- Hot Holiday
- PSPS Watch
- 737 Cases
- DUI Fatality
- August Complex
- Cannabis Staffing
- Covelo Gym
- Gualala Attack
- AV Village
- Rockport Bridge
- Courthouse Musings
- Antifa Flight
- Ed Notes
- Toxic Algae
- Mendo Shipwreck
- Streetscape Update
- Loaded Jeep
- Hauling Water
- Power Up
- Missed Catch
- Didn't Click
- Beyond Angry
- Quake Damage
- High School
- Noyo Train
- General Strike
- AC Adapters
- Breathtaking Amorality
- Planning Canceled
- Disaster v Catastrophe
- Edu Collapsing
- Found Object
HOT AND DRY weather will continue across inland northwest California through next week, with near record heat possible Sunday and Monday. Coastal areas will experience mild to occasionally warm temperatures with periods of late night and early morning cloudiness but plenty of sun during the day. (NWS)
CLEAR AND HOT inland for the next few days with inland highs reaching mid- to high-100s Saturday through Wednesday and still hot in the 90s after that. Calm winds at most. Overnight lows in the 60s. Anderson Valley will be 8-10 degrees below inland temps with slightly better air quality. Coastal highs will be in the mid-to-high 60s with overnight temps in the 50s.
FORECASTED HIGHS FOR UKIAH: 106° (today); 111° (Sunday); 108° (Monday); 103° (Tuesday).
JUST IN FROM PG&E:
Weather models are starting to come into better agreement regarding the potential offshore wind event late Monday night through Wednesday morning. The start of the event is still more than 2 days away, so details regarding exact strength and location of the event may change moving forward.
PG&E Geographic Zones 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8 are now showing PSPS Watch Tuesday and Wednesday with Zone 9 on Wednesday.
High pressure will continue to strengthen over Northern California today, bringing a potent heatwave to the territory through the holiday weekend. Away from the coast, hot and dry conditions are expected territory-wide, with peak heating occurring on Sunday. Daytime highs across the inland valleys and interior will easily reach triple digits today, with peak temperatures in the 105F – 112F range, with several heat prone locations exceeding 112F.
Closer to the coast, expect cooler but above-normal daytime highs in the 70's and 80's. Temperatures will decrease into the start of the week, but remain above-normal as high pressure begins to weaken, and a warm, dry, offshore flow sets up over Northern California.
An upper level weather system is expected to drop south into the Great Basin on Monday, and set the stage for offshore winds, primarily across the northern half of the territory. These offshore winds are expected to develop directly on the heels of the weekend heatwave, which exacerbates fuel dryness to near critical values.
A return of the sea breeze and more typical late summer weather is forecast for the middle and latter part of next week, with continued above-normal temperatures across the interior.
The National Weather Service has issued several Fire Weather Watches across the territory, which are likely to be upgraded to Red Flag Warnings as the event gets closer.
The latest National Interagency Fire Center wildland fire potential outlook favors above-normal significant wildland fire potential for most of Northern CA through October as fuel moisture values are at critical levels in most areas and dead fuel moisture values are near seasonal minimums.
13 NEW MENDO COVID CASES FRIDAY bringing total to 737, 79 of which are active with two people in ICU. 17 deaths and 641 released from isolation.
FATAL DRIVING UNDER INFLUENCE CRASH on Highway 29 in Lake County.
On September 4th, 2020 at approximately 7:20am, Bryan Taber, 43, of Clearlake Oaks, was driving a blue 2020 Kia Optima northbound Highway 29 just north of Grange Rd near Clearlake, at a stated speed of 55 MPH. For reasons still under investigation, Taber drifted across the solid double yellow lines and collided head on with a white Chevrolet Prizm that was traveling southbound on Highway 29 just north of Grange Rd. This vehicle was driven by an as yet unidentified 74-year old male from Saint Helena whose name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. After the collision, both vehicles came to rest blocking the southbound lane of Highway 29. The driver in the Chevrolet Prizm was pronounced deceased in the driver’s seat by medics on scene. Taber sustained major injuries and was transported to Adventist Health Hospital in Clearlake. After a DUI investigation, Taber was suspected of being under the influence of prescription medication and Cannabis and was placed under arrest. Due to Taber's injuries, he was released from custody to the Hospital for treatment. Both parties were wearing their seatbelts at the time of this collision.
THE AUGUST COMPLEX FIRES will surpass 300,000 acres burned today. Earlier this week one firefighter was killed and another injured in a vehicle accident. A virtual community meeting will take place this evening at 7pm.
MENDO, WE HAVE A PROBLEM…
Last Tuesday Supervisor Ted Williams updated his colleagues on the staffing difficulties the cannabis permit program ad hoc committee is facing:
Williams: “The cannabis ad hoc has been meeting regularly several times per week with state agencies and with staff and MCA, the trade association [Mendocino Cannabis Alliance], and with a handful of cannabis cultivators. We feel the state is not providing hurdles, the state agencies are working with us and I think we can get through the process.
“We all have some hesitation about whether this program will work for all applicants. Staff sees that many applicants may ultimately be denied. Some of those applicants should be denied; their projects do not conform to the current ordinance and do have significant environmental impact. But a whole lot of them are pre-existing and do conform and likely will not get through the process. This raises concerns. The Board [of Supervisors] has directed the ad hoc to not work on a use permit or a new model, but to continue to make sure we follow through on the current ordinance. We are taking it seriously, that's the only direction this ad hoc is headed at present.
“But one of the primary concerns is available staff. It seems that there are 272 current permits, all of which will need staff time to complete the CEQA checklist, the project description, work with the state agencies to get the applicants to the stage of the annual permits. So that's 272. Say hypothetically those take 14 hours apiece. You are talking about 3808 hours. And then we have 882 [applications] that are not yet at the county license stage. Some of these applicants have not heard back from the county in three years. So what is the current state? We don't know. It may be that the county asked for additional paperwork. It may be that the applicant emailed that to an Ag employee directly who is no longer with us. It could be that information services could pull it out of the email box, but trying to match up addresses with pending applicants — it's a mess! It's foreseen that it may take five hours per file just to make sense of the current state. You have 882 that are in this situation. At five hours each, just doing a little back of the napkin math here, that’s 4410 hours. And those 882 will also require a CEQA checklist at those 14 hours again. So now we are up to 20,566 hours. If we figure 40 hour weeks and maybe that staff is 75% efficient because of internal staff meetings and trainings and contact switching, you are talking about 385 human weeks…”
If we understand Supervisor Williams correctly, that should be 20,556 / 30 (75% of 40) or 685 human weeks, not 385 human weeks, an even bigger workload.
Williams continued: “That's a problem. We only have until January 1 of 2022 to get all of the applicants to state annual licenses for their legal cultivation where it would end.”
Notice here that Supervisor Williams is not even counting any possible additional/new pot permit applications, on the possible assumption that nobody in their right mind would ever consider applying for a pot permit under these ridiculous circumstances.
Williams continued: “What's in jeopardy here is an industry that's worth maybe more than $500 million per year and about $5 million of revenue to the county. We see that we don't have the staffing plan no matter what the findings are from our pilot program. We see that we need far more time than current staff has available. I'm worried that even if we were to start hiring today we could not find enough qualified and competent planners to get the work done in time. So the ad hoc [committee comprised of Williams and Supervisor John Haschak] will be bringing back some recommendations. But we wanted to share at the earliest possible time that we have a serious problem with staff if we find that we want to continue with the current ordinance. We don't have the planning staff that can support the needs. We may have to outsource it. Chair Haschak?”
Board Chair/Supervisor John Haschak [an opponent of any reform or alternate pot permit ideas]: “I agree with what you said, that we will have to come up with recommendations for how we are going to get staff either internally or externally to be able to process people because we have a commitment to people to help them with, you know, the process. We are creating the pathway right now. I feel like we have created a pathway with CDFA [state Department of Food and Agriculture] and we also have a pathway with CDFW [Fish & Wildlife] with the pilot program that just got approved. So those are looking like, you know, we have a way of getting people to their annual license if they qualify. We just need to do our part with the CEQA checklist and the signoff. So –”
Williams: “We are talking about needing additional resources. We don't know exactly how much time, that's why we are doing this pilot program. Based on the numbers I've seen so far, the projections, if we wanted to process all of the current files within six months, I can see needing 16 additional planners. I don't know if planning Director Brent Schultz is on the call [in the virtual Board meeting], if he wants to disagree, now would be a good time to do so or if he thinks it's more than 16 or less than 16 to speak up. But just from the numbers I've seen I think we need to hire 16 planners essentially tomorrow. If we don't think that's possible, we need to start putting our fee together and outsourcing this work. [I.e., figuring out how much to charge the applicants for the processing staff time when there’s a good chance some of them won’t get a permit even if they pay.] And that outsourcing will be difficult because most of the records are not in digital form. We cannot have a contractor access the existing records short of sending the files over. Cannabis files are inherently intertwined with other permits. A cannabis applicant has a well permit, probably some building permits, hoop house permits, other permits. I don't know that we want to collect all that paper and send it to a contractor. Also, because of Covid, we can't put any more people in the existing [Planning Department] space because of the distancing requirements. I don't mean to be pessimistic here, but we have a real problem on our hands. We have a timeline that we cannot possibly meet with the resources we have at our disposal.”
Haschak: “All right, well, thank you for that report, Supervisor Williams. It is certainly in detail about the problems we are facing with the cannabis program right now. But hopefully at the next meeting [September 22 Board of Supervisors meeting] we will come back with a plan that we hope the board will support. Okay? Is that it?”
Williams: “Yes, thank you.”
COVELO'S NEW GYM
GUALALA UNDER ATTACK by Cal Trans and a few business interests
Our little coastal town of Gualala, a sweet little nature-scape town, a gem with so many caring people that have put effort into keeping it small and quaint, is under attack by Cal Trans and few business interests. A ‘highway’ concept is emerging. After years and years of work by local residents (Robert Juengling as a lead) to get the power lines buried and leave the streetscape free of lines is now being threatened by expanding the street in a ‘mall look’.
AV VILLAGE BOOK CONVERSATION Zoom link & Recovery Month & Suicide Prevention Week Activities
AV Village Book conversation (Part 2): Wednesday September 9th, 1:30 pm
Our next AV Village Book Conversation will continue to cover the Book “Elderhood - Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life” by Louise Aronson - we are only focusing on chapters 6 through 10 this time.
If you are interested please contact Lauren for more details: email@example.com
Anderson Valley is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Meeting ID: 434 337 6734
Dial by your location
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MAUREEN 'MO' MULHEREN on the new County Courthouse:
The “move the Courthouse movement” came before my time on the City Council, but I was involved with the Chamber of Commerce and the businesses and the Downtown merchants were rightly concerned about the Courthouse moving out of the Downtown core. The plan has the Courthouse moving just a block or so away from its current location to the Railroad Depot area on Perkins. The current City Council has voted to move forward with site infrastructure improvements in preparation of the move including the bridge to turn Hospital Drive in to Courthouse Drive and the extension of Clay Street, and the Streetscape project which will make crossing State Street much easier for pedestrians moving from the new Courthouse location to the “core downtown” to shop and dine. The reasons for the new Courthouse that are of particular concern to the community are additional parking, prisoner transportation safety issues ADA and earthquake improvements. As a citizen I see the need for improvement of all of those things. I've never been a Courthouse employee so I don't know it from their prospective [sic].
I'm not going to try to prevent this move as a Supervisor. The County owns only a minimal percentage of the Courthouse but hopefully the State will let the Board of Supes take an active role in what happens to the “old” courthouse. This is where the community has let their imagination run wild most often calling for removing the “new” section of the Courthouse and turning the “original” section in to what…? A hotel, A library, Offices, A Museum, with a town square in the front. I'm not holding my breath for the new Courthouse to be built its been “about 5 years out” for the last ten years. I think what's more important is how do we keep the current Courthouse from becoming a blighted eyesore like the Palace Hotel? (Hopefully news coming about that soon.) And the “Old Post Office.” I know change is hard for some people in our community but if we want to move this County forward we need to work together to update and improve, everything from the streets to the buildings to the people.
Have a great weekend!
Maureen “Mo” Mulheren
Candidate for Second District Supervisor
TRUMP says he’s ready to “swear on whatever” that he never called slain American troops “losers.” He said a story in the current The Atlantic about him mocking Americans killed in combat was the work of “jealous failures” to sabotage his re-election. “I was never a big fan of John McCain, disagreed with him on many things including ridiculous endless wars and the lack of success he had in dealing with the VA and our great Vets, but the lowering of our Nation's American Flags, and the first class funeral he was given by our Country, had to be approved by me, as President, & I did so without hesitation or complaint. Also, I never called John a loser and swear on whatever, or whoever, I was asked to swear on, that I never called our great fallen soldiers anything other than heroes.” Trump has, in fact, called McCain a “loser” and a “dummy” because he was captured.
I DOUBT even Trump went so low as to insult dead troops, and the attributions of these slurs to him are suspiciously vague. But he does seem to have a kind of Tourettes where he just blurts out whatever's on his fraught mind. Meanwhile, Biden, pandering as fast as he can go, told a black audience in Neshoba that a black man invented the light bulb. Nope, it was Edison. Lewis Latimer, the black inventor, came up with the carbon filament that made light bulbs burn brighter and longer.
THIS GUY is Attorney General of the United States? Bill Barr on Antifa: “We know people who are flying around the country — we know where they’re going. We see some of the purchases they’re making before the riots.” Well, Bill, we're going to need some evidence here, but apparently there are a few fun-loving rover boys commuting to protests, waiting until nightfall to commit major felonies. The SF Bay Area has a bunch, but there's no evidence that Antifa, the new riff on the “outside agitator” of the 1960s, is an organization in any sense of the term.
SPEAKING of outside agitators, I always wondered how the varsity agitators of the 1960s — Tom Hayden, Renne Davis, Jerry Rubin, et al — could afford to fly around the country doing their thing, until a guy who knows told me that Hayden had a wealthy sponsor who funded him, and the other guys were rich kids.
NEVER SEEN the Navarro looking as awful as it does now, a fetid, fish-free swamp of evil-green algae, algae undoubtedly enhanced by the chemical stews running off the industrial vineyards lining the Anderson Valley. The river looks like the Cuyahoga just before it burst into flames.
FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS
Navarro River Estuary:
Bloom conditions observed and reported to the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and State water resources control board on 7/10. Human illness from 7/20 reported to regional water board on 7/24 and the state health department on 7/29.
Three water samples collected on 8/13 underwent toxigenic analysis. Two of the three samples contained microcystin above California DANGER trigger level (20 ug/L). One sample additionally contained nodularin toxin gene levels at 163 copies/mL, other toxin gene expression was not detected. The third sample tested non-detect for all toxin genes and microcystin by ELISA.
Microscopy of the two samples with danger level microcystin revealed (result 1 above) low amount of Anabaena; and (result 3 above) moderately high amount of Anabaena sp. as the dominant genus and a low amount of Nodularia sp. as sub-dominant genus . Microscopy of the third sample which tested non-detect for toxin genes showed moderate levels of Anabaena sp. as the dominant genus and low levels of Oscillatoria sp. as the sub-dominant genus.
WRECK OF THE STEAMER J.S. CABOT IN MENDOCINO BAY
UKIAH STREETSCAPE PROJECT UPDATE
A safer State Street is starting to take shape! On the east side of State, we can see the beginnings of the new bulbouts at the intersections. Please note that they currently appear larger than they will be because the pavement has been saw-cut all the way to the edge of the new gutter. These bulb-outs will make this corridor WAY safer for pedestrians and vehicles by decreasing the distance pedestrians must travel to cross the street and by making them far more visible to drivers. Can emergency vehicles navigate these bulbouts? Absolutely! In fact, we used a fire truck to model the turning radii for design.
If you have other questions about how this project makes State Street safer, you can refer to the attached Frequently Asked Questions document, or check out the additional resources at www.ukiahstreetscape.com, or reach out to me personally.
And finally, we know this is messy work—thanks for bearing with us. We’ve hired a window cleaner who will be visiting areas where there isn’t active construction. In the next couple of weeks, we plan to have the windows cleaned on the 100 blocks of West Standley and West Perkins, as well as on State Street between Perkins and Stephenson.
Construction Update - Week of September 7th
North Side: Perkins to Henry Street
Ghilotti Construction will continue excavation on the east side of State Street between Perkins and Henry Streets. Where sidewalks have been removed, base rock has been placed next to businesses to serve as temporary pedestrian access. On Thursday and Friday, saw-cutting may begin on the west side between Henry and Smith Streets.
Monday: No work in this area.
Tuesday-Friday: Excavation will occur on the east side in preparation for new irrigation and electric conduit.
Thursday & Friday: Saw-cutting may begin on the west side of State Street between Henry and Smith Streets.
Work hours are from 7am to 5pm in this area this week.
South Side: Church to Mill Street
Wahlund Construction will begin preparing for the installation of new sewer lines this week.
Monday: No work in this area.
Tuesday-Friday: General excavation and prep work will occur between Mill and Church Streets.
Through traffic will be maintained on State Street, but there will be some intermittent interruptions to Mill Street while the manhole in the intersection is accessed. On Wednesday and Thursday, no through traffic will be permitted on Mill (east-west). Traffic in each direction will be allowed to make right turns only.
Driveways on the west side of State Street will remain open with ramps.
Construction work will begin at 7 am this week, and no night work is planned.
More information can be found online on the City’s website at www.ukiahstreetscape.com, or follow our Facebook pagefor updates and photos at facebook.com/UkiahStreetscape/.
Feel free to reach out to me any time if you have specific questions or concerns. Otherwise, have a great, safe holiday weekend!
Deputy City Manager
City of Ukiah
300 Seminary Avenue
Ukiah, California 95482
w: (707) 467-5793
IT'S THREE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING ON NORTH STATE STREET WHEN A COUPLE FROM CLEARLAKE....
On Friday, August 28, 2020 at 3:15AM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were on routine patrol when they observed a bronze colored Jeep traveling northbound on North State Street in Redwood Valley, California.
The vehicle displayed expired registration tabs. Deputies conducted a traffic enforcement stop on the vehicle in the 7700 block of North State Street.
Deputies contacted the driver and identified him as Joseph Fitzgerald, 37, of Clearlake. The passenger was identified as Allison Strout, 27 of Clearlake. A warrants check revealed two outstanding Humboldt County arrest warrants for Strout's arrest. The Deputies also learned Strout was on probation with search terms. Fitzgerald came back clear in all systems.
A probation search of the Bronze colored Jeep revealed a large quantity of heroin and a smaller quantity of methamphetamine. As their investigation continued, the Deputies developed probable cause to believe Fitzgerald possessed the heroin with the intent to sell.
Fitzgerald was arrested for possession of narcotics for sale and Strout was arrested for the two active Humboldt County arrest warrants.
Both subjects were transported to the Mendocino County Jail.
Fitzgerald was booked on a charge of Felony Possession of Narcotics For Sale and was released on zero bail at the conclusion of the jail booking process.
Strout was booked on the above mentioned warrants and held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
HORSE HAULING WATER
GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM…signed an emergency proclamation to free up additional energy capacity amid extreme temperatures across California.
The proclamation permits power plants to generate more power by suspending certain permitting requirements, helping to alleviate the heat-induced demands on the state’s energy grid. Facilities are required to report any violations of these suspended permitting requirements to relevant local and state regulatory bodies. The proclamation also contains provisions related to the use of generators and auxiliary ship engines.
The text of the Governor’s proclamation can be found here and a copy can be found here.
(CA Office of Emergency Services Presser)
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 4, 2020
(Unavailable due to continued non-functioning of the Sheriff’s Booking Log website.)
I recently received an e-mail from the California Secretary of State's office meant to confirm my voter registration. I had either heard this would happen on the radio (KCBS) or read about it in the San Francisco Chronicle or Marin Independent Journal.
It certainly looked like a legitimate e-mail and I figured there was probably around a 98% chance that the e-mail was legitimate. But I chose not to click on the box in the e-mail to confirm, fearing it was a hoax that would actually remove my name from the voter registration rolls.
I guess this shows that in the end I don't trust computer technology.
To the Editor —
RIP, Sir Francis Drake High School name change.
It is fast becoming evident to me and a few other oldies that there is a thin veil of stark, fast-growing, socialist cancer. We are being infected daily by a large number of retards who say, What problem?
The Sir Francis Drake High School board of directors has/is folding up our tent and has/is caving in to San Francisco name changers. Shame, shame! How about, Manila Folders?
This is just another step from obvious pacifism into liberal conditions on and on! Way down the road I see the faint outline of left-wing liberal socialism and total control! A sad, sad day.
There will come a day when those few of you will say, How in the hell did we allow this to happen? It very well may be Crossing the Rubicon with no damage control.
God help those who are unfortunate enough to survive this unavoidable cancer. ‘Forgive them lord for they know not what they do.’ Yeah, right!
Note: I'm not sure ‘they know not.’ Perhaps the Lord will forgive. I will not! They would be picking crap with the chickens in The Land of Nod.
My grandmother might say, Oh my! Not nice. I say, take another pull on that special bottle with that special cough medicine. Go out on the front porch in the shade and pet the dog and take a nap. I will watch the beans! Love you, Gran.
God bless America, the Donald, Jerry Philbrick.
Still old and beyond angry if possible!
POINT ARENA, 1906 QUAKE DAMAGE
IT’S HARD TO IMAGINE a more purposeless activity than American-style high school in our time. I doubt that the public questions its basic premises or mode of operation any more than the public questions the economy of suburban sprawl. But high school in our time amounts to little more than day care for virtual adults in which some learning might incidentally take place, much of it of dubious value.
— James Kunstler
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Public schools are simply a microcosm of the larger society. The breakdown of community, the neighborhood, and small town/village living.
When main streets were replaced by strip malls, shopping malls and collector roads laden with big box retail and fast food, so to were the neighborhood schools. No need to build small schools directly in the neighborhoods (that land is better served by developers to stuff-in more SFH’s $$).
Besides, it’s cheaper (is it?) to administer giant insecticide factories (or in Southern California, minimum security prison campuses) that rely on fleets of busses to vacuum up the wastrels of the exurbs. The school, no longer located in the community, a focal point of the community, is no longer located in the community. Just as nothing but SFH’s and the occasional Quickie Mart with gas pumps is located in the “communities”. If you are fortunate to live in an older neighborhood, one that makes up the first concentric ring of SFH’s outside the city, chances are the schools are neglected, in disrepair, and are blighted by transportation policies, ostensibly for desegregation, that force communities to adopt opposing standards.
Alas, this just another symptom of overpopulation. It’s simply too cost prohibitive and resource prohibitive to build small schools around the suburbs and exurbs that are quickly being infested with 4-6 story “luxury apartment/condo” towers (in 5-10 they will be low income tenements, but at least initially believe the marketing).
Until humanity wakes up to the necessity of living on a smaller scale, including their population footprint, every sector, every area of QOL will continue to rapidly deteriorate. If today’s political landscape does not force one to be aware of the inverse correlation of population to power, nothing will. Ironically, the more the masses grow, the lesser their voice and influence, and lives matter.
Yet we knew about this, back a few decades ago when we learned we were home from nowhere.
ENGINE #45 NEAR NOYO RIVER
STOPPING COVID-19 THEY WON’T, Starting a War They Will
by Dr. Nayvin Gordon, Oakland
The government refuses to pay for a national strategy to suppress and eradicate Covid-19, while attacking the science of Public Health. The government is also actively spreading the pandemic by forcing workers, teachers and students back into unsafe jobs and schools.
Meanwhile the politicians continue to increase the $Trillion military/war budget as tensions and flashpoints rapidly increase around the world. US confrontations with China, Russia and others from the Mediterranean to the South China Sea and from Alaska to Europe are accelerating. The New York Times calls it a New Game of Thrones.
The ongoing pandemic is continuing the massive job losses of more than 30 million. Close to a quarter of a million will have died from Covid-19 by December 31, 2020. Illness, lack of health insurance, low wages, inadequate schools, and hunger, combined with accelerating racist police murder is causing massive frustration and anger.
We cannot allow our political focus to be deflected and redirected into a “patriotic war” for the billionaires who have looted the US Treasury to save the profits of Wall Street and put millions out of work. Our main problem is not China, or Russia, but the 1% who control and profit from corporate capitalism. It is they who are actively spreading this pandemic, destroying our health, jobs, families and futures. Rank and File workers in many industries are organizing for a general strike. The united working class has the power to stop the pandemic and the coming wars. Let us demand the needs of the 99% be met now. Make the billionaires, the corporations, banks and Wall Street pay. It is time to fight for the health of the people.
Don’t play the Billionaire’s Game of Thrones. Abolish all thrones!!
Dr. Nayvin Gordon writes about health and politics and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
IN 2016 TRUMP reeled in the nativist loons and rage cases with his opening rants about walls and mass deportations, then slowly clawed his numbers up with the rest of the party with his “softening” routine. Each demographic probably came away convinced he was lying to the other, while the truth was probably more that he was lying to all of them. Obviously there are real-world consequences to courting the lowest common denominator instincts in people, but to Trump speeches aren’t moral acts in themselves, they’re just “words that he is saying,” as long-ago spokesperson Katrina Pierson put it.
In this sense the Republican Party’s 2020 platform is genius: there isn’t one, just a commitment to “enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda,” meaning whatever Trump says at any given moment. If one can pull back enough from the fact that this impacts our actual lives, it’s hard not to admire the breathtaking amorality of this, as one might admire a simple malevolent organism like a virus or liver fluke.
— Matt Taibbi
PLANNING CANCELED AGAIN
The Planning Commission meeting cancellation notice for September 17, 2020 is posted on the department website at:
PROF. CORNEL WEST: Joe Biden a Neoliberal Disaster, Donald Trump a Neofascist Catastrophe!
BACK TO SCHOOL…D’YA THINK?
by James Kunstler
After the spring from hell, and two months of summer staycation, families across the land anxiously await the very dubious reopening of the school year. The Covid-19 virus has revealed structural cracks in the mighty fortress of public education. Some districts remain closed, or only tentatively and partially open. It’s easy to see where this is going.
I got a letter this week from a high school physics teacher in New England — who wants to remain anonymous. He writes:
“…Covid has initiated the death of public ed in America…. The state cannot decide whether we should start full remote or whether we should try some weird hybrid schedule. Nobody can make a decision. The union is pissed. They know most of the classrooms are poorly ventilated and too small and they see nothing but a ‘cruise ship’ scenario unfolding. Remote is terrible, but it is better than nothing….”
Before we go further, remember the first principle of the long emergency: anything organized at the giant scale is liable to fail. During the post-war growth spurt, we consolidated all the nation’s schools into giant districts serviced by the yellow bus fleets bringing thousands of kids together in buildings designed to look like insecticide factories. And when that project was complete, what did we get? Two decades of mass shootings in schools. I don’t think we got the correct message from this — which is that this manner of schooling produces so much ennui and anomie that some kids turn homicidal by the time they hit their teens.
The fact that this condition remains unrecognized, and certainly absent from public discussion, says a lot about our disastrous collective psychology of previous investment: having set up this miserable system at titanic expense, we can’t even think about changing it. Now, as is usual in human history, the process will happen emergently, on its own, whether we like it or not, because circumstances demand it.
Another matter absent from news media is what happens when falling tax revenues start to bite the giant consolidated school districts. My physics teacher correspondent in New England writes:
“School finances are in full reverse mode. Whispered in the hallways before every school committee and in every town council chamber is the awesome reality that sales tax and property tax collections are down 25 – 30 percent. The fear is palpable…. It seems to me that Public Ed as we currently know it will be history in about four years. It is a big edifice. It will take a few years to fully implode, but not a decade. There’s no money left to keep it going as it is.”
And so, “technology” steps in to save the day: remote learning. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but the unintended consequences are pretty grim. Is it realistic to park little kids, say 1st to 6th graders, in front of computer screens for six hours a day? I doubt it. And now that we’ve set things up so that many households need both parents to generate income, who’s around to supervise the remote learning? Personally, I doubt that a majority of even high schoolers will stick to that regimen.
What about the many poor households? The schools may dole out laptops and tablets to them, but what if there’s no Internet service in the home. What if the parents are computer illiterate? What if there are several kids and the household is chaotic? That is the actual reality where many single mothers are on public assistance. As it is, the kids already do badly in regular schooling.
So, then there’s home schooling. A parent buys a curriculum and follows it. Swell. How many parents are actually equipped to do this? And who are the parents — mothers mostly — who get to stay home with the kids at least half the day? I hasten to add that the next iteration of schooling in America probably will grow out of home-schooling efforts, as groups or pods of families organize small ad hoc schools that resemble in structure the one-room schoolhouses of yesteryear. But the journey to that outcome is likely to be messy and rocky, and a lot of children will be left behind. Well, Abe Lincoln managed to get an education with little more than a Bible, a volume of Shakespeare, and a pile of law books.
The colleges have their heads so deep in the sand that you can barely see the ankles of the people-in-charge. It’s absolutely worst at the top of the heap. Case in point, a letter lately sent out to the whole of the Princeton University “community” of students, staff, and faculty by President Christopher Eisgruber. Such a reeking dumpster-load of cowardly and disingenuous race-pander has hardly been seen before, even at Harvard, Yale, and Brown, where insincerity flows like Amontillado sherry. Eisgruber writes: “We must ask how Princeton can address systemic racism in the world.” The grandiosity is really something — like, the world has been just sitting around waiting for Princeton to fix it, and now the time is ripe! And, of course, as if quixotic crusades against political hobgoblins will save Princeton.
I have news for you: the colleges and universities are going down hard and hardly just because Covid-19 has interrupted their business plan. Rather, because of the stupendous and gross dishonesty that higher ed has fallen into. The racketeering around college loans was bad enough but the intellectual racketeering around fake fields of study, thought-crime persecutions, and an epic sexual hysteria has disgraced the very mission of higher ed, turned it into something no better than a sick cult, and infected the rest of the culture by seeding many institutions and business enterprises with cultist graduates bent on subjecting the whole of American society to a never-ending Maoist struggle session.
If remote learning is for you, take five free online courses a semester at the Khan Academy and don’t fork over seventy-large to an Ivy League University for pretty much exactly the same thing. Right now, the schools are in turmoil as the students show up, get to partying — or merely convening in small social groups — and whaddaya know, things go all cruise ship. That’s what happened at SUNY Oneonta and Indiana University this week. More to come, I’m sure.
Eventually, you see, thousands of colleges and universities across the land will close or at least downsize severely — if the Maoists don’t torch them after the election. The destiny of many young people today lies not in the hallowed halls of Google, Microsoft, and Goldman Sachs but rather in the fields and pastures across the fertile parts of the country where food must be grown for a dwindling population. Sssshhhh. Don’t tell them that. They’ll just have another tantrum, scream in your face, and cancel you.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler).