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Mendocino County Today: January 1, 2021

Expect Rain | New Year | Electric Ball | Jail Outbreak | 71 Cases | Covid Odds | Him Hymn | Noyo Surfer | 2020 Deaths | Marshall McKay | Missouri House | Different Impressions | Ferris Wheel | Suicides & ODs | Russian Gulch | Housing Market | Mendo Postcard | Covelo Six | Four Lawyers | Money Radio | Bridge Exhibit | Goodbye Milla | Book Lists | Darker Days | NY 1938 | Toxic Wood | Yesterday's Catch | Supreme Stats | Tree Horse | Skinflint Mitch | Fireworks Factory | Auld Lang | Cliff House | Barcalounger Brigade | Christian Heretics | Hail Britannia | 2020 | Advocating Socialism | $1.64/Day | Wokest Stories | Criminally Homicidal | Found Object

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RAIN IS EXPECTED to spread across the area this afternoon and evening as a front moves quickly through the area. Periods of rain are possible for the weekend, but this will mainly be in Del Norte county. Heavy rain and strong wind are expected Monday and Wednesday. (NWS)

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Target practice started a little after 8pm on New Year’s Eve with gunshots and/or firecrackers going off in downtown Boonville. Then there was a lull of a couple of hours and it started again as the Big Moment approached. A variety of sizes and gauges of booms and pops and blasts continued on until just past midnight, belatedly joined by what sounded like a few shotgun blasts from down by the intersection of Highway 128 and Mountain View Road. A few minutes later some familiar Mexican oompah Ranchero music arose from the dark, damp void to add an international/redneck flair to the outback festivities.

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The dozens of newly identified infections were uncovered in an effort by Mendocino County health officials to test nearly all inmates and jail employees over the weekend after 20 people at the jail were found to have contracted the coronavirus last week.

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71 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Wednesday, bringing total to 2487. Another death reported.

(We wonder when Mendo’s Public Health Team is going to start including the number vaccinated on the Daily Covid Dashboard?)

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BACK ON NOVEMBER 30 we reported the following rates of Coronavirus infection for Mendocino County:

Ukiah Area: 1 of every 33 residents had tested positive.
North County: 1 of every 106 residents had tested positive.
North Coast: 1 of every 117 residents had tested positive.
South County: 1 of every 123 residents had tested positive.
South Coast: 1 of every 256 residents had tested positive.

A MONTH LATER (December 31) the ratios looked like this…

Ukiah Area: 1 in 21 residents has tested positive.
North County: 1 in 52 residents has tested positive.
North Coast: 1 in 68 residents has tested positive.
South County: 1 in 78 residents has tested positive.
South Coast: 1 in 111 residents has tested positive.

THE LARGEST RATIO INCREASES — where the number of cases more than doubled over the past month — have been South Coast (from 30 to 69 cases) and North County (178 to 366).

NOTE: for Coronavirus reporting, Mendocino County is divided into the following five regions…

Ukiah Area: Ukiah, Talmage, Calpella, Redwood Valley, Potter Valley
North County: Willits, Brooktrails, Laytonville, Covelo, Dos Rios, Leggett, Piercy
North Coast: Caspar, Fort Bragg, Cleone, Newport, Westport, Rockport
South County: Comptche, Philo, Boonville, Yorkville, Hopland
South Coast: Mendocino, Little River, Albion, Elk, Manchester, Point Arena, Anchor Bay, Gualala

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NOYO ON THE LAST DAY OF THE YEAR (photos by Judy Valadao)

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Miguel Ridolfi

David Norfleet

Tammy Henderson

Janice Pronsolino

Todd Capazelo

Jessica Nau

Richard Salazar

George Gowan

Rich Ferguson

Ryan A’day

Earl Jay ‘Pete’ Peterman

Muriel Ellis

Ethel Meeks

Richard Herr

Jerry Bowers

Chris Halmo

David Summit

Gene Walker

Ned Cook

Alice Van Zandt

Peter Wells

Vivian Gowan

Michael Farrer

John Gilmore

Paul Burns

Nicholas Lapkass

Richard Bloyd

Milla Handley

Ben Strickland

Betty June Kummert

William Ornbaun

Opie Hendricks

John Wild

Alvin Johnson

Adrian Wallace

Thomas Miller

James Nickless

Evelyn McManus

Sue Miller

Paul McCarthy

Duane Wells

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With deep sadness, the Tribal Council of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation announces the death of Marshall McKay following his battle with COVID-19.

Marshall McKay

Speaking as one, the Yocha Dehe Tribal Council issued the following statement:

“We know our pain is shared by so many families facing the devastating effects of this pandemic. We know also the pain of Marshall’s loss is shared by the many who loved him and learned from him. We will miss his strength and wisdom. He was a resolute protector of Native American heritage here, within our own homeland, but also throughout California and Indian Country.” 

For 31 years, from 1984 to 2015, Marshall McKay served as a member of the Yocha Dehe Tribal Council, elected to lead the Tribe as its Chairman for nearly a decade of that time. He continued to serve on many of the Tribe’s governmental bodies, including the Board of Directors for Cache Creek Casino Resort. 

Marshall’s leadership was marked by a stalwart dedication to the preservation and promotion of Native American arts and culture, the affirmation of sovereign tribal governance, and the international effort to protect the rights of all indigenous people. He was instrumental in helping Yocha Dehe achieve economic independence, he helped the Tribe grow and diversify its agricultural operations, and he helped greatly expand the Tribe’s land holdings within Yocha Dehe’s ancestral territory. 

The son of the renowned healer and basket weaver Mabel McKay, Marshall possessed a deep passion and appreciation for Native art as a means for Native people to tell their stories and preserve their histories. 

Mabel McKay

Marshall was a founding member of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, and he was appointed to the Board for Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. He also was the first Native American to be appointed Chairman of the Board for the Autry National Center (which includes the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of the American West, and the Institute for the Study of the American West). 

Marshall was a fierce advocate for the environment and tribal land rights, and a champion for sustainable living and land-use practices. He was dedicated to protecting tribal sovereignty and the rights of Native tribes and peoples, serving on the Board of the Native American Rights Fund. He was a Founding Commissioner of the California Native American Heritage Commission, whose charge is to protect Native American cultural resources, including places of religious and social significance to Native peoples, such as tribal cemeteries on private and public lands. 

Marshall was the first of his tribe to attend college - Sonoma State University. He spent 15 years repairing and maintaining nuclear submarines for the Department of Defense, ultimately supervising those work crews. Born in Colusa near his tribal home within Yolo County’s Capay Valley, Marshall was deeply devoted to his family and tribal community. 

The Tribe is profoundly grateful for the care Marshall received from frontline healthcare workers in Los Angeles where his illness developed, an area particularly hard-hit by the pandemic.

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Missouri House Hotel, Boonville, 1911

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SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: I monitored the Mendocino County Public Health COVID-19 vaccine clinic today from 8-4pm. Highly impressed. The event was well coordinated, competently staffed, free of ambiguity, with proper distancing. I left confident that our only bottleneck to scaling up is vaccine supply.

THOMAS LEMONS Disagrees: My friend with symptoms and missing work can't get a test until next week. Not impressed with Mendocino County’s response to Covid or road work.

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Ferris Wheel, Boonville Fair

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FROM THE MINUTES of the Behavioral Health Advisory Board meeting of October 21, 2020 (the most recent available):

“Suicides in Mendocino County have continued to increase; the latest count in mid-October was 30, very high compared to previous years.… Deaths by drug overdose decreased since the County went into shelter in place due to Covid. There have been 22 total drug overdoses this year to day; 17 between January and April, and 5 between May and mid-October.”

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Russian Gulch Waterfall

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COVELO SIX PLEAD NOT GUILTY to the Murder and Torture of Traci Bland and Kyle McCartney

by Matt LaFever

On Wednesday morning, all six Covelo residents accused of the November murder and torture of Traci Bland and Kyle McCartney appeared in Courtroom A of the Mendocino County Courthouse via webcam. Appearing virtually before Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder, represented by six different public defenders, every defendant pled not guilty to the charges of murder in the first degree, kidnapping, carjacking, and torture.

As the morning session began, the courtroom was frenetic, with nearly a dozen attorneys standing in the gallery and sitting in the jury box. Judge Faulder mentioned several times the need to be efficient with scheduling so the attorneys could carry on with other duties.

Two of the Covelo Six (Joseph Hoaglen and Janet Azbill) did not appear before the court and granted their public defenders the ability to represent them for the plea. In court proceedings, it was revealed that Joseph Hoaglen was unable to appear before the court due to testing positive for COVID-19 and subsequently being held in quarantine.

Britton Leonard Azbill Senior, the eldest member of the Covelo Six, appeared on a webcam next to Mendocino County Public Defender Robert Smith wearing a surgical mask. His dark hair flowed down onto his green jail-issued outwear and bright orange long johns peering from underneath. His posture was upright, and his countenance was resolute. Represented in Courtroom A by attorney Kevin Davenport, Azbill was allowed to wave at his niece and sister, who sat in the gallery observing the proceedings.

Top: Samson Joaquin, David Joaquin, Joseph Hoaglen
Bottom: Janet Azbill, Britton Azbill Sr., Joaquina Joaquin

Joaquina Joaquin, the last member of the Covelo Six to be taken into custody after being found in Richmond, California, appeared on webcam in the classic black and white horizontally striped prison jumpsuit and bright orange shoes. Defended by attorney Albert Kubanis, Joaquin seemed to be detached and monotoned. At one point, Judge Faulder was assessing whether Joaquin understood the implications of waiving her rights to a speedy trial, and she said, “Sure.” Judge Faulder requested Joaquin respond with a “yes” or “no,” to which Joaquin asked why the trial was being delayed and said cantankerously, “I don’t want to do what [the rest of the defendants] are doing.”

Samson Musselini Joaquin appeared via webcam wearing an orange jumpsuit with white long johns underneath. A surgical mask covered Joaquin’s face, and his knee fidgeted throughout the proceedings. Represented by Public Defender Jan Cole-Wilson, Joaquin pled not guilty to all charges and special allegations. When he was excused, Joaquin waved at Wilson and gave her a thumbs up.

The last member of the Covelo Six to appear before the court was David Joaquin. He was wearing a red jumpsuit, and a black mask hid his face. Represented in court by attorney Doug Rhoades, Joaquin was visibly cold, folding his hands across his chest and at times shivering.

All six defendants consented to waive the requirement that the trial must occur within 60 days of the arraignment. The pre-preliminary meeting was scheduled for February 25, and the official preliminary meeting was scheduled for March 10, 2020.

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I'LL BE DARNED. Four lawyers in Boonville, and all gussied up, too.

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I ASKED MARCO MACLEAN why KZYX was always asking for money. MM being the county's premier radio guy with a thorough understanding of how radio works or doesn't work, who better to explain the KZYX dilemma than him? Of course being smart and lively, MM was immediately banned by KZYX in its first year by its Trumpian founder, Sean Donovan, who not only milked the enterprise for his "work" founding it, but structured its administration so it would always be dominated by its staff and programmers. 

Sean Donovan, Then & Now

Take it away, Marco:

I was told, as a condition of getting the circa $150,000 a year (!) Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) grant, KZYX must have three full time employees on the books, whether they're doing anything or not. They're doing something, mostly maintaining the posture to continue to be an NPR-colonized money pump, which they and the nearly opaque NPR organization benefit greatly from. The management/employees to MCPB, like KZYX to NPR, and in a sense the other way around, have a similar symbiotic kind of relationship, like those fish that thrive by living inside the mouth or asshole of another bigger fish. And the operations manager has to occasionally replace a microphone cord or light bulb. A radio transmitter is more reliable than your refrigerator. It runs and runs all by itself and you never need to mess with it except to throw out old food every once in awhile and arrange the power cord so you won't trip over it and pull it out of the wall; that's pretty much the only thing that ever goes wrong: somebody unqualified tries to defrost it with a screwdriver and punches a hole in a coil. One time in fourteen years of operation of KNYO's transmitter a cooling fan failed. The transmitter got hot and shut off. Bob, qualified, got another fan for $5 and screwed it in. Voila.

KNYO has all the responsibilities of paperwork and other compliance (music publishers' fees, keeping the internet on, etc.) that KZYX has, with no need for a program director, and at KNYO the management pays itself zero for managing, which with how cheap radio really is, and no advertisers to worry about pleasing or pissing off, comes to about an afternoon per month of actual busy-work for a single person per station. Bob Young does the necessary tasks so there's a radio station for him to do his show, and for all of us at KNYO. Airpeople present themselves, whether in the studio or by remote, do their show, normalize the board and switch back to automation, the same as any radio station. KZYX has a bigger transmitter and so a bigger electrical bill than KNYO's, but there's no excuse for KZYX costing $600,000 a year. There's no real excuse for it to cost even a third of that, like $200,000, which is close to what it cost to run commercial KMFB, whose only government grant was the license to broadcast, and everyone at KMFB was paid. Airpeople were paid by the hour and got a cut of the underwriting we brought in. Bookkeepers have been using computer programs to keep books and write checks for a long time now. It's not massively harder for the computer to print forty checks than to print four. The manager just has to tell the bookkeeper to tell the computer to do it. 

The first job of a manager of any business is to pay the workers before she pays herself. Everybody knows that. But the manager of KZYX pays the airpeople nothing. KZYX has never paid the people who do the work the radio station is there for in the first place.

Just the money that the management suite sucked out of KZYX for themselves during this single year -- approaching $300,000 -- would fully fund KNYO for at least twenty years and maybe twenty-five, including rent on the storefront studio in town, and electricity, and water to flush the toilet, and all the legal bells and whistles. If KNYO were to abandon the Franklin Street studio, which is an option, $300,000 would pay for KNYO till nearly 2200 A.D. including moving the transmitter trailer to higher ground because of sea level rise.

If every one of the people actually being paid at KZYX were to go on half-pay for a single year, which is still decent money for this area, they could afford to build a modern-battery solar power plant at the transmitter site on the mountain and another at the main studio, and they'd never have to worry about power outages or electricity bills. And that same money over the next year, and each year after, would easily build another entire radio station like KZYX, with everything in it, everything it needs. And still, every day and every night they beg for ever more and more money, to change nothing and add nothing and improve nothing as though they're constantly on the ropes. Every penny you donate to KZYX goes into the personal bank accounts of the handful of people in the office. It isn't just the program director that's unnecessary, it's the manager too. If the manager of KZYX, who's also the CEO of MCPB Corp., and who pays herself $60,000 dollars a year, were to just on a whim decide not to show up this week, or this month, or longer, everything would continue as normal. The computer in the garage would continue to play the usual recorded crap from a thousand miles away, the local airpeople would continue to show up and do their shows. The manager has a bookkeeper to do the books for her, a program director to, ahem, direct the programs, an operations manager to manage the operations (see light bulbs and mic cords, above), and a business underwriting coordinator to coordinate the business underwriting. What's left for the manager to manage? You asked a good question. What are the program director and the manager doing for the station that's really worth more than $100,000 a year between them, when all the local airpeople of KZYX doing all their shows all year long all put together are apparently worth nothing to management? 

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The Albion River Bridge is California's last remaining state highway trestle bridge. For years, Caltrans has been proposing demolishing this historic bridge and replacing it with a new, twice-as-wide concrete bridge. Many Mendocino Coast residents and businesses however are opposed to demolishing this safe and functional bridge and want to preserve the bridge for its iconic beauty and historic uniqueness. 

In Honor of the Albion River Bridge, the Albion Bridge Stewards are presenting an exhibit of photographs by Rita Crane at the Albion Post Office January 2nd through 31st.

Albion Golden Silhouette (photo by Rita Crane)

Rita is the daughter of LIFE photographer Ralph Crane whose photos were published in the magazine from 1936 to 1972 during the "Golden Age of Photojournalism". She says: "Thank you to the Stewards for your invitation! This has been a fun project - photographing the bridge and flats in different light and moods, from deserted during lockdown to celebratory on Labor Day Weekend. To see more of my work, please visit the Prentice Gallery on Main Street in Mendocino, and on line at:

In 2017, the Historic Albion River Bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historic Resources.

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WE SAID GOODBYE TO MILLA HANDLEY, whose Handley Cellars helped put Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley on the map as a fine-wine region. She died in August at age 68. The cause: COVID-19. (Milla remembered by Esther Mobley)

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by Jeffrey St. Clair

  • Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act by Nicholson Baker
  • The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World by Vincent Bevins
  • Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World by Lesley M.M. Blume
  • One Two Three Four: the Beatles in Time by Craig Brown
  • Tacky’s Revolt: the Story of an Atlantic Slave War by Vincent Brown
  • War in the Age of Trump by Patrick Cockburn
  • The Green New Deal and Beyond by Stan Cox
  • Set the Night on Fire: LA in the Sixties by Mike Davis and Jon Weiner
  • Desert Notebooks: a Roadmap for the End of Time by Ben Ehrenreich
  • The Return of Nature: Socialism and Ecology by John Bellamy Foster
  • Fathoms: the World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs
  • Ornette Coleman: the Territory and the Adventure by Maria Golia
  • Human Shields: A History of People in the Line of Fire by Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini
  • We Still Here: Pandemic, Policing, Protest & Possibility by Marc Lamont Hill
  • The Future Earth: A Radical Vision for What’s Possible in the Age of Warming by Eric Holthaus
  • The Dawning of the Apocalypse: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, Settler Colonialism, and Capitalism in the Long Sixteenth Century by Gerald Horne
  • Sinews of War and Trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula by Laleh Khalili
  • Who Killed Berta Caceres?: Dams, Death Squads, and an Indigenous Defender’s Battle for the Planet by Nina Lakhani
  • Perilous Bounty: the Looming Collapse of American Farming and How We Can Prevent It by Tom Philpott
  • Oak Flat: a Fight for Sacred Land in the American West by Lauren Redniss
  • Chasing the Light: Writing Directing and Surviving Platoon, Midnight Express, Scarface,  Salvador and the Movie Game by Oliver Stone
  • Dead Epidemiologists: On the Origins of COVID by Rob Wallace
  • The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Days of Hollywood by Sam Wesson
  • What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About #MeToo by JoAnn Wypijewski
  • Hellfire From Paradise Ranch: On the Frontlines of Drone Warfare by Joshua Zulaika


RESPONDING to Jeffrey St. Clair's best books of 2020, I've listed a bunch I've profited from during these long months of mass house arrest:

  • Hitler: A Global Biography by Brendan Simms
  • The Silence by Don Delillo
  • Essays, by George Orwell (Everyman's Library edition)
  • A Jog Down Memory Lane by Jim Gibbons
  • Melville by Elizabeth Hardwick
  • Just the Way It Is by Annie Proulx
  • The Great Thirst — Californians and Water; a history, by Norris Hundley
  • Bear and His Daughter by Robert Stone
  • Verdi at the Golden Gate by George Martin
  • The Women at Point Sur by Robinson Jeffers
  • Inferno: The World at War by Max Hastings
  • Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy also by Max Hastings
  • Stories By Anton Chekhov
  • Ulysses Grant In War and Peace by H.W. Brands
  • History of the Great American Fortunes by Gustavo Meyers
  • The Mountains of California by John Muir
  • 73 Poems by e.e. cummings
  • Embattled Dreams (Ca history) by Kevin Starr
  • The Hotel Oneira, Poems by August Kleinzahler
  • Spirits of San FranciscoVoyages Through the Unknown City, by Gary Kamiya, drawings by Paul Madonna
  • Capital by Thomas Piketty (read around in it more like because it's heavy going and often too much for my pretty little head to absorb)
  • A Moral Temper: The Letters of Dwight Macdonald intro by Michael Wreszin
  • Lush Life by Richard Price
  • Star Wars Empire, by Bill Kimberlin
  • Bullets and Opium — China after the Tiananmen Square Massacre by Liao Yi Wu

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AS WE SAY GOODBYE to 2020, Dr. Fauci and other realists warn that things are set to get worse before they get better. For the second day running (Wednesday), the US hit a new high for daily corona deaths with 3,740 people passing on. This number comes from pandemic trackers at John Hopkins University, and was recorded on the same day that California identified the nation’s second confirmed case of the new and seemingly faster-spreading variant of the coronavirus, suggesting the plague is more widespread than previously understood. The outlook for the start of the new year is not good — according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forecast, more than 80,000 Americans could die of COVID-19 over the next three weeks.

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Times Square, New Year’s Eve, 1938

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Pressure-treated wood, which is sometimes required by the Cailfornia Building Code, will be classified as HazMat starting tomorrow, January 1. Waste haulers will no longer be able to accept the materials, adding a new hurdle to the local construction industry. What next? 

It is a rural county problem because the big counties have class 2 landfills. Rural County Representatives of California has been working towards a solution. Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) could grant a variance that would allow for composite lined class 2 and 3 landfills to accept this waste again (i.e. Potrero Hills). This could potentially happen by February 2021. In the meantime, there are no in-county disposal options.

There is one landfill in Beatty, Nevada who said that treated wood waste disposal at their facility was $450 per yard making a 100 yd load cost $45,000 for disposal not including transportation fees!


Due to expiring State waivers, pressure-treated wood, which is sometimes required by the California Building Code, will be classified by the State of California as hazardous material effective January 1, 2021 (tomorrow). Residential customers will have a limited ability to dispose of treated wood waste with Mendo Recycle for a fee, but immediate solutions are practically not available for commercial customers. 

Treated wood waste is any wood treated with chemical preservatives to protect from insects and decay. Commonly referred to as “pressure-treated,” treated wood waste includes (but is not limited to) items such as fence posts, landscape timbers, railroad ties, sill plates and deck joists. Beginning January 1, the State will require that treated wood waste be categorized as hazardous material (HazMat) and the material can no longer be accepted by waste haulers or at transfer stations within Mendocino County. 

Supervisor Ted Williams stated, “Big counties have landfills appropriate to handle hazardous materials. This is a problem that focuses impacts on rural counties, creating a new hurdle that is especially difficult for our construction industry. The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) has been advocating for a variance from the Department of Toxic Substances Control which might be in effect by February 2021. In the meantime, the only practical recommendation is for commercially generated treated wood waste to be responsibly stored where it is generated so that it can be properly disposed as hazardous material when options become available.” 

The Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority (Mendo Recycle) will be able to accept very limited quantities of treated wood waste from residential customers for a fee, but there is not currently infrastructure available for this service to be provided to commercial customers. Up to 50 pounds of treated wood waste material in 3’ lengths can be brought to Mendo Recycle by residential customers at established times and places for collection of household hazardous wastes. Details for residential customers, including fees, can be found online, at

For questions regarding disposal of treated wood waste, contact the Department of Toxic Substances Control at

For further information or questions, please contact Jennifer Lombari, General Manager, Mendo Recycle, (707) 468-9710. 

(Mendocino County Presser)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 31, 2020

Beers, Capskis, Domanowski

MICHAEL BEERS, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

MARKAS CAPSKIS, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Controlled substance/organic drug for sale, marijuana for sale.

MICHAEL DOMANOWSKI, Ukiah. Vandalism, probation revocation.

Giacobbe, Harris, Young

JOSEPH GIACOBBE, Willits. DUI-alcohol&drugs, no license.

BRYN HARRIS, Gualala. Domestic battery.

TERRANCE YOUNG, Willits. Felon-addict withi firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, offenses while on bail, failure to appear, probation revocation.

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Kathy Wylie writes: Of some interest — In the year end's edition of ‘Supreme Judicial Statistics’ read

A Highlight includes a pat on the back to the first judge to conduct a remote trial (pssst Justice Roberts: K-12 school teachers have been doing something similar on the daily, for almost a full school year now).

The statistics included in the Appendix beginning on page 5 are thankfully more interesting.

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Lady on Horse, Mendocino Woods

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LET ME JUST MAKE IT CLEAR for the Majority Leader that 10 out of the poorest 25 counties in the United States of America are located in Kentucky. So maybe my colleague, the Majority Leader, might want to get on the phone and start talking to working families in Kentucky and find out how they feel about the need for immediate help in terms of a $2,000 check for adults.

— Bernie Sanders, Wednesday, to Mitch McConnell

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Fireworks Factory, the Phillipines

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We'll be singing Auld Lang Syne like a bunch of morons, with nary a clue as to what it means.

Robert Burns wrote it in 1788. It doesn't mean much. It's about aging, loss, nostalgia for past friendships and drinking. You could translate it "for old time's sake," but the whole lame song is in Scots dialect, so it's better to stay away from trying to say it in English.

I could never understand Burns' appeal. This particular tune is like the sloppy muttering of a drunk. Approximating what it means gives it more weight that it came in with. 

Far as I know, I have a fair amount of Scot in me, but I don't know very far. I enjoy a single-malt (unblended) whisky (lose the "e" when you're talkin' Scotch), and I have warm feelings for Scotland, for no reason whatsoever. Contrary bunch.

Ellie's been threatening to take me there for years. I hope I outlast covid and hop over. I can well imagine a cozy pub with the smell of warm wool & whisky, talkin' with me kind while the wind rages ootside. (Trouble is, my lifelong appreciation of--and capacity for-- booze wanes as the years wax.)

I'd much prefer some tune like "Farewell Ye Wretched Turd," to celebrate the retirement of our chief executive, but nay...

Anyway, do your best to survive this noo yeer, which, from a pandemic standpoint will be much like the old one. If my age and veteran status get me an early shot (of vaccine, not whisky), don't think I won't take it (the whisky, too, fer that matter).

There have been easier lives than mine, but mine's the only one I've got, and I'm loath t'be singin' it off, n'matter th' troubles it offers. Don't be tearin' up when the hour comes round and Auld Lang Syne starts up. In this present moment, it has more a bit more to say than usual.

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There is no word yet on whether the building will continue to be a restaurant.

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There will be no uprising from the heavily-armed, Punisher-decal, tactical flashlight owning chuds who FB post about the stolen election. No, they’ll continue to fart into their Barcaloungers whilst staying fat, stupid and entertained. They’ve been cosplaying as Timmy Toughnuts Gadsen flag wavers for years and they’ll continue the posturing ad infinitum.

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Unlike Jonah Raskin, we have a tender place in our hearts for Canada, the Queen and the Commonwealth.

Canada took in thousands of the sweet and sour cream of United States of America’s youth fleeing from the disaster of the Vietnam tragedy. The world will honor the “Brits” for ever -- remembering 1940 when they stood alone against the Hitler monster.

The British Empire has done some terrible deeds. However, let's give them their due for their shining deeds.

Alan ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham


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I have chosen the Director of the Mendocino County chapter of "Friends of the Biden administration." His name is Marques. The timeslot in which Mendocino is to report is the third Friday of each month from 4:45 to 5 PM. Report to Kristina Van den Huevel. God knows Biden is going to need all the support he can get. Residents of Mendocino County who have comments for the Biden administration should be aware of the deadline: 4:45 PM the third Friday.

The first order of the Friends is to get Kamala out on her listening tour. Remember Hillary’s listening tour? Very productive. Kamala wants to hear from Trump voters as well as Democrats. Especially those in Kentucky who voted for McConnell. 

Advocating "socialism" is the worst thing especially in specially those in Kentucky who voted for McConnell. Advocating socialism is the worst thing you can do in this country. We must be careful not to "out" Joe Biden. He is a dedicated socialist who hasn't come out of the closet. He will try to inject socialism into the government wherever he can. Microsoft, Google, Standard Oil, Quaker Oats, Budweiser are candidates for nationalism wherever we can find an opening. Here, Friends will send socialist spies into Mendo Mill, Wal-Mart and the Mosswood Market in order to spread the ideology.

There are still a good many Trump voters in the country. A shift of a very few votes in the states of Arizona, Wisconsin and Georgia and Trump would have had enough electoral votes to win. The easiest way to flip the election is by using sex of course. See Marques for details.

Friends will come up with examples of strategy for overturning distasteful results. Every voter between the ages of 21 and 30 will be given a ticket which will entitle them to an all expenses paid three-day trip to Sin City. (Actually paid for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau). Those voters under 21 will receive a free trip to Disneyland.

Requiring immediate attention is the exchange of two stinking states, Oklahoma and Texas, for two more civilized places, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. As a bonus we will throw in Alito and Thomas. They both should be shredded, headfirst.

The president will be encouraged to read A People's History by Howard Zinn, two chapters a week during his time in office. The 126 members of the House who signed off on the Texas sedition plan will not be seated. If their states want representation they will have to hold another election. Joe Biden is quite well qualified to be president. Let's see if he can attract candidates for the 2022 election that people want to vote for who are secret socialists who will satisfy the editor.

Ralph Bostrom


* * *

* * *


by Matt Taibbi

When editors in 2020 weren't being fired in bunches, they were taking aim at everyone from Beethoven to mermaids to skyscrapers

The year 2020 will be remembered in the real world for a terrifying pandemic, mass unemployment, a nationwide protest movement, and a historically uninspiring presidential race. The year in media, meanwhile, was marked by grotesque factual scandals, journalist-cheered censorship, and an accelerating newsroom mania for political groupthink that was equal parts frightening and ridiculous. 

The tiniest violations of perceived orthodoxies cost jobs. Reporters and editors were whacked en masse in uprisings at the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Wall Street Journal, Vox, the Miami Herald, and countless other places. 

Some of the purges were themselves amazing news stories. Reporter Sue Schafer was fired after her paper, the Washington Post, published a 3,000-word expose about a two-year-old incident in which she attended a Halloween party dressed as Megyn Kelly, who herself had been fired from NBC for defending blackface costumes. Schafer, in other words, was fired for dressing in blackface as a satire of blackface costumes, in an incident no one heard of until her own editors decided to make an issue of it. This was one example of what the New Yorker recently exulted as the “expensive and laborious” process of investigative journalism, as practiced in 2020. 

Raymond Chandler once said that when he ran out of ideas, he just had a character burst into a room with a gun. 2020 op-ed writers in the same predicament could insert random nouns into a Mad Libs template: “Is/Are _____ Racist?” Everything from knitting to Jesus to botanical gardens to women to dieting to mermaids to Scrabble and perhaps a hundred other things made the cut, to the point where it became a bottomless running gag for inevitable cancel targets like the satirical Twitter personality, “Titania McGrath.” 

A few of these stories were interesting, but most were indistinguishable from pieces in the Onion, whose satires of media have been rapidly gaining on reality for years, the gap tightening to less than a year in 2020 (see the 2019 Onion piece, “Man’s Existential Terror About Country’s Slide Towards Authoritarianism Sublimated Into Campaign To Get Journalist Fired For Tweet”). 

If in looking at the following list it strikes you to wonder, “Where were the editors?”, it turns out an atmosphere in which even senior New York Times bosses have to be afraid of staff is almost like having no editors at all! Given their importance in preventing the scourge of what the New Yorker called “journalistic individualism,” i.e. reporters allowed to operate outside the “collective interest,” this was really too bad. In honor, then, of that sacred covenant between writers and editors — well, the ones not purged, reassigned, or forced out this year — here’s a shortlist of the most remarkable (and presumably edited) articles of 2020, the year of the woke headline:

15. Fast Company, June 15:5 thoughtful ways to approach discussing racism at work.”

After the murder of George Floyd on May 25, offering white readers literary guidance on how to suppress their inner conquistador in diverse company became an extremely popular genre, both in books like smash #1 bestsellers White Fragility and Antiracist Baby, and in press treatments like this Fast Company piece. The latter contained the following advice:

DO BE MINDFUL OF OPENING UP MEETINGS AND INTERACTIONS WITH QUESTIONS LIKE “HOW ARE YOU?” OR “HOW WAS YOUR WEEKEND?” Recognize that by doing so, you can potentially be re-triggering what your Black colleagues are experiencing or dismissing their experience by pretending all is normal. It’s not and hasn’t been for a long time.

Don’t ask “How are you?” — just assume the answer is, Same as it’s been for 400 years, jackass, and keep walking to your cubicle. Welcome to 2020!

14. Deadspin, June 22: “We’ve Lived with 'The Masters' Name Long Enough.”

2020 was a big year in renaming. The Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians monikers, recognized as offensive decades ago, were finally tossed in the dustbin of history. Infamous Republican Louis Gohmert, offended on behalf of removed Confederate symbols, tried to woke-trap the Democratic Party by introducing a bill demanding it change its name, given its genuinely racist history and “ties to slavery.” That was a nice try! Gohmert managed to squeeze a sympathetic quote or two out of a few Democratic members, but the gambit otherwise stalled for lack of coverage. 

Then there was the idea floated on Deadspin by sports legend Rob Parker — the man Fox hired to make sure they had someone on staff to out-meathead Skip Bayless in a pinch — who said it was time for “The Masters” golf tournament to change its name. “When you hear anyone say the Masters,” he wrote, “you think of slave masters in the South.” Did it matter that “The Masters” was named for people who’d mastered their craft, much like Master titles in chess, or Masters tournaments in tennis, ping-pong, angling, and dozens of other pursuits? Of course not! As Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf noted, when deciding this past summer to pursue a hate crime investigation against a Black man named Victor Sengbe for hanging tree swings she said looked like nooses (they didn’t look like nooses), “Intentions don’t matter.” Or, as Parker put it, “When has anyone mastered golf?” 

Parker might have been outdone by a British petition to rename the actually white White Cliffs of Dover, the old name being a “microaggression against people whom 'white' does not describe,” but it appears that campaign was one of 2020’s many not instantly discernible satires. 

13. San Francisco Chronicle, September 8: “Wine’s diversity starts with the way we talk about the taste of wine.”

Is wine exclusionary because its “vocabulary… is nearly exclusively rooted in flavors and aromas common to Western Europe”? A Blanc de Blancs, the Chronicle noted, tastes like Brioche, while inky Cabernet sauvignons recall cassis, “a flavor of ripe, black currants.” Meanwhile, “Grenache blends have the distinctive taste of garrigue — a specific blend of herbs like lavender and sage that grow near the Mediterranean coast.” In other words, French wine culture comes from France. One of many entrants in the “rethinking enjoyable benevolent things” genre perfected in the next entry:

12. Vox, September 16: “How Beethoven’s 5th Symphony put the classism in classical music.”

You may have thought Beethoven’s famous DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN symphony was an inspiring metaphor for the composer’s resilience in the face of incipient deafness, but Vox had a different take. “For some in other groups — women, LGBTQ+ people, people of color,” they wrote, “Beethoven’s symphony may be predominantly a reminder of classical music’s history of exclusion and elitism.” The site went on:

One New York City classical music fan wrote in the 1840s, for example, that he wished “all women shall be gagged by officers duly licensed for the purpose before they’re allowed to enter a concert room.”

What did the above have to do with Beethoven in particular? Good question! Before Beethoven, Vox explained, musical audiences clapped and even called for encores in Italian mid-performance. But “after Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony debuted in the early 1800s, these norms changed.” It seems Beethoven’s music needed to be listened to carefully to be fully appreciated, hence the no-clapping thing. This coincided with other forms of etiquette (like bans on coughing and dress codes) that persist today and “can feel as much about demonstrating belonging as appreciating the music.” 

In sum, Beethoven’s music was so beautiful that people decided to be quiet to appreciate it more, while things having nothing to do with Beethoven that happened later made classical music kind of affected and classist in other ways. Therefore, Vox concluded, Beethoven’s 5th symphony in particular is a symbol of the “‘wall’ between classical music and new, diverse audiences,” even though it’s the only classical music piece to be popularized via a modern pop/disco hit that reached #1 on the Billboard 100 and sold 750,000 copies. 

12. Refinery29, January 21, “The Dangerous Rise Of Men Who Won’t Date ‘Woke’ Women.”

The actor Laurence Fox must be a much bigger deal in Britain than we could ever understand in America, because numerous pieces were written denouncing his odious views. Vice, as usual a proud leader in the production of woke-clickbait, wrote a blistering feature about Fox as the spiritual head of the “‘Warrior Toff’s’ War on Wokeness,” noting that British men like him “are built for war, for the high seas, for the stage, for death and glory” who “once upon a time… could have sent a thousand Geordies over the top.” In the era of drones and diversity initiatives, however, all that’s left to such men is “reactionary statements,” like for instance Fox’s vicious January revelation that he does not “date woke women.” 

Funny? Stupid? Meaningless? None of the above, wrote Vicky Spratt of Refinery29, one of the many sites on this list to have an editor croaked in a staff uprising (Christine Barberich was ousted for fostering a culture where “white women’s egos ruled the near non-existent editorial processes”). Spratt’s diagnosis of Fox was simple: “Dangerous.” Fox, she wrote, was using his platform to “legitimize a bigger backlash against diversity and progress,” which Spratt personally saw manifested in men on dating apps, who wrote things like “no psychos” and, get this, “I fucking hate big eyebrows.” The problem didn’t “stop at dating,” though, as Spratt went on to note that every now and then, such bile “spills out dangerously into the offline world”:

In 2016 the Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by far-right terrorist Thomas Mair…And it was 8chan that hosted the manifestos of three mass shooters who killed scores of people last year: the El Paso shooter (who left 20 people dead and many more wounded only a couple of weeks ago), the Poway shooter (who opened fire at a synagogue in California last April) and the Christchurch shooter (who killed 51 people at two mosques in New Zealand last March).

It starts with not dating woke women, but ends with murdering 51 people! Incidentally, the “Celebrity Sparks Backlash By Doing Mildly Annoying Thing No One Outside Twitter Noticed” was another popular 2020 trope, with a recent story about Jennifer Aniston’s unconscionable decision to post a picture of an “Our First Pandemic” Christmas ornament being just one of many space-eating examples. 

11. Time, December 15: “Co-Founding the ACLU, Fighting for Labor Rights and Other Helen Keller Accomplishments Students Don't Learn in School.”

Time wanted to point out Helen Keller’s “forgotten” past as a Socialist who co-founded the ACLU (well, forgotten since 2015, when “Helen Keller’s Forgotten Radicalism” was first made the subject of a Time story), an innocuous enough pursuit that nonetheless led to this money quote: 

However, to some Black disability rights activists, like Anita Cameron, Helen Keller is not radical at all, “just another, despite disabilities, privileged white person,” and yet another example of history telling the story of privileged white Americans. 

It doesn’t get more 2020 than “Helen Keller, Child of Privilege,” though there were many contenders:

10. Vice, August 13: “Dear White Vegans: Stop Appropriating Food.”

Vice, indignant again, denounced white vegans who tout “recipes… that rely on racial stereotypes,” like “African peanut stew.” (Or is it just a recipe from Africa?) The site noted that if you do a Google search on vegans or vegetarianism, you sometimes have to go all the way to the second page to find a nonwhite vegan. “The problem is few people think to go to the second page of Google results,” a board member of the Toronto Vegetarians Association lamented.

The story denounced these crimes in a jargon-packed rhetorical crescendo: 

In this post-Floyd world of racial reckonings, many vegans are starting to look inwards at their own privilege. White vegan influencers are urging people to follow BIPOC accounts as part of the #AmplifyMelanatedVoices campaign, while racialized vegans who have amassed large followings continue to post about Floyd and Breonna Taylor. 

Vice three years ago did a story asking “Why So Many White Supremacists Are Into Veganism?” reminding us that Hitler didn’t eat meat. This newer story, though, is not about Hitler so much as “white ladies who do yoga,” who were presented as “gatekeepers of the vegan movement.” The latter theme was another 2020 trend:

9. New York Times, June 29: “A White Gatekeeper of Southern Food Faces Calls to Resign.”

A popular assignment this year was the “We Interviewed Some People With Indignant Complaints About a Boss-Like Person” think piece, an exemplar being this really long New York Times article about people who think a man named John T. Edge needs to step down as head of the Southern Foodways Alliance. After a career celebrating “African-American, indigenous, and immigrant cooks,” opening doors for “countless writers,” and helping rebuild a Black-owned restaurant in New Orleans after Katrina, it was just time for Edge to concede he held “too much power” in heading a nine-employee organization, because as a 57-year-old white man, Edge represented — this was written in the middle of the summer protests — a “statue that needs to come down”:

There are no homophobic texts or reports of sexual harassment. By many accounts, the work around the intersection of race and food that Mr. Edge, 57, has spent 20 years attending to has been crucial.

A chorus of voices is rising, though. Mr. Edge, they say, is a statue that needs to come down.

“I view him as a dear friend and a close ally, but principles don’t mean anything until they cost you something,” said the author Lolis Eric Elie, 57, a founder of the organization who has also written for The New York Times. 

Bonus points for the Times for the unique spectacle of getting Edge to pose for a portrait for an article that would call him a “white gatekeeper” in the headline.

8. The Conversation, August 16: “How Hollywood’s ‘Alien’ and ‘Predator’ movies reinforce anti-Black racism.”

The unwritten rule during the summer of historic anti-police protests was that commercial media analyses about racism had to invoke George Floyd by the third paragraph. This Conversation article took a bit longer, but that was only because the thesis was more ambitious, tying the killings of Floyd and Breonna Taylor, respectively, to Predator and Alien. The essay connected George Bush’s conquest of Mike Dukakis in 1988 to the hypersexualized representation of a dreadlocked jungle alien in the famed Schwarzenegger flick, while connecting slavery, the Southern Strategy, Dick Nixon’s myth of the Welfare Queen, and the scourge of no-knock warrants to “Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise, with its vicious and endlessly breeding carbon black alien mother.” That film, the piece noted, “came at the height of neoliberal experiment and in the U.S. especially, an all-out assault on Black people.” (The British Scott made Alien in 1979.) 

Hollywood obviously does play with racialized horror tropes, and though it also makes outstanding monsters out of unmarried white women (Fatal Attraction), naked German dudes (The Terminator), models (Species), Tony Shalhoub, and pretty much anyone or anything else they can think of, it does raise questions that the supposed big joke in Ghostbusters was that civilization could be threatened by the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Furious dissections of film and TV content were very common:

7. Yahoo! News, December 26: “Pixar's 'Soul' is getting rave reviews, but it left me cringing up until the very last minute.”

Policing of “whitewashing” casting decisions has been popular in op-ed pages for a while now (the Internet exploded when it was discovered Julia Roberts had been floated to play Harriet Tubman). Pixar’s first movie featuring a Black lead brought the phenomenon to animated films, when a cartoon named Joe Garnder voiced by Jamie Foxx was invaded by the inner voice of Tina Fey (the same Tina Fey, Yahoo! reminded us indignantly, who was forced to pull episodes of 30 Rock that featured blackface!). “The movie should have leaned into Joe and his family instead of using a ‘soul,’ voiced by a white actress, to help him on his journey,” Yahoo! complained. The casting was described as so problematic that it “nearly became a white-savior movie,” making it fully Blind Side-adjacent, in case you didn’t know what that means (you’re supposed to).

6., July 1: “America's national parks face existential crisis over race.”

A consistent feature of post-Floyd features about racism was to present as crises or conspiracies things that had at least partially banal explanations, which often appeared buried somewhere near the bottom of the text. The actual story in this ABC exposé could have been that the spiritual and mental health benefits of visiting America’s national park system ought to be shared more broadly with Black and Hispanic Americans especially, who, we learn quite late in a piece that first extensively hints at more insidious explanations, cited “lack of transportation… and the cost of visiting” as the main reasons they didn’t visit more. 

Before getting there, ABC railed against the “systemic racism” of America’s “Great White Outdoors” in decrying the fact that only 23% of park visitors are people of color, as opposed to 42% of the population. In search of an explanation for this “existential crisis” that “threatens parks’ survival” (how?), ABC observed that much of the park system was built during the Jim Crow era, and noted unironically that “some figures close to the conservation movement like Madison Grant, who founded organizations like the Bronx Zoo, espoused actively racist ideologies.” 

5. Globe and Mail, September 5: “Is it time to decolonize your lawn?”

Canadians have long led Americans in their willingness to ritualistically self-denounce, a phenomenon that seems to be part patriotism (see how much quicker we are to be ashamed of ourselves than our southern neighbors!) and part inherent national instinct toward apology. The Globe and Mail asked Canadians to self-flagellate both for harming the environment and for importing a culture of manicured lawns that violates indigenous ideas about gardening, or rather, not-gardening. “What is a lawn but a statement of control over nature?” asked Canadian professor John Douglas.

As the happy occupant of a home surrounded by overgrowth, I wouldn’t be surprised if the authors are right when they wonder if people will someday look back at lawns the way we think about how “Victorian ladies used to like to wear dead birds as hats.” Still, there was something pretty weird about the sudden outpouring in 2020 from major corporate outlets denouncing “settler colonialist” culture, including the “mindset” behind such offenses as irrigation: “You see that river there? We can dam that,” seethed Douglas. “We can organize that water.”

This has been going on for a while. Outline’s 2018 classic, “The Racist Language of Space Exploration,” set the standard by building on an offhand Elon Musk reference to a potential “colony” on Mars to craft a 3000-word essay about the evils of everything from the British East India Company to Plymouth Bay. The “It’s Time To Decolonize Your (Something)” theme spread in many directions in 2020:

4. NPR, June 6th: “Your Bookshelf May Be Part Of The Problem.”

76% of publishers — “the people you might call the gatekeepers,” said author Juan Vidal — are white. After noting this, Vidal realizes sadly that “grown white men in their forties” who are “cracking open James Baldwin or Toni Morrison for the first time” are “not going to eradicate racism.” Forced to ponder other solutions, he wonders if the “homogenous nature of their personal library” (he doesn’t offer examples) “is part of the problem,” before dismounting into the fashionable 2020 injunction that white people shut up for the greater good. Although, the wording is a little odd:

Anti-racist books will only do a person good if they silence themselves first and enter into the reading — provided they care enough to do so.

Do anti-racist books care enough to silence themselves and enter the reading? Vidal doesn’t say. Incidentally, though the piece opens by quoting Richard Wright, the only other author Vidal mentions is H.L. Mencken, whose Book of Prefaces “helped Wright find new ways of looking and seeing.” So that was confusing. Meanwhile, across, the ocean:

3. Huffington Post, April 23: “I Teach At Oxford, But I Don’t Want It To Win The Coronavirus Vaccine Race.”

In 2020 it would be nuts to expect anyone to be publicly patriotic, or proud of their educational institution’s history. Even by this year’s standards, though, it takes a special kind of dickhead to root against your school developing a vaccine because “the story” would then be that China is bad and “the best brains of the UK have saved the world.” Oxford “gender and vulnerability” professor Dr. Emily Cousens conceded her school’s researchers were doing vital work back in April, but insisted such races for knowledge have “winners and losers,” and declared: “If my university is the first to develop the vaccine, I’m worried that it will be used as it has been in the past… as proof of British excellence.”

2. (Story uncovered)

The biggest effect on newsroom culture in 2020, arguably, came in the form of stories reporters did not do, out of fear that they might send the wrong message either to the public or to co-workers, whose opinion was increasingly to be feared. The most obvious example involved the dichotomy of the public health response toward the anti-lockdown protests of the spring, versus the anti-police protests following Floyd’s murder. 

The New York Times did its first real piece on the subject in July, waiting nearly two months into the protests to quote health experts saying things like “I certainly condemned the anti-lockdown protests at the time, and I’m not condemning the protests now, and I struggle with that,” and “Do I worry that mass protests will fuel more cases? Yes, I do. But a dam broke.” In another context, we would probably denounce this as the worst kind of journalistic irresponsibility, but in 2020 waiting just two months to be honest about a public health crisis was considered virtuous.

Similar decisions led to non-coverage or under-coverage of counter-narrative scientific developments (e.g. conspicuously light coverage of the retracted Lancet study about “Trump-touted” hydroxychloroquine), derogatory stories about the likes of Hunter and Joe Biden, polls about public attitudes (including minority attitudes) toward things like the defund the police movement or the use of terms like “Latinx,” and violence connected to protests. Efforts in the latter case to avoid seeming negative in tone led to absurd contortions, like CNN’s infamous “Mostly Peaceful Protests” chyron.

Obviously, right-wing stations like Fox have long been similarly selective in what they do and do not cover. This used to earn ridicule from mainstream press critics. In 2020 it was papers like the New York Times and stations like CNN that should have caught that flak, for the exact same behavior. They mostly didn’t, though audiences definitely noticed.

1. The Guardian, July 6: “Upward-thrusting buildings ejaculating into the sky' – do cities have to be so sexist?”

Probably there is a “mine’s bigger than yours” element to some skyscraper construction, but the main reason human beings worked for centuries to design everything from elevators to load-bearing steel skeletons was to fit more people in crammed real estate. After all, it was either build up, build down, or discover a fourth dimension. 

The Guardian skipped that part, but did include an old quote from architecture professor Dolores Hayden, decrying the skyscraper as an accessory to gender oppression:

The office tower… is one more addition “to the procession of phallic monuments in history – including poles, obelisks, spires, columns and watchtowers,” where architects un-ironically use the language of “base, shaft and tip” while drawing upward-thrusting buildings ejaculating light into the night sky.

* * *

ONLY A NATIONWIDE SHUTDOWN Can Stop the Exploding Covid Pandemic as Vaccines Role Out Across the Land.

by Dr. Nayvin Gordon

Trump has repeatedly said that the cure can’t be worse than the disease — crushing the Covid-19 pandemic is not worth the cost. Congress, on a nearly unanimous basis, passed the CARES Act which transferred trillions of dollars to Wall Street and Corporate America, but it is “too costly” to eradicate the disease and protect the lives of millions. Trump’s recent advisor Dr. Atlas, a member of the right-wing conservative Hoover Institute, advocated an anti-scientific, deadly “herd immunity” — deliberately allowing the disease to spread through the population. Dr. Atlas was publically denounced by many Stanford doctors.

All reputable health authorities know that the science of “herd immunity” is achieved by mass vaccination to PROTECT the population from disease. 

The White House supports the science deniers at the right-wing think tank, the American Institute for Economic Research that recently published the Great Barrington Declaration ( This document advocates allowing widespread infections, illness and death through an anti-scientific policy of “herd immunity”. The Washington Post writes, “The plan of The Great Barrington Declaration is endorsing what the president’s policy has been for months.”

This criminally homicidal policy has already resulted in US deaths approaching half a million.

There is still no science-based national policy to crush and eliminate the disease. All we hear about is controlling the spread to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. The news media is filled with reports about the need to slow, control, contain, and manage — no mention of stopping, eradicating, or eliminating Covid-19 through basic scientific public health practice which requires tens of millions of tests, tracking, and isolation of the infected. The editors of the respected New England Journal of Medicine maintain that the standard public health practices have large effects and are not being followed or enforced. Strict quarantine, aggressive tracing, and isolation were effective in China, Taiwan, and New Zealand have succeeded in eliminating the disease.

To save thousands of lives now, a nationwide shutdown is needed more than ever as the vaccine is distributed across the land.

The rich, the 1%, and politicians in many countries, have demanded that business open and we get back to work while they take NO responsibility for economic suffering, illness and death. They have failed their United Nations responsibility to protect, and are committing crimes against humanity as defined: Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health. The blood of millions is on their hands.

Demand life and social needs before profits -- protection at work, health coverage, and economic support while isolated and unable to work. Demand millions of tests daily, an army of trackers, and safe isolation units. We must eradicate this disease to prevent the catastrophe of many thousands more infections and deaths.

(Dr. Nayvin Gordon of Oakland writes on health and politics. gordonnayvin@bennetthomerepairyahoo-com)

* * *



  1. Lee Edmundson January 1, 2021

    Happy New Year 2021.
    I’ll be celebrating New Year’s beginning noon on January 20th, 2021.
    I just hope we get there in an orderly fashion.
    If we get this egotistical malignant narcissist retired without bombing Iran, I will be superbly amazed.
    He is, in my opinion, going to take out the entire proverbial china shop on his way out the door. I hope I’m wrong but don’t think so.
    He has over two weeks to wreak havoc. Bets?

    On a completely different note: my uncle DV fished and drank with Hemingway in Cuba and the Florida Keys in the late 1950s and 60s. Their lifestyle was emblematic of their time and genre.

    Hemingway, despite his sage advice to writers, never “Edited Sober”, for he was, like my uncle, never truly sober. Hungover is more like it here.

    I mention this because what I sent you previously might have been summarily dismissed as the ravings of a drunkard, without adequately appreciating the substance contained therein.

    Consider each of my previous bon mots. What say thee?

    New Year’s Day is noon, January 20th.

    Lee Edmundson

    • Mark Scaramella January 1, 2021

      I say, Bring ’em on. Of thee we sing, Lee! But try to mix in some local flavor if you can. PS. What’s the old joke about the best feature of non-alcoholic beer? Oh yes: You can just pour it in the toilet and eliminate the middle-man.

      • Lee Edmundson January 1, 2021

        Thanks for your kind comment, Major. Will try to oblige. BTW, Great joke, I’ll add it to my repertoire.

        On another note, Yes, the County should definitely post the number of Covid inoculations on its Covid dashboard. Ted?

        New Year begins at noon, January 20th.

        Regards to you all.

        Roll Tide.

        • Mark Scaramella January 1, 2021

          Be careful about complimenting me on my jokes. I’m liable to tell the only logistics joke I know. It’s funny, but not to everyone…

  2. Eric Sunswheat January 1, 2021

    RE: The first job of a manager of any business is to pay the workers before she pays herself. Everybody knows that. But the manager of KZYX pays the airpeople nothing. KZYX has never paid the people who do the work the radio station is there for in the first place. (MARCO MACLEAN)

    ->. Somebody ought to do an accounting of former volunteer KZYX radio programmer alumni who gained valuable on air work study resume experience, and went on to paid career jobs at KQED, KPFA, California Reports, and elsewhere.

    Alicia Bales may be grooming herself for future KQED radio talk show host position in the Bay Area, but the question remains whether she is too closely aligned with the hospital industry.

  3. Eric Sunswheat January 1, 2021

    RE: All reputable health authorities know that the science of “herd immunity” is achieved by mass vaccination to PROTECT the population from disease.
    (Dr. Nayvin Gordon)

    ->. December 31, 2020
    The extent to which healthcare workers are refusing the vaccine is unclear, but reports of lower-than-expected participation rates are emerging around the country, raising concerns for epidemiologists who say the public health implications could be disastrous.

    A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 29% of healthcare workers were “vaccine hesitant,” a figure slightly higher than the percentage of the general population, 27%…

    At St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Tehama County, fewer than half of the 700 hospital workers eligible for the vaccine were willing to take the shot when it was first offered.

    At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, one in five frontline nurses and doctors have declined the shot. Roughly 20% to 40% of L.A. County’s frontline workers who were offered the vaccine did the same, according to county public health officials.

    So many frontline workers in Riverside County have refused the vaccine — an estimated 50% — that hospital and public officials met to strategize how best to distribute the unused doses, Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari said.

    The vaccine doubts swirling among healthcare workers across the country come as a surprise to researchers, who assumed hospital staff would be among those most in tune with the scientific data backing the vaccines.

  4. Lazarus January 1, 2021

    Anubis, the god of the dead, lost souls, and the helpless, rang in 2021…?
    Thanks Mr. AVA…lucky us,

  5. Harvey Reading January 1, 2021


    Say what you will, but the fact will remain: that is one ugly bridge.

    • Bill Brazill January 1, 2021

      Wait till you see the new one.

      • Harvey Reading January 2, 2021

        The drawings posted here some time ago depicted a far more aesthetically pleasing structure than the current pile of junk.

  6. chuck dunbar January 1, 2021

    Happy New Year to all at the AVA and beyond–May we all stay well and thrive in the New Year!

  7. izzy January 1, 2021

    Not sure of the possible esoteric implications, but Taibbi’s piece on Wokesterism has two items numbered 12. In our tireless search for meaning and offense, can this simply be an accident?
    You be the judge.

  8. Kathy Janes January 1, 2021

    It’s nice to see the picture of Milla.

  9. Jessie Bergevin January 1, 2021

    Don’t miss an appt to see a dog or cat at the Ukiah Shelter, that you want to adopt and take home, or you’ll be cut off by Amy, from adopting any animals in the future. Animals are sadly piling up in the shelter, because she’s banned so many people from adopting.

    • Harvey Reading January 1, 2021

      Seems a bit self-defeating.

  10. Lew Chichester January 1, 2021

    Thoroughly enjoyed Marco’s expose of KZYX and why do they always need money. In Round Valley we have had an all volunteer FM station for almost ten years now, broadcasting to our limited area community announcements, high school basketball games, an eclectic mix of various music types, many of the Mendocino County produced programming options, an intentionally limited amount of national syndicated public affairs presentations, and live on air interviews and disaster reporting. We have received awards for outstanding public service during the August Complex fires here. We can do this for about $800/month. Power, phone, royalties, repairs and equipment upgrades. No program director, no station manager, no business manager. If a station has a news department with reporters daily digging up information and putting a program together I can understand a budget to pay them, but the overhead to run a station is really very minimal. When we were originally figuring out how to do this we received some good advice. “Don’t talk to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or get involved with NPR. It’s a trap!” Thankfully we took the hint, and we can serve our community without excessive expense and the never-ending need for more money.

  11. Betsy Cawn January 2, 2021

    Round Valley’s radio station does not pay rent for its facility, as I understand it — so basic operations costs are minimal. In Lake County, KPFZ’s annual expenses are roughly $85K, including the space rent and obvious utilities (plus the cost of placing our transmitter on the publicly owned tower on Mt. Konocti). Even so, expenses of less than $10/hour for production make our airtime one of the best deals in town for promotion of small businesses — some of whom manage to provide program “content” that naturally becomes promotional of their unadvertised services. We also have to beat the drum periodically to keep members paying into the kitty for operations, and even the programmers must be up to date on their “dues” to make this all work. However wonky or weird the content may be, KPFZ in Lake County is the only source of “independent” information about subjects no other entity is interested is examining.

    The main difference in our two counties, IMPO, is that the “counter culture” has had a significant historical impact on Mendo’s “traditional” society ever since the back-to-the-landers emigrated from the Bay Area and other parts of the country in the 1970s — whereas Lake County managed to repel all boarders until the proliferation of online interactions created competition to the delivery of mainstream “messaging” (still the dominant culture in both territories, but with greater intellectual challenges on the western side of the Cow).

    In the last few years, the leadership of our “community radio station” has worked hard to develop “positive” relationships with local public officials — issuing a programmer’s policy prohibiting the disrespectful criticism of them — and urged the rest of us to emulate KZYX, even to think of it as our “sister station.” And the beat goes on . . . but I do wonder what good it does for Mr. McClean to rail against the KZYX fiefdom year after year — has the readership of the AVA formed a phalanx of KZYX members who mount a supporting campaign for changing the station’s management?

    It seems that we radio heads do what we do for the love of it anyway. If my program content were acceptable to the patrons of unquestioning loyalty to the ruling class, I’d consider myself a failure — if it were unacceptable to the FCC, I’d be a liability (but given the depths of depravity that are acceptable on almost all media today, I’d find it hard to imagine the FCC getting upset about a perceived slight to an unhappy listener — after all, our content is fully constrained by limits on criticism of public officials). The fabulous range of reportage and creativity in media in your neck of the woods is enviable from this small-town parochial perch — shouldn’t you instead be celebrating your differences and unrelenting resistance to mainstream muck? Rake it again, Sam.

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