and received my certificate as a full-fledged minister. I am capable of performing marriages and all other ceremonies related to my new position. I was ready to perform my duties. I also called the Mendocino County Clerk’s office to make sure that there were no further rules or regulations I needed to follow. The clerk at the office informed me there was a full sheet of instructions that needed to be followed for the marriage to be fulfilled.

Not living full time in Mendocino County, I informed the clerk that the next time I was in Ukiah I would come by the office and get a copy of the instructions.

So last Tuesday I was in Ukiah for my Ukiah High-class of 1954 monthly luncheon. I timed my arrival early in Ukiah so I could go by the county clerk’s office to get the form, which lists 7 conditions that need to be completed so the marriage will be legal. The completed marriage license must be returned in 10 days after the ceremony. An envelope for this purpose is provided. And I could still make a noon lunch with my classmates at the truck stop.

Getting the form was fairly fast, and I also was able to get some help from a very nice person at the assessor’s counter which is in the same room. I needed to change the address for our tax bills since our house and office had completely burned down in the 2017 Tubbs fire. A Post Office box in Hopland is now used for all of our mail. This form was going to take a few minutes. That was fine with me and my bladder so off to the Loo I trotted.

Coming back from the Loo I looked into the chambers of the Board of Supervisors. The board was in session. I had never met either Ted Williams or John Haschak, both newly elected. I could not read the small name tags from the back of the room so I went to the front row. I still could not read the name tags. All of this time I was standing crippled with my cane.

I can only assume Haschak always behaves this way as he started yelling something at me. I explained I was a senior member of the county, even related to chairperson Carre Brown. I would like to put a face to the names of the new supervisors. I may even wish to vote for one of them.

The next thing I know is Mendocino County’s version of Vanna White, Deputy CEO Darcie Antle, was escorting me out of the room. The Supervisors were in the middle of a very important meeting. It couldn’t have been too important as there were only about 10 people in the audience. Having her hold my arm was worth the drive up from Santa Rosa. I hope the new supervisors get a second chance to meet and greet me before Eversole gets me.

Minister Dempel, Deputy CEO Antle

Back at the County Clerk’s office across the hall the nice lady had the form to show me correcting the address for our four tax bills on our ranch. I had now completed the two things I needed to come to the county administration center to complete. I even had time to make lunch at the truck stop with my classmates.

I never did get the envelope.

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SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: "Putting the private campground TOT to benefit local fire departments before voters in March passed with unanimous board support this morning. The final vote will be next Tuesday. The meeting ended in time for me to drop by Comptche for ambulance brainstorming with Davey Beak. More on this topic soon."

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Planning before an emergency is the best protection for your family and community

Take care of you, your family, your neighbors, and your community

Everyone leaves the meeting with information

Join together to work for progress


Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department Hosting

Thursday, November 14th


Location: Station 840 44700 Little Lake Road

Mendocino, CA

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POT COMMENT: The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors voted to proceed to study the idea of using the same satellite software program as Humboldt County. It was not a unanimous vote and there was spirited and reasonable opposition. Currently the Mendocino County Planning and Building Department has an abatement process that is complaint-driven (as Humboldt’s used to be) and there is concern about switching to a government vs people model (as there should have been in Humboldt). Mendocino County does not have the ability to place exorbitant abatement fines on properties as Humboldt has done. Those excessive fines (ex. $10,000/day) were approved by Humboldt County voters sick of terrible behavior from greedrushers. (Yes - many of those same greedrushers then bought permits). Mendocino County weed politics are being heavily influenced by Flo Kana and so it’s no surprise to see the idea of satellite spying being considered…the abatements as demonstrated by Humboldt County are a sure-fire way to destroy small to mid level grows and have their market share absorbed by large corporate grows…The best media coverage of Mendocino County’s evolving weed policy can be found in the Mendocino County Observer based out of Laytonville.

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From 'Another World' by Jean Ignace Isidore Gérad otherwise known as Grandville (1803 - 1847)

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Dear Editor,

I’m confused. Should I vote or not? I’m old enough now to see that it seems not to matter. Obama kills a bunch of people and bails out the banks and “progressives” don’t say anything. But if Bush did it they would scream at the top of their lungs. Is it just kind of like a boxing match where you want your guy to win? Everybody seems to do the same thing, which is not represent me. So why bother? You’re a funny guy and I’m sure you can give an hilarious response, but I’m asking for an honest answer in that BOLD type of yours. If space is an issue in not getting a response, could you just take a couple of paragraphs away from Jerry Philbrick where he says people not like him are stupid, which would be every paragraph?

Your friend,

Ralph Coon


ED REPLY: Ralph old boy, to vote or not to vote is kinda like the old zen question: If a tree falls in the forest and nobody of the two-footed type hears or sees it happen, did it fall? Something like that. Like, who cares one way or the other, right? At the risk of laying a lot of old guy pessimism on you, I always vote myself, but beyond the Mendo-Boonville arena, the choice is typically confined to Bad and Worse, and even here in Lilliput the choice is pretty much between lib and lab, probably because the process militates against self-respecting people stepping forward as candidates. Way back I used to run for stuff myself. One day I was promoting my rad-lib program, such as it was, in front of the Mendocino Post Office in the preciously suffocating little town thereof. This guys walks up and sneers right in my face, "You're all a buncha crooks." Wait a minute there, bub, I replied, you've jumped the gun. All I want is a chance to be a crook! Here in Pwogwessive County about ten percent of the vote goes to the good and the true, but already the libs are saying, "Anybody but Trump." Not me. I'm voting for Bernie. Period. Well, maybe Liz, not that I'm especially enthusiastic about her. But neither one of them has a chance in hell because The Money is against them, and the Democrats haven't been the party of the little guy since, I dunno, McGovern, and here in Mendo McGovern lost to Nixon (!) by a huge margin, something like 80-20. (My house was McGovern headquarters in '72. The abuse I suffered when I called around to get out the vote for our guy!) Philosophically, and even deeper, in my bones, I think it's obvious that we're seriously on the irreversible skids, that the rolling catastrophes likely to finish us off as a species are not only not being addressed, we seem to have crossed the line where they no longer can be addressed. Post-Trump — and I think given the Democrats he's good for another four years — we're probably looking at some kind of more or less benign stewardship presided over by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Anyway, apologies for lapsing into old coot mode at such length, but I'd recommend continuing to vote as a sort of existential gesture — democratic nostalgia — rather than objective hope that something good might get done.

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QUIZ TONIGHT — THURSDAY (today, the 14th) is the second Thursday of the month and that means the return of The Big Boonville General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz this evening at Lauren’s restaurant in Boonville. The tip-off is at 7pm and I hope to see you there.

Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quiz Master

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OUR CONCLUSION here at News Central, and we only heard bits and pieces, is that Trump wanted to trade arms for "dirt" on the Bidens. But no aid was ever withheld, and the Bidens, with Biden Jr. pulling down $80 thou a month sitting on the board of directors of a Ukranian power company, are hardly on the uppsies, are they? Whether or not unsuccessfully placing personal interest over the perceived overall welfare of US and the Ukraine is impeachable, we'll see, not that Trump can be finally impeached given that the Senate is dominated by Republicans. And the Democrats are going ahead with impeachment anyway, as has been obvious from the get. The charges against The Great Beast seem pretty small potatoes because, as we all know or should know, previous presidents, at least the modern ones, made secret deals with furriners as routine business all the time. Overall, it's a lotta posturing by Democrat bigwigs who, themselves, are impeachable in the broad sense of the term. Russiagate came to nothing, and Ukrainegate will be ditto. And the Demos will shaft Bernie again for a couple of corporo-feebs from the current group of mediocrities, and Trump gets another four years, thus accelerating the onrushing catastrophes.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 13, 2019

Bochman, Cox, Diaz-Avelar

TYLER BOCHMAN, Talmage. Criminal threats.

JOHNATHAN COX, Covelo. Domestic battery.

LUIS DIAZ-AVELAR, Covelo. Domestic abuse.

Estrada, Frease, Gibney

MICHAEL ESTRADA, Sacramento/Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, county parole violation, resisting.

ANGELA FREASE, Covelo. Controlled substance for sale.

RANDY GIBNEY, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse.

Gonzalez, Hayden, Hernandez

ANDRES GONZALEZ, Sacramento/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

DAVID HAYDEN, Covelo. DUI-drugs&alcohol, controlled substance, suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.

URIEL HERNANDEZ, Willits. Controlled substance paraphernalia.

Hicks, Hudgens, Pompa

JUDSON HICKS, Ukiah. Fugitive from justice.

TERESA HUDGENS, Escondido/Ukiah. Conspiracy.

QUINTANA POMPA, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, suspended license (for DUI & refusing chemical DUI test).

Sanchez, Saunders, Spiker

SAMUEL SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

THOMAS SAUNDERS, Ukiah. Failure to report as sex registrant.

JUSTIN SPIKER, Leggett. Controlled substance, under influence, disobeying court order, failure to appear.

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Letter from actor George Sanders to friend and colleague Brian Aherne (who had it framed and displayed in his study)

December 31st, 1937

Dear Brian,

I was very happy to receive your angry letter, and I am glad I shook you up a bit. Ask yourself this question: If money (greed); loyalty to theatrical tradition (pernicious exhibitionism); rigid conformity to social convention (masochism), are incompatible with personal happiness--which should be sacrificed?

You talk about the theatre as if it had some cosmic significance. As a matter of fact it is pathetically sublunary; a drab and dusty monument to man's inability to find within himself the resources of his own entertainment. It is usually rather fittingly housed in a dirty old building, whose crumbling walls occasionally resound with perfunctory applause, invariably interpreted by the actor as praise. A sad place, draughty and smelly when empty, hot and sick when full.

I wonder which is the sickest, the audience which seeks to escape its miseries by being transported into a land of make-believe, or the actor who is nurtured in his struggle for personal aggrandisement by the sickness of the audience.

I think perhaps it is the actor, strutting and orating away his youth and his health, alienated from reality, disingenuous in his relationships, a muddle-headed peacock forever chasing after the rainbow of his pathetic narcissism.

My love and best wishes for a happy New Year.


(via Jay Williamson)

Sanders, Ahern

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Yes, the fires are a disaster, the cost of living in Northern California is a disaster, the homeless situation is a disaster, and last but certainly not least, the amount of trash on our roadsides and hills is an embarrassment.

I exited the highway recently in Geyserville to return to my home and was greeted by the vision of several young men/boys smashing an old house trailer under the overpass. It is starting to feel and look like some sort of dystopian “Road Warrior” wasteland around here. Is there no pride in this community anymore?

I fear it is time to move on.

John Langlois


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EVO MORALES was the first indigenous president in his majority indigenous nation—one that has been ruled by a white European elite since the days of the conquistadors. While in office, his Movement Towards Socialism party has managed to reduce poverty by 42% and extreme poverty by 60%, cut unemployment in half and conduct a number of impressive public works programs.

Morales saw himself as part of a decolonizing wave across Latin America, rejecting neoliberalism and nationalizing the country’s key resources, spending the proceeds on health, education and affordable food for the population.

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The California Trucking Association on Tuesday filed what appears to be the first lawsuit challenging a sweeping new labor law that seeks to give wage and benefit protections to workers in the so-called gig economy, including rideshare drivers at companies such as Uber and Lyft. The legislation violates federal law and would deprive more than 70,000 independent truckers of their ability to work, the association said. Many would have to abandon $150,000 investments in clean trucks and the right to set their own schedules in order for companies to comply with a law it says illegally infringes on interstate commerce. The law set to take effect Jan. 1 makes it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees, who are entitled to minimum wage and benefits such as workers compensation.

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Both of our parties have degenerated into corrupt organisations where legislation is bought and paid for on a daily basis. My parents and grandparents came from a time when the Democrats actually worked on behalf of the working man and his family, but sadly, those days are gone. As far as the Republicans go, they have always been the party of the wealthy, so they didn’t have far to descend. What has puzzled me, is how they managed to convince working class people that they were on their side.

I know it started with Ronald Reagan, and they’ve been able to keep it going ever since. They know how to work the long con, and that’s a fact. If you had told my parents or grandparents that Republicans were on the side of the workers, they would have laughed in your face, and rightfully so.

Either way, looking at the current situation, I don’t see much hope for the blue collar guys, and I have told my kids so as well. With the coming revolution in AI, and robotics, we’re gonna be looking at a completely different world. Throw in climate change, and the problems that will come with it as well, and the future doesn’t look very promising. I’m doing what I can to try & prepare my kids for the coming shitstorm, but really it’s a flip of the coin as far as how things will work out. The one thing I do know, however, is that the wealthy will do better than the rest of us.

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MONOPOLIES cost Americans $300 a month. We're no longer the land of free markets

Based on my research, I estimate that monopolies cost the median American household about $300 a month. Taking into account all the other inefficiencies monopolies entail, I estimate that the lack of competition deprives American workers of about $1.25 trillion of labor income every year. No wonder, then, that American workers are angry.

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AMERICANS who’ve blown the whistle over serious offenses by the federal government either spend the rest of their lives overseas, like Edward Snowden, end up in jail, like Chelsea Manning, get arrested and ruined financially, like former NSA official Thomas Drake, have their homes raided by FBI like disabled NSA vet William Binney, or get charged with espionage like ex-CIA exposer-of-torture John Kiriakou. It’s an insult to all of these people, and the suffering they’ve weathered, to frame the ballcarrier in the Beltway’s latest partisan power contest as a whistleblower.

—Matt Taibbi

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CHARLES DARWIN wrote to his American colleague Asa Grey in 1860, 'I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidæ [wasps] with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars.' If only he had known! There are MUCH worse things than that. The beautiful green-eyed Dinocampus coccinellæ is a parasite wasp. The female sticks her egg-laying tube, or ovipositor, into a ladybug and lays an egg. The egg hatches, and over the next twenty days the wasp larva chews its way through many of the ladybug's internal organs. Then the larva somehow squeezes its way out of the ladybug's abdomen while its unfortunate host is still alive. The wasp larva spins itself a little ball of silk between the ladybug's legs, where it transforms into a pupa. Something quite remarkable happens next: the ladybug's behavior abruptly alters. It stops moving and just stands there, stock still, like a living shield. Every time a hungry foe of wasps approaches, the ladybug gives a jerk, thereby scaring off anything that might consider eating the now-helpless monster which has just eaten it up. This lasts for a week, until the wasp hatches and flies off, leaving the ladybug to its own devices.

The big question here is how the wasp mother can control the ladybug, transforming her into a zombie babysitter. After all, several weeks have passed since she laid her egg and vanished. The answer is that the wasp mother injects the ladybug not just with an egg but also with a virus. The virus accumulates in the brain and is controlled by a timing mechanism that paralyzes the ladybug at the precise moment when the larva is squeezing its way out. The virus enables the wasp to take over the brain of the ladybug, making it serve not just as baby food but also as babysitter.

—Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson, 2018; from "Buzz Sting Bite"

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  1. Craig Stehr November 14, 2019

    Declaring Spiritual Autonomy from the Complete Chaos of Postmodern America
    Warmest spiritual greetings, I am declaring full spiritual autonomy in order to free myself from the chaotic insane mess that postmodern America has become. This follows 40 years of frontline peace & justice and radical environmental organizing and activism, plus writing prodigiously about it all, getting published, and sharing the wisdom earned with all. I find it to be beyond stupid that the American society never contributed anything at all in regard to my basic material maintenance, but was only too happy to receive free of charge Catholic Worker service for 23 years, 40 years of common sense environmental participation with Earth First!, uncountable direct actions with innumerable groups which benefitted society and the planet earth, (which includes 15 times being active in Washington, D.C.), and in spite of some of the most seriously crazy bullshit in the name of God from both mainstream and new age organizations, nevertheless, Self-realization was achieved. I wish everyone the very best of luck. It is with the greatest joy that I disassociate from you.
    OM Shanthi

    Craig Louis Stehr
    November 13, 2019

  2. Professor Cosmos November 14, 2019

    The picture of the impending doom conveyed by the editor is of course being ignored. Except by Craig who wants to dissociate from the sapiens who BA feels will soon be gone. (Factually, this is not so….we have been seeded on some other planets, and will be here in reduced numbers after the great disruption we are now starting to see.)

    There will be a blank canvas and new imaginings to paint a new cultural order. So, we can feel optimistic rather than pessimistic, if we recognize this.

    Joint Chiefs wont rule: their recent studies say the military will collapse in 20 years. They wont be able to hydrate the troops. Governance will be localized. Thankfully, Ted is young!

    I have been analyzing the coming impact to our area. Sea level rise leaves us untouched except where rivers empty into the ocean and ft bragg and points north. 101 is a body of water to a point just north of santa rosa. We remain mostly high and dry.

    I figure there wont be late life nursing home care for people my age at a certain point. The collapse will be faster i suspect than what people are now willing to contemplate.

    There is another interesting factor that may possiblyl catch us by surprise….the emergence of advanced alien civilizations!

    I know for a fact now that they are watching all of this.

    • Professor Cosmos November 14, 2019

      Note to historians in 2050 who study AVA archives:

      The best designation for this time has been coined by local anthropologist Bruce McEwen. This was The Era of Cupidity.

    • Harvey Reading November 14, 2019

      It’s good to dream. Even better to realize that dreams mostly reflect distortions of reality.

    • Craig Stehr November 14, 2019

      The great love of the Jnani for all creatures of the universe cannot be equalled by any other’s love or compassion. The love of the Jnani is real love. It is only the Jnani that can serve and help the world in the best possible way, for he knows that all is the one Self, the Great Being of Brahman. Without knowing this, how can one be truly good and virtuous?

      – Swami Krishnananda

    • Professor Cosmos November 14, 2019

      “In the year 2021, we see alien skies…”

      James Webb space telescope.

      Tommorrow, Whitley Strieber unleashes his most important book.

      Don’t forget your seat belt….wild ride ahead.

      • Louis Bedrock November 14, 2019

        Many years ago, Thomas Disch wrote a couple of hilarious articles about mendacious hack and failed science fiction writer Whitney Strieber in THE NATION: “The Village Alien” and “Primal Hooting”

        Here’s an excerpt from “Primal Hooting”:

        “Whitney is back! Those who treasure the more exotic forms of untruth will need no further prompting.

        COMMUNION, Whitney Strieber’s 1987 account of his abduction by aliens, was a primal hoot. It’s sequel, TRANSFORMATION, recycles the same whoppers with only minor variations, but it offers generous portions of the same shameless charlatanry and page after page of Whitney’s patented prose with its peanut butter and jelly mix of penny dreadful horror and saccharine sanctimony. Here’s a taste of the peanut butter:

        ‘Andrew (his 7year old son and fellow abductee) started screaming. The shock that went through me was absolutely explosive. …His screaming filled my ears, my soul. Listening to it, I wanted to die…I thought I was going to suffocate. My throat was closed, my eyes were swimming in tears. The sense of being injured was powerful and awful. It was as if the house were full of filthy, stinking insects the size of tigers.’

        And here’s the jelly:

        ‘The visitors are sweeping up from where we buried them under layers of denial and false assurance to deliver what is truly a message from beyond…They have caused me to slough off my old view of the world like the dismal skin that it was and seek a new vision of this magnificent, mysterious, and fiercely alive universe.’

        Disch adds, “Read as a factual account of alien contact, COMMUNION and TRANSFORMATION have the verisimilitude of a Paul Bunyan legend.
        Taken as a strategy for commercial and psychological self-aggrandizement, however, they make perfect sense.”

        Only the brain dead could take seriously anything written or said by Whitney Strieber.

  3. Cotdbigun November 14, 2019

    Search : Rep. Jordan questions Ambassador Taylor on YouTube.
    7min 40sconds later you will know all that’s necessary to understand this Impeachment Thingy and why.
    Six people, four conversations and not one of them ‘first hand’… That’s not me saying that! LoL

    • Susie de Castro November 14, 2019

      Hearsay is admissible, and did you hear the discussion about it? Quite, quite interesting and informative.

  4. chuck dunbar November 14, 2019

    Nicely, sensitively, done piece on your friend’s illness and death from cancer, Marilyn Davin. Over the past years I watched a good friend and his wife make the perilous trip through Cancerland, both of them at last dying, after more suffering than I had ever seen. I vowed after it was all over never to travel very far down that hard road, but who knows, really, what choices they will make if that time ever comes. It is good to know we have some choice in the matter.

    Thank you for telling us Jeanne’s story.

  5. James Marmon November 14, 2019

    ‘Epidemic’ of layoffs in California marijuana industry — CEO faults state for inaction

    “Flow Kana, which bills itself as “California’s No. 1 selling cannabis flower brand,” is cutting up to a fifth of its workforce and its chief executive is faulting the state for failing legal marijuana companies.

    The company, which is based in California’s Emerald Triangle — Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity Counties — is cutting “non-core” staff, CEO Mikey Steinmetz said. He did not disclose a specific number of layoffs.”

  6. Stephen Rosenthal November 14, 2019

    That’s it, blame the State for an ultra-greedy business model. What’s next, a bailout request a la the banks that were”too big to fail?”

  7. Harvey Reading November 14, 2019

    Luckily for dope smokers, there is plenty of high-quality dope available, grown outside the Clearcut Triangle. Either the locals will awaken, or they will go under.

    Aint that how kaputalism works, James?

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