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A WARM FRONT has lifted northward, ending the rain. A milder and dry day is in store for today, before the next wet and windy storm system arrives for Tuesday, with wet weather continuing through mid-week. Temperatures will trend cooler this week. (NWS)
NINETEEN NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Sunday, total now 1307.
COCKTAILS? YES. SCHOOL? NO.
As the coronavirus has surged again in recent weeks, much of the United States has chosen to keep restaurants open and schools closed. Much of Europe has done the opposite.
The European approach seems to be working better.
Look at this chart, which shows the number of new daily virus cases in five countries, adjusted for population size:
As you can see, both the U.S. and Europe have been coping with severe outbreaks, with caseloads rising even faster in much of Europe than in the U.S. during much of this fall. But over the past two weeks, France, Germany, Spain and Britain have managed to reduce their growth rates.
What is Europe doing differently? It is cracking down on the kind of indoor gatherings that most commonly spread the virus. England closed pubs, restaurants, gyms and more on Nov. 5 and announced they would remain closed until at least Dec. 2. France, Germany’s regional governments and the Catalonia region of Spain have also shut restaurants, among other businesses.
“I’m sure the Europeans didn’t want to restrict their activities any more than we do,” Janet Baseman, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington, told me over the weekend. “Everyone is tired and ready for this to end, but we have to accept the reality of the data before us.”
Many Americans have resisted accepting that reality. Across much of the country, restaurants remain open for indoor dining. Last week, New York State announced a new policy that public health experts consider to be a bizarre middle ground: Businesses with a liquor license can stay open until 10 p.m.
The one indoor activity that appears to present less risk is school, especially elementary school. Why? Young children seem to spread the virus less often than adults do. “Research has shown that if you put social-distancing protocols in place, school is actually quite a safe environment,” Andreas Schleicher, who studies schools for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, told NPR.
Closing schools and switching entirely to remote learning, on the other hand, has big social costs. Children are learning less, and many parents, mostly mothers, have dropped out of the labor force. The U.S. is suffering from both of these problems and from a raging pandemic.
There are no easy answers, to be sure. Closing restaurants and other businesses creates economic hardship (which some European countries are trying to reduce through government aid).
And the virus is now spreading so rapidly in the U.S. that keeping schools open does pose risks, including the chance that teachers, janitors and other workers infect one another. To keep schools open in a safe way, the U.S. would probably first need to close other public places. Only a few states — including Michigan, Oregon, New Mexico and Washington — have closed indoor dining recently.
“The U.S. case and hospitalization numbers we’re seeing right now are chilling,” Baseman said.
But if there are no perfect solutions to the pandemic, there are better and worse ones. Right now, the U.S. seems to be falling well short of what’s possible.
(The New York Times)
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Cherry is a people pleaser—she adores humans! All humans, whether familiar or strangers—makes no difference to this sweet girl! Cherry is a happy dog, playful with people, though not so much with toys. Cherry will want to be a part of the family and spend as much time as possible with her new guardians. This sweet-as-a-bowl-of-cherries girl is 5 years young and 58 adorable pounds.
There's more about Cherry on her webpage at mendoanimalshelter.com. While you’re there, you can read about our services, programs, events, and updates regarding covid-19 and the shelters in Ukiah and Ft. Bragg. For information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
A photo from my book, Mendocino Inspirations, on sale exclusively at Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino. Call them at 707-937-2665 or use the web: gallerybookshop.com for easy ordering.
MENDOCINO INSPIRATIONS makes an ideal holiday gift for anyone, near or far. When you buy from Gallery Bookshop you are supporting real people working in a locally owned independent book store.
LOCAL REAL ESTATE YEAR IN REVIEW
by Anne Fashauer
At least once a year, sometimes more often, I like to take a look at the BAREIS MLS (Bay Area Real Estate Information Services Multiple Listing Service). I like to compare current listings and sales to the previous year to see if what feels like is happening conforms to what is really happening. I looked at last year for the whole County, then specifically at Anderson Valley, which in the MLS includes Comptche to Yorkville. I also looked briefly at the coastal MLS to see what that looked like. I’m required to state: This information is based on sales reported in Bay Area Real Estate Information Services, Inc. (BAREIS) and is not verified and is subject to change. Listings represented may not have been listed or sold by Anne Fashauer/North Country Real Estate.
Last year in BAREIS MLS there were 862 sales of all types — residential, mobile home, lots and land, multi-unit (two or more units) and commercial. Of that 862, 663 were residential sales; 37 were mobile homes; 120 were land; 13 multi-unit and 29 were commercial. I did not look at prices due to the volume and because this is the overall County, which includes high priced areas such as the Coast and Anderson Valley as well as lower priced areas such as Laytonville and Willits.
Anderson Valley had 17 total sales in 2019. Of those, 15 were residential, four were land, one was a multi-unit property and two were commercial sales.
Sale prices of the residential properties ranged from $310,000 to $3,600,000. More than half of the sales were between that one at $310,000 and under $600,000, with three sales in the $300,000’s, three in the $400,000’s and three in the $500,000’s. There was one sale in the $600,000’s, two in the $800,000’s, two in the $900,000’s and one at $3.6 million. The four land sales were $265,000, $300,000, $685,000 and $3.9 million. The one multi-unit sale was the old Ice House in Navarro and the two commercial sales were Brutocao and the Live Oak building.
This year’s sales figures are through November 15, 2020 — the date I’m writing this. Thus far we have had 822 sales in the whole County. 604 residential; 42 mobile; 144 lots and land; 18 multi-unit, and 14 commercial sales. It will be interesting to check in at the beginning of January to see if we reach the same numbers as last year. Last year at this time there were a total of 770 sales in the County, so we are well ahead of that already.
In Anderson Valley this year we have had 15 total sales - eight residential and seven land. Prices for residential sales have been one in the $300,000’s, two in the $400,000’s, one each in the $500,000’s and $600,000’s; one in the one millions, one in the two millions and one near $6 million. Land sales have ranged from $115,000 to $600,000, with most of those between $225,000 and $450,000. This time last year there were 18 total sales at this time, quite a bit more when you consider that we don’t have a lot of sales in general. However, there are several properties currently under contract that are likely to close this year. Of the 17 residential listings in the MLS right now, six of those are in escrow; of the 19 land listings, five of those are in escrow. Not surprising, most of the escrows are for property in the $500,000’s for residential and the land escrows range from the $200,000’s to the $400,000’s.
As I mentioned, I looked briefly at the coastal MLS and what I saw there indicated that there have already been 30 more sales this year than last.
Overall, residential properties prices under $600,000 are the fastest to move. The upper end of the market traditionally takes longer to sell and this current market isn’t showing much difference there. Of the 11 active listings (not under contract) five are priced at or above $1,000,000. My feeling has been that the market is busier this year than last and these numbers agree with that. However, while volume is up, I am not yet seeing prices rising or those high end properties moving any faster than usual.
(Anne Fashauer is a long-time Boonville realtor. She can be reached at mendocountry.com or 895-3762.)
KING TIDE ON THE NORTH COAST (photos by Judy Valadao)
NIGHT LIGHT OF THE NORTH COAST: Window to the Stars
by David Wilson
A chance late night pit stop along the Mattole Road placed me perfectly beneath a spectacular star-studded window into the Cosmos, wonderfully framed by a tall stand of Douglas-fir trees. Though I’d set out to capture another image, it is this one from that evening that has captured me.
So rested we, my brother with me, beneath a skylight to the stars. The shape undulated continuously, its edges shifting in a wicked wind whipping crazily through the branches. The bright planet Mars winked in and out of view behind the swaying trees in the west, while across the east end a faint section of the Milky Way cut its path.
(To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or purchase a print, visit or contact him at his website mindscapefx.com or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx and on Twitter @davidwilson_mfx.)
KICKING & SCREAMING…
Letter to the Editor,
Mendocino County is at least 20 years behind. Across the country, counties are meeting psychiatric crises early with mental health workers, NOT law enforcement. In rare cases, when someone has decompensated to the point when violence is a potential, only then is law enforcement needed. Most people can be helped way before that and CRTs would make this so much easier for everyone.
I don’t know how we bring our County into the 21st century.
WHAT NORCAL CANDIDATE SAID THIS: “You have wineries that want to make money, but when you have the land being completely depleted of nutrients and then areas abandoned, that’s not good for the county as a whole”? [Referring to Sonoma County]
ANSWER: Republican Assembly candidate Charlotte Svolos who was running as a Republican against Assemblyman Jim Wood. Ms. Svolos, a Special Ed teacher from Del Norte County, got about 30% of Mendo’s votes, about the same as other Republicans.
VOTER TURNOUT so far in Mendocino County is up to 68%, which seems impressive until you look back to 2008 when Obama ran against John McCain. In 2008 Mendo’s voter turnout was 80%. That was the year that John McCowen beat Estelle Clifton (54% to 46% in the run-off election) for the Ukiah seat on the Board of Supervisors. Interestingly, we had forgotten that one of McCowen’s opponents in the primary in 2008 (coming in third) was Jim Mulheren, father of Ukiah supervisor-elect Maureen Mulheren. (Too bad Ms. Clifton, a professional forester and land manager with roots in Covelo, dropped out of politics after that race; she would have made a pretty good Supervisor if she had decided to run again. We understand she has since gotten married, had kids, and moved out of the Ukiah district, which is Ukiah's loss. And Carre Brown narrowly defeated Mike Delbar (2,007 to 1,935) in the primary election for the Farm Bureau (aka 1st District/Potter Valley) seat on the Board. (Brown beat Delbar easily in the run-off.)
UPDATED ELECTION RESULTS show Ukiah newcomer Josefina Duenas taking a small lead over incumbent Steve Scalmanini in the Ukiah City Council race. Incumbent Doug Crane was still leading, but the second of two open seats saw Ms. Duenas taking an 81 vote lead over Scalmanini, 1584 to 1503. Apparently, there are still a few late arriving ballots yet to be counted, so the election won’t be certified until late November.
A HUGE UNPAID BACK RENT DEBT is being accumulated by residential renters in California, about $1.7 billion, about a quarter of the national rent debt, according to a recent study by the Fed. An estimated 240,000 California households are behind in their rent at an average of about $7,000 each. The accumulated debt is expected to be higher than that however, because another uncounted group of renters is estimated to have paid their rent by borrowing against their credit cards with its accompanying high interest rates. According to the report, under the state’s eviction moratorium, renters will be liable for accumulated unpaid back rent in March of next year — assuming there’s no nationwide forbearance or subsidies. After March, if nothing changes, landlords will be allowed to pursue back rents in small claims court — itself a slow and by no means guaranteed process, especially when the occupant simply doesn’t have the money — when accumulated back rent could easily be double the current numbers.
IF DEMOGRAPHIC factors are applied, Mendocino County would have about .25% of those 240,000 renters, or 500 or so. The report did not mention commercial renters such as restaurants and other small businesses that are struggling to pay business rents, if they haven’t already closed.
RECOMMENDED READING: Red Pill by Hari Kunzru. In my humble outback opinion, Kunzru is a virtual seer, and this novel seems like the reality coming right up. This reality is defined this way by Kunzru when he was asked for his version of an imminent, worst-case scenario:
”The US becomes an autocracy, and devolves into a weak and fractious patchwork of jurisdictions run by more or less rapacious oligarchs who conduct a losing war with China, first cold then hot. Human rights become a quaint idea. The environment collapses, and the resulting massive migrations of people lead to vicious authoritarian regimes taking hold in richer countries. Genocidal wars are fought over water. The Tibetan plateau is a global flashpoint. New pathogens emerge out of the melting permafrost, killing millions. Life becomes hellish for all but the very wealthy. For the masses, the future looks like an insect world of starvation or highly-surveilled shock work; for the few, a melancholy decadence conducted behind high walls. I always thought the shit would go down when I was young and strong. These days I'm just hoping I won't spend my old age picking through the ruins of my city looking for expired canned food.”
JENNY OFFILL COMMENTED: "As someone who has lingered too long in the doomier corners of the Internet, I felt a strange sense of relief seeing this dizzying array of potential catastrophes carefully described and cataloged. I was tempted to keep a copy in my wallet to be whipped out the next time I heard someone say, ‘Everything will be OK; all we have to do is get people to the polls’.”
AS THE CATASTROPHE picks up the momentum as outlined above, a reader writes: “There is something unusual going on in the White House. Trump is not being his usual erratic public self. He knows he will be leaving, and is preparing for that. He has been quiet for over a week, except for tweets, then comes out with a thoroughly prepared presentation on the virus. He fires his defense secretary. He won’t let Biden see classified information. It makes one think, there is something going on.”
WHAT'S going on is the acceleration of The Great Slide that Trump has speeded up, somehow convincing half our fine, fat population — the poor and struggling half — that he's on their side. He doesn't have the military backup to put the pedal all the way to the metal, but he's kicked off a low-intensity civil war that's only going to get worse as millions more of US fall into Depression-quality poverty. There's no indication that Biden and the Democrats have either the will or the ability to institute the neo-Rooseveltian programs necessary to prevent serious social disarray. All Trump offers is a lot of bluster about how bad the Democrats are, a given and obvious to anyone who cares to look, and his only achievements are packing the courts with fascist-minded judges and lowering taxes on the obscenely rich.
SPEAKING OF DISARRAY, the television news visuals of the sporadic street fighting in Sacramento yesterday between so-called Antifa and the Trumpers revealed Antifa as the basic candy asses they are. Antifa was padded up, helmeted and masked more thoroughly than any college football player, while the Trumpers turned out in all their bare-faced, unpadded, unmasked glory. One of them was featured arguing with an Antifa warrior, screaming at this Black Knight figure, “Look at you! Look at us! You're hiding, we're not.” There followed a clip of anon Antifa figures, six on one, pummeling a downed Trumper. Fighting fascism with fascism isn't working and won't work with most people.
JEROME POWELL is Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, a collection of very large privately owned banks on whose behalf America is organized. Jerome and Friends have been printing up a lot of money lately, so much that we now have, for sure, more of a faith-based currency than ever, a faith I share until the very hour the Redwood Drive-In no longer accepts it for one of their delicious tacos.
ANYWAY, here's Powell on the present economic situation: “For example, it's likely that lower-paid workers, as well as those in jobs requiring face-to-face interactions, such as retail or restaurant workers, will shoulder most of the burden of this shift to unemployment. These groups, heavily skewed towards women and minorities, have already been among those most affected by pandemic layoffs. The post-pandemic economy is also at risk of being less productive: women have been forced to quit their jobs due to child care responsibilities during the crisis, and children aren't getting the education they deserve. Generally speaking, inequality holds the economy back. Even after the unemployment rate goes down and there's a vaccine, there's going to be a probably substantial group of workers who are going to need support as they're finding their way in the post-pandemic economy, because it's going to be different in some fundamental ways.”
EYES ONLY, LOCALS. A guy called last week to say the photo we ran of the late Dory Dan was not Dory Dan. “Dory Dan always wore glasses,” the caller insisted, “always! I fished with him and knew him. And that was not him.”
WITH THE REAL Dory Dan no longer able to stand up for ID verification, surely someone out there will stand in for him. Is this him? If it's not him, who the heck is it?
DR. ROCHAT is the new medical man at the Anderson Valley Health Center. He supplements the ancient warrior of AV medicine, Dr. Mark Apfel, who soldiers on. I've had two face-to-face visits with the new guy, and I'm here to tell you he is thorough and patient with even the irreparable complaint that I brought to him — claw hands. Well, not that bad yet, but arthritis in the paws annoyingly numbing the left paw particularly is the complaint. Unlike a lot of medical people in my fortunately limited experience with medical people, Dr. Rochat pays attention to what you're telling him. Here's hoping he's with us long-term.
JOHNNY SCHMIDT of the Boonville Hotel is keeping The Valley's central hostelry going in these most trying circumstances: “We are adapting with the adventures of the day and season! We have six tables in private rooms, spread throughout the dining room & hotel, offering a lot of space and airflow. Plus a few outdoor tables for the truly hearty folk! We’re serving up beautiful four and five course prix-fixe dinners Thursday through Monday evenings. Perry posts the menu on Wednesday afternoon for the upcoming weekend at boonvillehotel.com. Give us a call to reserve a table!"
THE UKIAH BUILDING at N. Dora and Pine is a building for our times, and if a single modest structure can radiate tension, this one does. It consists of two stories and two separate rentals and what seems to be one common entry. From the top floor flies a large Trump flag and other Trump regalia. Downstairs a large banner reads, “End White Supremacy.” The top floor is occupied by a white man, the ground floor several white women.
ONE DAY a florist went to a barber for a haircut. After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied, “I cannot accept money from you, I'm doing community service this week.” The florist was pleased and left the shop. When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a “thank you” card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door. Later, a cop came in for a haircut, and when he tried to pay his bill, the barber again replied, “I cannot accept money from you, I'm doing community service this week.” The cop was happy and left the shop. The next morning when the barber opened up, there was a “thank you” card and a dozen doughnuts waiting for him at his door. Then a Member of Congress came in for a haircut, and when he tried to pay his bill, the barber again replied, “I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.” The Member of Congress was very happy and left the shop. The next morning, when the barber opened up, there were a dozen Members of Congress lined up waiting for free haircuts. And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between the citizens of our country and the politicians who run it.
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 15, 2020
FRUMENCIO FUENTES-MEZA, Redwood Valley. DUI.
ANDREW MAYNARD, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
MICHAEL MCBRIDE, Willits. DUI, controlled substance, paraphernalia.
VICTORIA VASQUEZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
GET A HAIRCUT… OH WAIT!
I had another unpleasant encounter last Tuesday night with a twenty-something entry-level employee, this time at a grocery store in Fairfax. I put my two items on the conveyor belt and greeted the checkout clerk and she (a baldheaded chick, in Fairfax a baldheaded chick can get a job as a checkout clerk) asked me if I wanted a bag, to which I replied, "Yes."
I was then preoccupied with inserting my debit card into the machine and punching the buttons. When after the baldheaded chick gave me the receipt I looked on the counter for a bag -- no bag. My two items (including a container of milk) were sitting on the counter unbagged. My immediate thought was, "She didn't bag them on purpose. She couldn't have been stupid enough to forget."
My gut told me not to press the issue with her because these days a lot of people, and I assume including a butch chick like her, don't like their mistakes pointed out to them and react aggressively. So I picked up the two items and left the store and decided I'd never return to this store. (I have had other issues with the store.)
My overall tolerance for Fairfax and the counterculture there has waned greatly in the last five years. I spent many years hanging out in downtown Fairfax at cafes until I realized that the "Fairfaxians" were as indifferent to me as just about any other subculture in this society including the traditional bourgeois culture I grew up in.
My father, a conservative white-collar professional, once said to my mother and me back in the mid-90s when I began hanging out in Fairfax that "they ought to drop a bomb on that place."
My father was a misanthrope who hated anybody or any culture different than his own. But I see his point about Fairfax and the counterculture and all the subcultures in this society which operate on exclusion -- "if you are not like us, drop dead."
I guess the bald chick had some problem with me and so purposely did not bag my items, but then again I suppose I'm traditional and that I prefer women with hair.
ASSIGNMENT: UKIAH - THE ANSWER, HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
Bob Dylan, now in his 80th year and whose shadow blankets the last half-century of American culture, is both a celebrated hero and a man whose journey has doubtless been a burden.
Who would want to be Bob Dylan? Who would want to have lived a life so under the microscope of public/media examination that your trash cans would be stolen, their contents examined and publicized?
Scavengers pawed and sifted his household garbage hoping to glean clues and discover secrets. Really.
(I’m aware of no other pop stars, not The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix or Taylor Swift, who have ever been the target of such weird, obsessive, abusive, cult-like idolatry.)
And it goes on. Even today, virtually all Bob Dylan’s public, and some private, words and music are recorded, circulated, evaluated, scrutinized and written about by fans, journalists and, so help me, college professors.
If this weren’t freight enough for one man to haul about, the journalists and the professors have been picking his prose, poetry, songs and paragraphs apart for as long as he’s been grinding them out. These writers and critics, with sharp pens and dull minds, have been toiling years to boost their own images and careers by dragging their prey down into the holes they’re in.
Oh, but Dylan’s wealthy and lives the life of a pasha you say. Well so what? Name someone else, no matter how wealthy and including any other rock star, subjected to the sort of shabby treatment Bob Dylan has endured. I assure you there is no cottage industry for Elton John and Elvis Presley concert recordings enabling fanatics to dissect secret meanings buried within ‘Bennie & the Jets’ or ‘Hound Dog.’
There’s nothing I envy about his life, certainly not the fame and the riches. His career now seems a (mostly) uninterrupted slog of hard work and genius, plus the usual sex-and-drug fruits that were common side dishes for 20th century celebrities. I admire his prodigious accomplishments but would be unwilling (and unable) to pay the price he’s paid to be Bob Dylan.
For reasons no longer clear he was once perceived as a mystic, a man tuned into a spiritual wavelength and able to tap into visionary truths.
Sounds crazy, but everyone under the age of 30, or at least everyone under the age of 30 who smoked marijuana, once believed Bob Dylan capable of transmitting cosmic wisdom and other mysterious malarkey his pot smoking followers yearned to know.
We thought he had answers. We thought he knew Where It Was At, and when he declined to yield up his secrets, the demurrals seemed all the more tantalizing. Bob Dylan alone had peeked behind the curtains, seen beyond the clouds, and those were the visionary insights we longed for him to share.
The record albums suggesting such delusions were ‘Bringing it all Back Home,’ followed by ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ and ‘Blonde on Blonde.’
Except for his songs, Dylan remained silent, unwilling to escort his adoring fans the half-step beyond ‘Visions of Johanna’ and ‘Mister Tambourine Man.’ In 1968 his songs became less obscure, less introspective and less open to wild interpretation, and then, to the horror of his fans, veered right into country music. The unhipness of ‘Nashville Skyline’ was an insult.
He remained reclusive, then burst out with a worldwide tour in 1974 and a series of albums (‘Blood on the Tracks’ and ‘Desire’) that revived his career among fans and critics. He then made a big movie, ‘Renaldo and Clara,’ and lost them again.
Finally, in 1979, Bob Dylan at last provided the millions upon millions who had been begging for decades the key to the kingdom. He revealed his cosmic truth. As explicitly and enthusiastically as he could possibly make clear, he sang, repeatedly, The Answer is Jesus.
We meant the Other Answers was the response from people extremely disinterested in his Christian albums. The trio: ‘Slow Train Coming’ along with ‘Saved’ and ‘Shot of Love.’
Now, 40 years and a couple dozen more albums behind him, an explicitly Christian message exists in all his albums and most of his songs.
So what else is new? All these years, and the answer was hiding in plain sight.
There has rarely been a time or an era in which Bob Dylan’s music was not steeped in Christianity. His earliest recordings include ‘Rugged Old Cross,’ ‘Gospel Plow’ and ‘Jesus Met the Woman at the Well.’ The entire ‘John Wesley Harding’ album (1968) is soaked in religion; it’s woven into ‘New Morning’ (’71) and is the primary theme in both 2012’s ‘Tempest’ and his latest, ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways.’
Some references are obscure. But when has Bob Dylan’s music been lacking symbolism and illusion? He remains elusive to this day.
He’s our generation’s enigma, the mystery inside the conundrum, the riddle that’s tangled up in blue and stuck inside of Mobile.
And knockin’ on heaven’s door.
(Tom Hine sometimes writes under the TWK byline, and has been a Dylan fan for too many years to count. He lives in Ukiah.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
There are empty suits and then there’s Obama. See, he’s out there saying that Trump’s claims of voting irregularities put American democracy on a “dangerous path”.
You have to be deliberately blind, or a Democrat, or a Democrat supporter, to not see what’s plain and clear, that the baseless claims over the past four years of Republican collusion with Russians, of baseless claims of clear evidence of such collusion, of baseless claims that indictments of Trump and his crew were imminent, are what set American democracy on a dangerous path, such claims being utterly fraudulent.
And democracy is on a dangerous path when you have a partisan judiciary determined to obstruct policy agendas using spurious justifications of unconstitutionality, or whatever other nonsense the judge can pull out of his ass. That said, partisanship in the judiciary isn’t just on the Democrat side, but when judges overstep their bounds and stray into what isn’t supposed to be their function – policy-making – that you set the table for real conflict.
ELECTION MONKEY BUSINESS
by Jim Shields
As I write this on Thursday night, little more than a week after the Nov. 3rd Election, events have transpired exactly as I predicted this past Spring.
I said back then the Presidential Election would most likely be decided (undecided?) by a razor-thin margin.
The closeness of the vote would then lead to weeks, perhaps months, of litigation by Democratic and Republican lawyers.
And that’s exactly where we find ourselves.
So relax, remember the advice I always give people: Take your politics seriously, but not personally — as far too many people do.
Back in 2000 in the Gore V. Bush dust-up, Al Gore’s campaign was counting and recounting ballots for a month after Election Day. Donald Trump is well on the path to replicating that 20-year-old experience. We’ve seen it before, so no need to get upset, hostile, or paranoid about it.
Over the last four years, you would have been hard-pressed to find anyone who didn't have very definite, strong love-hate feelings about President Donald Trump.
Of course, love-hate relationships lead to further polarization and our country’s rapidly accelerating inability to talk civilly with people with whom we disagree on politics.
But at least one good thing came out of this dichotomy of vitriol, the 2020 election will have a turnout of at least 61% of eligible voters — the highest since 1960, when 63.8% of eligible voters turned out to choose John F. Kennedy over Richard Nixon.
Quite a few people have told me they fear the Supreme Court will intervene in the election and declare Trump the winner. I tell them don’t expect the Supreme Court, even with three Trump-appointed Justices on it, to bail out the lame duck President.
The Court isn’t going to deep-six the election results. The ballot counts aren’t close enough for any of Trump’s litigation plans to prove successful. Trump’s charges of widespread voting fraud, whether mail-in ballots postmarked before election night but not actually received until after that day can be counted, etc., are specious arguments at best that will be disposed of once each state certifies their results. The U.S. Constitution defers to state legislatures complete authority to set voting procedures, including finalizing official results, so the Supreme Court lacks jurisdiction to get involved in the matter.
Trump’s other main argument(s) is he wants state officials and/or the courts to stop the counting of votes in some states while demanding that vote counting continue in other states! Good luck with that conflicting legal strategy.
A probable litmus test regarding Supreme Court thinking on jurisdictional matters is quite a few folks were convinced prior to this week’s hearing they would overturn the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
The Trump administration and several Republican-controlled states are asking the Court to strike down the law, a decade after it was passed. This marks the third time the Court has entertained a challenge to Obamacare (previous two cases Obamacare found constitutional), though this time it’s occurring in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic where 230,000-plus deaths have occurred and millions of Americans are left jobless. It appeared from both comments made and questions asked by the Black Robes at the hearing, that a solid majority of the Court believed it wasn't the Supreme Court's role to invalidate Obamacare.
"I think it's hard for you to argue that Congress intended the entire act to fall if the mandate was struck down when the same Congress that lowered the penalty to zero did not even try to repeal the rest of the act," Chief Justice John Roberts, a Trump appointee, told the attorney representing Texas, one of the states fighting the law.
"I think, frankly, that they (Congress) wanted the court to do that, but that's not our job," Roberts added.
“Not our job” translates to “we don’t have the jurisdiction” to do what you want us to do.
I believe the same legal thinking applies to Trump’s election results monkey business.
(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 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org)
TRUMP SUPPORTERS GATHER IN WASHINGTON as President Refuses to Concede to Biden
The recording of last night's (2020-11-13) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg is right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0410
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:
They play Swan Lake, that this Alzheimer's-suffering nonresponsive wheelchair-bound ballerina used to dance to, and it switches something on inside her. Her hands float up, her head tilts, while the video editor shows you, in split-screen, film of this very woman sixty or seventy years ago on stage, young, in her power, dancing, up on her toes, her arms out and head tilted the same way to the same passage.
Past the weeping, it reminds me of an old science-fiction story from the 1940s about a great dancer in the future who is old and damaged and scientists give her a powerful, flexible robotic body to move into. Wouldn't that be nice. Or like in Altered Carbon, where the hospital people are all indolent and slow because why even bother to fix up a totaled body when you can just take them out of it and put them in a fresh one like changing into new pants. Or a new shirt, actually; they call bodies sleeves. The ongoing person of you lives in a pocketwatch-size thing stuck in the back of the body's neck. If you're not rich, though, and your child's body is wrecked, you have to save up and rent a body for her, to spend time with her on a special holiday, otherwise her watch is in storage. And, again, if you're not rich, you don't get much of a choice about what body you get, just whatever's available, that some other poor person will rent out because they're poor too, just like real life now, in a way, except for the replacement business. https://tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com/2020/11/prima-ballerina-with-alzheimers.html
Speedflying. Too low. AAAAGH! Look out! And he spins upside-down... This is more nut-retracting than watching drones crazily careen around. If a drone clips a rock it's just a broken drone, not a smashed and dead body. https://theawesomer.com/new-zealand-speedflying/561481/
And an article about falling down the steps. Much more interesting than you'd think. It's the same statuesque woman with the thing stuck in the side of her nose who did the earlier article about Edwardian electrical hazards. https://misscellania.blogspot.com/2020/11/dangerous-victorian-staircases.html
— Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com