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Off the Record (February 10, 2021)

BELL SPRINGS MURDER MYSTERY. Two weeks ago, on Tuesday the 26th of January, 85-year-old Dick Drewry was found dead from a gunshot wound on Bell Springs Road at its junction with Island Mountain Road. On Tuesday, Feb 3rd, the Sheriff's Department of Humboldt County announced, “Based upon autopsy findings and a thorough evaluation of the scene, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division has determined Mr. Drewry’s manner of death to be homicide. ”

APART from a few terse announcements from the Humboldt authorities posted by Kym Kemp, little has been revealed about the case, which has now been confirmed as a homicide, but was first thought to be a suicide until a search of Drewry's truck and the surrounding area failed to turn up a gun. He was discovered by “a couple” slumped over the wheel with the passenger door open.

THE DREWRY ranch sits on the border between Mendocino County and Southern Humboldt. Mr. Drewry’s body was found just over the county line into Humboldt County. The Drewry family first homesteaded in the remote Bell Springs region at the northern tip of Mendocino County in the middle of the 19th century.  Dick Drewry was a highly respected life resident of the North County who had no known enemies.

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

MS. BLAYLOCK’S LAWYER WRITES: “Upon her arrival in Willits, Chief Blaylock 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.) 

JUST when there's global optimism that the vaccines we all thought would beat back the plague, Dr. Fauci warns that there is increasing evidence that new mutations of COVID-19 can re-infect people who have already caught the virus. Fauci said that he hoped for a faster vaccination of everyone to stop 19 before it can host the new versions.

POP GOES THE RAZZI, or The Way We Live Now. At a NBA game between the Hawks and the Lakers last week, a young woman, later described by LeBron James as a “Courtside Karen,” went off on LeBron to the point she interrupted the game and was kicked out of the arena. Beneath her layers of paint and eyelashes, Courtside Kar seems to be a very young woman married to a much older man, a wealthy man with courtside seats, a man who has children older than his latest wife.

HERE'S her version of events: “So, I’m minding my own business, and Chris [husband] has been a Hawks fan forever. He’s been watching the games for 10 years. Whatever, he has this issue with LeBron. I don’t have an issue with LeBron. I don’t give a f–k about LeBron. Anyway, I’m minding my own business, drinking my drink, having fun. All of the sudden, LeBron says something to my husband, and I see this and I stand up. And I go, ‘Don’t f–king talk to my husband.’ And he looks at me and he goes, ‘Sit the f–k down, b—h.’ And I go, ‘Don’t f–king call me a b—h. You sit the f–k down. Get the f–k out of here. Don’t f–king talk to my husband like that.”

FURTHER INVESTIGATION revealed that LeBron, trying to keep a ball inbounds, crashed into hubby's seat. Hubby tells LeBron to "get your fat ass off my chair," to which Lebron allegedly called hubby "an old steroid ass" at which point Courtside Karen, standing by her man, goes off to the point where the game is disrupted and she's kicked out of the arena, followed, presumably, by Ol' Steroid.

BEST SUMMARY of the event: “Why do men marry their granddaughters then bring them to basketball games to yell at LeBron James?”

HARD TO BEAT a contemporary sports crowd for pure excess — the women of all ages looking like Courtside Karen, the  men, uh, the men….. I stopped going to Warriors games after the championship teams of Al Attles and Rick Barry. Tickets were still affordable for people of average means in the seventies, that jumbo thron thing was still in the future, the event was still recognizable as a basketball game and still pre-psychic overload. A Boonville boy who spent the week in a silent, pastoral wrap could still adjust to all the excitement inside the Oakland Coliseum. But suddenly, there was constant ear-splitting music, pole dance routines at every time out, and a run and gun game featuring way too much individual play. And the fans all seemed to be versions of Mr. and Mrs. Courtside Karen.

JACK WALLEN: Alan Dershowitz nominating Jared Kushner for a Nobel Peace Prize is like Hannibal Lecter nominating Jeffrey Dahmer for a Michelin Star.

HISTORY is irony on the move, as E.M. Cioran memorably wrote, and with history seeming to move more rapidly and certainly more ironically than ever, a huge irony is the fed's placing the Magas as public enemy numero uno, moving Middle East terrorists into a distant second place and, for us nostalgics of a certain age, removing communists from the primo national boogeyman list altogether.

WHOEVER would have thought the fascisti would be so bold as to move on the Capitol, and what will they do for Act Two? Impossible to say from our distant-from-the-action command center here in Boonville, but if they start picking off libs…

THE FEDS have their hands full with the Magas. Back in the day when, max, thirty thousand communists occupied J. Edgar's bulletheads, the old joke was that half the Communist Party USA were federal agents or snitches for federal agents. But with some 70 million Magas to keep tabs on, the feds, even with a million snitches, will be putting in a lot of OT monitoring… Well, monitoring crazy talk from remedial readers but armed, and a few of them, dangerously off their tracks.

IN MY YOUTH, I affiliated with CORE, the Congress On Racial Equality. I went to a lot of meetings with a lot of mostly white people outraged at racial discrimination in the San Francisco Bay Area and determined to do something about it. The first demo I ever attended was at the Palace Hotel where, like all the Frisco hotels of the time, the hotel refused to place “a person of color” in any visible position. Ditto for Auto Row on Van Ness. We forget how intense the racism of that time was because these days everyone in The City is a liberal. I did demonstrations and I did endless meetings, where I first met the late great Terrance Hallinan, a fightin' man and a preferential target for police clubs.  I turned up often enough in the company of the wrong people to earn an FBI file of my very own which, when I joined the first wave of Peace Corps Volunteers, almost got me washed out because the Corps thought I might be a commie rather than the half-assed liberal I was. And am.  Adding to the suspicion of my democratic bona fides in the early 196 Vietnam-era "subversives" to refuse to register for the draft and were duly packed off to the federal prison at Lompoc. The federal government used to be able to keep tabs on everyone to the left of the Democratic Party, and lots of people inside the Democratic Party, but with the millions of these apeshit Magas running around with their home arsenals, the government just might not be up to the task.

BIDEN'S climate czar, John Kerry, took a private jet to a climate conference in Iceland in 2019 and told a reporter it was "The only choice for somebody like me."

TOM ALLMAN WRITES:

Well, it obviously isn’t a secret (anymore) that I had a serious heart attack recently. A local paper published the news earlier this week and I was overwhelmed with the love and support from hundreds of people. I thank you. 

The story:

On January 4th, while assisting at a fatal traffic accident in Humboldt County, a paramedic made “a suggestion” that I get into the ambulance and allow her to evaluate me with what was the onset of a cardiac event. Let there be no mistake, this paramedic saved my life. As I was in back of the ambulance, the “big one” happened and she was completely prepared to use her skills. 

I was not a good patient, mainly because of the extreme pain. I’m anxious to see her again and apologize for my inability to follow her requests, but her professionalism saw past my obnoxiousness and she did her job. I’m very appreciative. I learned a life lesson 

Within 90 minutes of the attack, a cardiologist had performed the necessary surgery and I was treated well at St. Joseph’s hospital in Eureka. The nurses and doctors were very good and once again, I’m very appreciative for the great care. Upon returning to Mendo, I spent a few more days at Howard Hospital and truly believe it’s among the best hospitals in California. Don’t believe me? Go ask for a tour. Incredible. 

After a four week recovery, the doctor(s) allowed me to return to work and I have worked the past week in Shelter Cove. It’s probably the best assignment in the world.

There were no signs leading up to this incident, nor have I ever experienced anything like this. It was unexpected and I feel very grateful for the extension of loving life. 

To the hundreds of friends and family members who have reached out, I truly thank you. The offers to help, the outpouring of care and the wisdom which has been sent have all been appreciated.

IF YOU CAME IN LATE, real late, a Caspar woman named Katie Smith became regionally infamous not long ago when, instead of taking the dog she no longer wanted to the Coast Animal Shelter in nearby Fort Bragg, she took him out into some nearby woods and shot him several times, having intended to kill him, but only wounding the otherwise healthy animal.

DUBBED ‘Thunder the Wonder Dog’ by the woman who found him and nursed him back to health, Ms. Smith was soon identified as Thunder's would-be assassin. Animal people and non-animal people alike were shocked and dismayed at Ms. Smith's callousness, but even if she'd neatly dispatched the poor beast with a single well-placed shot, one has to wonder at her sloth in not simply driving her dog a few miles north to the shelter to give him a chance at life with a new family. 

MEANWHILE, at the DA's lair behind the office's junta-like one-way glass at the County Courthouse in Ukiah and undoubtedly besieged by outraged animal lovers, the DA charged Smith with serious, jail-quality felonies that Ten Mile Court Judge Clay Brennan subsequently bundled up into a misdemeanor and no jail time. The judge did impose several years of probation.

DA EYSTER was so unhappy at Brennan's… Well, you could call Brennan's decision way too soft or you could call his decision simple humanity, a recognition that Ms. Smith, rightly denounced far and wide for her unintended cruelty — she wanted to kill her dog, not maim it — had already made herself a pariah in her community.

HAD THE JUDGE thought she'd suffered enough? Whatever Judge Brennan thought, DA Eyster, never too keen on Brennan in the first place, denounced the judge and vowed to avoid bringing cases before him. Everyone thought that was the end of it. 

BUT THEN the DA had his forces of law and order visit Ms. Smith's Caspar home to see if she'd violated the terms of her probation, the primary one being that she could not own animals, not even the six chickens the probation search revealed happily scratching away in their pen on Ms. Smith's place. 

Gotcha! Judge Brennan. Gotcha again, Ms. Smith. Those six chickens will force the Judge to put you in jail. 

DA EYSTER would have his pound of flesh after all — several pounds — if you think the DA has temporarily lost his sense of proportion. 

IN A CAESAR-LIKE blast out of his Ukiah bunker, the DA thundered, “If I conclude that the animals found today constitute a failure by the defendant to obey all laws, specifically a failure by her to obey the statutory prohibition that she cannot be around animals, we will initiate proceedings to violate her probation.” 

IF THIS DOUBLE PURSUIT of Judge Brennan and the Coast pariah, Ms. Smith, is concluded according to the DA's apparent desire for twofer vengeance, Ms. Smith will be packed off for a year in County Jail for violation of the no-animals condition of her probation, and Judge Brennan will absorb another big Gotcha lobbed at him by the DA. 

LIT QUIZ: The most sexist poem in the history of modern poetry or merely the secret desire of most men?

I Wish I Knew A Woman

I wish I knew a woman

who was like a red fire on the hearth

glowing after the day's restless draughts.

So that one could draw near her

in the red stillness of the dusk

and really take delight in her

without having to make the polite effort of loving her

or the mental effort of making her acquaintance.

Without having to take a chill, talking to her.

FROM CHRIS SKYHAWK: Great moments in stroke recovery: “This news makes me so happy I am crying as I write. Today when I went out for my usual walk I suddenly decided to leave my walking stick behind. It was not planned at all. I usually only leave my stick away from me when I am safe in a house. Outside uneven terrain or even a strong breeze can leave me off-balance. Well, today the air was cool but the sun was warm, and I just got going. I made it to both benches in my apartment complex. Altogether maybe about 150 yards of walking. I know that’s not much to most of you but I think that’s pretty good for a guy who should be dead!”

ALBION WELFARE RANCHERS WANT MORE: This week’s Supervisors Agenda includes the following item:

Item 5c) Discussion and Possible Action Including Approval of Tax Refund Claim in the Amount of $4,220.40 by Karen A. Calvert, Pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 5096 and 5097, Regarding Certain Taxes Paid to the Albion Little-River Fire Protection District (Sponsor: County Counsel) 

Recommended Action: Approve Tax Refund Claim in the amount of $4,220.40 by Karen A. Calvert, pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code sections 5096 and 5097, regarding certain taxes paid to the Albion Little-River Fire Protection District.”

There’s another similar one from hubbykins James H. Calvert claiming $5,118.64.

WE WROTE about these claims before. To quote ourselves: “The Calverts are saying that since MRC won a similar claim on appeal the County/Albion-Little River Fire Protection should do the same for them. Never mind that the cost of lawyers and claim prep are more than the taxes they want back, and both MRC and the Calverts are far from paupers and both of them benefit directly from having a mostly volunteer fire protection service in the vicinity of their timber holdings — even if, technically, their property is ruled to be “outside” the Albion-Little River District boundaries. It’s people like the Calverts who take the 'C' out of community.”

HOWEVER, attached to Tuesday’s agenda item is a note from the Albion/Little River Fire Department’s attorney, former “We cannot argue with the holding of the appellate court, that interpreted Health & Safety Code 13811 to exclude Ms. Calvert’s property, as well as other commercial forest land located in a Special Resources Area, from the District. [Legal cite]… Omitted is the fact that the majority of the property lying within the District boundaries is commercial timberland and that property is still served by the local volunteer fire district. 

If you will recall Measure M [the taxing Measure approved by Albion-Little River voters], for the first time, required all property owners, lying within the District map boundaries, including commercial timberland owners, served by the District, to pay their fair share of fire suppression and emergency, rescue service costs. 

Everyone sitting on this Board knows that if you live in the unincorporated areas of the County, it is the local, volunteer fire districts, that are the first responders to all fires and all emergencies on properties located within the District boundaries, regardless of the zoning of the parcel. Local fire districts respond because they are called by the State, CalFire, to respond. 

When the 911 dispatch call comes, local fire districts do not know the zoning of the parcel, simply its location. They are the first to show up at the site, prepared to suppress the fire or rescue the injured or contain the fire until additional help arrives, regardless of the parcel’s zoning. By excluding commercial timberland from the local district tax, the costs of maintaining equipment, training and keeping these volunteer individuals safe is borne by the remainder of the residential and other property owners in the district. This is true even though most of the property lying within the district boundaries is commercial timberland. Today, volunteer districts are even more pressed, given the heightened fire season and the unavailability of the State to respond to local fires.

So, although we cannot argue under current law that Ms. Calvert should not receive her refund, we do argue that this Board has an obligation to work to remedy this grossly unfair and even dangerous situation. That on the ground, it is the local fire districts that are the first on scene and must struggle to maintain expensive equipment and properly train personnel. We urge you to work with CalFire and our state lawmakers to adequately fund our volunteer fire departments, and to make sure that every property owner pays their fair share for the services they are so generously provided.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely

Terry N. Gross

Attorney for Albion Little River Fire Protection District

(Mark Scaramella)

THE OLD READER'S DIGEST ran a feature called “My Most Unforgettable Character.” I thought of that title the other morning when an e-mail from Stephen Suleyman Lulu Schwartz drifted down out of cyber-space into my in-box. 

I'M MORE EASILY saddened than shocked, but Schwartz has managed to do both in his new identity as the insistent Lulu, attaching a large photograph of himself as this implausible new person although he's still recognizable as Steve through his make-up and what appears to be breast implants. 

ANOTHER message from Lulu, also accompanied by photos of him in garish makeover, reported that he'd been assaulted on the streets of San Francisco, and that the police were indifferent to his victimization. I think the guy needs rescue, an intervention. But SF being world headquarters for aberrant behavior, the authorities would be unable, through the protests, even if they tried, to rescue this truly lost soul.

I FIRST became aware of Schwartz way back when he was, I think, one of the leading lights in the W.E.B. Dubois Club, a Stalinist youth group once confused by Richard Nixon with The Boys Clubs of America, which Nixon feared had become a communist front group intent on creating little commies. A writer of some note and a former staffer at the SF Chronicle, the combative Schwartz was something of a bete noire to Bay Area radicals; I remember seeing spray-painted messages on North Beach walls that said stuff like, “Running Dog Schwartz Must Die.” In that time, he hung out with an argumentative coterie at the Cafe Trieste. When I mentioned to him that my nephew was a coffee jock at the Trieste, Schwartz, having exchanged insults with Nephew, said, “Then that must make you the monkey's uncle.” 

YEARS of high decibel disputes had given Schwartz a voice like a buzz saw that could simply drown out his detractors. The guy just rolled rhetorically on, unstoppable, and personally irrepressible.

MATCH this as a life's trajectory: Schwartz starts off as a red diaper baby, becomes (of course) a communist in his youth; then a mainline journalist and author of scholarly books on a wide range of subjects; then converts to Islam, popping up on national news shows as an authority on Wahabi Islam; and finally in what must be, at his age, his last act, he becomes a transvestite called Lulu!

AS A KIND of NorCal repository for obscure political beefs, the ava once printed long exchanges between Schwartz and his many adversaries, one in particular, Kevin Keating, of the Mission District's “Yuppie Eradication Project” who, according to Schwartz-Lulu, still bedevils him. I can't remember what the argument was about, but I remember that six of us replied to a single Schwartz provocation that one week, a reply record for us. He's always been a genius provocateur, but Lulu is too much for those of us who much preferred him as Running Dog Schwartz, Enemy of the People.

(I'M HARDLY an expert on the Schwartz oeuvre, but the one book of his I've read was, I think, an important contribution of California history — “From West to East: California and the Making of the American Mind.”)

NEVER HEARD of “influencers” before I read Ryan Burns’ account in the Lost Coast Observer of an “influencer” called "noahawaii" who had this to say about his visit to Arcata and Eureka: “I think this might have been my favorite day on the whole trip minus our terrible night prior! I say terrible night because like I said in my stories before, Arcata and Eureka are horrible disgusting towns that surround such a beautiful area....” 

MR. INFLUENCER was negatively influenced by the numbers of street people and apparent criminals Mr. Influencer says are the chief characteristics of the two HumCo towns. Last time I ventured north there didn't seem to be a startling number of street personalities, no more than Ukiah, but there were plenty, for sure, because, like Ukiah, in Arcata and Eureka you have more enablers than you have enabled. National prob, of course, with no remedy in sight. If there is a remedy it would involve the massive social programs our system is incapable of mustering, so the numbers of free range dysfunctionals will continue to grow, and Arcata and Eureka remain interesting places everyone should visit at least once. 

NOT TO HAMMER on Biden's evident past-it-ness, but his foreign policy speech Thursday night came with too many slurred, meaning-defiant sentences to be entirely clear, but in broad outline it's the usual DNC strategy of the Clinton-Bush-Obama years most of US can recite in our sleep — huge military expenditures to fight off whatever the Chinese, Russians, and Islamists might try with blank checks for the racist, apartheid state of Israel. Throw in the new menace presented by fat guys in maga hats, and we'll need to print up a lot more money to fund it all.

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.

CRITICISM OF TOM BRADY for being an alleged Trumper and just all-round too darned white, comes from writers who've never hung around jocks of whatever color, among whom Brady is an archetype. The typical athlete of ability gets to the head of his class through a monomaniacal devotion to his sport, beginning from a very young age when dad starts throwing nerf balls at him before he can walk. By the time he's five or six he's playing pee wee football, then Pop Warner, then high school, then college and on into the pros if he's elite enough. Like all Americans, jocks are processed on through the educational system with maybe an elementary ability to read sports stories if they can't find them in visual form. As chronological adults, these guys are sports, food, sex. That's it. As I understand it from a friendly article on Brady, he happened to play golf with Trump before he knew who Trump was, and when he realized that Trump was a tar baby figure, Brady ditched his maga hat. Now Brady's being criticized for demanding a wide receiver be added to Tampa Bay's roster, a wide receiver who apparently is not a Nice Person. If the guy was a mass murderer it wouldn't matter to Brady so long as the guy could get down field real fast and catch his passes. Why some of us lib labs expect jocks to be cool on the issues is absolutely silly. 

PITBULLS, AN ON-LINE COMMENT:

Myth #1: It's the owner not the breed

The outdated debate, "It's the owner, not the breed," has caused the pit bull problem to grow into a 35-year old problem. Designed to protect pit bull breeders and owners, the slogan ignores the genetic history of the breed and blames these horrific maulings -- inflicted by the pit bull's genetic "hold and shake" bite style -- on environmental factors. While environment plays a role in a pit bull's behavior, it is genetics that leaves pit bull victims with permanent and disfiguring injuries.

Pitbull Victim

The pit bull's genetic traits are not in dispute. Many appellate courts agree that pit bulls pose a significant danger to society and can be regulated accordingly. Some of the genetic traits courts have identified include: unpredictability of aggression, tenacity ("gameness" the refusal to give up a fight), high pain tolerance and the pit bull's "hold and shake" bite style. According to forensic medical studies, similar injuries have only been found elsewhere on victims of shark attacks.

Purveyors of this myth also cannot account for the many instances in which pit bull owners and their family members are victimized by their pet dogs. From 2005 to 2019, pit bulls killed 346 Americans, about one citizen every 16 days. Of these deaths, 53% involved a family member and a household pit bull. Notably, in the first 8 months of 2011, nearly half of those killed by a pit bull was its owner. One victim was an "avid supporter" of BadRap, a recipient of Michael Vick's dogs.

WE RECEIVED a presser from our County covid doctor, Dr. Coren, last night. It was titled “Regarding Allcoation” (sic) and went on at turgid length 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 covid’s perpetual 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. Dr. Doohan recently got another hundred grand “part time” money to “advise” Dr. Coren. 

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. Vaccination plus masking and social distancing are the keys to beating back the pandemic. But a vax plan for our small population was not initiated.

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 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;  Mendolanders who wanted to be vaccinated 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, cyber or print, 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 requiring all 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, and her crack team of public health officers, that’s who. 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 to fork over their data 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.”

FRED GARDNER writing 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.”

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.”

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)

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ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] I agree with Lady Bird Johnson:

Billboards are a blight on the countryside…

Pot billboards are everywhere in the Bay Area and L.A. I don’t need ANY weed, ever, but hell, if you want to wreck YOUR life, smoke all the oil you want… I tried some “extracts” back in 1974 or so, and quickly decided that hash oil is shit, and pretty addictive…These guys want to get rich, on the backs of poor people, while claiming that they are “good for the economy”! Nothing could be less true, since pot farming destroys the environment, sucks up the water, and degrades society while cheapening life itself and creating legions of drug addicts. Nice going guys! AND: Billboards are ugly! I don’t care what the ad is for, I just don’t think advertising for an extracts company is necessary…

[2] With the extensive financialization of our economy, money is becoming more and more abstract. It’s not as abstract to the guy sloshing around in the car wash, but on the Wall Street and big bank levels its representations are becoming as untethered to reality as a Jackson Pollock or Mark Rothko painting might seem to be. The US attitude towards the dollar has always been rather flippantly smug, as evidenced by the former US Secretary of the Treasury, John Connally, back in 1971 declaring, “The dollar is our currency, but it’s your problem.” There are trillions and trillions of them out there, and so far the American people still have faith in these piles of paper and delusional digital bits.

I’ll take a silver Athenian Owl (yes, if only), a US silver dollar, or even a US Liberty Standing half dollar any day of the week. I wouldn’t want to use them for payment, but it would be nice to hear the precious metal’s musical ring, announcing my substantial presence, as I drop them on the bar top to pay for my boilermakers. Sure you can pay with your manifestly muted, mousy paper, but where’s the fun in that?

There’s metal and then there’s mettle, as in the mettle of men, a characteristic of men/women that has recently come into question concerning the members of the Republican Party in particular, and the nature of our citizenry in general. We now have a situation in which both the nature of our money and our men are seriously suspect. 

[3] The public doesn’t realize what’s really happening because as long as they have their cable tv and computer access, and know they will get stimulus checks, they are happy to remain ignorant. This situation is not healthy for our society. The real issues we face ought to be repeatedly stressed in the common public venues, not just on specialized sites like this. Current big business and government actions aren’t going in the right direction. In the relatively near future, however, reality will win out as problems increase in severity. Then the public will get more involved (I hope).

[4] I’m a Nurse in the ICU and the ER. I actually contracted COVID on 12/19. I watched then as I watch now—as entire units of patients die miserable deaths, drowning in their own fluid. There is no treatment, there is no magic pill, there is nothing we can do other than to support these people and hope that their own immune systems can fight along with our interventions to keep them alive. Don't believe me? I will invite you personally to my ICU and bring you to the COVID wards…of which…there are now entire floors that used to be “elective surgery overnight obs” and “med surg”… but taken over to overflowing from these deathly ill patients. I will walk you around personally. WITH NO MASK. How about that? Please. Come to a Level 1 Trauma hospital in the mid-Atlantic, with 1200 beds and not even ONE bed that can be made available for my emergent stroke victim. Come on down, please. Any of you doubters. Please. I will personally vouch for you at the door as a “shadower,” take you around… and of course, keep your “diaper” off of your face so you don’t suffocate. How about it?

[5] In other capitalist societies there is usually – in any field of commerce – a range of companies, with a few big players in robust competition, then a much larger group of medium-sized ones, and then a lot of small players who find a viable niche in the market – certainly enough for a family to survive.

But even in a time of plenty, Americans will travel further to get butter at 20c a pound cheaper, and the same for a wide range of things that the country still does actually produce.

For a wide range of other stuff from China – from shoes to bedsheets to crockery to tools and flatscreen TVs … small providers have almost no chance to compete. We have all been seduced by lower prices, and a “good enough” attitude towards the quality of so many things.

The cost of this consumer cornucopia is very high indeed. And Walmart will dominate until its business model no longer works … its supply chains are broken, or there are hardly any customers for what it sells.

[6] 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.

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