Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Monday, Feb. 8, 2021

Increasing Cloudiness | 28 Cases | Brady Again | Potemkin Bowl | Seen Arlo? | Health Order | Ed Notes | Blaylock v Hendry | Valentine Bouquets | AV Events | Captain O'Neal | Mystery Nuggets | Restaurant Outbreak | FB Exchange | BLM Flag | Happy Holiday | FB Filleters | Thanks, Paul | Dreamland Theater | Angelo Negatives | SS Brunswick | True Syllables | Yesterday's Catch | Vaccinate Teachers | Logging Man | Little Hippie | Luxury Resort | Beatniks | Domestic Nutters | Circle Back | Activist Granny | Huffman Stirs | Lying | Much Anger | New Abnormal | Marco Radio

* * *

HIGH PRESSURE ALOFT will continue to promote a period of dry weather through early Thursday along with increasing cloudiness. A cold front arriving late Thursday will bring rain and high elevation snow into next weekend. (NWS)

* * *

28 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Sunday bringing the total to 3601. 

* * *

BRADY MAKES IT LOOK EASY. He's two decades and 347 games into the most successful career in NFL history, but Tom Brady still isn't finished winning Super Bowls. The 43-year-old extended his record with his seventh Super Bowl crown on Sunday, guiding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their second title with a 31-9 win over the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. What was expected to be the 25-year-old quarterback's coronation as Brady's logical successor (the Chiefs were slight favorites to repeat) instead turned into one of the biggest statement games the league has ever seen. Brady not only proved he can win without New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, his boss for his first nine Super Bowl appearances, but the future Hall of Famer simultaneously gave succinct arguments both for and against retirement. On the one hand, Brady has nothing left to prove, even if he still has one season left on his two-year, $50 million deal he signed with Tampa Bay in March. Then again, why would Brady retire now, when he's still capable of tossing three touchdowns in a Super Bowl victory? But it wasn't all Brady. The Bucs defense was almost impenetrable, forcing Mahomes to run for his life all afternoon. A random comment from a fan put it this way, "I think Brady is the only thing that still works in this country the ways it's supposed to."

* * *

LARRY LIVERMORE (Sunday, 4pm) Watching the Super Bowl opening ceremonies is a deeply bittersweet experience: great strides toward a multicultural and racially integrated society set against the backdrop of a Potemkin stadium and the squalid trappings of an empire no longer just decaying, but collapsing.

* * *

* * *

ORDER OF THE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE COUNTY OF MENDOCINO REGARDING ALLCOATION, ADMINISTRATION AND REPORTING OF COVID-19 VACCINES 

DATE OF ORDER: February 6, 2021 EFFECTIVE until rescinded 

Please read this Order carefully. Violation or failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both (Cal. Health & Safety § 120295, et seq.; Mendocino County Ordinance No. 4464; Cal. Penal Code § 19) 

UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE SECTIONS 10140, 101085, 120175, 120176, THE COUNTY OF MENDOCINO HEALTH OFFICER ORDERS: 

1. The purpose of this Order is to ensure the County of Mendocino’s Vaccine Partners promptly comply with the State of California Department of Public Health (CDPH) directives regarding the allocation, storage, administration, and reporting of COVID-19 vaccines and any future State and federal public health directives regarding the same. The failure to comply with such State and federal requirements, including, but not limited to allocation and daily data reporting guidelines, places the County at risk of losing critical State and Federal COVID- 19 vaccine resources, which threatens the public health and safety of the residents of the County of Mendocino. For purposes of this Order, “Vaccine Partners” is defined as the local medical clinics, medical providers and the City of Ukiah, which are specifically authorized by the County of Mendocino to maintain and receive a distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. 

2. For any vaccination received or distributed by the County of Mendocino, each Vaccine Partner shall: 

Comply with all enrollment requirements of the CDPH. Such requirements as identified and updated by the CDPH here (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/COV ID-19Vaccine.aspx)1. 

Complete CDPH required training for providers in the California COVID-19 Vaccination Program. 

1 Each Vaccine Partner is responsible for regularly reviewing CDPH website and/or communications from CDPH for any revisions or updates to any Guidance, Order, or directive referenced in this Order. 

 (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/COV 

ID-19VaccineTraining.aspx)

c. Report patient and COVID-19 vaccine dose and adjuvant (if applicable) information to the local immunization registry (e.g., CAIRS) within 24 hours of vaccine administration. The provider must maintain the vaccine administration records for at least 3 years following vaccination, or longer if required by law. 

Comply with CDC requirements for vaccine management, including storage and handling, standards related to the transport of vaccine to community locations for mass immunization clinics, temperature monitoring at all times, maintaining cold chain conditions and chain of custody at all times in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions complying with CDPH policies for dealing with temperature excursions, and monitoring expiration dates. The County Health Officer must be notified of any temperature fluctuations that may affect the efficacy of the vaccine via email to MHOAC@mendocinocounty.org as soon as discovered. Information on storage and handling may be found at: (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/COV IDVaccineManagement.aspx#) 

Report adverse events to the County Health Officer and to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) (https://vaers.hhs.gov/). Any such reporting (VAERS form) shall also be copied via email to: MHOAC@mendocinocounty.org for each and every adverse occurrence. 

Comply at all times with the current, revised and operative CDPH Allocation Guidelines for COVID-19 Vaccine. As of the date of this Order, the “Revision of Allocation Guidelines for COVID-19 Vaccine” is found here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Revision-of- Allocation-Guidelines-for-COVID-19-Vaccine.aspx. Vaccine Partners shall also strongly discourage individuals from attempting to circumvent the applicable Phases and Tiers such as by volunteers seeking to receive a vaccine. 

Deliver an accounting of vaccines used during each mass vaccination event, based upon the patient’s tier and phase category. This information shall be sent to MHOAC@mendocinocounty.org. All patient information will be collected as dictated by the California Immunization Registry (CAIRS) at: https://cairweb.org/covid/. 

Medical staff employed or contracted by each Vaccine Partner will exercise individualized medical judgment in prescribing COVID-19 vaccines for each patient and/or staff member; and will provide to each patient (or legal guardian) and/or staff member receiving a vaccine a COVID-19 vaccine record card, as well as an Emergency Use Authorization (EAU) fact sheet, or vaccine information statement which outlines potential adverse reactions. 

i. Inform the County Health Officer of all planned immunization events as soon as feasibly possible. Vaccine Partner agrees to submit to the County Health Officer a report about their immunization events through an After Action Report or other evaluation tool within 5 days of each event. 

In addition to the enforcement provisions applicable to violations of Orders of the Health Officer, the failure to comply with any of the directives of this Order will result in the de-authorization of the Vaccine Partner from administering any remaining or future distributions of vaccinations on behalf of the County of Mendocino. 

This Order shall become effective on February 6 ,2021, and will continue to be in effect until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Health Officer. 

5. Copies of this Order shall promptly be: (1) made available at County of Mendocino Executive Office, County Administration Building, 501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, California 95482; (2) posted on the County website www.mendocinocounty.org and; or (3) provided to any member of the public requesting a copy of this Order. 

6. If any provision of this Order to the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held to be invalid, the remainder of the Order, including the application of such part or provision to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected and shall continue in full force and effect. To this end, the provisions of this Order are severable. 

IT IS SO ORDERED 

Date: February 6, 2021 Issued by: 

Howard Andrew Coren, M.D. Health Officer

County of Mendocino 

* * *

ED NOTES

WE RECEIVED a presser from our County covid doctor, Dr. Coren, last night. It was titled (and misspelled), “Regarding Allcoation,” and went on in turgid prose to rehash the tangled distribution processes in Mendo which, like every place else in the land, are stop and start because the feds have screwed up manufacture and distribution of vaccines. 

THE NOTICE, allegedly from Dr. Coren but probably written by some state bureaucrat, was like Sheriff Kendall urging everyone to obey all laws, i.e., pointless.

MENDO BEING MENDO, confusion has been the order of the day. I guess there are people professionally obligated to listen to Dr. Coren, passing along his pressers just as the County's leadership dutifully passed along Coren's San Diego-based medical wizard's unreadable and unread six-page single-spaced repeats of state guidelines who, of course, recently got another hundred grand to do whatever she does “part-time,” to “advise” Dr. Coren, I believe. 

LAST FALL, when it was announced that vaccines would become available by the end of the year, Mendo should have begun preparation for mass vaccination in earnest. Vaccination is the single most important way to beat back the effects of the pandemic so an all-hands on deck approach should have been mounted so that Mendo could start returning to some semblance of pre-covid order. A vax plan for our small population should not present difficulty.

AT THAT TIME, President Bluster said we'd have vaccines by the end of the year, and everyone assumed, correctly, those vaccines would be delivered by the County's in-place clinics and hospitals and on into the eager arms of Mendolanders on a priority basis, beginning with front-line personnel like first responders and nurses. Right then a vaccine registry, on line and/or in print (similar to the census bureau procedure) should have been established, as it was in the more forward-acting areas of the country, so that Mendolanders who wanted to be vaccinated could provide basic demographic information which would form the basis of vaccine planning — who got vaxxed first and notifications of vaccination events for the rest of us according to the registry. This simple plan would keep track of who has received which vaccinations and when and who needs follow-up appointments.

INSTEAD, to this day, we have no central location for residents to apply for a vaccination that would provide basic information such as age, gender, zip code, health status, etc. And it has taken three months to finally get around to requiring the non-County vaccinators to even notify the County of what they are doing.

WHO is responsible for this planning failure? CEO Angelo, a former public health nurse herself, and her crack team of public health officers. In December, when Dr. Coren was asked about vaccination status, he shrugged his shoulders and said he had no idea what his “vaccination partners” — the Adventists, drug store chains and Indian health clinics — were doing so he couldn’t say anything about them.

Uh, excuse us, doctor, but why not find out and let us plebes know?

WE ALSO HOPE we’re not the only ones to notice that this long-delayed order to the dispensing facilities only addresses vaccinations from this date forward. So Mendo starts off playing catch-up and still won’t be able to properly and fully track who’s received which vaccines and when so that a complete picture can be obtained for scheduling future vaccinations.


ACCORDING to Jeff St. Clair, the top three occupations of those arrested at the invasion of the Capitol were (1) business owners (2) cops (3) realtors.

NEVER thought I'd see anything this foolish as it appears in a footnote in the February 11th edition of the New York Review of Books: “A note on racial identifiers: I use Black and African American interchangeably, depending on syntax. I do not hyphenate African American, even when used as a compound adjective. I prefer to capitalize Black as a proper noun when used as a racial descriptor to acknowledge the social construction of racial identity and African-descended people's struggle for acceptance and recognition as citizens. I prefer not to capitalize white, not because it is not socially constructed, but because it has historically been a signifier of social domination and privilege beyond its role in indicating racial or ethnic origin.”

A NOTE from Fred Gardner on another subject coincidentally (and neatly) answers the wrongheadedness expressed in the professor's footnote: “I heard a woman on CNN report that ‘black and brown people’ were getting vaccinated at a disproportionately low rate. Ever since the Black Lives Matter movement woke the liberal media, we have heard and read countless such items. I wish the liberal economists and sociologists assessing the well-being of US Americans would create a category called ‘under-privileged white people’ comprising the bottom 25 percent. (‘Under-privileged’ is a discarded euphemism for poor, but I would employ it now.) If enough studies are conducted and reports issued about the plight of under-privileged white people, the day might arrive when Ana Cabrera advises her audience that ‘Black, Brown and under-privileged white people’ are getting vaccinated at a disproportionately low rate. Not many under-privileged white people watch CNN, but if the category was cited in many contexts, it would migrate from the think tanks to the media and maybe begin to seep into the language and the culture. Nothing will fend off fascism more effectively than under-privileged white people recognizing that they and Black and Brown people are in the same boat. Nothing will fuel it more than under-privileged white people feeling invisible while Black and Brown people are supposedly getting attention.”

* * *

CITING LT. DEREK HENDRY as the Willits policeman who made her job as chief of the Willits Police Department impossible, “Chief Blaylock will sign a release of claims against the city and applicable individual defendants for a payment of $500,000 and a commitment on behalf of the city to provide workplace discrimination and retaliation training to certain city employees and officials for the purpose of making the city and police department more tolerant, effective and honest institutions.

Alexis Blaylock

“Upon her arrival in Willits, Chief Blalock was met with immediate hostility from subordinates openly resistant to a black female chief and opposed to accountability. Lt. Hendry eventually told Chief Blaylock that he had a problem with a female chief and that he and other officers were not accustomed to reporting to a woman. Even in the presence of the human resources director, Karen Stevenson, “Hendry stated that law enforcement is a predominantly male profession so it is "odd" to work for women. Hendry later revealed to a city employee that chief Blaylock's race was instrumental in his opposition to her. Hendry proceeded to undermine the chief at every opportunity. The situation became worse when Chief Blaylock reported what she reasonably believed to be improper, illegal and unsafe conduct to her superior. The city manager, Stephanie Garrabant-Sierra, and the Human Resources Director did effectively nothing to address Chief Blaylock's complaints, and worse, undermined her authority to take appropriate corrective, investigatory and potentially disciplinary actions as necessary to address the problems herself. Instead of supporting Chief Blaylock, an experienced law enforcement professional, in addressing legitimate concerns, city administrators retaliated against Chief Blaylock…” (This is from Ms. Blaylock's lawyer.) 

* * *

SPOIL YOUR LOVED ONES! The AV High School Ag Department Valentine’s Day fundraiser at AV Market on Friday, February 12 will offer a dozen roses with filler in assorted arrangements as well as single roses with filler. Proceeds benefit the high school’s Ag program.

* * *

AV VILLAGE EVENTS CALENDAR

https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events

* * *

FORT BRAGG POLICE SERGEANT PROMOTED TO CAPTAIN

O'Neal, Naulty

Former Fort Bragg Police Sergeant Thomas O’Neal was sworn in as Police Captain in an outdoor ceremony on the steps of City Hall yesterday. Members of City Council, City staff, the Fort Bragg Police Department, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, Adventist Health Mendocino Coast Hospital, Fort Bragg Unified School District, and the Captain’s family were in attendance. Police Chief John Naulty introduced O’Neal and summarized the new Captain’s contributions to the Department and to the community. City Clerk June Lemos administered the Oath of Office while O’Neal’s wife, Chantell O’Neal, the City’s Assistant Director of the Engineering Division, pinned a new badge on his uniform. The O’Neals were accompanied by their children, Audie, Pirate and Symphony.

Thomas O’Neal served ten years in the US Army, most recently as Platoon Sergeant. After completing the Butte Police Academy, he joined the Fort Bragg Police Department in 2013 and was promoted to Police Sergeant in 2018. O’Neal holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration as well as two AA degrees. While at the City, the Captain has updated the Department’s policies and procedures manuals and brought the Peace Officer Standards Training (POST) Field Training Program up to current 2021 POST guidelines.

Chief Naulty stated, “Thomas strives for professionalism and is committed to upgrading training and requiring a higher standard for all our officers to follow. He has assisted me with the challenges we have all faced, especially this last year. I look forward to working with Captain O’Neal and the rest of the supervisors to maintain a higher standard for all personnel of this department.” The goal of the Fort Bragg Police Department is to provide excellent service, build community trust and ensure the quality of life of the community. As Captain, Thomas O’Neal will continue to help the City to further those goals.

* * *

* * *

FORT BRAGG - EMPLOYEES AT 7 RESTAURANTS TEST POSITIVE

by Justine Frederiksen

Outbreak testing will be conducted in Fort Bragg this weekend after more than a dozen employees of seven of the city’s restaurants have recently tested positive for Covid-19, Mendocino County officials reported.

Bekkie Emery, manager of the county’s Department Operation Center, said that while not all of the restaurants had three cases, which is the technical standard for declaring an outbreak, the group testing positive included people that work in more than one of the restaurants, which she described as constituting a need to “list all seven restaurants as part of this spread.”

The restaurants were identified by county staff as: Angelina’s Bar and Grill, David’s Deli and Restaurant, Denny’s, Mayan Fusion, Laurel’s Deli and Dessert, Noyo Harbor Inn and Restaurant and Silvers at the Wharf. So far, 15 employees that work at one or more of those restaurants have tested positive.

According to Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren, as of Friday there was “no evidence that people in the community got it from the employees, (and the cases were) mostly staff members that passed it among themselves.”

Coren said there was a delay in his office learning of the cases because of several factors, including that “one of the key individuals was very concerned about giving out information.” Coren said it took several calls from Public Health staff, including one from him directly, to convince the person that the information being given out was needed to complete contact tracing and would not be used against the employees or businesses.

Emery said there will be outbreak testing in Fort Bragg on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 205 South Street in Fort Bragg. County staff said that testing is “recommended for anyone who has visited, or who is employed by, one of the seven restaurants within the past two weeks. For more information about testing opportunities people can contact the call center at (707) 472-2759, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.”

Emery also listed two other outbreaks in the county, one of which is the ongoing outbreak at the Mendocino County Jail. She said there are currently three individuals at the facility who have tested positive, and that a total of 17 employees and 128 inmates have tested positive.

“All staff have been released from isolation, and there is testing twice a week of all inmates and staff,” she said.

The third outbreak Emery pointed to is in Round Valley, the response to which she described as an “ongoing effort” due to “several factors.” One factor is that “there are individuals that have been sharing housing,” and another factor was a memorial held recently that featured singing. And while the attendees were “carefully staying six feet apart, you need to be more than six feet apart for singing,” she said.

There will be outbreak testing in Covelo on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 24281 Riffe Rd. in Covelo from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. It is described by county staff as a “first-come, first served, drive-thru event. Please arrive with mask on and maintain social distance. No appointment necessary.” Emery said that testing is “focusing on anyone who attended any memorials, as well as anyone who has been in contact with anyone who tested positive.”

Overall, Coren said the number of Covid-19 cases in the county have been coming down since the holidays, but so is the number of tests being performed, which he said drives up the daily average of positive cases.

“Our daily positivity rate is higher than we’d like it to be, because there is not as much testing going on” said Coren describing the rate of testing as down 50-percent or more from the rate in early December. He urged county residents to continue to get testing, “even if you’ve been vaccinated, because that helps us get down to the lower tiers.” Mendocino County is currently in the most-restrictive Purple Tier.

Coren urged people to “not get overconfident” because of the drop in cases, but rather to “stay vigilant and keep testing after being vaccinated, and avoid parties on Super Bowl weekend.”

On Feb. 5, the county reported 19 new cases of Covid-19 for a total of 3,532. Also as of Friday, there were nine people hospitalized with the virus, with two in the Intensive Care Unit. There have been 39 deaths.

* * *

Fort Bragg Telephone Exchange, 1925

* * *

WHY THE BLM FLAG?

To the Editor:

Dear Ms. Boesel (who complained about a Black Lives Matter flag in Ukiah),

This letter is in response to your letter to the Editor of Jan. 13, 2021 regarding the Black Lives Matter flag and your call for the insertion of the American flag on the flagpole. The Black Lives Matter flag is not in any way related to the Redwood Children’s Services building. It is flying on a flagpole owned by me, and it is associated with the building I own, directly across from Redwood Children’s Services.

The only “political agenda” this flag comes with is the support of racial equality, and the end to racial injustice. Perhaps you’re not familiar with the concept.

You may be interested to know that:

The Flag Code requires that the US flag be flown on federal institutions, including public schools. It does not require you to fly the US flag if you are a private citizen.

For private citizens, the Flag Code serves as a guide to be followed on a purely voluntary basis to insure proper respect for the flag. The Supreme Court has ruled that politically motivated violations of the Flag Code are protected by the First Amendment.

4 U.S. Code § 8 Respect for flag:

(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discarded. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

Because it is not a governmentally recognized flag, the Black Lives Matter flag could be construed as an advertising sign or flag. As such, if we were required to follow the flag code, we would be prohibited from flying the American flag with it. However, we are not a federal institution, so we are not required to fly the American flag and are acting in conformance with the code by not including it with non-recognized flags on the pole.

I am proud to be an American citizen and proud of what the American flag represents — as you say, “ALL Americans,” which includes Black Americans. Further, I am a former law enforcement officer and support law enforcement. What I do not support is illegal behavior on the part of a few law enforcement officers that has led directly to the deaths of too many of our black citizens.

The research you quote to support your position, that the flag should be removed, was a perfect example of the attitude that continues to contribute to racial inequality in this country. You stated that “to be fair” you checked on the demographics of Ukiah, and that our small town’s population is only one percent black, while “whites” make up 74 percent and Latinos four percent. Your notion that, because the city’s demographics indicate a lower percentage of people of color, those people of color do not deserve equal representation — is one of the many reasons we need the Black Lives Matter movement.

Respectfully,

Caren Callahan, Esq., 

Ukiah

* * *

ASSIGNMENT: UKIAH - THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR

by Tommy Wayne Kramer

One year when no one (well, everyone) was looking the Super Bowl became the biggest holiday in the country. Compare it to the reception other holidays get and the Super Bowl stands alone.

Everybody likes the Super Bowl, or at least nobody doesn’t like it enough to file a lawsuit against it because their feelings got hurt. This doesn’t mean that eventually the Super Bowl won’t be offending people for one reason or none, and the usual whiners and complainers won’t attack it the way they do anything beyond Groundhog Day.

Compare the Super Bowl to other holidays and we begin to understand:

CHRISTMAS — It’s the most wonderful time of the year that has to fend off the most angriest critics of all. It’s too commercial or it’s too religious, or else it culturally appropriated somebody’s ancient pagan fest.

Feeling outraged yet? Try these: Santa mucks up the climate by hauling toys all over the world, and in some city somewhere there’s a public Nativity Scene honoring Jesus’s birth.

(Note: Super Bowl fans don’t get agitated over the birthplace of Tom Brady or Joe Namath.)

EASTER — Ditto the above.

(Note: Substitute Big Bunny for Santa, eggs for toys.)

PRESIDENT’S DAY — Never a holiday to whoop and holler much, but by 2021 fights erupt over dead white males like Thomas Jefferson and Dwight Eisenhower.

(Note: At Super Bowl parties they celebrate Vince Lombardi, Otto Graham and other dead white dudes.)

THANKSGIVING — No longer politically appropriate to pause once yearly to Give Thanks. Cultural guardians disdain bonds forged between settlers and Natives. Vegans and PETA-brains squawk because turkey is on the menu.

(Note: If you don’t like what’s on the Super Bowl menu it’s OK to just hush up and drive to Taco Bell.)

VETERAN’S DAY — Not in our lifetimes will vets be again much honored. Too patriotic. Too much of that icky militaristic stuff with all those bombs and things.

(Note: Nothing beats football when it comes to militaristic tactics and strategy. It’s got the aerial attacks, the violence, and the fierce battles in muddy trenches over a few inches of disputed territory. Pacifists maybe haven’t tuned in to a Super Bowl for the past XXIICX years.)

MEMORIAL DAY — Ditto the above.

FOURTH OF JULY — It’s got everything going against it these days because of all the red-white-blue and all the John Philip Sousa and the parades and the barbecued hotdogs.

How many Ukiahans recall the avalanche of anger caused when someone on the city’s west side with a very fine music system began playing loud versions of patriotic classics early one July 4th morning? You’d have thought there’d been firecrackers exploding and bombs bursting in air.

That’s when we learned how delicately calibrated are the emotional states of some of our esteemed neighbors.

(Note: At least the team called the Patriots won’t be on the Super Bowl field this year.)

COLUMBUS DAY — Currently the third rail of American holidays.

Cities have busied themselves in recent years removing old monuments built to honor Christopher Columbus back when cities did such things. Cities that did not remove statues had the work done for them by roving mobs of Antifa lefties.

Señor Columbus is now lumped in with Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Typhoid Mary by social critics with better educations than you, and by modern historians who don’t read history books. The assumption is that if Columbus hadn’t set sail in 1492 and ruined everything that no Europeans would have ever come to America.

It’s frequently pointed out that Columbus was A) a lousy navigator because he got lost, and when he finally got to at the Bahamas he didn’t know where he was. And B) Columbus was stupid because he landed on the wrong continent after he’d forgotten to bring along the global maps that didn’t yet exist.

(Note: Don’t expect an NFL team to relocate to Columbus, Ohio any time soon. Or Columbus, South Dakota (pop. 78).)

So Happy Holiday to you. In the near future it will be decided that the best way to measure the popularity of national holidays is via per capita consumption of Bud Lite beer. This will finalize the Super Bowl as Numbah One! in the hearts of fellow citizens all across the land.

(Tom Hine has never much cared for football but he does watch the Super Bowl between bags of chips, buckets of guacamole and trips to the bathroom to recycle his Coors beer. TWK prefers watching a nice cozy mystery on PBS.)

* * *

Fort Bragg Fish Filleters, 1940s

* * *

R.D. BEACON REMEMBERS PAUL McCARTHY:

Over the years we've had so many people who have left this particular world walk out the door and gone into the next world whatever and wherever it might be depending on how your face is. That's what happens when not in so many years have we had so many comments about the loss of Paul. He was a force of nature. He became the eyes, the ears, the spokesman of life in our area, giving us information like we've never had before, not since the days of the original Mendocino Beacon with Mr. Augie Heeser at the helm writing of the Coast and even several others who came after over the years. We have been deprived of good news as the newspapers consolidated and became less interesting and more like something you would rather wrap your wet garbage with and scrolling to the bottom of the can because there were so many ads, so much stuff that you couldn't use. It wasn't worth the money paid for. 

Paul gave us an insight into what real reporting and real news was all about. He didn't charge copious amounts of dollars when he gave you a great following. We are all shedding tears for the loss, but we are shutting them not only for him and all our friends around this, for we collectively together feel the pain, the same pain that the son and family feel that we have felt before when we have lost a loved one or a good friend. To me I lost what I called my younger brother. Having no younger brother I had adopted Paul and that is why he kept on at the ranch. He was not a tenant, didn't pay rent.

He watched the property like he had an interest. With his faithful dogs over the years we chased the cattle off the highway. He was given purpose and replaced the apparently needed service. He loved the coast although he loved to go home to New Hampshire once in a while and have a Philly cheese steak or consume some huge amounts of lobster and clams.

Every day he would say to me, When we get that big earthquake… He wanted to see a big earthquake in his life. We never got one. I'm sure he worries now. Maybe they've got a few earthquakes rock 'n roll in that place with a bar that never closes. He’s got a lot of friends up there just like his old friend still down here. It’s kind of up to all of us to make MSP go along in some form and not be forgotten. I keep bringing the subject up that we all need to post a little something on his page to keep it going, for what greater tribute to an individual can we give? Certainly not a bank should somebody consider that and not knowing or stained-glass window of the church. Maybe most of all could be about scholarships which are nice. But they don't really touch the individual which is about keeping his little newsletter alive. When he started it was like creating a major newspaper online without getting tons of money poured in for creating a lot of joy for others. I read it I myself and stopped taking all the newspapers because they had nothing I wanted. Paul supplied everything I needed. He was a friend and a good neighbor and a great journalist even though I wasn't into the sports or where the boats were and what crime we had within the county. But he could find accidents and whatever else. He was on his way faster than the other rags that printed information and most the time left out the truth, the feeling that needed to be in it because they were always worried about being sued from somebody. They walked around like walking on eggs. The truth is to keep MSP alive and keep the truth moving ever forward.

Thought For The Future—

Why is it we always wait until somebody's passes away to talk about the wonderful things they did, the great accomplishments, how they impacted our lives. Maybe we need to rewrite the book and do these things while others are still here. Hold an event, look around. Your neighbors and people you care abouit and the things they've done. Think about what we were going through with Paul to remember all the great things he did and even some of the things we didn't like that he did. But one out measures the other. While people are still here we need to thank them for what they've done, for the contributions to the community and the human condition. I’ve always been amazed at the great gatherings at funerals. They serve food and they talk about the person who has left us and even people who didn't get along with them would come out and say wonderful things. Why is it we wait until somebody leaves before we give them a little pat on the back? A thank you for what they've done. We always wait till after it's all over with and they can enjoy the ride. The great sports heroes always get a little pat on the head at dinner some greatness comes their way because they get payments by presidents and statesman one and all. They all get a little something before they go away. But we have to wait until a friend passes away, somebody that impacted the community in every way we can think, maybe we need to address this issue so we won't be just saying goodbye to somebody, but hello and thank you for being here at several parties, even though we've gone above we’re chasing down, we will get around to this. But a lot of people are leaving this world. We need to embrace the people who are still here and give them their pat on the head.

Thank you for all the things you’ve done. Let’s not wait till it's all over with. I know I didn't tell Paul enough that I appreciated what he did for me and I'm sure there's others that did the same thing. We must not wait until they’re gone before we say thank you.

* * *

Dreamland Theater, Fort Bragg

* * *

ON THE OTHER HAND…

Dear Supervisors,

According to Item 9a) on the Tuesday, February 9, 2021 Agenda, you are to evaluate the performance of CEO Carmel Angelo in closed session.

No doubt CEO Angelo will provide you with whatever positives she believes deserve recognition. 

However, since most of you are relatively new to CEO Angelo’s tenure, please allow me to provide some negatives you should also consider.

First, there is too much senior staff turnover under CEO Angelo, the departure of several of whom have resulted in costly lawsuits. (Barbara Howe, Harinder Grewal, Meribeth Dermond, to name a few.) Other departures, while not leading to lawsuits, have deprived the County of continuity of senior management and their hard-won accumulated experience and expertise.

A review of the April 2019 Grand Jury report, “Who Runs Mendocino County?” which addressed the CEO shows that:

• There is still no “succession plan” in the event of the departure of the CEO;

• There are still no “time frames” established for formal board directives, much less tracking of progress on those directives;

• Although the CEO claimed that “substantive department updates” are provided to the Board, very few such updates have in fact been provided, and those few have not been comprehensive.

Although the definition is somewhat loose, the CEO continues to put “controversial” items on the consent calendar.

In fact, none of the Grand Jury findings and responses relating to the CEO have been addressed or improved upon.


In addition:

The CEO has wrongly appropriated the agenda setting of the Elected Supervisors. Due to the ill-conceived idea that having the CEO also be the Clerk of the Board, the Board has lost control of its own agenda and must lobby (or more accurately beg) its own employee to put important items from ELECTED OFFICIALS on the agenda. For example, when was the last time the CEO offered viable alternatives to major Agenda Items? Over the last couple of years agendas have included numerous major pre-packaged items that give the ELECTED OFFICIALS almost no choice but to approve them as presented or risk service interruptions. Further, agenda items no longer show which budget account will be affected if the item is approved.

• There are still no monthly or bi-monthly budget reports for all departments in a manner similar to any properly run organization, although the CEO has claimed to be “working on that” in the past. In addition, Budget officer Darcie Antle has not provided budget reports for months and there has been no follow-up reporting about the “sobering” fact (as described by Ms. Antle last July) that a significant amount of covid expenses may not be reimburseable under federal guidelines.

• Although promised last fall in the CEO report, there is no coordinated county-wide vaccination plan, despite the CEO having months of foreknowledge that such an important plan would be essential to bringing the pandemic under some kind of control in Mendocino County, and despite the fact that the County is funding one and a half professional health officers.

• There is still no plan on how to spend the $21 million of PG&E settlement money. 

• Millions of dollars are being wasted on a low-priority Crisis Residential Treatment facility on Orchard Avenue, a project which is essentially a glorified $1 million four-bedroom house being built for over $5 million. (The most expensive four-bedroom house for sale in Ukiah is about $1 million; even if you added another $1 million, you’d still be well below the wasteful $5 million now being spent, money that should go directly to Mental Health facilities and services.)

• The multi-year Exclusive Operating Area (EOA) idea that the CEO said would provide sorely needed financial assistance to the County’s underfunded inland emergency services ended in a very predictable flop, leaving the troubled and ill-coordinated ambulance services basically on their own and without additional funding. And the CEO’s promise to attempt to explore ways to reduce the cost of the bloated and far-removed Coastal Valley EMS services has not been pursued.

I fully expect that the Board will dismiss this as just another irrelevant piece of public expression that can be ignored with the usual, “Thank you for your input.” However, such a dismissal will only demonstrate to the public that our Elected Officials do not have the requisite independence to exercise the authority over the County’s well-paid CEO and the related County matters that they were elected to “supervise.”

Mark Scaramella

Boonville, Fifth District

* * *

SS Brunswick, Union Lumber Boat

* * *

COME BACK TO WRITING

Say something pithy
In just a few syllables
Something real profound

Write it perfectly
In just those few syllables
To make sure it’s true

Truth and clarity
In just those few syllables
Still worth shooting for

— Jim Luther

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, February 7, 2021

Arnold, Sanchez, Sanders, Simmons

SHANNON ARNOLD, Ukiah. Stalking and threatening bodily injury, annoying or molesting child/ren under 18 years of age. (Frequent flyer.)

SAMUEL SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-intoxicated by drugs with alcohol, parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

RHONDA SANDERS, Willits. DUI-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance, paraphernalia, suspended license (For DUI), probation revocation.

CHRISTINA SIMMONS, Talmage. DUI-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance, vandalism.

* * *

CALIFORNIA’S UPSIDE DOWN VAX PLANS

by Marilyn Davin

California has one of the worst Covid vaccine injection rates in the country. Much disrespected, impoverished West Virginia, where I began my work as a journalist many moons ago, has one of the best rates. Politicians here, natch, offer up many excuses for their poor performance in handling this debacle but cannot plausibly deny that the triple evils of incompetence, lack of leadership, and political correctness have made hefty contributions to our state's abysmal injection rates. One aspect has especially pissed me off.

I’m rarely astounded anymore, but while perusing the news one recent morning I was struck dumb by Newsom’s quote, and I’m assuming he actually said it, that teachers need not be vaccinated to reopen the state’s schools. What??? I admit to a bias since my daughter is a (unvaccinated) public high school teacher, but the fact that he could actually believe this, much less say it out loud, speaks volumes about the oft-repeated hypocrisy that the health of our children is any kind of priority among our so-called leaders. Some counties, Mendo among them, have been vaccinating teachers even though they are not part of the state’s high-priority group. The nearby Bay Area county where I live, many times larger than Mendo, has not vaccinated a single teacher. For Newsom to advocate putting unvaccinated teachers back in their classrooms with 30-plus students, who by definition cannot be vaccinated because they are children, is more depressing evidence that teachers are in fact at the bottom of the heap when it comes to general respect; they are, after all, not rich, and therefore Invisible, in the eyes of the state’s bureaucratic power brokers. 

Contrast this with vaccination rates in the predominantly cosseted Bay Area senior community where I live. Educated folks with lots of time on their hands jumped right onto Rite-Aid’s and other private websites and got vaccination appointments right away. Our “entry coordinators” have even been tasked with invasively requesting everyone’s “vaccination plan.” Nearly everyone is comfortably retired and free to sit out the virus, though many, naturally, complain about boredom (No plays! No restaurants!). My daughter toils in her home eight hours a day Zooming with her students and struggling to create some zone of normalcy for a bunch of hormonal, hyper-social teenagers who want to be anywhere but isolated at home with their laptops. Nobody wants distance learning. Newsom wants to reopen schools to make voting parents happy, while exposing the state’s teachers to super-spreader events every day they walk into their classrooms.

This is where political correctness meets bureaucratic self-interest. A 65-year-old should not be vaccinated before a teacher. Period. Every single teacher in the state should be vaccinated before a single vial of vaccine is diverted to a 65-year-old. Health workers aside, it’s bald political self-interest to cater to us 65-to-74 year-olds, who as a group are wealthier than mostly-young teachers and always, always vote. It’s time to do what’s right instead of what’s politically expedient. Vaccinate teachers. 

* * *

Man At Old Logging Camp

* * *

ODD ENCOUNTERS, an on-line comment: “This is a true story about unusual events that occur in the forest. In the mid 70s I was a film student at HSU. Myself and one other student were offered an assignment to release and film a couple of rehabilitated previously injured birds of prey in the forest close to the Van Duzen river. The area selected was mature forest with little undergrowth, making it easy to walk and film the birds as they got out of the cages, walked a bit and then flew off towards the upper limbs and sky. The terrain was like around Founders Grove. Big trees and undulating mounds of redwood branches, not thick brush at all, good visibility in all directions. After releasing the birds and filming them fly. We were packing up the cameras and tripods when we heard a distinct sound of a melodic human whistling. Looking around we could see no one. While taking this in we determined the direction of the whistle tune, and it seemed to be close, maybe like 50 feet away. Not only that but it was moving. Needless to say it was quite unusual, a whistled tune traveling thru the forest. We were standing near frozen when much to our surprise emerging from behind one of the mounds was a long dark haired, long dark bearded hippie little person maybe 3-1/2 to 4 feet tall wearing shorts, a t shirt and sandals. He was unaware of our presence. For a moment I was questioning what I was seeing. The other student said hello, which really startled the little person. After explaining to him that we were filming the bird release. We spoke for a while. He worked at a university in the Bay Area and for years had come up and camped at this location. He showed how he had dug a cave under the root mass of a redwood tree on the river bank and made a great camp with a fine view of the river. One of the most unusual events that I’ve had happen in the forest.”

* * *

CALIFORNIA ENTERS LEGAL FIGHT OVER MASSIVE LAKE COUNTY RESORT, HOUSING PROJECT

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his office are challenging plans for a massive luxury resort and mixed-use project on 25 square miles of fire-prone landscape in hard-hit southern Lake County.

pressdemocrat.com/article/news/california-enters-legal-fight-over-massive-lake-county-resort-housing-proj/

* * *

"MY FRIENDS AND I in New York City have our own special way of having fun without having to spend much money and most important of all without having to be importuned by formalistic bores, such as, say a swell evening at the mayor’s ball.

We don’t have to shake hands and we don’t have to make appointments and we feel all right. – We sorta wander around like children. – We walk into parties and tell everybody what we’ve been doing and people think we’re showing off – The say: “Oh look at the beatniks!"

― Jack Kerouac, Lonesome Traveler

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

I think the Democrat leadership (and much of the MSM) have made a mistake in labeling loud and vocal pro-Trump groups – and indeed the QAnon crackpots – as “terrorists” … it really dilutes the power and meaning of that word.

Even “domestic terrorists” is rather too grandiose. Personally I see most of these groups as comprising angry young men who can’t get any sex (or much else), so they resort to wearing camo pajamas and playing cowboys and indians on weekends.

Many of these people needs bibs and extended day-care – and do not constitute a “terrorist” threat, as most people understand that word. Very few are a potential Timothy McVeigh.

The storming of the US Capitol was a huge political error for Trump and the GOP more generally, but it was an angry riot, rather than strategic “terrorism”. We’re not dealing with the brightest bulbs on the tree here.

Even nutter elected people (such as Our Marjorie) should face ridicule and political consequences, rather than sanctions. I think her claims about “hoax” school shootings are obscene, and all the people in Georgia are equally so, but that’s what can happen in the land of the free.

Craziness like QAnon – and much else – needs to be dealt with politically, and with rational argument and solid information. Labels like “terrorist”, and huge amounts of security everywhere for everyone – these aren’t the answer, it seems to me.

* * *

CIRCLE BACK!

* * *

I HAD AN ACTIVIST GRANDMOTHER, and when I was a little boy, 3, 4, 5 years old, she used to take me on marches up and down Harlem for people like Paul Robeson and segregation cases on 125th Street. That was just a part of my upbringing. Later, when I was playing music and making a little name for myself, I was able to record “The House I Live In,” which was very much a civil-rights anthem at the time. And I made an early record with Miles Davis, “Airegin,” which was Nigeria spelled backwards. It was an attempt to introduce some kind of black pride into the conversation of the time. That was my history. 

— Sonny Rollins to JazzTimes

* * *

HUFFMAN STIRS: — Northcoast Congressman Jared Huffman has spent his entire federal legislative career on an idea: a holistic approach to address the needs of federal lands within his congressional district, combining new Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River designations with prescriptions for active forest restoration and more. After six years of drafting and stakeholder engagement, Congressman Huffman released his bill in 2018. Of course, with Trump and a McConnell-led Senate, the bill never made it past the floor of the House. But, as the old saying goes, elections have consequences. The 2021 General Election and the Georgia Senate runoff have fundamentally improved the odds that Rep. Huffman’s bill will pass this year. Among other things, Rep. Huffman’s former Senate co-sponsor, is now our Vice-President. Check out the bill and more at this link. (ECONEWS)

* * *

“A MAN WHO LIES TO HIMSELF, and believes his own lies, becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and for others. 

Dostoyevsky

When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and in him, he yields to his impulses, indulges in the lowest form of pleasure, and behaves in the end like an animal in satisfying his vices. And it all comes from lying — to others and to yourself.”

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

* * *

IN RESPONSE TO "NEW YORK," RE: GAMESTOP

by Matt Taibbi

Eleven years ago I did a story for Rolling Stone about a foreclosure court in Jacksonville, Florida.

After the 2008 crash, banks were kicking people out of their homes at such a furious pace that states couldn’t keep up. In Florida, an old judge was pulled out of retirement to preside over a special high-speed “rocket docket” court. He sat at the head of a small conference table in a cramped room, and I watched as he rubber-stamped stacks of foreclosures, sending a queue of bewildered homeowners on the street — one every few minutes, on average.

The people lining up to surrender their homes were middle- and formerly middle-class Americans, who’d managed to scratch out enough to buy a home at one point, but were certainly not rich. One worked at a pool-cleaning company, another was a waitress, a third was a school administrator, and so on. They were white, African-American, Latino, Asian, and they expressed a range of emotions, from shock to shame to anger.

One woman was bewildered to learn that she couldn’t learn, for sure, the identity of the note-holder on her home. The hack lawyer filing for the banks that day — a bumbling character who entered court with two hands around a stack of foreclosure petitions that accordioned like Dagwood’s sandwich — claimed to be suing her on behalf of Wells Fargo. But the documents in her file claimed Wells had purchased her loan from Wachovia in May of 2010, two years after Wachovia went out of business, and three months after Wells originally sued her, a logical impossibility.

The woman seemed too confused to be angry. Mainly, she couldn’t believe what was happening. “The land has been in my family for four generations,” she said. “I don’t want to be the one to lose it.” She got a temporary reprieve that day, but a hundred others like her did not.

About a year after that, at Zuccotti Park in New York, it struck me that if Occupy Wall Street could attract the people from places like that Rocket Docket in Jacksonville, it might have overrun the country. At the time, the emerging criticism of Wall Street that was coming from younger, urban, college-educated activists had not yet lined up with the gigantic reservoir of rage that was out there among the millions who’d lost homes, jobs, pensions, etc.

Not only were many of those people who’d been foreclosed upon or laid off or forced to watch their 401Ks lose half their value still in emotional shock, but the underlying corruption was not exactly easy for them to see. Propaganda blasted out on every channel, to the effect that it was your own fault if you took on an adjustable-rate mortgage that went sideways, or bought too big of a house. People above all feel shame when they can’t pay their debts, and many took it to heart when pundits said the crash was caused by people buying houses they couldn’t afford. Those criticisms often came out as racial politics, as conservative media figures hammered the theme of the “water drinkers” who crashed the economy at the expense of the “water carriers.” Listening to these takes, resentment in some neighborhoods grew toward the family down the street who’d been foreclosed upon, leaving a boarded-up eyesore on the block and collapsing property values for those left. The Tea Party movement, launched by a rant on CNBC against a proposed bailout for minority homeowners in particular, steered public anger away from Wall Street and toward the “bad behavior” of the “losers” down the street.

“How many of you people want to pay your neighbor’s mortgage, that has an extra bathroom, and can’t pay their bills?” screeched Santelli, to “America,” which was actually a group of booing traders on the Chicago Board of Exchange:

A decade later, it’s understood that while the subprime scam did disproportionally target minority homeowners — a typical victim was an elderly Black woman sold a refi by a door-to-door shark, who promised her a little extra spending money each month — the scale of the crash was so massive that everyone suffered. By 2021, people are not only unafraid to admit their lives were altered by the collapse of the housing bubble, they’re no longer blaming neighbors but bigger players, and the system protecting them.

This was one of the subtexts of the interview I did this week with “SP,” the GameStop investor whose post, “This is for you, Dad,” went viral during the GME frenzy. SP’s family was devastated by the 2008 crash. His uncle lost his house to foreclosure. “They were in an ARM and got adjusted right out of the house,” SP says (an “ARM” is an adjustable-rate mortgage). “We didn’t even know they’d been foreclosed on. We went over and the place was empty and the lights were off. There were a bunch of houses like that on the street.”

SP, whose father also was put out of his house and job at that time, recalls the messaging about the homeowners themselves being at fault.

“There was the macro scapegoating of the financial crisis in 2008, when they said people should know better than to take out loans they can't afford,” he says. “I was like, ‘Okay, well, people should not go and smoke. People should know not to speed. People should know not to drink and drive.’ But they have warning labels on those things, right? Police officers will pull you over, if you speed.

“However,” he goes on, “with the financial crisis, you had a system that was incentivized for bad behavior. And some didn't have to pay the price for that bad behavior.”

That last point is relevant to a recent article by Eric Levitz in New York magazine, “The GameStop Rally Exposed the Perils of ‘Meme Populism’.” The piece among other things takes a shot at me and a few other media figures, for driving what he called a “balefully misguided progressive discourse” through hype of the GameStop story. It seems people like me mistook “the cause of recreational investors for that of the proletariat,” and failed to understand that while “the showdown between WallStreetBets and Melvin Capital was not a class war, it did play one on CNBC.”

I was particularly at fault, apparently, for decrying the TARP, zero-interest-rate policy, Quantitative Easing, the CARES Act, and other “artificial stimulants” that have been keeping asset prices high, and the 30 percent of American companies that are functionally broke, alive. In doing so, Levitz said, I implied that “there is some ‘natural’ benchmark interest rate that exists outside of politics and policy, and that the Fed is corruptly flouting this natural market law” — in other words, a “libertarian argument for central banks to tolerate deeper recessions and higher unemployment.”

It was the betrayal of betrayals, he said, “the kind of thing one might expect to find in a column by Taibbi’s archnemesis, Thomas Friedman.”

As to the question of whether or not the people in wallstreetbets are genuinely the “proletariat” or “working-class,” I’ll defer to Levitz. He seems interested in litigating that issue, which I’m not. I’d only point to the interview with SP, and to the others on wallstreetbets who chimed in with stories about the aftermath of 2008, and say these tales make sense to me. I listened to similar stories for almost ten years: the Black prison guard in Boston with the cancer-stricken wife who lost his house because he was sold an ARM when he thought he was buying prime, the firefighter in Providence who lost his pension, the clerk of a California city that had to slash services after losing millions in the Lehman disaster, etc.

Is that the “cause of the proletariat?” I have no idea. I do know that I ran into a lot of pissed-off people over the years.

Why they were pissed off gets to the second question, about the bailouts, ZIRP, the TARP, even the CARES Act. While so many people went into personal tailspins from 2008 on, their nightmares were often compounded watching as the very people who caused the crash — including the banks and mortgage originators who knowingly pumped mountains of fraudulent subprime instruments into the economy — not only got saved but were further enriched, by bailouts and an array of extravagant Fed programs. Some people got ripped off three times. First, they were personally sold dodgy exotic mortgages. Next, their retirement funds were sold the same kinds of dicey loans in the form of securities. Lastly, when it all blew up, they paid taxes to bail out the whole shooting match.

The issue with the “artificial stimulants” isn’t that some form of rescue wasn’t necessary, but rather that the rescues that were implemented were both executed poorly and inherently unfair in design. From the TARP through the CARES Act to the now interminable programs of Fed purchases, bailouts led directly to massive booms for banks and financial asset-holders, while everyone else saw personal wealth decline. Market forces exist for some, but not others.

Perhaps some form of rescue was necessary, but there’s something odd going on when a bank executive can be looking at closing up shop one day, as many were last March, only to go on to secure record profits and over $30 million in personal compensation, with nothing changing in between but a bailout. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the economic spectrum, there were no such reversals of fortune. You lost your job, you got foreclosed on, that was it. As Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Charlie Munger said all the way back in 2010, addressing individual homeowners who might want bailouts, “Suck it in and cope.”

One $2000 check doesn’t change the pattern. The financial crisis among other things was worsened by a hyper-concentration of capital, and the systemic risk giant supermarket financial firms caused to the economy (which made them difficult to regulate). In rescuing the banking sector, the Fed and the Treasury not only didn’t address this problem, they worsened it, folding small problem banks into bigger ones in a series of mega-mergers, leaving us with a handful of giganto-banks even bigger and more systemically dangerous than before. The implied promise of bailouts also resulted in lower borrowing costs for big banks versus small ones, a subsidy one study calculated to be worth $34 billion a year.

And that was before we even got to the question of all the unpunished fraud and crime that was swept under the rug as an implied part of the various rescues, with the Fed creating special facilities to hoover the problem loans out of circulation (using the euphemism, “toxic assets”).

This sense of built-in unfairness is what animated at least some of the GameStop investors. Seeing the field isn’t level, they saw the GME trade as a rare chance to tilt tables in their direction, even if fleetingly. For people like SP, this was an explicit consideration. He says he was motivated to hold not just by his own family experiences after the dot-com crash and after 2008, but by looking at the landscape in pandemic America, which once again contrived policies to make smaller smaller, and bigger bigger. “Your favorite sandwich shop, closed. If you've got 200 of those sandwich shops, open,” is how he puts it.

One last note: when I first started covering this topic all those years ago, most of the flak that came my way (and toward other critics of Wall Street) came from the right, or from Ayn Rand acolytes like Megan McArdle. During Occupy Wall Street, criticism of finance sector antagonists came out as pure aristocratic sneering, i.e. these whiners need to stop listening to Phish, get a job, and take a shower:

Now, in response to exactly the same criticisms of the inequities of the financial system, including the use of public funds to once again massively enrich private companies (like the banks that just scored record profits underwriting the Covid-19 bailouts), the defense of these policies is more likely to be framed as coming from the left. If you think it’s not fair that a small business faces a different market risk than Morgan Stanley, if it seems wrong that a restaurant is allowed to fail but not a bank, you’re a libertarian. In the Trump era, every criticism of establishment politics apparently has to be framed as conservative grift.

GameStop is a complex story. There are big institutional players on all sides. It’s not necessarily a “good” thing that a struggling video game firm became worth more than international airlines overnight. Trading in the stock may indeed have been restricted because of laws requiring that brokers have the capital to cover trades, although Robinhood’s collateral calls dropping from $3 billion to $1.4 billion in few hours seems a bit odd (as does the fact that the Depository Trust Clearing Corporation has rarely been so finicky about compliance issues before, across a generation of naked short-selling and other practices). For all that, there’s a reason this story resonated. There’s a lot of anger out there, and it will jump at chances to express itself, no matter how much those of us in the media argue over what to call it.

* * *

* * *

TRAISH LARUE AND THE JEWISH SPACE LASERS!

The recording of last night's (2021-02-05) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg is right here: tinyurl.com/42li44ko

And 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:

Art. https://tomasbarcelo.artstation.com/

Downfall GameStop. https://www.bitsandpieces.us/2021/01/31/hitler-loses-billions-on-short-selling-gamestop-stock/

And if only. https://boingboing.net/2021/02/03/billy-dare-in-fighting-evil-in-time.html

PS. If you want me to read on the radio something that you've written, just email it to me and that's what I'll do on the very next Memo of the Air.

— Marco McClean, memo@mcn.org

31 Comments

  1. Marmon February 8, 2021

    RE: THE IMPEACHMENT HEARING

    Every Trump supporter goes on trial this week, in what is probably the dumbest and most destructive thing Congress has ever done to this country.

    Marmon

    • chuck dunbar February 8, 2021

      Nope, not so–just one man goes on trial, the dumbest and most destructive” president in history, who brought this all on himself and leaves office impeached and in disgrace.

      • Marmon February 8, 2021

        One man that 75 million good American’s legally voted for. You can’t say that about Biden.

        Marmon

        • Marmon February 8, 2021

          You can’t say that about Biden. Most people on the left did not vote for him, they voted against Trump because the media told them to.

          CANCEL CULTURE AND GROUPTHINK EXISTS!

          Marmon

          • Will VS February 8, 2021

            James, when did you become a Trump group think cult worshiper. Trump is the worst president ever and you know it. You used to profess your love for the Clintons to me and you know it. Go back to your social work roots. Get off the internet and provide direct support for those in need!

        • Harvey Reading February 8, 2021

          You know what? The last election was no more rigged than the one preceding. I didn’t hear the orange hog and his menagerie complaining about the 2016 results. Did you?

        • Marshall Newman February 8, 2021

          Not 75 million good Americans. 75 million good and bad (delusional, ill-informed, etc.) Americans. Their man openly and blatantly demanded repudiation of a fair election – in direct violation of the Constitution of the United States – and many of them agreed. He violated the law of the land, and irrespective of his support, he should be held accountable.

      • George Hollister February 8, 2021

        As long as Trump stays in the news, no one is paying attention to anything else, which means Democrats can do what they want and no one will notice.

        • Harvey Reading February 8, 2021

          The democraps do basically the same things as the rethuglicans. It’s to be expected since they both are dependent upon the same wealthy rulers for their funds.

    • Harvey Reading February 8, 2021

      trump supporters are to me the dumbest and most destructive living things on the planet. If stupidity was a crime, they would in fact actually be on trial this week.

  2. Craig Stehr February 8, 2021

    Just sitting here at The Magic Ranch in Redwood Valley, California, bored as hell with the American experiment in freedom and democracy, which is appearing more and more pointless every day. What I want is cooperation to get based in Washington, D.C. to force the issue of global climate destabilization (before 130 degrees summer temperatures are a feature of social life on the planet earth).
    F*ck the stupid liberal left wing for offering me nothing intelligent at all to get based in Washington, D.C. One individual (originally a Trump supporter) has offered to let me come to his place once per week to take a shower. This, after 15 times in Washington, D.C. since June of 1991, initially helping to keep the Olive Branch Catholic Worker house going, the Zacchaeus Kitchen free meals going, doing street reporting in the tear gas for the DC IMC at A-16 (April 16th, 2000 World Bank/Int’l Monetary Fund 3 day shutdown of the district, in protest of their draconian policies), bottomlining pots ‘n pans washing with the kitchen working group on Freedom Plaza at DC Occupy, while some conservative monkey’s asshole in congress (Darryl Issa of San Diego) tried to pressure the Park Service to revoke our permit (which they refused to do), and it goes on and on and on in this lost society.
    I am ready to leave California and return to Washington, D.C. to force everything that is necessary to happen, in regard to radical environmentalism and secondarily peace & justice. The waiting period just ended!
    Sincerely,
    Craig Louis Stehr
    Email: craiglouisstehr@gmail.com
    Blog: http://craiglstehr.blogspot.com
    February 8, 2021

  3. Harvey Reading February 8, 2021

    CITING LT. DEREK HENDRY

    Racism in northern (or any other part of) California? Whadda shock!

  4. chuck dunbar February 8, 2021

    Excellent piece, Mark Scaramella, on CEO Angelo and the many issues the BOS should question/criticize in their upcoming evaluation of her leadership. Underneath all these issues, it would be fascinating to see a fair and honest staff (and former staff) survey of “What’s it like to work under Carmel Angelo?.” It would not be a pretty picture. Is that what we want for Mendocino County?

    • Marmon February 8, 2021

      Angelo has convinced CSAC that she has done great things for Mendocino County. Things like the county’s privatized mental health system. The Supes will ride her coat tails all the way to the bank. She controls the narrative completely. Why do some people think she’s doing a good job? Because she tells them so. One of the first things she did when she took over is limit who could speak to the press and Board of Supervisors. She is Mendo’s “editor in chief.”

      Marmon

    • Mark Scaramella February 8, 2021

      It just dawned on me, belatedly I confess, that although the CEO is the most powerful government (tax-paid) person in the County with easily the most influence, she can have her performance evaluation in secret because she’s technically an “employee.” But not all employees are equal, as Orwell sorta said; some are more equal. The elected supervisors at least have to deal with public comment on their “performance” in public. But not the CEO. And the public doesn’t even get an opportunity to respond to whatever one-sided pitch she gives the Supervisors in secret. Back a while ago I got into a debate with the then-local school board as to whether their Superintendent’s job objectives should be kept secret as part of the Superintendent’s “evaluation” (they said). They finally agreed that the objectives themselves were not part of the evaluation and they were up for public review and comment, at least, and for public expression as to whether they were met. But with Angelo, we don’t even get to see the criteria on which they evaluate her, much less have an opportunity to critique those criteria or whether they’re being met. Too bad more people don’t engage in constructive criticism of the CEO type “employees” of the warld. It would be quite a thing if the public started actually chiming in when CEO’s are evaluated. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any though.

      • Betsy Cawn February 9, 2021

        In Lake County, a general law county under the California constitution, department heads are “at will” employees (not represented by the Employees’ Union) and can be fired summarily with no reason whatsoever, and they are “directed” by the consensus of the five elected officials to whom they report. This structure allows their interactions with their “boss” to occur behind closed doors, with minimal opportunity for the public to influence the “direction” given — or to require the imposition of corrective action in the case of department heads who violate any number of rules with apparent immunity.

        The top county employee with full responsibility for managing timely action taken by the elected officials to meet state-mandated operational requirements is the Chief Administrative Officer or Chief Executive Officer, who is likewise an “at will” employee (head of the County’s administration department), directed by the elected board of supervisors — who are five more or less competitive individuals with little or no management training, directed by the key controller of all county functions, the Chief Administrative or Executive Officer.

        The most insulting artifact of the process is that the claim is made that all “decisions” of the elected officials are made “in public” (under the Ralph M. Brown Act), where in most cases it is abundantly clear that all the wheeling and dealing that goes into “decision-making” has occurred before any item makes it to the agenda for a legal public hearing. What we DON’T know about county operations, key performance indicators, and actual results is concealed — at a great price — by the staff that the elected officials are helpless to challenge.

        In both Mendocino and Lake Counties, this unacknowledged power structure was created by the breakdown of moral authority and integrity somewhere around the turn of the 21st Century. We the people no longer have any say in how our counties operate, or how our individual District Supervisors deal with matters of great public concern. Criteria? Seriously?

  5. Lazarus February 8, 2021

    “ORDER OF THE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE COUNTY OF MENDOCINO REGARDING ALLCOATION, ADMINISTRATION AND REPORTING OF COVID-19 VACCINES DATE OF ORDER: February 6, 2021 EFFECTIVE until rescinded”

    Not that it matters, but, I count one spelling error and three grammatical issues. And that is just in the above text.
    As I moved through the gobbledegook of legal and medical legalese I found it unreadable and near impossible to understand without a re-read, for me…
    This “Medicine man” is no better than the recently departed Project Manager for Measure B. It is of no wonder the Boss rehired the previous Medical woman.
    As always,
    Laz

  6. Marmon February 8, 2021

    RE: ANGELO’S ANYTHING GOES MOTEL

    “People have contacted me about the big mess at Motel 6 on South State Street in Ukiah. I decided I needed to start speaking out about today after reading the most recent arrest that took place there two days, you should read what a out of towner had to say about the place.

    Ukiah Man High on Meth Resists Arrest Breaking Officer’s Hand and Injures Another

    On February 6th at about 7:55 PM, Officers were dispatched to Motel 6, located at 1208 S. State St., regarding a male subject who was disturbing patrons at the motel and who refused to leave the property. A UPD Officer arrived and was directed to the location of the male subject. The Officer contacted the male, who was actively sweeping the dirt using a broom with a broken metal handle. The male was subsequently identified as Artemio Ortega-Reyes.”

    https://mendofever.com/2021/02/08/ukiah-man-high-on-meth-resists-arrest-breaking-officers-hand-and-injures-another/?fbclid=IwAR0JiDvUO3Qin4qxG3giFZbc4qAWAwSzwq2LLyWhppEQHD3Uss_gxDMgykA

    Tripadvisor Review of Motel 6 Ukiah

    Temporary housing for drug addicts, prostitutes and homeless

    “If I could choose NO stars, that would be accurate. My brother-in-law and I picked the location to stay the night after a funeral. During afternoon Check-In, we didn’t look around much because we needed to get going to the funeral. When we returned in the evening, the parking lot began to fill with people on foot, most not wearing masks, dogs running loose, people dealing drugs in the open, prostitutes walking up and down between the two floors of rooms, people shouting and fighting to where a Police came by. I told the the Police car driver that the complex made us very uncomfortable and he told me that we should have stayed ANYWHERE else but at that location.

    By 11:30 pm, it was so noisy that I requested to be moved to another room but the Front Desk said there were no vacancies. As I gathered my belongings to leave, a Cockroach ran across my bare foot at the bathroom sink, followed by a second Cockroach chasing after it. Aside from the Cockroaches, the toilet area was disgusting, with smear on the wall and baseboards not cleaned in some time. I was shocked because most places are cleaner than ever, due to COVID, but not here.

    Because I can drive at night, I opted to get out and take my chances driving somewhere else, in search of a vacancy. The Front Desk seemed unconcerned with the conditions of my room and the goings on in the whole complex. I asked for a refund and was refused. My brother-in-law, who cannot drive at night, he was forced to stay behind until morning, not getting any sleep and work crews arrived to begin jack hammering at 9 am, on top of all the other activity.

    We requested the site manager’s name and contact information, I reached out to him and also to Motel 6 Corporate, getting no response from either party.

    I have stayed in Motel 6 locations in several states, over several years and not ever have I had such an uncomfortable and disappointing experience, made even more so by the lack of customer service by staff.”

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g33203-d244458-r771631378-Motel_6_Ukiah-Ukiah_Mendocino_County_California.html

    Marmon

    • Marmon February 8, 2021

      Angelo is using the situation to haul in State and Federal dollars for Administrative Services and the Transient Occupancy tax (TOT).

      When travelers to Mendocino County rent a room in a hotel, motel, inn, or other short term vacation rental, they also pay 10% of the cost of the room as a “transient occupancy tax” or TOT.

      These homeless motels are cash cows for Mendo, look for more of them soon. It may never end.

      Marmon

      • Marmon February 8, 2021

        A friend of mine who still works for the County and “in the know” described the motel 6 and another one they’re using as “Sodom and Gomorrah”

        Marmon

        • Bruce McEwen February 8, 2021

          This may come as a shock to hometown guy like you, James, but for the past dozen years I spent covering the courthouse, Motel 6 was only the centerpiece of all the seedy old motels on South State Street, where a majority of the vice crimes took place, some of ’em hideously violent, others outrageously funny, but all of ’em just plain stupid.

          This was the case long before I came to town.

          For shits & giggles, some of the guys from the Water Trough would go to Motel 6 late at night, pick a door, give three loud knocks and yell, “Sheriff! Search warrant! Open up!”

          Anybody who has just discovered the tawdry reputation of Ukiah’s Motel 6 ought not to be going around spouting any kind of opinion on the subject.

          • Marmon February 8, 2021

            And don’t forget about all the released from Prison and Jail crowd. You should fit in well there. Usually I don’t comment on your posts, but your bullshit today pushed me 0ver the edge.

            Marmon

  7. Stephen Rosenthal February 8, 2021

    Watch for it, it’s coming – Dave Zirin’s column equating Tom Brady’s success to white privilege.

  8. Marmon February 8, 2021

    CITING LT. DEREK HENDRY

    One of my favorite cops

    Bud, Bribery & Extortion in Covelo: And the Real Crook is…

    “The cops say it’s Dennis Gage, busted a year and a half ago for possession and cultivation of marijuana, and for attempting to bribe the deputy who nabbed him. Gage tells quite a different story. He says the deputy, Derek Hendry, is an extortionist who shook him down for protection money.”

    https://www.theava.com/archives/5864

    Marmon

    • Harvey Reading February 8, 2021

      “One of my favorite cops.”

      Again, whadda shock!

  9. Bruce McEwen February 8, 2021

    In reference to the “75 million good Americans [who] voted for [Trump], here’s one of Grandpa McEwen’s more succinct epigrams: “There’s a lot of assholes in the world.”

    If that’s not pithy enough for you, James, chase this scripture down in your Proud Boys Bible: “Pride goeth before a fall.”

    But let’s not despair, only a few more days left in the Year of the Rat. After that we hope never to hear any more scuttling around of nasty little feet in the garbage pits of the internet, no more twittering of nasty little minds from the refuge, the last refuge, of scoundrels.*

    • George Hollister February 8, 2021

      The people who voted for Trump were looking at the alternative, and voted for Trump. Pretty simple. The lesson to Team Biden in 2021 is the same one for Trump in 2017, “Remember you were running against the worst presidential candidate in US history, and you are the second worst”.

      • Harvey Reading February 8, 2021

        No, George, the ones who voted for trump were rethuglicans, pretty much the same bunch who voted for him in 2016. They like the things he likes, like big tax cuts for the wealthy, poor treatment of dark-skinned people, and of immigrants… The Working Class rethugs actually think “trickle-down” works for their benefit.

        Biden is only moderately worse than the two prior democraps who ran for prezudint. He’s talking big now, but just wait and see how much he actually accomplishes for us commoners. Uncle Tom Obama was babbling all manner of good things, then went on to bail out the wealthy and give us a crappy, half-assed health insurance program, one that benefited only the insurance companies. Biden’s easily as big a liar as ol’ Uncle Tom. The truth is, we’ve had regressively worse choices for prezudint since the end of the second war. The orange hog is a POS, but so were the others, except from the point of view of the ruling class.

  10. Bruce McEwen February 8, 2021

    Gong xi xin nian hao

    Celebrating w/ egg tarts and BBQ pork buns from Chinatown, delivered to our door by our neighbor’s granddaughter.

  11. George Hollister February 8, 2021

    Matt Taibbi: “The people lining up to surrender their homes were middle- and formerly middle-class Americans, who’d managed to scratch out enough to buy a home at one point, but were certainly not rich.”

    What Matt missed is these people voted for Trump, and were his base of support. There was a reason for that, and Matt should dig a little deeper to understand why.

Leave a Reply to Craig Stehr Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

-