- Hot Day
- 754 Cases
- PSPS Watch
- Flynn Creek
- Fires Merge
- Highway Work
- Pet Peach
- DA Responds
- Willits 1914
- Roadside Farmstand
- New Arrivals
- Public Schooling
- Caspar Creek
- Toxic Algae
- Abandoned Highway
- Ed Notes
- Previous Catches
- Foreign Policy
- Glide Path
- Dead Poster
- Gullible Voters
- Livermore Book
- 2020 Bills
- 1976 Playlist
- Looting Manifesto
- Feelings Off
- Marco Radio
- Found Object
HOT AND DRY weather will continue across inland northwest California through next week, with record heat possible today and Monday. Coastal areas will be mild to warm with periods of late night and early morning cloudiness but plenty of sun during the day. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Boonville 104°; Yorkville 108°; Ukiah 107°
SATELLITE PHOTO, taken yesterday afternoon, showing smoke from fires and high pressure ridge holding the fog out to sea:
EXCESSIVE FIRE & HEAT WARNING through Tuesday. Patchy smoke inland. Sunny, hot and dry with near record inland highs around 110 on Sunday and Monday; 105 Tuesday. 100 Wednesday. Light winds. Mid- to high-90s rest of week. Possibility of power shut-offs due to high power demands and rolling blackouts or fire danger. Mild to warm on Coast.
17 MORE COVID CASES in Mendo on Saturday. Total now 754. 83 active either in isolation, hospital or ICU.
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.
KATHY WYLIE WRITES: 'Mendocino is not one of These counties, so far: PG&E: Forecasted Offshore Dry Wind Event Means PG&E Might Need to Proactively Turn Off Power for Safety in Portions of 17 Counties - Customers Who Might Be Affected by the Public Safety Power Shutoff Receiving 48-Hour Notifications Tonight"
FLYNN CREEK, HIGHWAY 1, 1942
AUGUST COMPLEX UPDATE
The Hull, Doe, Tatham, and Glade fires have merged to form one large fire. The individual breakdown of the fires are as follows: Hull fire (13,177 acres; 10 percent contained), Doe fire (297,377 acres; 23 percent contained), Tatham fire (15,594 acres, 9 percent contained) and Hopkins fire (11,089 acres; 0 percent contained.)
The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Warning beginning 10 p.m., Monday through 8 a.m. Wednesday. Weather predictions call for extreme heat ranging from the mid-90s on the ridges to 110 degrees in the valleys. Relative humidity is expected to drop to the single digits. Winds will shift from southeast to northwest, with sustained wind speeds of up to 25 mph. This could result in increased fire spread throughout the complex and dense smoke in the surrounding area.
There was a slop over across the M1 Road, in the Riley Ridge area of the Doe fire. Helicopters and dozers are performing containment operations. Crews are making good progress containing a spot fire north of Anthony Peak and South of Buck Rock. Small aircraft will assist in this area, as smoke conditions permit.
The Hopkins fire is moving toward areas of old burn scars and road systems surrounding the perimeter of the fire. Burnout operations and air operations will also proceed, as smoke conditions permit. There are presently five engines and three bulldozers committed to the Hopkins fire.
The August Complex currently sits at 305,673 acres and 23 percent containment. There are presently 1,048 resources committed to the Complex including: 22 crews, four camp crews, seven helicopters, 46 engines, 20 dozers, 31 water tenders, and three masticators.
Mendocino National Forest officials updated the area closure for the August Complex on Sept. 5th, 2020. The Forest Order 08-20-12 and map are posted on the forest at: https://tinyurl.com/yykjydbf
The most up to date information on the August Complex can be found on InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6983/.
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Ms. Peach is a young and happy dog, eager and excited to meet new people and sniff the world around her. A couch potato she is not! This good looking girl is on the move, exploring her environment and scoping out new toys. Peach will benefit from a puppy training class, and guardians who will teach her how to be a well mannered and loved member of the family. Peach is 5 months old and a delighful 36 pounds.
More about Peachy Peach here: mendoanimalshelter.com/dogblog/peach
To see our canine and feline guests, and for information about our services, programs, events, and updates about covid-19 and the shelter, visit: mendoanimalshelter.com. We're on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/. For information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
DA DAVID EYSTER responds to Maureen Mulheren’s assessment of the new County Courthouse:
THE MISSING ‘MOVEMENT’ …
County Supervisor candidate Mo’s weekend “keep my name in front of the voters” puff piece above refers to a “move the [county] Courthouse movement.” Wow. Have never heard of the movement she references, unless a “movement” is defined as a couple of retired judges wanting their names on a cornerstone of the proposed new building.
Pray tell … where is this local “movement” headquartered? Who is heading the local “movement” and pushing for this? Where can we find the agendas, public hearings, and public (versus bureaucrat) expressions of support?
Have you seen the design, Ms. Mulheren? Are you saying that you are in favor of the glass box design that has been proposed and that will be counter to the esthetics of Ukiah? If not in favor, what are you going to do about it?
In the hope that you exercised some degree of due diligence before putting pen to paper … are you aware that a primary problem with the current courthouse is the expense, staffing, and all-day delays in bringing prisoners from Low Gap to the courthouse? Those bottlenecks will NOT be resolved by a new building.
How about the traffic impacts on Perkins directly across from Hospital Drive?
How about the cost of having to build new office space for the DA and his staff, who are currently housed on the ground floor of the courthouse? Where do you propose that building be built and at what cost?
Ms. Mulheren, you’re still on the City Council. What is your plan for the future use of an abandoned courthouse. Not just a list of ideas … but, in your opinion, the best use of the building and real estate from a functional and financial perspective. Who is waiting in the wings money in hand to snap up an abandoned courthouse and for what purpose?
Have you read the article about the tour of the current courthouse that Bruce Anderson took with me, complete with my suggestions of how the current courthouse could be renovated and expanded at less expense? See, https://www.theava.com/archives/77013. What say you?
Enough of the puff … give specifics of why you believe this boondoggle is in the financial and legal interests of the Mendocino County taxpayers and Ukiah’s downtown merchants … and not just for judges who covet spanking clean new quarters even if those quarters are in an ugly glass box.
JOE MUNSON SELLS VEGGIES on the Side of the Road, Summer 2020
as told to Jonah Raskin
Here I am sitting on the side of the road, trying to sell tomatoes that won't sell. Actually, I like sitting here all by myself. I have 18 different kinds of organic heirloom tomatoes which I sell for $4 a pound. I could go to a high-end restaurant and try to sell them there, but they have already made arrangements with my fellow farmers.
I believe that the U.S. is the only developed country in the world where due to the health system you can go bankrupt trying to keep yourself alive. Some people call me a revolutionary. I just have my eyes wide open.
I went back to school recently and took classes, not on campus but online. I didn’t have to pay. I got a Pell Grant. I took business management, commercial composting and warm season crops. I earned two As and a B+.
Am I following the straight and narrow? Fuck no! Fuck the government and its rules. I have plants no one is supposed to know about. I’m teaching my kids not to follow rules, though I must admit they're well behaved and polite. Some of our county supervisors have their heads up their asses. They’re not serving their constituents. Look at Guerneville: tweakers, alcoholics, drug addicts and the homeless.
How much money did I make today selling veggies? $61. I started at 12:30 and I will finish at 4. Then I’ll take my son, Milo, skating in Monte Rio. A guy in a BMW convertible stopped, said he wanted $3 worth of tomatoes, and pulled out a $100 bill. I said, “Just take the tomatoes.” A porn star stopped, had no clothes on, but she was covered with tattoos. How do I know she’s a porn star? I used to sell weed to porn stars. I know one when I see one. She was driving a Tacoma, with a huge Alsatian in the passenger seat. Ten minutes later, a woman in a Prius stopped and bought green beans, parsley and tomatoes: $8 worth. I threw in a cucumber.
One Saturday I sold $240 worth of my own homemade salsa with tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, cilantro and lime juice. I have one with salt and one without. One that's kick ass and the other for mere mortals.
People in pick-ups trucks usually don’t stop and neither do Republicans. I can tell from bumper stickers, or folks in Teslas. People in BMWs are funner than the rest. They jump out of their cars and say, “What you got, and when they see they shout, “Wow!” Motorcyclists do wheelies. Milo helps me at the farm stand. My daughter, Millie, who is 16, would be better, especially if she was fashionably dressed. You know men are pigs. A bald old guy wearing ZZ top sunglasses and wearing shorts and no shirt pulled off the road when he saw the porn star here. He was driving a Miata convertible and was more interested in her than in my tomatoes. Come to think of it, I should pay the porn star to hang out here.
You sit here long enough and the whole world passes by. On weekends, which is when I’m here, people are headed to the Russian River and don’t have time to stop, though a construction guy bought a ton of veggies for the crew, said they’d BBQ them at lunch time. The librarian at El Molino High School stopped and bought a lot of veggies. A couple of wealthy lesbians in a Mercedes convertible stopped. They wore dykes on bikes haircuts. We got to talking about marijuana. I showed them my plants and told them we’re allowed to grow six plants. One of them started counting, and when she got to ten she stopped, smiled and said, “I’ll buy veggies off a pot grower.” I said, “It’s medicinal marijuana.”
Next year I’ll move the pot plants behind the house and expand the veggie garden. I’ll improve the soil with mushroom compost, cow manure and minerals, and grow fantastic beets and radishes. Next year I’ll grow ten-pound plants. Next year I’ll kill it. This year I’ll get five to six pounds per plant. We’re close to the coast and there’s a lot of fog which doesn’t help the crop. The plants love the heat that's further inland. Last year, I had 80 plants, which was over the limit, and had to pay the county a $1,200 fine. If I was fined $25,000 I’d hire a lawyer. I gotta pay for the kids' education somehow. Money, money, money: that’s all I hear sitting here on the side of the road tryin’ to sell tomatoes at $4 a pound. I say, “Keep yourself squared away. Be careful who you trust and do some good.”
BACK TO SCHOOL
by Marilyn Davin
I have a six-year-old grandson, a newly minted kindergartner. The trajectory of his recently launched educational life is a cautionary tale. My daughter and her husband live nearby, in an affluent East Bay suburb where parents literally over-mortgage their souls so their kids can go to the local public schools. (“Suburban schools are best” is the prevailing wisdom.) An only child, he spent three years in pre-school before landing on this first rung of his “formal “education, Bay Area style. My daughter is a high school English teacher in the same district, and has agonized mightily over her son’s education. None of this “Today’s the first day of school” stuff and walking hand-in-hand a couple of blocks down to the local public school. At the tender age of six, “J’s” education had become an outsized project, kinda like deciding if you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, or an Indian chief (to quote the very old, very politically incorrect childhood rhyme). I refer to him by an initial because schools these days are as concerned with security as they are with education (O the pervs and pedophiles “out there,” you can’t be too careful these days…so the mantra goes), and his preschool was a maze of locked doors and keypads with secret codes. My daughter would kill me if I ever revealed his name. Ditto for her own name. Ah, the promises wrested from writers by their kids…
Chatting over a cup of coffee in her immaculately organized kitchen about a year ago, my daughter made the astonishing announcement that she would not be sending J to the local public school. Even more astonishing, she said that several of her teacher-colleagues were doing the same thing with their kids. I’m pretty sure I cried. I went to public schools in the Bay Area straight through to graduation from Berkeley when California’s public school system was the envy of the country. Had things really gotten so bad? So bad that public school teachers themselves in affluent Bay Area suburbs won’t send their own kids to the schools where they teach?
This defection’s outward manifestation is parental fear, of course. Fear that their kids won’t qualify for the ever-diminishing number of spots in the freshman classes at top colleges and universities, for one. When my own son applied to a state college I enrolled him over the phone. No more. It’s like your kid will be doomed to eternal barista-hood without a degree from a prestigious university (which he or she is likely to eventually end up anyway, but with a hundred grand in college debt). And as if the whole top-college stress isn’t scary enough, parents look out on the crumbling outside world and shudder. Drugs, eating disorders, rising teen suicide rates, and general angst loom large among kids these days, and are further magnified by mindless social media chatter and reported on ad nauseam by the drama kings and queens of the mainstream media. The overall effect of all of these potential disasters is that suburban kids like J are insulated in bubbles created by their parents, bubbles meant to protect them from the ills of the outside world─which is, of course, impossible.
Nowhere is this hoped-for inoculation against the world more obvious than in the schools, where interpersonal niceness and shared “feelings” trump interest in the outside world from the get-go. An example: At the tender age of five I picked J up from preschool to find the school’s director waiting for me. J had gotten into some kind of scrap with another boy, who suffered a nearly invisible mark on his cheek in the fracas, necessitating a formal written report to both my daughter and the other boy’s parents (this in preschool!). I asked if this was really necessary, or if it might be better handled to simply have the youthful combatants apologize and shake hands, an option clearly not even imagined, much less considered. No dice, there had to be a formal record of this five-year-old-serial-killer-in-the-making’s transgression, which I in my apparent ignorance saw as a very minor tempest in a teapot at best. Helicopter parents rule.
Parents may well adopt this tight focus on their very young kids in the face of the dimming futures of their young progeny, and, to the best of their ability, attempt to navigate and micromanage a perceived minefield of social ills. Private schools are part of that overall picture, or at least provide the illusion of greater order and academic focus; after all, parents are paying through the nose for them. And though I’m sure many don’t see it this way, at its root this whole situation is really just another aspect of income inequality. You spend 20 or 30 grand a year on your kid’s private grammar-school education (my daughter’s father had a long and lucrative career in the oil and gas industry and offered to foot the bill), get your kids into a top-tier college to earn “marketable” degrees, then cross your fingers that they will one day be able to live independently on a livable wage earned from their corporate masters. Nobody likes to hear unsolicited advice from the old folks, I get that, but the specter of such a safe, limited life would have been unthinkable, even terrifying, to me when I was a kid (though a little older than six). “Study what you love” has become a quaint phrase you’ll probably only see on Hallmark graduation cards and embroidered couch pillows these days.
A big part of the problem is that even upper-middle-class parents, accustomed to shouldering guilt for their kids’ supposed “failures,” are afraid to take any chances with their kids’ capitalistic educational paths which, true or not, many parents think private schools can more effectively deliver. And Democrats, the “education party” are every bit as guilty of this exodus from the public schools as die-hard Repubs or born-again Christians. The president of the local Democratic club here didn’t send her five kids to public schools, and her ultra-lib daughter sends her kid to a local private school that charges a hundred grand a year. Nobody wants to sacrifice his or her child for the greater good, but still…
CASPAR CREEK, 1963
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.
ABANDONED SECTION OF HIGHWAY 101 AT LEGGETT, 1937
AS THE FIRST whispers off the Pacific ruffle my morning glories, it's 11am and 88 degrees. An hour later it's 100, and the morning glories have folded until the sun moves off them. A message from PG&E flutters down out of cyber-space, warning us of rolling blackouts on Tuesday when, the power monopoly implies, the heat and big winds....firenados, possibility of. Ever visit an old mission built out of three-foot clay slabs? That was the commonsense architecture for California weather. They stay cool in the hot weather, warm in the cold weather, but we built stick houses that can't be cooled, can't be warmed without PG&E rolling blackouts down on us.
NOTE to the Defendant Community: If you're driving around Ukiah, Willits or Fort Bragg at 3am with a load of heroin and crank, or even just driving around at that hour with no dope but the person with you, you're going to be stopped. Why? Because the night shift is all dressed up with nothing else to do, and here you come, and you, like, fit the profile. Learn to do your thing during the daylight hours and your lives will be less complicated. Expired tags, tail light out, whatever. You're never in full compliance. The archetype 3am stop follows in this recent presser from the Sheriff's Department:
On Friday, August 28, at 3:15 am, 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.
The vehicle displayed expired registration tabs [Violation of California Vehicle Code section 5204(a)]. 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 (Age 37 of Clearlake). The passenger was identified as Allison Strout (Age 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 for 11351 HS (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 $50,000.00 bail.
FAKE NEWS. We don't need the Russkies fooling us when we have our homegrown bot-heads at it full-time. Examples: That fake news that had Wolf Blitzer spinning in the Situation Room about the Russians paying the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan came and went but Wolfie was pumped up for a couple days, as was Rachel Maddow. Then the story disappeared because there was no evidence supporting it, not even a wisp. But the entire MSM was on Trump's case for not challenging the Russians. And now a second fake news libel that has Trump insulting dead troops, and again the “sources” are anonymous. I don't like Trump. I don't think he should be president, but the libs hate him so intensely that they over-try to make him even more contemptible than he naturally is. The slanders aren't working. He's running strong for a second term, mostly because there's not a plausible opposition to him in Biden, and the lies work to make him sympathetic to lots of people who don't pay much attention.
THE GREAT WINNEBAGO tide washed through Boonville Friday afternoon, so thick it took me several minutes to get across the street to Boont Berry, and Monday the tide will outflow south, and I marvel at the Mendocino Coast's capacity to absorb it, especially at this time with so many of us socially distancing.
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 31-September 2, 2020
KEONI ANDRADE, Ukiah. Speed contest.
JUSTIN ARENAS, Pasadena, Maryland/Piercy. DUI, Controlled substance for sale.
SHANNON ARNOLD, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
TRAVIS BAARSCH, Potter Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
BRET BENGSTON, Ukiah. Probation violation. (Frequent Flyer)
ROBERT BERG, Ukiah. Unspecified special felony allegation.
ANTHONY BERTOZZI, Redwood Valley. Paraphernalia, suspended license, evasion, resisting.
DONALD BOWMAN, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
GEORGE BRITTON-HOAGLIN, Covelo. Evasion, probation revocation.
KEVIN BURRIS, Potter Valley. Suspended license.
RENE CARMONA JR., Fort Bragg. DUI, misdemeanor hit&run with property damage.
JIMMY DAETWILER, Fortuna/Ukiah. DUI, child endangerment.
SEAN FLINTON, Fort Bragg. Unspecified charges. (Frequent Flyer)
TATIANO FRANCO-CORTEZ, Garberville/Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, vandalism.
JACK FULLER, Willits. Domestic battery.
YASMIN HAMPTON, Santa Maria/Ukiah. DUI.
JEREMY HAWS, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
NARCISO HERNANDEZ-LOPEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
EARL HOUSE, Fort Bragg. DUI.
WYATT HURT, Covelo. Under influence, assault weapon, disobeying court order, failure to appear.
ANTON KLOIBER, Fort Bragg. DUI with priors, county parole violation, probation revocation.
BURGESS LESLIE, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, false ID, resisting, probation revocation.
RAMIRO MACIAS, Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, offenses while on bail.
WILLIAM MARSHALL, Willits. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
DAVID MCMORROW, Anderson/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, paraphernalia.
DAKOTA MILES, Ukiah. Rape-sexual intercourse with person under 18, possession of photo with intent…, probation revocation.
ARELI OLVERA, Willits. Stolen property, controlled substance, paraphernalia, disobeying court order, probation revocation.
MARIA PEREZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
JESSE PETERS, Fort Bragg. Community supervision violation.
JOSHUA ROSE, Redwood Valley. Failure to appear.
KARLIE SEDER, Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, failure to appear, resisting, probation revocation.
KEVIN SHAW, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, disobeying court order, failure to appear.
GERALD SIMPSON, Willits. Arson during emergency, arson of structure or forestland, attempted aid-counsel-procurement of arson, arson. (Frequent Flyer)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I always hated huge schools; they seemed like factories, huge, out of control, with the inmates running the asylum via peer pressure and bullying while teachers took smoke breaks between classes.
Best education was primary school as these were much smaller since they were right in our neighborhoods. Classes were smaller and you knew the kids in your class because you lived a few doors away from them and we walked home together. The good old days, 1954-59.
Best year for me was 6th grade when I went to an old 4-room school where 5th and 6th grades were held together. Our teacher was an old Irish maid with a heart of gold who loved every kid as her own; she also doubled as school principle. Her sister, another old Irish maid with a heart of gold, was principle where I spent grades 1-5, another neighborhood school. It’s still there.
It all changed in 1960 when I began 7th grade in a much larger ‘factory’ school where rough kids from distant neighborhoods were bused in. High school was worse, even bigger, more impersonal. Couldn’t wait to get out. Never looked back. Never went back. Sold off my yearbook and class ring on ebay as the 50-year reunion approached. Goodbye.
Education is poorly funded In many states which is how we got Trump elected. The know-nothings, raised on racism, fell for Trump’s garbage.
As legendary newspaperman H. L. Mencken presciently told us a hundred years ago: “On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
The “cut taxes” crowd is instrumental in the downfall of our society and nation. School funding is cut to appease tax haters while public tax money builds stadiums for billionaires. Religious zombies want their lilly white kids in evangelical madrassas and they want tax money to pay for it. Separation of church and states only works when they want to deny tax money to the OTHER guy’s religious fictions.
Putin won’t have to fire a shot; useful idiots are in place to assure that most Americans never even hear of “critical thinking skills” much less learn them.
The obsolete electoral college will keep installing massive idiots like Trump who play on racism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny and all around “anti-everything” sentiments. The “anti” crowd loves to hate the government … but these 2-faced bastards will be first in line demanding a vaccine from that same government.
Such is the state of our glide path to global irrelevance.
THE BATTLE OF NOON CHOW
While Kimberly Guilfoyle was screaming at America on the first night of the Republican National Convention, she said Democrats “want to destroy this country and everything we have fought for and hold dear.” As a veteran with combat experience, I’m curious what she and the Trump family have fought for.
Donald Sr.’s parents sent him to military school when he was an insubordinate teenager, but otherwise none of them has any military experience. Oh wait, as president, Trump raided congressionally approved military projects to fund the border wall that Mexico was going to pay for. Does that count?
When voting this November, ask yourself are you and our country better off today than four years ago? If not, now you know what you had to lose.
The “I alone can fix it” guy predicted the virus would go away when the weather warmed and has been a cheerleader for false cures when the country could have used a good coach with a plan. He still wants people to believe, as he does, that he alone can fix everything. Are American voters that gullible?
SPY ROCK MEMORIES
The author with his pickax and guitar in hand, Spy Rock, circa 1983.
Read about his adventures here: dongiovannirecords.com/products/625414-larry-livermore-spy-rock-memories
On the verge of becoming law: These 2020 bills are up to California’s governor
TOP 40 SONGS From A Rock & Roll Radio Station In Nashville, Tennessee. Labor Day Weekend, 1976
DON’T STEAL THIS BOOK
On “In Defense of Looting”
by Matt Taibbi
On Thursday, August 27th, the same day Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination, National Public Radio aired an interview with Vicky Osterweil, author of a book called In Defense of Looting.
The white trans daughter of a science professor, Osterweil told a credulous NPR interviewer that looting was justified because it “strikes at the heart of property, of whiteness and of the police,” and also “provides people with an imaginative sense of freedom and pleasure.” She added riots reveal how “without police and without state oppression, we can have things for free.”
I was so sure the Osterweil book was satire — a clever comic doing a Marxist Andy Kaufman routine — that I bought it. It’s not a joke! In Defense of Looting is supposed to be the woke generation’s answer to Steal This Book, another anarchist instructional published in an epic period of unrest. But the differences between the books are profound.
Abbie Hoffman’s classic guide to “U.S. on no dollars a day” was furious, persuasive, funny, crazy, packed with trenchant commentary about the vicious banalities of sixties America, and entertaining on every page, even when you disagreed with him. If only his iconic definition of free speech were remembered more often today.
Steal This Book could stand alone as a work of assiduous experimental journalism, filled as it was with “survival techniques” for life underground he’d gleaned in multiple innovative ways, including responses to ads placed in revolutionary newspapers. Hoffman even supposedly fact-checked the anonymous tips about places on the map to find free food, get treated for sexually-transmitted diseases, score drugs, etc.
Steal This Book was also an equal opportunity offender, as cutting toward phonies within the revolutionary ranks as it was toward the “Pig Empire”:
“The duty of a revolutionary is to make love and that means staying alive and free. That doesn’t allow for cop-outs. Smoking dope and hanging up Che’s picture is no more a commitment than drinking milk or collecting postage stamps.”
There are a lot of things one can say about Abbie Hoffman, but he was no LARPer. He wrote the introduction for Steal this Book in jail, doing time for contempt for his memorable lunacy at the Chicago Seven trial, when he among other things told the judge to “stick it up his bowling ball.” He once tried to halt the Vietnam war by using psychic energy to levitate the Pentagon 300 feet in the air, where it would turn “orange and vibrate until all evil emissions had fled.” Abbie Hoffman was interesting.
Then there’s Vicky Osterweil.
Like Hoffman, Osterweil is a self-proclaimed leftist revolutionary who justifies stealing on the grounds that property is a crime. The similarities pretty much end there.
For one, Hoffman imagined a life of infinite possibility on the other side of the revolution, while In Defense of Looting sees life as a string of ceaseless miseries that might at best be abated temporarily by stealing your flat-screen TV.
I found two examples in the book of the author writing approvingly of what might commonly be termed “enjoyment.” One involves rioting itself, which she variously describes as “violent, extreme, and femme as fuck,” a “queer birth,” and a “party.” The Watts rebellion, which left 34 dead and over 1,000 injured, was “not some dour thing,” but a “carnivalesque, celebratory atmosphere.”
The other example was soldiers having gay sex in the trenches during World War I (“No doubt,” Osterweil commented, “many fiancees found the same queer comforts at home”).
I hate to keep coming back to Steal This Book, but Hoffman was urging readers to start living the dream immediately. In addition to recommending places to scrounge free pharmaceuticals or sneak into movies or spirit away meals from fine dining restaurants, Steal This Book is full of listings for museums, picnic areas, surfing spots, places to see fossils and tar pits, and so on. It recommends “Forest Lawn Memorial Park, overlooking beautiful downtown Glendale,” where Hoffman says, “You can turn on in front of the Jean Hersholt memorial, fuck in the aisle of benevolence located in the Great Mausoleum, and trip out on a giant stereo sermon emanating from the giant Mystery of Life sculpture. Far-fucking-out!”
In contrast, there’s little evidence the author of In Defense of Looting has ever been outside. Talking about her research methods, Osterweil writes, “I am not, myself, a trained historian with institutional access. As such, my methods have largely been to rely on secondary sources, online archives and videos, and the work of other historians…” In a strange passage buried in chapter seven, she confesses to a “personal aversion to violence,” lamenting a “refusal to attack property” that “does not lessen the degree to which I benefit from systems of domination.”
So this is a 288-page book written by a Very Online Person in support of the idea that other people should loot, riot, and burn things in the real world.
Style-wise, In Defense of Looting continues the impressive streak of the woke movement having yet to produce a single readable piece of literature.
Page after page commits the reader to exhausting tautological constructions, the gist of which usually turns out to be something like, “Through looting, a thing that was once somebody else’s comes to belong to a different person.” Here Osterweil explains that looting is a way of acquiring things without working:
Looting represents “…a way to solve some of the immediate problems of poverty [by] creating a space for people to freely reproduce their lives rather than doing so by wage labor.”
Here, she explains that through looting, a thing that once cost something, comes to cost nothing:
“When something is looted, that thing’s nature as a commodity is destroyed by its being taken for free… Everything in the store goes from being a commodity to becoming a gift.”
In case you weren’t convinced by her authoritative tone, Osterweil includes a scholarly citation attesting to the fact that in the process of stealing a thing, you end up acquiring it:
“Looting, as scholar Delio Vasquez writes in ‘The Poor Person’s Defense of Riots,’ ‘directly results… in your acquiring the things that you are seeking’.”
There are a lot of reasons this book has gained attention in the last week, from public radio promoting riots in the middle of wide-scale urban unrest, to the preposterous premise of a white middle-class author promoting “controlled arson” as a way to strike blows against “whiteness,” to its hilarious hypocrisy — as the Atlantic’s Graeme Wood points out, the book contains one of the great copyright notices in the history of publishing, considering the context:
“The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book without permission is a theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like permission to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), please contact email@example.com. Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.”
After George Floyd and Jacob Blake were attacked by police, the political, corporate, and media establishment bent over backwards to show solidarity with protests. Mayors and governors disavowed their own stay-at-home orders to enable marches. Medical officials asserted the health dangers of institutional racism outweighed the risks of Covid-19. Congressional Democrats donned Kente cloth scarves. Even Jamie Dimon took a knee.
Many Democratic elected officials, justifiably concerned about the optics of a strong police response, reacted diffidently at best to looting. New York City’s Bill de Blasio, who angrily threatened to arrest Hasidim who violated his Covid-19 orders to attend a Rabbi’s funeral, stood down in the first looting-filled nights after Floyd’s death. That included preposterous scenes of masked rioters fleeing upscale stores in SOHO in luxury SUVs in what one reporter described as being like “Mario Kart on the streets.”
All this was justified, politically, on the grounds that protest excesses — looting, rioting, arson, etc. — were in service of an organized demand for systemic police reform. Great if they were, but if they weren’t, a political problem loomed. With the store-smashing and “controlled arson” incidents not fully abating months after Floyd’s murder, and countless small businesses (and in particular, minority businesses) ruined, the one thing that could get even sympathetic liberals clamoring for a Trump air strike would be a suggestion that this had actually just been in fun all along, that such “joyous and liberatory” acts of “proletarian shopping” were justified because it’s a “right wing myth” that the “small business owner must be respected.”
In Defense of Looting makes this exact case. Take a section on the New York City blackout on July 13, 1977. Unlike most of the other episodes she describes, there was no triggering episode, “no initiating event of police brutality.”
This meant some other excuse had to be contrived for causing $300 million in damage, setting over a thousand fires, destroying 34 blocks of Broadway, injuring 450 police officers, teens stealing 50 Pontiacs out of a showroom, etc.
Osterweil concluded that defending the looting required “directly challenging class society, not just racism.” Additionally, defending the blackout looters meant “directly aligning with the ‘antisocial’ actions of the proletariat in making their own lives better at the expense of law and order,” even if they were not “legibly ‘protesting’” New York’s “white supremacist commodity society.”
This was another of those tautologies. The TL:DR version would have been, “We must even defend the selfish antisocial urge to take stuff without political reason.” And so, Osterweil explains, “people spilled onto the streets to help one another, to party, and to loot, burn, and fight with police.”
There’s no plan in the book. We’re repeatedly told stealing hurts the patriarchy and confronts whiteness — “a revolutionary movement must reduce the value of whiteness to zero,” the white author writes. There’s a long chapter denouncing the “organization-ist tendency” of labor movements, which leads to “reformism,” which of course is a stalking horse for counterrevolution. “The more ‘organized’ a movement is,” Osterweil complains, “the less likely there is looting.” So we need more looting, but what comes after looting? Organization? Nope:
The power of the attack on white settler society is seen instead in the broad lawlessness, property destruction, looting, and cop-free zones produced by the riot and is reflected in the attendant sense of freedom, unity, and radical safety felt by the rioters.
Sign me up for some of that “Radical Safety”! CHOP Zone, here I come!
There’s a great short story by Mikhail Saltykov called “How a Muzhik Fed Two Officials.” It’s about two nitwit clerks from St. Petersburg who wake up on a deserted island and realize they don’t know how to feed themselves. They think and think and discuss eating their gloves, boots, and even each other, until finally it hits them: if they were back home, they’d just have a servant do it! They immediately find a sleeping muzhik and after berating him for laziness, get him to collect fruit and fish and partridges and cook them dinner — problem solved! This is nearly the same mentality as these Gen-Z geniuses who think the world will run on magic intersectionality dust once they get rid of the cops and the kulaks, i.e. all those meddlesome “work for a living” people.
About that: the book expresses zero compassion for those who do not see themselves as involved in politics and are just trying to get by.
In her NPR interview Osterweil repeats the common left-Twitter trope that looting “is not actually hurting any people” because “most stores are insured; it's just hurting insurance companies on some level,” which simply isn’t true. Not every business is insured for this kind of damage, and even if they are, line employees and business owners alike will lose weeks or months of income while claims are paid and repairs are made, if claims are paid and repairs are made.
She clearly has no idea what it is to work, to spend years squeaking out the shitty little margins of a corner store or a restaurant, to hose a kitchen floor down at two in the morning, or wash the puke out of the back of a taxi at the end of a shift.
Abbie Hoffman at least told readers to leave big tips for waitresses, if you’re going to rip off restaurants.
To Osterweil, everyone’s a kulak. She says Korean store owners were “the face of capital” in early nineties Los Angeles, just as, she says, Jewish businesses were in sixties New York. When she talks about who suffers in riots, she writes:
“Though the buildings destroyed may be located in a predominantly Black or proletarian neighborhood, the losses go to the white, bourgeois building and business owners, rarely the people who live near them.”
Rarely! She goes on to cite anthropologist Neal Keating in comparing looting to “the potlatch, a communal practice of Indigenous nations in the Pacific Northwest,” in which “wealthy people” at births, deaths, weddings, and other festivals give possessions away and “vie with each other to destroy the most accumulated wealth in a massive bonfire.”
The minor distinguishing detail of the potlatch being a voluntary surrender of wealth was not considered relevant enough to mention, an interesting detail given how touchy this sort of person tends to be with boundaries in other situations. All sorts of people now have to take responsibility for the mere possibility of, say, a student being fleetingly discomfited by a word or image in a novel or history book, but apparently we don’t have to worry about making someone sad by burning their house down and throwing their shit on the street to be gobbled up by strangers, an act of “communal cohesion.”
These and countless other details make In Defense of Looting more cringe-worthy in its own way than a Sean Hannity flag-and-mugshot insta-book could ever hope to be, but what makes it a perfect manifesto for the woke era is its pathos.
Adherents to this theology are characterized by a boundless, almost Trumpian capacity for self-pity, even as they’re advocating setting you on fire. They can make wrapping fishwiches sound like digging coal in Matewan, being deprived of a smartphone like being whipped by Centurions, and they matter because everyone, including especially Democratic Party politicians, is afraid of the fallout that comes with telling them to shut the fuck up. So their “ideas” spread like cancer.
If no one in the party says anything, Trump will argue, with some justice, this is the true face of his opposition. The first Sister Souljah moment was a drag, but this moment actually calls for one. Will there ever be a more perfect candidate than this book?
JOURNEY TO DAGNABBIT.
The recording of last night's (2020-09-04) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg is right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0400
The last thing I did before printing out last night’s show to read was to, just on a whim, experiment with globally replacing all instances of plain Donald Trump with impeached president Donald Trump. That turned out to be a mistake. Not that he wasn’t impeached, he was, by the house of Congress comprised of representatives of the American people who, unlike impeached president Donald Trump, were actually elected by majority vote, after Republican gerrymandering, dirty tricks and massive voter suppression too. But it just made me stumble over each reading, feeling strange about leaving all the writers’ names on something I changed en masse with a click, or considering explaining every time, and sometimes doing that and sometimes just stuttering. Sorry. Not trying that again. I think we all learned something here today. Though the Trump Trump Trump of everywhere you look and everything you read points up how much of what’s going so deadly wrong in the U.S. is directly connected to and flowing from that giant serial-lying mob-bossy orange turd and his handlers and enablers and pollution cloud of armed-and-belligerent racist lumps who adore him for giving them permission to cut loose and let it all hang out, many of them in government service now, not just on the borders but all the way through, getting away with literal kidnapping and/or conspiratorial gang offenses and/or cowardly murder or just thuggish bullying every damn day. Men with actual Nazi tattoos on their hands and necks and not even hidden discreetly in their clothes who were hired and sworn in and who promised with fresh-scrubbed faces to protect and serve; well, we see what that swear is worth to them, or maybe they crossed their fingers behind their back about exactly who to protect and who to serve and that makes it right. People descended from immigrants cheering at treating immigrants way worse than their own great-grandparents were treated when they came here in the good old days, tired and poor, tempest tossed, fleeing persecution, for a better life, traveling a hundred or a thousand miles for a pandemic-time maskless leader-worship ceremony, bellowing at American Indians on Indian land to get outta the way and go back where you came from. Sorry again. Sorry for the terrible world. Sorry for all that cancer I caused, and Hiroshima and everything, and the Triangle Shirtwaist disaster. Stopping now. Putting a sock in it. Murfle-burfff. Mm-nurf. Forget it, joik, it’s Labor Day.
Furthermore, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile educational items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
Speed-fiddled-with drone shots of, around and through the streets and pathways of Mont Saint-Michel. Dreamlike flight.’ https://laughingsquid.com/gopro-drone-tour-of-mont-saint-michel/
Synchronized swimming to Stairway to Heaven on Japanese teevee. In regular life you don’t often see people do upside-down splits in bathing panties. There’s nothing wrong with it, it just seems odd, somehow. You imagine yourself there, doing that (as if you could, ha) and feel awkward. Maybe its because it’s an extreme form of the one thing a traditional mermaid can’t do. https://misscellania.blogspot.com/2020/09/stairway-to-heaven-water-ballet.html
And how we get a Chinese teapot. (via Cynical-C) https://tinyurl.com/MakingChineseTeapot
— Marco McClean