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MCT: Monday, September 14, 2020

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SMOKE CONTINUES TO THIN TODAY, and some occasional light showers are possible mid-week along the north coast with a better chance for a wetting rain late in the week. (NWS)

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JUST IN: August Complex - West Zone

Additional Evacuation Orders And Evacuation Warnings For The Eden Valley Area, Bennett Valley, And The West Face Of San Hedrin Mountains, Mendocino County

WHAT:  Mendocino County, additional Evacuation Orders and Evacuation Warnings

WHEN:  Effective Immediately


Areas of Mendocino County, Evacuation Order:

• ZONE- H- West of National Forest boundary, north of Thomas Creek and the Eel River, and east of Twin Bridges Creek, south of Bald Mountain

• ZONE- I- West of Elk Creek south of Deep Hole Creek, north of the National Forest Boundary

• ZONE- W- West of the Eel River, north of Deep Hole Creek, east of Eden Valley, including the entire valley floor, south of Eden Creek

Areas of Mendocino County, Evacuation Warning:

• South of the Middle Fork of the Eel River, west of Eden Creek, north of Salt Flat and east of Salt Creek, ZONE- AB

• East of Brushy Mountain, south of the fire road on Salt Flat, west of Eden Valley and north of Bald Mountain, ZONE- AC

• South and west of the Eel River, north of Foster Mountain Road, east of the ridge west of Willits Road, ZONE- AD

• North of Twin Bridges Creek, east of the Eel River, south of Brushy Creek and west of Brushy Mountain, ZONE- AE


• Private driveway near Williams Creek is closed to north bound traffic

• Bell Springs closed to north bound traffic at Lundblade Ranch Road

• Mina Road is closed to north bound traffic at the bridge over the North Fork of the Eel River

• Mendocino Pass Road closed to east bound traffic just east of the Williams Creek Bridge

• Hearst Willits Road at the bridge, closed to east bound traffic


To support fire control operations and fire activity, the Mendocino County Sheriff in conjunction with the Unified Command Team for the August Complex -West Zone, has ordered an additional Evacuation Order and Evacuation Warning.

View the most current evacuation map at:

For more information about wildfire preparedness visit:

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4 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendo Sunday. Total up to 789. One additional death.

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All Evacuation Orders And Warnings Have Been Lifted In Regards To The Oak Fire In Willits — A Joint Press Release between the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, CALFIRE and Humboldt County Sheriff's Office

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, CALFIRE and Humboldt County Sheriff's Office is announcing that ALL Evacuation Orders and Warnings have been LIFTED in regards to the Oak Fire in Willits.

This includes the previous Zones identified as being:

Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9, Zone 10, Zone 11 and Zone 12.

ALL road closures in the Oak Fire affected areas have also been LIFTED.

Be aware there may be traffic interruptions due to fire crews and utility workers still operating in the area. Unburned pockets of fuel continue to burn within the interior of the fire and smoke may be visible.

View the most current evacuation map at:

For electrical safety tips after a wildfire, refer to PG&E at:

For more information about wildfire preparedness visit:

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THIS MORNING’S SATELLITE VIEW shows smoke from fires in the west all the way across the continent, meanwhile tropical storm Sally is nearing the gulf coast, while Hurricane Paulette leaves Bermuda.

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I visited a medical office (Ukiah Aventist) the other day. Some things have changed — walk in a different door, stand by a screen, wait to have temperature taken, answer some related questions, and have a seat in a designated chair. Wait. 

While waiting, I looked to the magazine shelves for something to read. No magazines. Shelves were empty. Risk of infection?, I ask myself. Wait a sec — one lone book. The Holy Bible. Immaculate. 

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THIS IS WHY we can't have nice things. Just now at Big River, Mendocino. Trash collecting on a Sunday. Unless adults were chasing their tequila with Capri Suns, then this is quite the example that was set for the kids that were in attendance as well. So sad. — feeling disappointed. 

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TANGENTS Fort Bragg, California is feeling nostalgic.

We want to thank all of our fantastic customers from the past 35 years. We will be closing our Main Street store with a huge blowout sale beginning tomorrow 30-50% off everything. Please wear a mask. We will be sanitizing your hands and allowing 8 people at a time to shop. All sales are final with no returns. Please redeem your gift certificates as well. 

We are so grateful and look forward to the next chapter. (Btw, it’s our 35th birthday!)

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“For the months ahead, scientists say there is a 75% chance that La Nina will be in place from December 2020 through February 2021.

During the winter, La Nina typically brings above-average precipitation and colder-than-average temperatures along the northern tier of the US, along with below-average precipitation and above-average temperatures across the South. A region of concern this winter will be the Southwest, where a weak summer monsoon resulted in extreme drought.”

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MENDOCINO COUNTY FIRE SAFE COUNCIL'S DEFENSIBLE SPACE LOW INCOME PROGRAM (DSLIP) helps low-income seniors and physically disabled persons adhere to defensible space regulations. If you are physically and financially unable to maintain the state-mandated 100-feet of defensible space around your home, our Defensible Space Low Income Program may help. For more information and to sign up:

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us:

Anica Williams, 707-684-9829,

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by Katy M. Tahja

Please read about the massive 1931 Comptche Fire and how people survived in the middle of a firestorm due to defensible space. It’s a good lesson on what saves lives.

In 1931 in late September the easterly and southeasterly portions of the Comptche settlement were swept by the worst fires in the history of the coast, the Mendocino Beacon newspaper reported. It was a quick and dirty fire that burnt in excess of 33,000 acres 79 years ago but a story that can help homeowners prepare for today.

Charlotte Layton, a Comptche homeowner on Hayslett Hill, had a lovely place on a ridge northeast of Comptche Corners. She was milking six cows to sell milk and cream, her barn was full of hay and feed for the winter, and her hog was getting fat. She had a ton of potatoes dug up and sacked and stored and 3009 quarts of canned fruit, vegetable, jellies and meat in her pantry. Life was good.

On the way down to the post office at Comptche Corners at noon people noticed smoke in the air. (Sound familiar?) It seemed to be coming from the direction of Big River and Nigger Nat Opening (now called Nathaniel Smith Opening) to the northeast. Driving to where they could see down into the drainage locals said it sounded like a steam locomotive engine roaring uphill headed towards Comptche. Everyone headed home to get ready.

A ranch hand drove her around to warn neighbors and turn out stock. She found her three children returning from school but discovered access back to the county road was cut off by flames. She stated “The wind was blowing a 80 mile gale…” in her account of the event.

With a world flickering in flames and fire moving in on their home 14 neighbors gathered at the Victor del Grosso home to make a stand. Why? It was in the middle on a wide grassy meadow with no timber nearby. It had defensible space around it. That term hadn’t been invented yet but that’s what they had. They parked a REO Touring Car, a Chevy, and a Whippet Sedan nearby and started wetting everything down as best they could. Men on the roof used wet cloth, curtains, and soaked quilts slapping them up and down to extinguish burning embers. All interior curtains were wet down and the children hidden in an inside room. They fought on, exhausted, while their world burnt down around them.

In town neighbors were frantic to know if the folks on the ridge survived. Men finally walked up through the fire-swept countryside in the dark of night certain no human beings could have lived through such fire, smoke and heat. They were overjoyed to find 14 survivors and while the del Grosso family stayed the rest of the folks hiked under fallen trees, over burnt culverts and along burned ridges to reach the valley floor where they were sheltered by neighbors in intact houses.

Jumping all over the place it was a capricious fire. It burned as far west as Melbourne (the current Tunzi Ranch) round the ridges on north of the Comptche Valley, and up the hills to the east. It sent fingers of flame down on to the valley floor, one coming within a half mile of our Tahja family ranch a mile east of Comptche Corners. It spread south, endangered the Keene Summit area, spread through the Flynn Hills and darn near made it to the Navarro River. All this, from Big River to the N Navarro River, in little over a day.

When she could reach it she found her cabin burned to the ground. Charlotte Layton lost everything. She found some livestock and her dog and cat survived in the orchard but she had to start over. The Red Cross actually came in, built her a simple home, and even gave her cows and feed for them. Red Cross also built cabins for other burned out settlers. It was an organization trained to help, even in the midst of the Great Depression.

Crews hired by lumber companies fought the fire. There was no volunteer fire department. Backfires were set to create barriers. No one wanted to see the fire jump Flynn Creek and get into timberlands then owned by Southern Pacific Railroad. Two million young trees about four years old planted for reforestation went up in flames. The fire didn’t spread further but flames remained in stumps and roots until the winter rains came.

How did that fire start? Mendocino Lumber Company was offering a $250 reward in 1932 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the fire starter. No luck. But rumors went on for years. It did not start from logging activity as there was none in operation within five miles of the origin of the fire. The best guess was deer hunters. Trying to make better hunting grounds along Big River, they wanted the brush out of the way and started a brush fire. No one was ever blamed.

The del Grosso home was sitting in its wide open meadow. Think about defensible space around where you live. Keep it open around your home. Be fire safe. (And don’t stack your dry winter firewood on your front porch).

P.S. It was sad to see a dead bear in the road across from the Little Red Schoolhouse in the westbound lane Saturday morning. Remember wildlife may be coming down for what water there is in the Navarro River. Drive Carefully.

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An Attractive Nuisance

We called it “the swinging bridge”; and it remains in my mind, along with the tank tower and the apple dryer, one of the icons of the Valley

This most improbable of transports in the modern age is still there.

There was an auto bridge at this point on the river, but once it was skidded out for winter, the footbridge was the only access across the Navarro.

This relic has become what an insurance company would call “an attractive nuisance”. I'm sure somebody is desperately trying to get rid of it for that reason. But it's not gone yet.

For years you could just walk out on the swaying bridge's rotted planking, testing your nerves. Especially testing them, when your brother started rocking the whole thing, once you had crept to the center.

The entrance is locked now, but the footbridge still has some magic to it. We don't have our tree houses to retreat to anymore and we can't build forts out of hay bales in the barn, but we can still look out at that rickety old bridge hanging precariously over the muddy Navarro, and see where we had lots of scary fun.

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by Jim Shields

Be sure and read Mark Scaramella’s front-page report (in the AVA and The Observer newspaper) on the latest efforts by County officials to pump some life into the lifeless, four-year old deader-than-a-doornail Cannabis Ordinance. The beached-whale Ordinance is recognized by all who have been paying attention to the zig and then the zag of this failed monstrosity, know that there is no hope of ever resurrecting it.

Pointing to the unworkable nature of the existing Ordinance, Scaramella quotes Supe Ted Williams explaining, “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…”

Scaramella also corrects Williams’ calculations: “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.”

Indeed it is a much bigger workload and also represents additonal fees that applicants will have to pay since these are all recoverable costs by the county’s reckoning.

Even the Ordinance’s primary architect and principal author, Supervisor John McCowen, has thrown in the towel and admitted that it’s just not workable. Time to go in a different direction, says McCowen.

McCowen now advocates replacing it with something similar to what I’ve proposed for the past several years: What needs to be done is repeal in most parts, the existing non-workable cultivation Ordinance, thereby deferring to the state’s regulatory framework, rules and regulations. That would bring the county into line with the state on many levels, and the result would be an exceptionally lean and streamlined process that focuses locally on land use rules setting out where and how much pot can be grown in Mendocino County (most likely on Ag Land with a one-half acre cap, and Range Land with legacy growers grandfathered in with transferability rights, and also grandfathering mom and pop growers in neighborhood groups known as “overlay zones.”)

Additionally, the new Ordinance, which I call the “State Option,” would incorporate by reference most, if not all, of the current Ordinance’s provisions dealing with code and environmental protections.

Ninety percent of this County’s growers have already voted with their feet by staying as far away as possible from the county seat and its failed Cannabis Ordinance. Four years of crushing, crashing, malfunctioning failure leaves little doubt there is nothing that can be done to save it.

Insanely preposterous political correctness

A reader sent me the following piece that is another example of the idiocy and anti-democratic underpinnings of political correctness. A district attorney in Contra Costa County, with definite Stalinist leanings, has told her subordinates to look and consider whether looting by “protestors” at Black Lives Matter demonstrations was done “for financial gain or personal need” when deciding about whether to prosecute a case or not.

The policy was instituted by Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton as a result of the outbreak of street protest-related looting, and that policy has been in place since June. The policy also requires prosecutors to consider four other factors, including whether the looted business was open or closed at the time.

Dr. Sean Wright, the mayor of Antioch, California, fumed against the order.

“When I read the policy, it was disturbing,” Mayor Wright said. “I understand the difference between protesting and looting. Peaceful protesting is OK, looting is not. At what point does our district attorney’s office advocate for the victims? If it’s not the district attorney’s office, who then becomes the advocate and safety net for the victims and ensuring restitution is made? For the district attorney to put out that kind of plan is irresponsible and where do you exactly draw the line on need because these are people’s businesses that are being impacted and livelihoods that are being destroyed.”

After being a judge in the county for 22 years, Becton was elected in 2017 to be the first woman and African American to be district attorney in Contra Costa County.

On Independence Day, she charged a local couple with a hate crime after they painted over a “Black Lives Matter” mural.

Besides examining need and if the business was open or closed, the looting policy asks prosecutors to consider how the accused entered the facility, the “nature/quantity/value of the goods targeted,” and if another law could be substituted for looting.

So what do you think, I think this is pure PC insanity. As former S.F. Mayor and long-time California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown recently said, “What we need to do is have everyone, including the media, stop calling the after-dark destruction ‘demonstrations.’ The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. did not cross the bridge at Selma under cover of darkness. You can’t even read a protest sign at night. The demonstrations end when the sun goes down. After that, it’s trouble for trouble’s sake. The people tearing up the cities don’t care about elections. Most of them don’t even vote.”

Ms. Contra Costa County DA needs to pay attention to Willie Brown, someone who has forgotten more about social justice issues than she’ll ever know, as hobbled as she is by straight-jacket PCism.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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On Sunday, September 13, at approximately 12:17 am, Ukiah Police officers were dispatched to a residence on El Rio St., regarding a report that Luis Martin Ortiz, 33, of Ukiah was vandalizing the reporting party’s vehicle and had stolen her cellphone.

The reporting party advised dispatch that Ortiz left the location and provided a description of the vehicle he was driving. While officers were responding to the area; they observed a vehicle matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle, driving northbound on South Orchard Avenue.

An officer initiated an enforcement stop on the vehicle in the 400 block of South Orchard Avenue.

The vehicle yielded briefly, but then drove away northbound. The vehicle continued to ignore the Police vehicle’s emergency lights. The vehicle’s driver drove onto Peach Street, in the on-coming traffic’s lane, failed to stop at a controlled intersection and then continued south on Leslie Street.

The driver again drove in the on-coming traffic lane and eventually yielded in the driveway of a residence, in the 500 block of Leslie Street. 

The driver, identified as Ortiz, was taken into custody without further incident.

Officers confirmed that Ortiz had just left the reporting party’s residence and that an argument had occurred. No evidence of a theft was located on Ortiz or in his vehicle. Ortiz was found to be on PRCS (Post Release Community Supervision). He was found to be in violation of numerous terms of his PRCS.

Additionally, UPD had two prior cases within the past month for which Ortiz was wanted and there was probable cause for his arrest in both of those cases. 

UPD officers attempted to contact the initial reporting party but found neither the reporting party nor her vehicle was at the location. The investigation into the initial call for service is on-going. 

The first prior case was reported on August 20, 2020. In this incident Ortiz was identified as the person who was responsible for shooting the victim’s vehicle, approximately 13 times, with a BB or pellet gun. The estimated damage to the victim’s vehicle was approximately $2,800.00.

The second prior case was reported on August 24, 2020. In this incident Ortiz contacted the protected party in a served domestic violence restraining order, in violation of the terms of the order. 

Ortiz was subsequently transported and lodged at the MCSO Jail for the aforementioned violations. 


On Friday September 11, 2020 at approximately 5:11 AM, Ukiah Police Officers observed a sedan driving southbound on S. Orchard Ave. without its lights activated, during hours of darkness. Officers attempted to conduct a traffic enforcement stop on the vehicle, which yielded briefly near the intersection of S. Orchard Ave. and Marleen Street. The vehicle then sped away from the Officer’s patrol vehicle at unsafe speeds within a residential neighborhood. The vehicle failed to yield to the Officer’s Patrol vehicle’s emergency lights, failed to stop at several controlled intersections and then drove southbound on US 101. The driver of the vehicle continued driving southbound at speeds in excess of 105 MPH and crossed into the lane of oncoming traffic on several occasions. UPD requested assistance from CHP and MCSO, as the pursuit was traveling well outside of the City of Ukiah.

In the area of Hopland, CHP assumed control of the pursuit and the suspect vehicle drove westbound on Mountain House Road. The driver of the vehicle continued driving in an unsafe manner on a very rural and winding road. Approximately one mile east of the intersection of Mountain House Rd. and HWY 128; the vehicle stopped abruptly and impacted a fence. UPD, CHP and MCSO Deputies completed a high risk (Felony) traffic stop on the vehicle and the two male subjects were detained, without incident.

The driver was identified as a 17-year-old male, from Ukiah, who was on Formal Juvenile Probation for a prior violent Felony and was an unlicensed driver. The suspect’s probation included numerous terms, including prohibition of possessing firearms / ammunition, obey all laws, no gang association and no dangerous weapons. A loaded pistol was located on the driver’s seat of the vehicle.

The passenger was identified as Christian Hernandez, from Ukiah. 

A loaded semi-auto pistol was located at the front passenger seat. The pistol met numerous requirements that qualified it as an assault weapon. He was also found to be in possession of a controlled substance.

Both suspects were placed under arrest and transported to Ukiah. Hernandez was booked at the MCSO Jail and the juvenile was housed at the Mendocino County Juvenile Hall. The investigation into this incident is on-going and the collected firearms will be compared to evidence collected from other recent shootings.

The UPD would like to thank the CHP Officers and MCSO Deputies for their assistance with this incident.

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DOWNTOWN SAN FRANCISCO, as anybody who's been there over the last decade knows, has become an outdoor asylum for drug addicts, the insane, street predators, and the merely incompetent. But Frisco's ineffective government has again revealed its skewed priorities in suggestions that 16-year-olds get the vote, which is fine with me considering that millions of 50-year-olds don't recognize the Constitution of their own country and routinely elect morons and criminals to public office at all levels of government. 16-year-olds couldn't do any worse. (Us oldies will remember that The City used to confine the socially unacceptable to a few blocks of Third Street with the cops keeping them all south of Market. When the Beatniks — the exhibitionist wing — got going in North Beach tourists flocked to gape at a few people beating on bongo drums and swallowing gold fish, which is about as far out as things got until the hippies of '67, when exhibitionism became more prevalent and spread to the Haight. Moving north when hard drugs hit the city, the hippies landed in Albion and Mendocino, dope, inert rustication.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG'S announcement that he'll spend $100 million in Florida to get Biden elected ought to beg the question: How does one American person have this kind of money to throw at an election? You don't mean to tell me that our representative government is for sale, do you? Bloomberg is a walking example of everything wrong with this country at this time, but he'll buy Florida as a surety that no Democrat or Republican president will ever dare suggest a return to 1950 taxes, when the plutocrats got socked at 90 percent. (Well, in theory. Most of them worked around it while ballplayers and movie stars paid the 90.)

TRUMP DOES SOMETHING GOOD. “My Most Favored Nation order will ensure that our Country gets the same low price Big Pharma gives to other countries. The days of global freeriding at America´s expense are over. Also just ended all rebates to middlemen, further reducing prices.” Back in July, Trump signed an executive order that, among other things, would require Medicare to tie the prices it pays for drugs to those paid by other countries, but that one's still being worked out.

RUNNING UP and shooting a pair of young Compton transit cops is plenty low, but what happened at the hospital Saturday night shows protesters yelling, “We hope they die.” What were these protesters protesting? Life? But Trump wasted no time exploiting the disheartening episode:, tweeting, “ANTIFA ALERT: They’ll attack your homes if Joe’s elected.”

ANTIFA are flash mobs of young people probably containing rightwing provocateurs and definitely containing apolitical action junkies who lurk in peaceful demos until it’s late at night when they vandalize stores and set buildings on fire. Even government intelligence agencies consider right-wing white supremacists to be a far greater domestic terrorist threat. There is no organized left in America. There is an organized right whose leader is president.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 13, 2020

Algara, Avery, Gooch

DANIEL ALGARA, Lubbock, Texas/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance.

ROBERT AVERY, Emeryville/Ukiah. Tear gas, suspended license (for DUI), smuggling controlled substance or liquor into jail.

NATHAN GOOCH, San Francisco/Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent.

Hitt, Lopez, Lucas

CHRISTINA HITT, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Suspended license for refusing drunk driving test.

VALEN LOPEZ, Domestic abuse, probation revocation.

VICTOR LUCAS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Manus, Oliver, Peters


SHAYANN OLIVER, Emeryville/Ukiah. Shoplifting with larcenous intent, petty theft of merchandise with priors, controlled substance, under influence, paraphernalia false ID.

JESSE PETERS, Fort Bragg. County parole violation.

Pile, Secker, Vasquez

JACOBJAKE PILE, Pine Grove/Fort Bragg. Shoplifting with larcenous intent, resisting.

NATHANIEL SECKER, Santa Rosa/Fort Bragg. Under influence, probation revocation.


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To the Editor:

This is really important information for anyone who wants to be sure their mail-in ballot arrives in time to be counted this November. There is an additional, hidden delay besides the stated newly imposed delays in postal deliveries we’ve been reading about.

When we came to Ukiah in 1982, when our outgoing mail to an address in Ukiah got to our Post Office, the postal workers would put it aside so it never went out to a distant postal center to be processed and returned to Ukiah.

But over the years, that practice stopped, and all our mail is increasingly sent farther and farther away!

Add this to the fact that not only has mail been piling up in post offices all over the country, the new boss in his infinite wisdom has been removing zip-code sorting machines in great numbers from the sorting areas, supposedly for “servicing”! That badly slows down the sorting.

This means that if we want to be sure our ballots arrive in time to be counted, we need to be sure to mail them very quickly after we receive them. Even better, if you can possibly get to a drop box at the Registrar’s Office, do it! I have heard, but am not sure, that some of the communities in our County also have drop boxes.

Meanwhile, everybody, please take care and be well! And please appreciate our wonderful postal workers, who are doing the best they can amid the major sabotage they have to endure.

Carol K. Gottfried


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To the Editor:

I find it interesting, that MRC is getting the flack of being unhealthy for the envirornment. I believe the company should be safe and follow the laws and limit pollution. It sounds like they have. I worked there years ago and truthfully…at that time, from what I saw, MRC goes above and beyond to make certain, they are following the rules and legal.

Cigarettes cause damage to lungs, yet they are legal to sell at a discount of taxes, in some stores? Gambling has destroyed many a households finances, yet it’s legal also? Pot grows are basically being put in all over our forest and natural habitats are being destroyed. Watersheds are being altered and blocked yet no one protests that environmental disgrace? Look at satelite images all over California. Please, I implore you. Grows are destroying what’s left after fires, destroying the beautiful areas of California’s wilderness. Cigarette smoking kills. I know. Yet, citizens voted for that to happen, because of money and addiction. It’s now legal.

It’s amazing how people choose which is a health factor in humans that they want to protest. How do we as citizens prioritize, protesting, pollution?

Wants are prioritized over needs? Survival of our planet has to happen, and its best, when we start, to only, to prioritize needs.

I have a pellet stove. Its emissions are much better, than a wood stove. But a wood stove helps when electricity is out. Do protesters have heat that burns gas or oil or Kerosene? Those plants exist somewhere? And are emissions. A car takes two barrels of oil to build? People drive all over. Is that ok, because it’s somewhere else? We all leave a footprint. We are all responsible.

Pellets supply heat in winter and are the best alternative to wood stoves. And all the dead trees need to be taken out and used if possible, in the best way. By products of fires and drought. That’s called substainable usage of bio fuel and truthfully its wasteful to not use left over wood products. If we are to move forward in a age of pollution issues…we should help good companys that supply…yes, supply the public with the cleanest heat possible. Most pot grows are not monitored…not examined and judging by the fertilizers and tractors in this area. Pot grows damage nature. Pot is a want, not a need. Cause if your sick, you can grow your own. Is anyone protesting that group? Nope. Because it’s legal.

In my opinion, people are prioritizing wants….not needs. Yes. MRC should be monitored. But MRC should be respected for being open and legally responsible as a company providing the public with a CLEANER, way to heat homes.

Catherine Lair


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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

Forty or fifty years ago Northern California hippies, having abandoned God, church, religion, the Bible and most other civilizing influences, began rummaging around for new spiritual targets to believe in.

They came up with two (three if you include Bob Dylan): (A) Marijuana, and (B) Redwood trees.

Marijuana provided a sacrament, a vehicle to visions and alternate realities. Hippies could bong out, listen to the Grateful Dead for a few weeks at a time and believe they were communing with something larger than themselves, and they probably were.

Redwoods were thought to be full of mystical things like good vibes, spotted owls and Mother Earth’s all-benevolent embrace. So they became holy totems in ways other trees were not, as if other trees didn’t exist. Apple, peach and palm trees apparently are born to bulldoze so we can put up parking lots.

Does God or Mother Nature only care about the biggest, tallest, strongest of its creatures and to hell with the rest? But hippies never gathered in big circles holding hands and chanting to protect a cluster of sycamore trees.

A sycamore was never deemed “ancient” or “old growth” or suffered a halfwit climbing up and living in it for six months to demonstrate love for a fragile planet.

This is all a preamble to the state of redwoods today in the minds of elderly hippies who have been thrust into custodial roles for the woody beasts.

Several of my friends, all marinated long ago in the hippie faith, have recently been confronted with the reality of a giant redwood tree in their fashionable west side Ukiah front lawn.

“Lawn” is a flexible term here because a fat redwood tree conquers and destroys lawns along with everything else in, and under, a front yard. Therein lies the problem.

And the problem persists until the redwood trees is cut down and lies dead in the yard. This is increasingly the option taken and frankly it’s the right thing to do with a 70-year old redwood heaving up water lines, sidewalks, driveways and foundations.

Because that’s what happens, and even elderly hippies are blessed with occasional flashes of practicality and intelligence. Cutting it down is the only known cure for a monster wreaking chaos 15 feet outside your front door.

A pal around the corner from me has a redwood planted 65 years ago by his father. Nice idea, pops. Thanks. Now the tree is big and strong, much stronger than his water lines, sidewalk, driveway and potentially the foundation of his house. What to do?

Everyone goes through the same grieving process. Everyone, or at least every old hippie, initially believes he must keep the sainted redwood tree no matter the cost. To harm a redwood is to renounce spiritual teachings that go all the way back to 1971.

So they pace the yard, fret, sweat, and endure sleepless nights.

On the one hand the massive root system is causing thousands of dollars damage to pipes and concrete.

On the other hand, it’s a redwood tree! It’s an ancient silent giant, Lord of the Forest, Goddess of the Planet, eternal symbol of far-out mystical-type stuff.

I give all tormented friends the same advice: Break the shackles linking redwood trees with spiritual hoo-ha, call an arborist, remove the tree. Don’t Worry, Be Happy.

All who struggled with the problem ended up taking out the tree and were glad to have done it. A pal up on Maple Avenue turned his redwood stump into a nice Irish castle.

A friend’s house on North Pine looks fresher, brighter and happier without dingy shadows all day and tree debris three inches thick atop his roof and grassless yard.

NOTE: After cutting down his tree on North Pine he put a small sign on the stump inviting passersby to count the rings, adding that he had counted 73. A neighbor of mine, in near hysterics, sobbed her outrage that he’d “murdered” a tree that was more than a thousand years old. No, no, I told her. Count the rings. There are only 73. “I know!” she howled. “But it was a thousand years old!!” She’s a local schoolteacher, if that explains anything.

It’s been a long strange trip, as they say. Hippies have abandoned marijuana and turned to white wine and green tea for enlightenment. Apparently they didn’t want to keep inhaling cubic yards of pot smoke, suffer cognitive impairment, and talk like Joe Biden.

As for Bob Dylan, he shucked his “Voice of a Generation” label long ago and, in 1979, became an outspoken Born Again Christian. He’s never gone back, and most all his albums, including the latest, are steeped in Biblical references.

And the moral to our story is: We find spirituality in different places.

(TWK notes that a few weeks ago his writing colleague, Tom Hine, did a lengthy feature on oddball yards around town, the kinds of yards short on grass and hedges, but heavy on ornaments, Tonka trucks, ceramic frogs and rocks painted like Easter eggs. When he realized he’d failed to include Ukiah’s Queen of Alternate Yard Management, he sulked for days. Get thee to North Dora Street, right at the bottom of the hill, and feast your eyeballs numerous times a year on Terry and Melody Mack’s ever-changing riot of displays. You can set your calendar by their yard decorations, and if you hurry you’ll see the current Labor Day extravaganza. Next is Halloween, followed by Christmas, July 4th, Easter and my birthday if they can fit it in. Always fresh, ever-rotating, a joy to live near and fun to drive by.)

* * *

PABLO NERUDA TALKING WITH SALVADOR ALLENDE and Volodia Teitelboim, in the Isla Negra house, in early 1973.

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1. “My relationship with cats has saved me from a deadly, pervasive ignorance.”

2. “What went so hideously wrong with the domestic dog? Man molded the domestic dog in his own worst image…self-righteous as a lynch mob, servile and vicious, replete with the vilest coprophagic perversions…and what other animal tries to f*ck your leg? Canine claims to our affection reek of contrived and fraudulent sentimentality.”

3. “And there are my cats, engaged in a ritual that goes back thousands of years, tranquilly licking themselves after the meal. Practical animals, they prefer to have others provide the food … some of them do. There must have been a split between the cats who accepted domestication and those who did not.”

4. “His whole being radiates a pure, wild sweetness, flitting through night woods with little melodious cries, on some cryptic errand. There is also an aura of doom and sadness about this trusting little creature. He has been abandoned many times over the centuries, left to die in cold city alleys, in hot noon vacant lots, pottery shards, nettles, crumbled mud walls. Many times he has cried for help in vain.”

5. “Cat hate reflects an ugly, stupid, loutish, bigoted spirit.”

6. “Cats didn't start as mousers. Weasels and snakes and dogs are more efficient as rodent-control agents. I postulate that cats started as psychic companions, as Familiars, and have never deviated from this function.”

7. “Like most qualities, cuteness is delineated by what it isn't. Most people aren't cute at all, or if so they quickly outgrow their cuteness… Elegance, grace, delicacy, beauty, and a lack of self-consciousness: a creature who knows he is cute soon isn't.”

8. “A cat's rage is beautiful, burning with pure cat flame, all its hair standing up and crackling blue sparks, eyes blazing and sputtering.”

9. “Like all pure creatures, cats are practical.”

10. “The cat does not offer services. The cat offers itself.”

— William Burroughs

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* * *


The Following Article Is Worth Your Attention. I don't know how I'll vote--probably for Biden--but I agree with Professor Dabashiby. His reasoning is sound. I posted an answer to him at Information Clearing House. I might whip myself to vote for Joe on the shaky basis that “people change.”

The kind, blind words progressives are finding for Biden are sickening hypocrisy. He does not deserve them, any more than Anita Hill deserved Joe Biden's contempt when she reported Clarence Thomas's sexual harassment of her in 1991. Biden chaired the senate committee that confirmed the Antonin-Scalia lapdog-sycophant that Thomas was. Biden is sleazy. (And I might vote for him anyway, being immovably in the Never-Trump camp. It seems to me that reason requires an odious choice--AGAIN!)


Yes, Trump is an American monster but so is Biden

By Hamid Dabashiby 

September 06, 2020 “Information Clearing House”

Once again it is presidential election season in the United States and once again progressive critical thinkers who care about the future of our humanity find themselves in a quandary - to get rid of the wicked Donald Trump and his corrupt family and cronies should they or should they not opt to vote for yet another corporatist liberal, Joe Biden. It is deja vu, it is a rerun of a tired old movie, it is Groundhog Day: We had it with Trump and Hillary Clinton last time, and we have it again with the same Trump and even worse Biden now.

I completely sympathize with the leading American public intellectuals caught in this snare.

Cornel West, the eminent African American philosopher, for example, says he is planning to cast an “anti-fascist” vote for Biden in November despite his concerns about the former vice president's ties to “Wall Street and militarism”. West knows all too well Biden will betray every single ideal and principle for which West stands, but he is so disgusted with Trump - and rightly so - he is doing what in Persian we call “jumping from one crumbling column to another with hope”.

The same is true with Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned linguist and political activist who is also on the record encouraging people “to vote for Joe Biden and then haunt his dreams” - whatever that may mean. Politicians like Trump or Biden do not dream for us to haunt their dreams. They are the definitions of nightmares. Neither Trump nor Biden is to be trusted, and Chomsky knows that. But he is jumping from one crumbling column to another - is it with hope or is it in despair?

The revolutionary thinker and activist Angela Davis too has said she is supporting Biden for president, calling it crucial to back the candidate “who can be most effectively pressured”. But really? How so? Biden could not tolerate a single BDS-backing Palestinian activist, Linda Sarsour, taking part in his campaign and swiftly moved to kick her out. That is the sort of zealot Biden is. What sort of “pressure” can one hope to exert on him? 

Between a rock and a hard place.

Still, the terrorizing presidency of Trump and the Dark Ages of ignorance and criminal racism he has unleashed in the US, make it perfectly understandable why these and many other eminent critical thinkers who would not be caught dead with Biden are now rushing to declare their support for him. They are jumping from one crumbling column to another and forming a strategic alliance in the hopes that once Trump is out of the picture they can charge ahead beyond Biden's perilous promises.

But I write this essay to differ with these towering moral figures and openly declare that I will not vote for Biden. This is not to say I am more principled than them or care less about the consequences of yet another calamitous term of Trump. For the future of my own and millions of other American children I hope and wish for a day he is collected from the White House and taken to prison or asylum - whichever is closer.

But still, I will never vote for Biden for I believe the function of people like me is entirely different from even those among the American left with whom I wholeheartedly identify. The task of critical thinking at this point is not to rush to declare we are voting for Biden - an unrepentant racist and self-declared Zionist with a frightening record of misogyny who has actively supported the Iraq war.

We had a far superior choice in Bernie Sanders, but twice in a row, the Democratic Party made absolutely sure to kill his chances.

The task at hand is to sustain the course of critical thinking that could not possibly embrace Biden. Voting for Biden is voting for the very foundation of a political culture that has a whole platoon of Trumps and Bidens waiting to surface. If we choose between Trump and Biden today, next time we will have to choose between Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton.

This vicious cycle can only come to an end through a sustained and uncompromising course of critical thinking against the very grain of this political culture that demonises the Black Lives Matter uprising, celebrates neo-Nazis, and canonises Hillary Clinton and Biden as God-given salvation against this murderous banality.

A fateful moment

It was Barack Obama's speech that sealed my decision to never vote for Biden. Up until then, I was thinking to myself that a vote for Biden is not actually a vote for him, but a vote against Trump, alongside other such tall tales and poor excuses. But when Obama took to the podium and began to get emotional and pleaded for people to go and vote for Biden, right there and then, I decided it would be obscene of me to do so, especially with this hypocritical con man on his side.

Every time Obama starts choking up, I remember him crying in public for children who have fallen victim to gun violence in the US, just before going back to his Oval Office to send even more arms to Israel with which to slaughter Palestinian children, or sell them to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to kill more Yemeni children. Are Palestinian and Yemeni children not children? Every single human being stands for the entirety of our humanity. How could this coward be so openly cruel and callous when it comes to children in Yemen, Palestine, Afghanistan and beyond, and still pretend to care deeply about America's children?

Biden is even worse than Obama in his die-hard Zionism - in his support for the apartheid state of Israel, in his categorical disregard for Palestinians. Voting for Biden means excusing all the times in the past he helped arm Israel to murder Palestinians. Voting for him means, should he become the next president, siding with him every time he signs - and he will undoubtedly sign many - a new arms deal to support Israel and its murderous tyranny.

Why would any decent human being want to do anything like that? Yes, Trump is an American monster but so is Biden. People like me have no candidate in this election.

The ethics of ultimate responsibility

The task of my sort of critical thinkers is not to jump on the bandwagon and rush to vote for Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, reluctantly. Generations of critical thinkers from Rosa Luxemburg to Aimee Cesaire to Frantz Fanon to Edward Said to Arundhati Roy did not live and think and write for us to cast a strategic vote for a reactionary liberal, an unrepentant warmonger, a hardcore Zionist, with a record of racism and alleged sexual abuse. Our task is something else.

In his famous essay, Politics as Vocation (1919), the eminent German sociologist Max Weber made a crucial distinction between an “ethics of responsibility” and an “ethics of ultimate end” that to this day remain a hallmark of a moral choice in politics: “We must be clear,” he told his audience at the University of Munich, “about the fact that all ethically oriented conduct may be guided by one of two fundamentally differing and irreconcilably opposed maxims: conduct can be oriented to an 'ethic of ultimate ends' or to an 'ethic of responsibility'.” These are two identically ethical acts, but in two diametrically opposed directions.

Weber further clarified: “This is not to say that an ethic of ultimate ends is identical with irresponsibility, or that an ethic of responsibility is identical with unprincipled opportunism. Naturally, nobody says that.” Be that as it may, he still insisted: “There is an abysmal contrast between conduct that follows the maxim of an ethic of ultimate ends ... and conduct that follows the maxim of an ethic of responsibility, in which case one has to give an account of the foreseeable results of one's action.”

But in between the two choices Weber left us, emerges a third: An ethic of ultimate responsibility. Our specific and ultimate responsibility today is not to rush to vote for a lesser evil, as I also argued four years ago when the choice was between Trump and Clinton, but to sustain the course of critical thinking that seeks to overcome both evils. More than 300 million human beings trapped to choose between a Coke and a Pepsi deserve and must strive for a healthier choice. An entire planet at the mercy of US militarism and warmongering most certainly has everything to lose from either of these two American calamities.

(Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.)

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Much was made of the fact that the two wildfire complexes in the North and South/East Bay last month had grown to become the second and third largest wildfires in California history. But 2020 is set to add more record-huge blazes to that list before the year is out, and the August Complex fires burning in Mendocino National Forest have now surpassed both the LNU and SCU complexes in size to become the second-largest wildfire in state history.

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MARIJUANA, an on-line comment: 

When we all grew respectfully this was not an issue. Never would a land owner clear cut to grow like they do now. They would tuck it in, work with their land. Once the mega grow technique became the trend it all went to hell in a handbasket. Our lands cannot sustain 1000s and 1000s of plants. The quality has gone way down as the quantity has gone up. Ole' English vs Narwhale folks. Ground chuck vs Kobe. B Bar S vs Nathan's. My son has been working on a LEGAL FARM. OH CRIPE. They cut 1000 plants dried em all in 3 days using heat and dehumidifiers. So crispy like glass. All at the direction of the east coast boys who finance it. They MANAGE it but obviously know nothing of growing. Too many foxes in the henhouse.

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A new study has found that those who tested positive for COVID-19 were twice as likely to have dined at a restaurant in the 14 days before falling ill.

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Education’s Dumbing Down Frays The Bonds Of Citizenship And Is Hardest On The Poor, Says E.D. Hirsch, The Man Who Wrote The Book On Cultural Literacy.

by Naomi Schaefer Riley

If you have school-age children, the pandemic-induced move to online classes may give you an unusual window into their education. E.D. Hirsch expects you’ll be surprised by “how little whole-class instruction is going on,” how little knowledge is communicated, and how there is “no coherence” from day to day, let alone from year to year.

The current fashion is for teachers to be a “guide on the side, instead of a sage on the stage,” he says, quoting the latest pedagogical slogan, which means that teachers aren’t supposed to lecture students but to “facilitate” learning by nudging students to follow their own curiosity. Everything Mr. Hirsch knows about how children learn tells him that’s the wrong approach. “If you want equity in education, as well as excellence, you have to have whole-class instruction,” in which a teacher directly communicates information using a prescribed sequential curriculum.

Mr. Hirsch, 92, is best known for his 1987 book, “Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know.” It is an argument for teaching “specifics,” followed by a lengthy list of them—thousands of historical figures, events, concepts and literary works with which, in Mr. Hirsch’s view, educated Americans should be familiar. Heavily weighted toward Western history and civilization, the list provoked charges of elitism. Yet Mr. Hirsch is singularly focused on helping disadvantaged kids. They “are not exposed to this information at home,” he says, so they’ll starve intellectually unless the schools provide it.

He continues the argument in his new book, “How to Educate a Citizen,” in which he describes himself as a heretofore “rather polite scholar” who has become more “forthright and impatient because things are getting worse. Intellectual error has become a threat to the well-being of the nation. A truly massive tragedy is building.” Schools “are diminishing our national unity and our basic competence.”

Mr. Hirsch is nonetheless cheerful in a Zoom interview from a vacation home in Maine, his armchair perched next to a window with a water view. An emeritus professor at the University of Virginia, he normally resides in Charlottesville, where he continues his research and acts as the chairman of the Core Knowledge Foundation.

He cites both history and neuroscience in explaining how education went wrong. It began in the 1940s, when “schools unbolted the desks and kids were no longer facing the teacher.” Instead children were divided into small groups and instructed to complete worksheets independently with occasional input from teachers. “That was also when our verbal test scores went down and the relative ranking of our elementary schools declined on a national level.” On the International Adult Literacy Survey, Americans went from being No. 1 for children who were educated in the 1950s to fifth for those in the ’70s and 14th in the ’90s. And things have only gotten worse. Between 2002 and 2015, American schoolchildren went from a ranking of 15th to 24th in reading on the Program for International Student Assessment.

The problem runs deeper than the style of instruction, Mr. Hirsch says. It’s the concept at its root—”child-centered classrooms,” the notion that “education is partly a matter of drawing out a child’s inborn nature.” Mr. Hirsch says emphatically that a child’s mind is “a blank slate.” On this point he agrees with John Locke and disagrees with Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who thought children’s need to develop according to their nature. Both philosophers make the “Cultural Literacy” list, but “Locke has to make a comeback” among educators, Mr. Hirsch says. “The culture is up for grabs, and elementary schools are the culture makers.”

Mr. Hirsch is a man of the left—he has said he is “practically a socialist.” But he bristles at the idea that kids should read only books by people who look like them or live like them. He recalls how reading outside his own experience enabled him “to gain perspective.” Growing up in Memphis, Tenn., in the 1930s, he says, “there was no one I knew who wasn’t a racist.” In his teens, he picked up Gunnar Myrdal’s “An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy” (1944), which “allowed me to escape.” The Swedish sociologist’s survey of American race relations “made a huge impact” on Mr. Hirsch. “I take it as an illustration of how important knowledge is and how important it is to _not _necessarily become a member of your culture.”

That’s no less true in 21st-century America. “The idea that identity and ethnicity are inborn and indelible from birth is a false view that leads to group hostility,” Mr. Hirsch says. “The idea that there can be an American culture that everyone joins seems to be anathema to some academic thinkers,” Mr. Hirsch says. “But I can’t believe it’s anathema to any normal person in the country who isn’t some social theorist.” It’s fine for children to embrace their particular heritage, he says, but also vital to create an “American ethnicity.” The purpose of elementary schools “is to make children into good citizens.”

That requires knowledge that is “shared nationally, if you’re going to read and write and communicate with one another.” He’s dismayed that people keep getting hung up on the particulars. “I’m fine with arguing about whether it shall be Toni Morrison or Herman Melville. Who cares?” He calls elementary school “a nonpartisan institution,” a view that may seem quaint in an era when schools are adopting ideological curricula like the “1619 Project” and teachers are displaying “Black Lives Matter” banners as their Zoom backgrounds.

Mr. Hirsch wants to correct some of these excesses. He dedicates “How to Educate a Citizen” to the late political scientist Richard Rorty, who died in 2007. Rorty “made a distinction between the political left and the cultural left,” says Mr. Hirsch, who considers himself a man of the former but not the latter. He commends to me a 1994 New York Times [1] article, “The Unpatriotic Academy,” in which Rorty wrote: “In the name of ‘the politics of difference,’ [the left] refuses to rejoice in the country it inhabits. It repudiates the idea of a national identity, and the emotion of national pride.” Mr. Hirsch agrees and longs for the “willingness to sacrifice for the good of society that was very strong” during his early years. “Patriotism is important because we want to make our society work.”

Mr. Hirsch also takes issue with grade schools’ focus on “skills.” Whether it is imparting “critical thinking skills,” “communication skills” or “problem-solving skills,” he says such instruction is a waste of time in the absence of specific knowledge. He describes the findings of the National Academy of Sciences on the subject of the “domain specificity of human skills.” What this means, he explains in the new book, “is that being good at tennis does not make you good at golf or soccer. You may be a talented person with great hand-eye coordination—and indeed there are native general abilities that can be nurtured in different ways—but being a first-class swimmer will not make a person good at hockey.”

He cites the “baseball study,” conducted by researchers at Marquette University in the 1980s, which found that kids who knew more about how baseball was played performed better when answering questions about a text on baseball than those who didn’t understand the game—regardless of their reading level. The conventional response in education circles is that standardized tests are unfair because some kids are exposed to more specific knowledge than others. In Mr. Hirsch’s view that’s precisely why children should be exposed to more content: Educators “simply haven’t faced up to their duty to provide a coherent sequence of knowledge to children.”

There are now about 5,000 schools in the U.S. that use some form of the Core Knowledge curriculum, developed by Mr. Hirsch’s foundation. And research suggests Mr. Hirsch is right. A recent large-scale randomized study of public-school pupils in kindergarten through second grade found that use of the Core Knowledge Language Arts curriculum had statistically significant benefits for vocabulary, science knowledge, and social-studies knowledge.

Even in poor neighborhoods, kids at Core Knowledge schools perform well and are admitted to competitive high schools. From the South Bronx Classical Charter School to the public schools in Sullivan County, Tenn., Mr. Hirsch is clearly proud that his ideas have helped the least privileged kids in America.

He questions the idea that children who are exposed to more “experiences” are at an automatic advantage. “That’s what fiction is for,” he quips. And not only fiction. “The residue of experience is knowledge,” he says. “If you get your knowledge from the classroom, it’s just as good as if you got it from going to the opera. Poor kids can catch up.”

Asked about the effect of the pandemic and lockdown on children’s emotional well-being, Mr. Hirsch shrugs, then offers an anecdote from a principal at a Core Knowledge school. Before classes began one morning, a second-grade girl approached him and said: “I’m so excited for today.” When the principal asked why, she said, “Because today we are going to learn about the War of 1812.”

“Gee, I wonder what that’s about,” the principal said.

“I don’t know,” the girl replied. “But today I’m going to find out!”

For Mr. Hirsch, the lesson is clear. No matter the circumstances, “kids delight in learning things.”

(Ms. Riley is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.)

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I never had much use for the idea of America as an “empire” aside, that is, from that long and wide territory between the Atlantic and Pacific, a very large patch of dirt encompassing groups of people that don't play well together and never have as evidenced by that bloody dispute of the 1860s and the long cold war between North and South ever since. 

The wide world beyond, ie the one that the furrowed-brows in Washington's foreign policy elite presumed to – cough – control was never much more than a half-assed shambles of partially voluntary and partially involuntary association, tied together sometimes by mutual interest and sometimes by military force as in the case of Germany and Japan. Alliances of the unwilling and unable, led by an incompetent “superpower” that waged disastrous wars that bled its Treasury dry, most lately in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, “stupidly inept” characterizes not only the recruitment of Crazy Joe, but American foreign policy since WW2 and its preposterous and calamitous economic policies of the past forty years. America's elites became possessed of the most cockamamie notions, nonsensical on the face of them, illogical at the core, ideas that nobody with an ounce of sense would subscribe to. Yet they were pushed as if they were the pinnacle of enlightenment, the height of humanity's achievement and the bald facts on the ground exposing their absurdity proving no barrier to those same thinkers defending their handiwork, and the work of their intellectual predecessors, defying reason and the most obvious, most visually available evidence. 

What the fuck is going on in America? Dissolution is what's going on, that empire stretching from Atlantic to Pacific coming apart, its constituent parts refusing to be governed by the imperial capitol by people not of their taste or choosing, not just because of culture and ideology, but because economically the arrangement doesn't work, can't work, and can't be fixed. 

Black lives don't matter to those rioters in the streets, it's their own lives and prospects that matter, Black lives don't matter especially to the Democrats, what matters to the Democrats are their own fortunes which are tied to those of their billionaire paymasters. The billionaires fucked this thing up most handsomely and the only way I can see to salvage this mess is to let it come down and then re-build, but without the input of those screwing things up in the first place. 

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Dear Editor,

The right wing sees no problem in concentrating wealth into fewer and fewer hands, while the left favors a more even distribution. This distinction between left and right has pertained for centuries. Wealth tends to flow to the already rich because productivity increases have no mandated or legislated need to equally benefit both boss and worker. When a more efficient piece of machinery is installed, and an increase in productivity thereby results, most workers can get by without needing a greater share of the product of their labor in the form of a wage hike. So, by default, the surplus, augmented by greater efficiency, gets appropriated by the bosses. This automatic favoring of the bosses is nothing more sinister than a mere fact of life. It requires no sinister motives or extraordinary greed for things to work out that way. 

Our mutual awakening to these facts behooves us to take hold of the reins and regulate industry so that the income divide doesn't fly so far out of control that the rich become overly rich, as it is today with the top three enjoying more wealth than the bottom half of Americans, whose wages have stagnated. 

While the left would like to apply reasonable controls over the accumulation of surpluses and profits to keep things more fairly balanced, the right sees no good reason for doing so, hoping instead for the products of labor to increasingly accrue to those who already own them. Anything other than that would be described as waging class struggle, which gets terribly frowned upon when attempted by workers, but never when practiced by bosses. 

This struggle is bound to continue right on up to the abolition of human labor, or full automation, which isn't all that far away as artificial intelligence makes great strides. 

In the meantime, while we wait patiently for our liberation from having to labor, social tensions would be very much reduced if we became smart enough to vote left instead of right. But, with the thinking of so many millions firmly planted in the 1850s, workers might have to wait awhile for meaningful relief.

Ken Ellis

New Bedford, MA

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Blue states. Blue cities. Democrat governors, Democrat mayors. They allow these filthy, protests, and homeless. San Diego was so filthy people don't want to drive down the streets — Democrat mayor. Los Angeles the same. San Francisco. All the states in trouble have Democratic governors and Democrat mayors. 110 days of riots in Oregon — Democrats. Seattle has blacks and people taking over the town — Democrats. New York has stinking Deblasio and Cuomo — Democrats. Riots. A woman raped in broad daylight with people watching and laughing. That's the Democrats! Very foul. They do not care about American life. They only want power, power! They don't care if we have an economy or not. They only care about getting Mr. Trump out of office. That’s their dream. If Biden wins it will turn your stomach. He will not win, but if he did, you might as well give this country to China because we're done.

I've been very accurate in everything I said for the last four years. I protected the shit would hit the fan and it did.

All these fires are because of Democrat politicians making the laws. Under Reagan the national forests were fine, thinned out, a safe place to have a forest with mills in reach of timber. But they are all gone because of Democrats and the national forests are hornet’s nests of fire and danger because it's so dry and so thick. Climate change? BS! It’s mismanagement! In the 70s the politicians and environmentalists started to get their grip on people and then the whole country turned into a ball of shit. It will get worse before it gets better. You think it's bad now? Wait till next month! Or next year! 

A lot of this is a return of favor to CARB and Mary Nichols and what she did to people and their trucks, ruining lives, taking people's livelihoods, ruining their whole future and whatever they did. She thinks you can just throw away your truck. People made their living with trucks! She is getting paid back now! Every time lightning strikes it’s for a truck she took away from somebody.

I feel sorry for the people being removed and pushed back in their terrible conditions because of the fires. But not for Mary Nichols or the CARB or the Democrat politicians who made this all happen. Democrat politicians are responsible for everything bad that's happening now!

God Bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


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  1. James Marmon September 14, 2020


    “Socialism is “group-think.” How uninformed in history do you have to be to advocate for “group-think”??”

    ― A.E. Samaan

  2. James Marmon September 14, 2020


    “Face masks may be inadvertently giving people Covid-19 immunity and making them get less sick from the virus, academics have suggested in one of the most respected medical journals in the world.

    The commentary, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, advances the unproven but promising theory that universal face mask wearing might be helping to reduce the severity of the virus and ensuring that a greater proportion of new infections are asymptomatic.”

    James Marmon
    Cloth Face Mask Maker

  3. James Marmon September 14, 2020


    I’m rereading 1984, which I last read 20+ years ago. It’s a lot more eerie now, as terms like “thoughtcrime,” “doublethink,” and “unpersoning,” seem like daily realities.

    James Marmon MSW

    • James Marmon September 14, 2020

      Economic socialism is about the redistribution of wealth or welfare to alleviate the social pressures of late capitalism, cultural socialism is about the redistribution of access, status, prestige, voice, representation, and “privilege”, for the same end.


      James Marmon MSW

    • Harvey Reading September 14, 2020

      Yeah, I agree. It pretty well describes orange hog times.

  4. James Marmon September 14, 2020

    RE: SOCIAL ENGINEERING (Cancel Culture)

    “Liberals tend to view traditions, policies, and morals of past generations as arbitrary designs put in place by less enlightened people. Because of this, liberals don’t pay much attention to why traditions developed or wonder about possible ramifications of their social engineering.”

    ― John Hawkins

    James Marmon MSW
    Conservative Social Worker

    • Harvey Reading September 14, 2020

      I thought you got fired.

  5. Eric Sunswheat September 14, 2020

    The billionaires fucked this thing up most handsomely and the only way I can see to salvage this mess is to let it come down and then re-build, but without the input of those screwing things up in the first place.

    -> 9/13/2020 forbiddenhealing
    Don’t overlook the fact that brain function is an electromagnetic phenomenon…

    Or that metals like lead, mercury, aluminum, copper, etc are too-common burdens that kill brain voltage and source inflammation…

    Or that magnesium, potassium, zinc, selenium are notorious deficiencies involved in enzyme synthesis and act as electrolytes….

    Or that lack of Vit C/collagen and construction of oxidized fats allow membrane/vessel leakage and are poorly conductive….

    Or that breathing habits, acidity and low oxygen like excess sugar are involved in metabolic syndrome and cripple necessary e-electron voltage…

    Or sunshine and the other vitamin/fat/protein deficiencies……….

    And then as Fletch refers to Eckhart Tolle there are problems with ego and spiritual development….

    And look to our emotional/informational environment, enter-trainment/screens where fear and anxiety are the hallmarks of societal control that also generate somatic disease….

    And lastly conditions of poverty, toxic relationships, crappy employment and bleak environs lead to addictions and violence and withdrawl and are soul-sucking and depressing.

    I have listened to Dr. Breggin many times and like his take on psychiatry, and hope he considers these organic causes.

  6. Lazarus September 14, 2020

    In Joe Biden’s presser this morning, I did not hear Candidate Biden mention the two Los Angeles police that were shot in their car yesterday.

    Nor did he mention or callout the protesters that were outside the hospital the cops are in. There’s a video of protesters yelling, “Let them die”…

    Nor did he take any questions from the gathered press.

    Be safe…..

  7. James Marmon September 14, 2020


    If it wasn’t for the AVA I would have been completely unpersoned in Mendocino County. For years the publication kept me alive while County Officials attempted to completely erase everything me. What this actually did was give me even a larger platform as many of my political and ideological views are now being brought into relevance. I don’t see eye to eye with a lot of the paper’s views, but I do have to give them thanks for keeping me alive all these years.

    Thank you AVA

    Definition of unperson
    an individual who usually for political or ideological reasons is removed completely from recognition or consideration

    James Marmon MSW

    • Harvey Reading September 14, 2020

      “Usually”, but not always it would more likely seem to me.

    • Joe September 14, 2020

      Don’t be lonely James there are lots of unpersons in the world they are just underrepresented by their nature. I think it’s about being unique which used to be a virtue in America so be proud. The echo chamber can be deafening at times and group think is what got the Nazi’s off the ground. I also appreciate the AVA for being tolerant of ideas.

      • Harvey Reading September 14, 2020

        Lotta conservative US biddnessmen loved Hitler. ‘member ol’ Henry the Jew hater? Ford, that is. Some loved fascism so much that they tried to get Smedley Butler to lead a fascist coup against FDR but he ratted ’em out to congress. Didn’t stop the scum from doing bidness with their fellow eurotrash fascists, though Some people have earned the right to unpersonhood…I can think of a couple right off the top of my head, Joseph.

  8. Joe September 14, 2020

    “It’s really 100% in our favor. The court found in all respects that the orders issued by the governor and the secretary of health were unconstitutional. What it means is they can’t do it again, and they should not have done it in the past,” said attorney Thomas W. King III, who represents the plaintiffs. “It’s a complete and total victory for the counties, the businesses and the representatives,” he added.

  9. Betsy Cawn September 15, 2020

    Some very het up citizens over here are way too upset about the infringement of their “Constitutional rights” (when few if any of them opposed the ratification of the Patriot Act — kiss your privacy rights goodbye, and then keep on doing that, without a peep of opposition) because the County Board of Supervisors agreed to an ordinance (3-2) that gives the Public Health Department the option of fining a business operator (at a very modest price, I think it’s one C-note for the “first” offense, double that for the second, and a third time rates a five-Century slap), but assigns no staff for the enforcement of the ordinance (as always), which we presume will be a subject of discussion on today’s Board of Supes agenda.

    A group of very unhappy people (many strongly affiliated with the local Republican Party) has circulated a petition to put the matter on the ballot in November, and the enmity of businesses allying themselves with the anti-masking disdain toward those who encourage the use of “personal protective equipment” (and especially facial coverings) fairly leaps out at the reader on myriad Facebook pages. Yow!!!

    Note that in the report from there is no relief from mandatory masking: “. . .Monday’s order does not apply to the mandatory mask order or the mandatory work-from-home order according to”

    Thinking this will be a great day for a long ride, and watch the flat screen later for entertainment. Cheers from Upper Lake.

    • Harvey Reading September 15, 2020

      One must be careful when stating the obvious. It gets the likes of Joseph very upset.

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