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Off the Record (March 3, 2021)

MOST PLACES the following would be considered news. Not in Mendo, with the exception of the Boonville and Laytonville weeklies:

Closed Session Item 9c: Report out of Closed Session Tuesday, February 23, 2021, by County Counsel Christian Curtis:

Curtis: “The board met in closed session to consider possible legal remedies to return County property in possession of retired supervisor John McCowen. Per usual custom and practice, the county requested the return of the items at the time that Mr. McCowen left office. Despite repeated requests however, the property, including a laptop computer tablet, cell phone, printer, and building keys, was never returned and Mr. McCowen has ceased communicating with the County. Pursuant to existing authority and practices, County risk management has already initiated a small claims proceeding. The total damages to the county including the cost of rekeying the building is estimated to be between $3,000 and $4,000. At this time the Board of Supervisors unanimously indicated its support for the pending small claims matter, but decided that investing additional resources in a superior court proceeding would be premature.”

SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS, also speaking in open session of last week’s board meeting: “John McCowen, I would appreciate it if you would return the keys, the laptop, the iPad, and the iPhone. I don't want to be in the position of having conflict. I appreciate that you served for 12 years with the county, even longer in public service. It's not fair to put the Board in this position that you created. We have to treat everyone, all employees, equally and we would ask any other employee to return public property upon their departure from the county.”

SPECULATION ON WHY MCCOWEN won’t return his County issued computer and cellphone:

1. He lost them.

2. He gave the stuff to someone else.

3. Some or all of it is broken.

4. There’s info on the laptop that he wants to hide from County officials. 

5. He was set up by CEO Angelo who was quick to rat him out for misdemeanor theft of public property because she doesn’t like him.

6. He assumed he could get away with it because only the ava would report it. (Which is what has happened.)

WE ASSUME that DA Eyster is standing by to file criminal theft charges against the former Supervisor if the Small Claims action does not produce results like Eyster did when former Supervisor Kendall Smith refused to reimburse the County for the travel and conference money she stole.

A READER WRITES: “I have it from a credible source that the reason why former 2nd District Supervisor John McCowen will not return his county-issued electronics -- cell phone, tablet, and laptop -- is because there are records of texts, emails, and records of calls that would implicate McCowen in a crime. McCowen may be able to erase digital evidence from the electronic devices themselves, but McCowen may not know how to erase documents and data from the cloud. In any case, wiping your devices in connection with a crime -- even a remote wipe -- is regarded as destroying evidence, which is a felony offense. 

YES, we've reached out to former Supervisor McCowen for his version of the pending small claims action against him for allegedly leaving office with items belonging to the County. He told us last week he’s “working on something.” 

WHILE COUNTY COUNSEL pursues McCowen without, we assume, farming out the pursuit to a San Francisco law firm, some of us are wondering if the Grand Jury, if not District Attorney Eyster, will take a close look at CEO Angelo's unilateral decision to award a million dollar public grant to the private mental health business of Mr. and Mrs. Schraeder, a large gift of public funds if one assumes, as we do, that a million public dollars to a private party for a “teen peer court” is illegitimate, certainly more illegitimate than that same million going to the Sheriff, who also applied for the money for badly needed law enforcement augmentation.

FERLINGHETTI and City Lights were San Francisco to me. As a kid, I haunted City Lights, and liked Ferlinghetti's poetry so much I bought a record of him reading it. My first visit to the bookstore was my senior year in high school across the bay at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, unique at the time for the wild diversity of its student body, unique in the Bay Area anyway, because the student body was about 25 percent black kids from Marin City, some very rich kids from Belvedere (including Mary Martin's daughter) but mostly blue collar and lower middleclass scholars like myself. Except for sports, there was zero social mingling with the black kids, and the rich kids didn't do team sports and were anyway remote among their own ski vacationers and European summers. The only part of the Chronicle I read regularly as a young person was the sports page, but I was nevertheless dimly aware that City Lights was the center of controversies involving “free speech,” and that the owner of the store, Ferlinghetti, had been put on trial for publishing and selling Ginsburg's Howl. On Friday nights some jocko pals and I would walk around North Beach hoping to see some beatniks beating on bongo drums and eating gold fish, which is what we'd heard they did on Upper Grant. But the beatniks looked like everyone else pretty much except an occasional guy with a goatee or a woman in a beret and black turtleneck. Ferlinghetti always had the poetry he published in his store window, which caught my callow eye, I guess, and I went inside to look around where the guy at the cash register was arguing politics with a customer, and a lot of people were standing around reading without buying anything. After a stint in the Marines, I went back to City Lights and kept going back, especially for the news rack where I bought I.F. Stone's Newsletter; The Realist; Minority of One; The Nation, and whatever else seemed to menace the dominant paradigm. The printed word was still dangerous then, an added incentive to buy the books and mags considered most subversive. I also bought a lot of paperback fiction and poetry, then mostly under two dollars. City Lights was liberating and, by itself, educating, especially for a young person coming out of the stultifying 1950s and a high school whose English classes were still stuck in Longfellow, and books like On The Road and Catcher in the Rye were outside the course of study. Later, as the world turned and I became a big shot newspaper publisher, Ferlinghetti went out of his way to carry my paper, placing it prominently in the newsrack I'd haunted as a kid. I saw him read several times in the early 1960s but only met him once, and will always remember that he said he read the ava “most weeks,” and was especially following the Wanda Tinasky controversy and asked me if I'd written the Tinasky letters. In person, he was self-effacing, shy even, and we all know he was a brave man, never backed off the good and the true, the true especially. With his passing, San Francisco seems even more lost than it is.

SEEMS ODD that the Supervisors can't quite grasp that a county employee's political views are none of their business, but here was Supervisor Haschak last week with a long-winded reassurance that while he and his colleagues are all for the First Amendment he and they nevertheless deplore opinions not shared by highminded persons like themselves and their candy-assed constituents who are still whining that a County contractor had her private Parler account broken into by a thought policewoman associated with KZYX.

A CONSTITUENT of 4th District Supervisor Dan Gjerde named Anna Stockel complained that she'd been unable to contact her Supervisor,  having emailed him “20 times” with no reply. While the Supervisors are suing McCowen to get County property back, they might consider suing Gjerde for non-performance of his elected duties. If it's any consolation to Ms. Stockel, she isn't alone in being stonewalled by Gjerde.

THE DEMOCRAT'S fanciful Great Redwood Trail began with the Northcoast Democrat's acquisition of what was left of the old rail line that ran from Tiburon and Sausalito to Eureka and Samoa. Former Congressman Bosco, Former Assemblyman Dan Hauser, and a loyal gofer called Mitch Stogner (former Chief of Staff for Congressman Bosco), lived, and lived well, for decades off the publicly-funded myth that one day by golly they'd get a train running again on those long untraveled tracks. With the Press Democrat cheering them on, and the paper itself acquired by Bosco and Friends, the way was clear for what Bosco and Friends were now calling themselves — The North Coast Railroad Authority, hiring people like Hauser and Stogner to run it. The City of Cloverdale was so excited at the prospect of a revived rail line they built a brand new rail station in anticipation of the grand day old 99 would chug into view. The new station remains, thirty years later, a mini-monument to Bosco's and the Democrat's duplicity.

FARTHER NORTH at Ukiah, Democratic insiders knew that the Bosco trains would never run again, and even if they did trains wouldn't get to Ukiah where the Democrats, retired judge Dave Nelson and former supervisor John 'Light Fingers' McCowen leading the charge, quickly moved to acquire the acreage on West Perkins where the graceful old train station rested from the days two trains each way ran every day along the line. Most of the former rail parcel is projected as the site of a new County Courthouse, nevermind that abandoning the perfectly serviceable present County Courthouse would destroy what's left of old town Ukiah, and nevermind that no one other than Nelson and a few judges are the only people who want a new County Courthouse housing only the 9 present judges and their staffs. The DA, the Public Defender et al would remain in the old Courthouse from where they would hump themselves and their paperwork up and down Perkins' three long high-traffic blocks to process the Defendant Community who would be delivered directly from the County Jail to the new Courthouse where they will wait in dry and air conditioned comfort for their prosecutors and defenders to arrive wet or sweat-drenched.

SO, the Democrat's North Coast Railroad Authority has now become the Great Redwood Trail, pretty much the same cast of characters but a new Democrat walking point with, you can be sure, Bosco getting paid for his creation, the now defunct North Coast Railroad Authority. The Trail will be mostly invisible and stay that way forever, a patchwork of a few miles here and there and never ever running through the impassable Eel River Canyon, meaning that all the people looking forward to walking or biking from San Rafael to Eureka via the Eel River stretch of the Democrat's trail… Well, there's some YouTube footage of that stretch of track you can view in lieu of L.L. Bean and lycra.

THE LAST TIME I hiked around in the Eel I was surprised at how much rail equipment had been abandoned back in there, and also surprised at how much track had slid into the battered river along with its supporting embankments. Building a trail along the old rail line would cost a huge portion of the projected five billion State Senator McDupe says the Trail will cost. I didn't encounter any but I've been told there are also armed and dangerous bush hippies holed up with their gardens along the long, wild stretches around Island Mountain where through traffic takes its chances. Add everything up and the Great Redwood Trail, even at a projected five billion, is not doable.

MIKE WILLIAMS on the Eel River Canyon: “When I walked the train line from Cloverdale to Spyrock in the summer of 2000, I found it to be very passable, at least 90% intact. I can’t understand why it should take $5 Billion to create a simple hiking trail where it mostly already exists? True, the trail would have to re-route around a tunnel north of Cloverdale and probably the long one near Alderpoint. There is a pretty big slide over the tracks near Dos Rios but was easy enough to get around. The opportunity exists to create a major trail through beautiful country. There is quite a bit of detritus like old rail ties and rusting equipment trackside, several rail cars off the track near Longvale and a rail car in the Eel River, but all that just adds to the historic significance. I don’t really care if Bosco finagles a few more bucks, get it out of his hands and back into something the public has access to.”

SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: “California is bracing for drought in 2021. Marin Water adopted drought conservation actions and the City of Healdsburg is calling for voluntary conservation. Supervisor Glenn McGourty is a stellar resource on farm and water issues. 

Lake Mendocino is a key drinking water source for the cities of Ukiah, Healdsburg, Cloverdale and Hopland, and also provides water to Sonoma Water’s Russian River water supply system.

Lake Mendocino: 32,365 on 2/26/21, up from 31,298 af on 2/19/21

Lake Pillsbury: 36,670 on 2/25/21, up from 33,765 af on 2/19/21

Lake Sonoma: 156,420 on 2/26/21, down from 157,026 af on 2/19/21”

KEVIN MURRAY, the troubled former Ukiah policeman, was booked at the County Jail Thursday morning on a second sex charge. 

Kevin Murray

Murray's first charge involved an accusation from a woman described as a prostitute that Murray, in uniform on duty, and carrying a small quantity of methamphetamine, had forced the woman into extending her sexual favors to him. The details of the second sex charge are not known, but they include an allegation that Murray, in violation of the conditions of his bail, failed to turn in all his guns. 

MURRAY’S fall has elicited a lot of jubilant comment on a couple of local websites, mostly of the "This is what cops do" variety. These bad cop assumptions are buttressed with unverifiable episodes of cops behaving badly, with nary a context that includes the writer's end of the interface. The cop bashers don't bother to square the fact that Murray was summarily fired by the Ukiah PD prior to even being arraigned on the first set of charges against him, but his firing puts the lie to the claim that police departments in this area don't take officer misconduct seriously. 

ASKED by the ava to describe the man he was calling to complain about, the caller explained, “A douchebag kinda guy, a lame ass dude.” I asked him to be a little more specific. “Tall, dumb looking.” Got it. Thanks for winnowing the suspect pool.

DOGNAPPING. No surprise with the economy being as it is that street crime is on the upswing, and if a purebred dog can be converted to instant cash, you better keep Rover on a short leash. On the one hand it's hard to feel a whole lotta sympathy for Lady GaGa, on the other, it's awfully cruel to steal a pet, even hers. People who don't have the time or inclination to walk their own dogs probably shouldn't have a dog, on the other hand, I suppose a big time celeb like GaGa can't walk her own dog any time day or night without being mobbed. Who would shoot the poor schlub walking those dogs? Lots of people, like the four dawgs who stole that same French bulldog breed from a young woman walking one on Russian Hill in SF in the broad light of late afternoon. Two heroes held her while a third punched her in the face until she let go of her leash. The fourth drove the getaway car.

I MET a meta-dog walker in San Francisco I'd see mornings when I shuffled aerobically through the Mountain Lake neighborhood and on up the hill to gaze at the Golden Gate, the best walk in the whole wide world from a purely aesthetic perspective. He looked like ZZ Top, a big, friendly non-douchebag type of guy. He told me he walked about fifty dogs in batches of ten to a dozen every day, including Sundays, and made around $80 grand a year doing it. “In real life I'm a musician,” he said, which is a very NorCal thing to say for sure.

 FRANTIC virtue signaling from the Fort Bragg Advocate: “….starting next week, we’re going to have a column that’s printed solely in Spanish. After all, Fort Bragg and the surrounding area along the coast is more than one-third Latinx. It’s frankly irresponsible of a community newspaper to ignore such a large part of the community….A community is made all the stronger for its diversity, and we weaken ourselves by enforced homogenization. There is no official language of the United States, and now, no official language of the Advocate-News and The Beacon.”

I HOPE EDITOR BIPOC reports back on how many Spanish-language readers even notice. One measly col of received opinion? What's the point? And if I were a Spanish-speaking person I’d be at least a little annoyed at being lumped all-in-one as Latinx. You sayin’ Mexicans, Cubans, Argentinians, Venezuelans….. are all one big indistinguishable mob?

A READER WRITES: “Brilliant summary by Mark Scaramella about the CEO picking the grant proposal that benefits her friends at RCS. Instead of one that helps with drug related violent crime in Covelo. Says she made the decision on her own and notified everyone later. Easy to believe she never asked the Sheriff. And never talked to the Board of Supes. But I bet she talked to RCS. So 1$ million in public money gets funneled to the Schraeders and Covelo gets nothing. She says RCS was just a cut above. But one of her metrics was if the organization had a proven track record. I think the Sheriff's Office has a proven record fighting crime and has solved a lot of the violent crimes in Covelo. But RCS has no track record in running a teen peer court. None. So how did RCS rate a cut above? Had to be the friend factor. What's the point of being CEO if you can't funnel public money to your friends? PS. Anyone think there's more to the story of McCowen making off with a pile of used County equipment? Have you asked for his side of it? [Yes. Ed] On the same agenda they approved another $150,000 for LCW for a total of $350,000 for the lawsuit by Harinder Grewal the former Ag Commissioner. And $50,000 for Kronik, Moskovitz, Tiedmann & Girard for the lawsuit by Meribeth Dermond, late of the Executive Office. Grewal and Dermond are just two of the people unceremoniously shown the door. Please do an analysis of all the things wrong with this picture starting with why are we hiring these high priced outside attorneys when there are 8 attorneys in the County Counsel office."

BAY AREA ASIANS have been a target for street thugs for years. Thugs call Asians, “ATM's.” Basketball star Jeremy Lin put it well: “Being an Asian American doesn't mean we don't experience poverty and racism. Being a nine-year NBA veteran doesn't protect me from being called ‘coronavirus’ on the court. Being a man of faith doesn't mean I don't fight for justice, for myself and for others.”

FROM the thoughts of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius as Americanized by the ava: “In the morning when you rise unwillingly, let this thought be present — I am rising to the work of a human being. Why then am I dissatisfied if I am going to do the things for which I exist and for which I was brought into the world? Or have I been made for this, to lie in bed and keep myself warm? — But this is more pleasant — Do you exist then to take your pleasure, and not at all for action or exertion? Do you not see the little plants, the little birds, the ants, the spiders, the bees working together to put in order their several parts of the universe? And are you unwilling to do the work of a human being, and do you not make haste to do that which is according to your nature?

GEORGE ORWELL, as disciplined a person as could be imagined, thought “this well-known exhortation” should be printed in large letters and hung “on the wall opposite your bed.”

JEFF BLANKFORT: “Lawrence Ferlinghetti died apparently in his sleep in the early morning hours of Tuesday, a day and a month short of his 102nd birthday, a living legend who had been in failing health for some time but who finally passed on in the North Beach apartment where he had lived for years, in walking distance from City Lights Books, which he founded and the San Francisco waterfront. In WW2, he became a Lt. Commander in the US Navy, in charge of a sub chaser during the Normandy invasion which gave him the opportunity to take photos of his shipmates and the area before the landings which were only discovered a few years ago and in 2019 were enlarged and featured in an exhibit at SF’s Harvey Milk Photo Center. 

Ferlinghetti was a person of many talents and in his later years became a very accomplished artist. The bookstore he created, City Lights, became a major attraction for travelers to San Francisco from throughout the world where he is better known than in the USA.”

FROM the Press Democrat: “Mendocino County is allowing those who work in the logging industry to receive a coronavirus vaccine, clarifying that those employees are eligible after earlier mistakenly posting to its Facebook page that people in the ‘lodging’ sector could receive such shots. “We would like to clarify that this group (lodging) was erroneously included with the individuals currently eligible for vaccination,” said Mendocino County Public Health Officer Andrew Cohen [sic] in a news release.”

UH, EXCUSE ME, but is Dr. Coren, a man not known for his irony, being deliberately provocative here? Loggers work far apart in the woods; the “lodger” sector of the Mendo economy is much larger, and it and lots of other local businesses, is going broke.

IF YOU'RE ENFEEBLED, or old enough to pass, you can get free books on tape from the state's Braille & Talking Book Library. Sign-up forms are available at any public library. You take the form to your doctor who, assuming he's not an uptight prick of the type who says, “I'm not signing because there's nothing wrong with you” will affix his doctor's scrawl, and very soon you'll get an indestructible government tape player and several taped books in blue bomb-proof plastic containers, Once in a while, a great while in my experience with the service, you'll get something you want to listen to. O yes, there are catalogs with order forms, but they may as well not exist. Some bored prole in a Sacramento basement just sends whatever's handy. 

I OFTEN receive three or four cassettes at a time, and just as often l immediately turn them around to Sacramento. I got one a week ago that I almost sent back without giving it a go, “Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention” by Donna Freitas. It starts off with a lot of girlish gush-gush about the author's early years, all about wanting to be a cheerleader and grappling with teenage boys, causing me to fear that I'd wandered into the prose equivalent of a chick flick. But it got suddenly interesting, very interesting as Ms. Frietas describes in detail being stalked by a memorably creepy college professor who is also a Jesuit priest. El Creepo is a big shot in his area of expertise — philosophy — and is necessary to Ms. Freitas getting the PhD she's spent her academic life yearning after. He's an intimidating figure, especially to a young woman who admires his scholarship. Georgetown, the famous Catholic university, is the setting, and it's the university, including its Title 9 enforcer, a treacherous woman described by Freitas as a Tootsie look-alike, protects the stalker while Ms. Freitas is damn near driven crazy by the creep's constant, apparently compulsive, attentions. It all takes place as the Catholic Church is revealed everywhere as the perv apparatus it is, protecting chomo priests as they're moved from one unsuspecting parish to the next without losing their priestly collars. Not all the Georgetown academics are unsympathetic to Ms. Freitas' plight, one of them finally advising Ms. Freitas to get a lawyer and sue for relief. All of this is endured by the aspiring academic when she's very young, a fact her sinister academic advisor takes full advantage of: 

“Then it went bad—escalating into increasingly inappropriate, even sinister, behavior. Eventually, he was sending her numerous letters daily; regularly calling her at home and work; and showing up uninvited at her apartment, where she found him peeking in her window. He pressed her to attend plays and weekend retreats. Father L.—to this day, she won't say his name—repeatedly asked her for feedback about an article he wrote about a priest who had an affair with a much younger woman, tried to kiss her and even started corresponding with Freitas' dying mother.” 

MS. FREITAS had her family and protective friends, but many women, obviously, are undefended and forced to deal with male predators however they can. There have been some ugly cases here in Mendo, not that ugly cases don't occur everywhere, but this book would be useful to any young woman, as it's written in accessible (non-academic) prose, but especially useful to a young woman setting out for “higher learning,” as post-high school studies are called, because the higher up the academic ladder the young woman travels, the more resourceful grow the predators.

COVELO: AN ON-LINE COMMENT: “Guns in Covelo are basically drug currency. Sure there may be some people who actually properly own their registered legal weapons. But the gross population of the tweaker meth slinging heroin smoking crew that live there are swapping their steel all the time. The solid normal people are tired of it, get sick and tired of complaining cuz nothing comes of it, and you’re made a Target by all of the Dismal jerks in the valley. Constant rip offs of unregistered weapons and every time some other idiot goes over to a house all the guns get taken by the next person and they shift over to a house two properties down. If they went door-to-door and did registration checks in Covelo they would need a dump truck for all the weapons. Meanwhile everybody’s on housing, federal programs, food stamps, getting all the assistance they can. Get to lay around all day not being responsible. If you had to hustle to get housing, keep a roof over your head, or food on your table you wouldn’t have so much time to use drugs, party 24/7 and shoot up the valley all night. It is a huge issue and it’s way bigger than this article can express.”

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] One common denominator that tied or unified Americans together was “dreaming” as implied by the term “The American Dream.” MLK dreamed and I like to think that Lincoln did on some level in his time. There is more I would like to say but it seems a mysterious topic – inexpressible in either black OR white.

[2] The problem is Oligarchy, the 0.01% have concentrated and monopolized wealth, power, and information. But somehow the Oligarchy has been able to create this huge diversion to convince everyone that the problem is White People and “Systemic Racism”, regardless of whether the individual white person in question has racist thoughts and behaviors. So, the unemployed white working class screwed over by Bill Clinton and NAFTA and the Obamas becomes the enemy, when in fact they are the class victims of the Oligarchy. It’s divide and conquer. And then most people can’t think because of all of the TV and high fructose corn syrup so they say bizarre things like: “The Oligarchy is mostly White, so the problem is all white people including those hillbillies over there…Get ‘em!”

[3] For a lot of reasons – mostly to do with geography (and the spread of civilizations between say Iran and Portugal), white Europeans developed the most technically advanced societies, starting with the Greeks and Romans, and moving on from there. This is why Christopher Columbus could successfully sail to the Caribbean, while Native Americans and indeed Africans did not sail to Spain. The same applied to the South Atlantic and the Pacific.

The Chinese and India also developed advanced societies a long time ago – however they were much more closed, and did not become great seafaring or colonial powers – although they could have.

The United States was founded by those white Europeans, and through good fortune they could exploit a huge and bountiful new continent, and many of them (and their descendants) grew rich or at least comfortable.

However part of that success was based on slavery, and it was a cruel and inhuman system. In the 158 years since the end of slavery there have been advances but they have not led to equal wealth, or lives, or opportunities for the descendants of those slaves (and other minorities who arrived here via different paths).

Whatever the reason, white Americans have almost all the wealth and all the powerful positions in society and the economy. While no-one needs to slash their wrists over this, there is a responsibility on the white sector to recognize that they have had significant advantages that were established well before they were born. Don’t take too much personal credit.

Always check your privilege in all interactions and transactions – you are not in the better position primarily because of your own endeavors – you inherited most of them. Don’t blame the victims, and don’t be racist. Be supportive and listen to black leaders and the black community. They do not want you dead, they just want a bigger slice of the pie. Class dismissed … have a nice day.

[4] My 81 year-old friend who recently got covid and ended up in the hospital for 2 days with pneumonia about 3 weeks ago, was walking around outside today feeling and acting chipper – absolutely normal for him. It was like he got a case of the normal flu with chest congestion that went into his lungs, but with antibiotics he recovered quickly, although he felt tired for a week or two. No big deal. Of course, he was fit and healthy before this, and as far as we know, didn’t have co-morbidities.

Does this show that old age is not a factor if one is healthy, exercises, is not obese and doesn’t have diabetes? It would be nice to know that covid is not an automatic death penalty for the elderly if they’ve lived well and are in a decent environment.

[5] Toy giant Hasbro has announced that Mr. Potato Head will become gender neutral ‘Potato Head’ in order to encourage kids to create “same sex families.” 

 The change will help children “create same-sex families or single-parent families” as Hasbro seeks to lean away from representing the “traditional family structure.” 

 “Culture has evolved,” said Kimberly Boyd, an SVP and GM at Hasbro. 

“Kids want to be able to represent their own experiences. 

“This means the toys don’t impose a fixed notion of gender identity or expression, freeing kids to do whatever feels most natural to them: A girl potato might want to wear pants and a boy potato might wear earrings. Hasbro will also sell boxed sets that don’t present a normative family structure. This approach is clever because it allows kids to project their own ideas about gender, sexuality, and family onto the toy, without necessarily offending parents that have more conservative notions about family.” 

[6] The problems in Texas are primarily caused by utility deregulation and a lack of insulation in the industrial, energy and domestic sectors. So why wouldn’t Texas’ coal and natural gas power plants — which produce by far the majority of the state’s electricity — take the simple measure of insulating the pipes that carry their process water? 

They don’t want to spend the money because in the deregulated Texas utility market, the cheapest power available is what gets pumped into the wires by the obviously misnamed “Electric Reliability Council of Texas.”

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