Sunny Day | 4 New Cases | Beverly Elliot | Worm Moon | Controlled Burn | Couple Crushed | Kubin Honored | Model T | Grants Available | Comptcheton | Surface Water | Usal Bears | New Chipper | Redwood Lifespan | Some Normal | Suez Wager | Police Reports | Camellia | Native Trout | Yesterday's Catch | Emptiness | Ukiah Poet | Proudly Inhuman | New Batteries | Against Equality | Russia Stories | Gun Check | Planning Agenda | Rain Walk | Wake Up | War Racket | Commercial Pot | Kenstucky | Past Contributors | Enough Info | American Carnage | Nobisco | More Censorship | Punchable Faces | Funny Money | Litter Robot | Kosherjuana | Carlin Speech
GUSTY NORTHERLY WINDS will persist through this afternoon, but it will not be as brisk, with milder high temperatures. Expect another sunny day on Wednesday, with lighter winds and warmer temperatures. (NWS)
4 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
BEVERLY ELLIOTT. Long-time Navarro resident, Beverly Elliott, passed away on Thursday, March 25th. She died at home surrounded by her family. She is survived by her husband of 67 years, Doug Elliott, son John and daughter Terry. Plans for a memorial services are pending. Full obituary to follow.
BEHOLD, THE WORM MOON, so named, perhaps, as a reference to the earthworms that appear as the soil warms in spring (photos by Judy Valadao):
A CONTROLLED BURN is underway in the Yorkville area near Upper Rancheria Creek. The brush-clearing operation began Monday and will last for a week, weather permitting.
A CALIFORNIA COUPLE has been crushed to death in their car by a massive redwood. Jessica and Jake Woodruff were driving Thursday down Route 199 toward the coast in Northern California when the 175-foot-tall tree crashed down on their 2016 Honda Accord. Jake, 36, was driving Jessica up the coast to celebrate her 45th birthday, an annual tradition for the couple, who live in Yreka with their five children. 'This was a shocking and unexpected event, and the tragedy of this accident makes it difficult to accept as real,' family friend Amanda Maffei wrote on a GoFundMe campaign to support the couple's five children. Officials say it was a pleasant day with no wind, calling the odds of a tree falling directly on a car astronomical.
WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Today, Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) announced selecting Debra Kubin, Superintendent of Mendocino County’s Ukiah Unified School District (UUSD), as 2021 Woman of the Year for Assembly District 2.
“In addition to her already challenging role as UUSD’s superintendent, Ms. Kubin responded to the COVID pandemic by leading an amazing effort to not only help continue the education of Ukiah’s students but oversee an amazing effort to make sure that more than 3,000 students who need food support have received daily meals, including students who attend charter and private schools” said Wood.
Ms. Kubin worked with the district’s food distributors to ensure that they received the necessary amount of food, and at the same time, worked to assist students in transitioning to remote learning by providing all sixth- through 12th-grade students with Chromebooks and for those who did not have access to the internet, purchased 150 hot spots that were distributed to families who live in remote areas of the district.
“Ms. Kubin, together with the city of Ukiah and a district team including their food services director, workers, bus drivers, maintenance workers and volunteers, improved the reach of their meal drive-thru program by ensuring that the needs of the children who do not have transportation to pick up the food were met by delivering meals by bus to regular bus stops,” said Wood.
Ms. Kubin has been superintendent of UUSD since 2012 and has almost 30 years of experience in education. She was raised in Mendocino County and attended Willits schools, graduating at the top of her class. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of California Davis, and earned her two teaching credentials and Master’s Degree from San Diego State University. She began her career teaching middle school Language Arts and High School Leadership prior to moving into administration.
Debra has served as President of the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Mendocino County Chapter, is currently serving as the Region 4 representative to the ACSA Superintendent’s Council and has served on various state education committees.
“Thank you so much for this honor,” said Ms. Kubin. “I am grateful to the staff at Ukiah Unified and all they have done in the last year to serve our kids and families! I would also like to thank my three kids – Olivia, Jacob and Sydney—and my family for everything they do to support me!”
“I wanted to recognize Ms. Kubin for her dedication that has gone beyond the students in her district to the entire community they live in and selecting her as my district’s 2021 Woman of the Year is my honor,” said Wood.
(Press release from the office of Assemblymember Jim Wood)
GRANTS FOR LOCALS WITH INCOME SHORTAGES
Are you having a hard time paying your rent, staying current with your utility bills, or getting enough groceries on your table? Please call us as we may be able to help! AVHC has grants available to remain completely confidential. Call us and ask for Leah. 895-3477.
Anderson Valley Health Center
CANNABIS SURFACE WATER FORBEARANCE PERIOD starts April 1, 2021
Surface Water Diverters,
As a reminder, the Cannabis Surface Water Forbearance period starts next week. No surface water may be diverted for cannabis cultivation activities from April 1 through October 31, unless the water diverted is delivered from storage in compliance with Narrative Flow Requirement 4. Refer to the Cannabis Policy Attachment A Section 3 for the full requirement.
The Water Boards’ Cannabis Cultivation Program continues to respond to questions, process applications, and issue water quality and water right permits during the COVID19 pandemic. Please visit Water Boards' Cannabis Cultivation page for more information about the program, or visit https://public2.waterboards.ca.gov/mt/sites/site?siteName=CGO to apply.
(State Water Resources Control Board presser)
NEW WOOD CHIPPER to Support Fuels Reduction in Mendocino County…
The County of Mendocino, Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, Mendocino County Fire Safe Council, and the Redwood Valley-Calpella Fire Department are pleased to announce the recent purchase of a new wood chipper to support fuels reduction activities in Redwood Valley and throughout Mendocino County. The chipper was purchased through a Hazardous Tree Removal grant provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection using California Climate Investments funding. The County of Mendocino secured the grant funding and partnered with the Resource Conservation District and Fire Safe Council to implement the project and complete the chipper purchase.
Moving forward, the chipper will be used to support fuels reduction in Redwood Valley as its primary purpose, while supporting projects in other parts of the County when not in use in Redwood Valley.
The County invites members of the media to attend a brief photo opportunity with the equipment to document this partnership on March 31st at 10 AM at the Redwood Valley-Calpella Fire Station located at 8481 East Road in Redwood Valley.
For more information, please contact Mendocino County Disaster Recovery at (707) 234-6303 or email@example.com.
A LITTLE BIT OF ‘NORMAL’
by Anne Fashauer
My husband and I took a brief, last-minute, trip to see his folks up in Cottonwood last week. We looked at the calendar and saw that Wednesday and Thursday were open so we headed up. The last time we visited was in the early fall last year and our visits were indoors but fully masked - the fires were in full force and my mother in law has breathing issues, so being outside wasn’t possible. This visit we were all fully vaccinated and the air was clear.
We arrived at midday; it was a bit surreal after the last year to be able to simply walk into their home, give them a hug and sit down and visit. My father in law ran out to a local deli and brought us back some lunch so we didn’t have to get back in the car so soon. After a bit, I took off for a bike ride around Cottonwood; I’d brought my new-to-me road bike, nicknamed Blackbird (the bike is black and it flies, like a bird). I road around a neighborhood near the river and down a short bike path before turning around and heading back. I saw the time and mileage and decided to do the loop one more time, this time not stopping to take photos. After that I headed back to my in-laws.
I arrived in time to have a small glass of wine on the patio before heading to our hotel and getting cleaned up for dinner. Dinner was at Peter Chu’s - a Chinese restaurant inside the Redding Airport. They were doing a brisk business - not at full capacity, but plenty of folks were there. Most people did not wear masks when entering or exiting the restaurant - I felt a bit odd doing so, but also felt like setting a good example. When we visited last fall we noticed hardly anyone wearing masks - and in the time since, they have suffered three times the deaths that we have in our County.
Thursday morning I headed out for another bike ride - a loop from our hotel out towards the river, through some farms and ranches and then back towards town. It was chilly at first but quickly warmed up and it was beautiful. I crossed several rivers and creeks - Ash, Anderson and Sacramento - and took pictures of them as well as of horses in their fields and other pretty sites. The ride was 21 miles and mostly flat - quite a change from over here.
We all had breakfast at a cute place called Vittles - I ate two eggs, two slices of bacon, two sausage links and one and a half giant pancakes! We spent the afternoon visiting my in-laws, mostly outside due to the gorgeous weather. When we got ready to leave we all drove down to Red Bluff and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant there. In both restaurants, the only ones wearing masks were the servers. People were spaced apart but not as much as one would experience here, even outdoors.
Overall, it was a nice visit and definitely a bit of “normal” in that we didn’t don masks more than we did. Most of the family there is fully vaccinated or at least has one shot. I never dreamed we would be this close to normalcy after such a short time.
On 03/26/2021, at approximately 8:53 a.m., Officers responded to the report a structure fire in the 300 Block of N. Harbor Drive. Officers were on scene within two minutes and assisted alongside the Fort Bragg Fire Department with evacuating the occupants and their pets. The Fire Department was able to successfully extinguish the fire allowing it to only cause minor damage to the exterior of the building.
An initial investigation by the Fort Bragg Fire Department revealed that the fire was intentionally set. An Arson Inspector from CalFire responded and confirmed that the incident was arson. Later, that day, at approximately 6:24 p.m., Officers responded to the 300 Block of Perkins Street for the report of a prowler in the area. Officers checked the area and located a suspect on the railroad tracks near Rose Memorial Cemetery matching the description. The suspect was later identified as Robert Fielden and he immediately fled on foot when contacted by the Officer.
The Officer lost sight of Fielden but continued the pursuit eastbound on the railroad tracks in an attempt to locate him. While checking the area, the Officer located a freshly started brush fire with one citizen arriving to attempt to extinguish. Officers assisted in the extinguishing of the fire until the Fire Department arrived on scene, before continued eastbound in the search for Fielden.
Officers were able to coordinate a perimeter and apprehend Fielden concealed in the wooded area east of the 600 Block of N. Harold Street. Fielden was taken into custody without incident and found to be in possession of butane torches, methamphetamine, and paraphernalia.
On 03-26-2021 at about 11:00 P.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies conducted a warrant service and Parole Search at a residence in the 3000 block of North State Street in Ukiah, California.
Larry James Wolfe Jr. had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for a Parole Violation and was known to reside at the address.
Deputies knocked on the door and announced their presence and intent. Wolfe was seen inside the residence but refused to come to the door. Wolfe eventually surrendered and was safely taken into custody.
A search of Wolfe's residence was conducted pursuant to the terms of his Parole.
During the search, a commercial quantity of processed cannabis was located. The cannabis was packaged in a manner consistent with with cannabis sales.
Also located in close proximity to the cannabis, was a semi-automatic 9mm pistol with a loaded magazine. Further search of the residence revealed a collapsible, 9mm assault rifle, and a loaded high capacity 9mm magazine.
The assault rifle was being stored in a laptop computer case, making it easily concealed and carried without alerting others to the presence of a dangerous weapon. Several boxes of 9mm ammunition were seized as well.
Based on the facts and evidence gathered, Wolfe was arrested for the following offenses in addition to the Parole Warrant:
30605(a) PC - Unlawful Possession of an Assault Weapon
30305(a)(1) PC - Possession of Ammunition by a Prohibited Person
12022(a)(1) PC - Possession of a Firearm in Commission of a Felony
29800(a)(1) PC - Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person
11359(c)(1) HS - Possession of Cannabis for Sale
Due to the public safety risk illustrated by the crimes, a bail enhancement request was made to the Mendocino County Superior Court.
That request was granted and Wolfe's bail on the open charges was increased from $35,000.00 to $75,000.00 bail and $35,000.00 bail was set for the warrant.
Wolfe was booked into the Mendocino County Jail to be held in lieu of $110,000.00 total bail.
FITZGERALD & STROUT, PHARMACISTS
On 03-26-2021 at about 11:59 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff Deputies contacted a male subject in the 100 block of Kawi Place in Willits, California.
The subject was identified as Joseph Fitzgerald and was found to have an active felony warrant for his arrest issued in Mendocino County for numerous controlled substance violations.
Fitzgerald was arrested and he was searched. Fitzgerald was found to be in possession of approximately 5 grams of suspected heroin in a two containers.
One of the Deputies recognized a female subject, Allison Strout, from prior contacts who was with Fitzgerald.
The Deputy confirmed she was currently on formal probation with a submit to search term. Strout was also found to have a felony arrest warrant issued in Humboldt County.
Strout was contacted and searched per her probation terms.
In her purse, Deputies located approximately 2 grams of a white crystalline substance (suspected methamphetamine), two used glass pipes with a white residue and burn marks commonly used to smoke controlled substances. They also located a measuring spoon with a black/brown substance in the spoon and burn marks on bottom of spoon commonly used when ingesting controlled substances.
The Deputy also found around 20 small unused clear plastic bags commonly used to package controlled substances and two cellular phones.
Deputies learned Strout and Fitzgerald came to the location in a truck which was parked at the location. The vehicle was found to have expired registration and be registered to Strout. Strout further had the keys to the car and stated she had property in the vehicle.
Deputies conducted a search of the vehicle. Inside a hollowed out book, they located approximately 1 gram of suspected methamphetamine and US Currency. In a backpack in the car, they found a working digital scale with suspected heroin on the top and a card in the name of Fitzgerald.
Strout and Fitzgerald were arrested for possession of a controlled substance for sale (11351 HS - Heroin and 11378 HS - Methamphetamine), and conspiracy to commit a felony (182 PC). Strout was also charged with possession drug paraphernalia (11364 HS).
Fitzgerald was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $27,500.00 bail.
Strout was also booked into the Mendocino County Jail. In accordance with the COVID-19 emergency order issued by the State of California Judicial Council, bail was set at zero dollars and Strout was released after the jail booking process, on his promise to appear in court at a later date.
STOLEN CAR AND COUNTERFEIT PILLS
On 03-26-2021 at about 1:53 AM, a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy was on patrol in the area of Ukiah, California.
The Deputy noticed a vehicle driving erratically down residential streets.
The Deputy caught up to the vehicle on Arlington Drive, where it suddenly pulled over and stopped. The Deputy contacted the driver, who was identified as Mark Andrew Nielson. While speaking with Nielson, the Deputy learned the vehicle Nielson was driving, a gray Dodge Charger, was reported stolen out Lake County.
Nielson was arrested for being in possession of a stolen vehicle. While searching Nielson's pockets incident to arrest, the Deputy located a plastic bag containing three blue tablets (photo attached).
These tablets are known to be counterfeit prescription medications referred to as "M30" or "Fetty" and contain the dangerous narcotic, Fentanyl. "M30" pills, and Fentanyl in other forms, have been identified as the cause of many drug overdose medical emergencies and deaths throughout Mendocino County. The three pills found in Nielson's possession were seized as evidence.
Nielson was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked for 496d(a) PC [Possession of a Stolen Vehicle] and 11350(a) HS [Possession of a Controlled Narcotic].
In accordance with the COVID-19 emergency order issued by the State of California Judicial Council, bail was set at zero dollars and Nielson was released after the jail booking process, on his promise to appear in court at a later date.
On 03-24-2021 at about 1:50 AM, Mendocino County Sheriff Deputies were dispatched to the 75000 block of Highway 162 in Covelo, California.
They were told there was a physical fight between a male and female at the location. Upon their arrival, they were told the male subject, identified as Oscar Martinez, had left the location prior to their arriving on scene.
The Deputies spoke with several people at the location and learned an adult female and Martinez had been in a relationship and had a child in common.
Deputies learned during the investigation, the adult female was at the location when Martinez arrived. The two began verbally arguing when Martinez punched her twice in the face. This caused visible injury to the adult female's face.
The Deputies checked the area for Martinez but were unable to locate him. The Deputies issued a Be-On-The-Lookout (BOLO) for Martinez and to arrest him for the Domestic Violence Battery (273.5 PC).
On 03-28-2021 at about 11:15 AM, a Sheriff's Deputy working the Covelo area, located Martinez on Ledger Lane.
Martinez was arrested for 273.5 PC (Domestic Violence Battery) and was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000.00 bail.
CHRIS SKYHAWK WRITES: I was fascinated by the short piece from Jeff Burroughs in valley people on native rainbow trout. I have a Native American friend who once told me even the small gulches that feed Albion river have small native trout in them which I found astonishing. Burroughs notes on the subject are equally so thank you for printing it and expanding awareness of some of the denizens we share our home with.
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 29, 2021
JADE BENNETT, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, escape/escape attempt, probation revocation.
JAMIE EDWARDS, Middletown/Ukiah. Burglary, controlled substance, false ID, parole violation.
JOSEPH FITZGERALD, Clearlake/Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, paraphernalia, conspiracy.
CHRISTOPHER LOPEZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
OSCAR MARTINEZ, Covelo. Domestic battery.
SEBASTIAN RABANO, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
BRETT SALVA JR., Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Controlled substance, parole violation.
JAYDHEN STEWART-WILLIAMS, Willits. Domestic battery, false imprisonment, disorderly conduct-alcohol, child endangerment.
ARTURO VALDES, Ukiah. DUI, child endangerment, resisting, probation revocation.
TIMOTHY WILEY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
BY THEN I KNEW that everything good and bad left an emptiness when it stopped. But if it was bad, the emptiness filled up by itself. If it was good you could only fill it by finding something better.
— Ernest Hemingway
UKIAH'S POET LAUREATE
The Poet Laureate Committee of Ukiah is pleased to announce that Melissa Eleftherion Carr has been chosen as Ukiah’s next Poet Laureate. Carr, already well known as head librarian at the Ukiah Library, will be introduced on April 25, 2021 at the virtual UkiaHaiku fest that the Ukiah Poet Laureate Committee is holding this year. Carr becomes Ukiah’s 9th Poet Laureate, succeeding Roberta Werdinger, part of whose two-and-a-half-year term was served under lockdown due to Covid-19. Werdinger adapted to this challenge by formulating an online poetry course and other virtual events that became borderless, redefining community and locality in a rapidly changing world.
Established by the City Council in 2001, the Poet Laureate position underscores the importance the City of Ukiah places on the arts as an integral part of a dynamic, healthy community. The position honors poets living and working in the Ukiah area. As laureate, Carr will work with the Poet Laureate Committee to heighten public awareness of poetry, produce the annual UkiaHaiku Festival and other events, and be available to local schools and other organizations for readings and presentations. She will be officially ushered in as Poet Laureate at the Ukiah City Council meeting on April 7, 2021.
ONCE I thought that to be human was the highest aim a man could have, but I see now that it was meant to destroy me. Today I am proud to say that I am inhuman, that I belong not to men and governments, that I have nothing to do with creeds and principles. I have nothing to do with the creaking machinery of humanity—I belong to the earth!
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Well, Biden intends to GO BIG in his infrastructure spending, at least $2 trillion. What happened to the Infrastructure schwag George Bush spent, or the Pelosi’s Shovel Ready infracture cash from 12 years ago? The infrastructure seems even more decrepit than it was back then. I read every single day in Rueters, the Guardian, Oil Price.com, and so on, that fossil fuels are a relic, no longer necessary, and will be completely gone by 2030. We are assured that the technology exists to make this happen, and a bright, green world awaits, just a few years away. Also, it seems like once a week a ‘Battery Breakthrough!’ is announced, a battery that will power a semi truck for 1000 miles, a Tesla 500 miles without recharge, that are cheap and last years, that can store enough energy captured from windmills to light up NYC for a month. Great! Our problems are solved. Then you don’t hear anymore about it, until the next breakthrough is announced.
DEAR JOE SCARBOROUGH: Invite Me To Debate Your Network's Putrid Russiagate Coverage
by Matt Taibbi
Joe Scarborough began his rant on Morning Joe by insinuating that those who’ve spent time documenting errors on the Russiagate story are maybe on “Russia’s payroll,” which is nothing new for this network, of course, or frankly for the press in general during this time.
Implying that anyone who didn’t buy into the moral panic on Russia was a traitor was a fairly constant theme in media and politics in the last four years, with NBC’s smear of Tulsi Gabbard as a “favorite” of “Russia’s propaganda machine” being one of the ethical low points of the era. Why should Joe Scarborough be above the same tactics?
The exact quote:
“I’m amused by so-called reporters who — I don’t know if they’re useful idiots for Russia, or if they’re on Russia’s payroll — but there are some gifted writers who spend all night and day, trying to dig through, looking for instances where the press screwed up on Russia stories.”
He went on to say that yes, there were instances of mistakes, and some bad mistakes, but “more often than not,” the press got it right. Perhaps this could be a new slogan for the network: MSNBC. We get it right. More often than not.
The full quote:
If you look at the totality of it, the totality of everything — I mean, yeah, the media screwed up at some points, and sometimes they screwed up badly… But more often than not, they got it right.
Obviously, I won’t presume that he’s talking about me when he mentions “some gifted writers” who may or may not be foreign spies, criticizing networks like his. He could be referring to Aaron Mate, or Glenn Greenwald, perhaps even Erik Wemple of the Washington Post, whose critique of Scarborough’s colleague Rachel Maddow’s Russia coverage was scathing enough.
It doesn’t matter, as the universe of people actually doing such work isn’t large. I do have a recent piece out, “Master List Of Official Russia Claims That Proved To Be Bogus,” that sounds like the kind of thing annoying him, so I’m happy to respond on behalf of the group.
The humorous thing about this is that the group of writers who have spoken out on this topic is small enough that we all communicate with each other.
We’ve been able to calculate that I was actually the last of the Russiagate skeptics invited on MSNBC, on January 13, 2017 — before Trump’s inauguration — when I joined Chris Hayes and Malcolm Nance to discuss what at the time was a red-hot story.
The irony is that one of the major criticisms of the media’s performance on this issue is that it has not allowed any critics of the story to appear really anywhere in the mainstream press, and particularly not on television, for nearly four years. I doubt they will break that on-air pattern even now. Still, it’s worth asking Scarborough: if you’re so certain this issue is a “joke,” surely you won’t mind discussing it?
If you’d rather not have me on, I’m sure someone on the more critical side would be happy to walk you through exactly how far short of “right, more often than not” your network has been in the last five years or so.
Most of the major outlets were terrible on this story, but MSNBC’s particular brand of suckage was visible from space during the key years of Russiagate. Which I’m happy to lay out for you. Come on — no matter how it turns out, it’ll be great TV!
PLANNING COMMISSION AGENDA FOR 4/1/21
Dear Interested Parties,
The Agenda and Training Material for April 1, 2021 is posted on the department website at: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/planning-building-services/meeting-agendas/planning-commission
Please contact staff with any questions.
Commission Services Supervisor
Mendocino County Planning & Building Services
860 North Bush Street, Ukiah CA 95482
My Direct Line: (707) 234-6664
Main Line: (707) 234-6650
FERLINGHETTI: WAKE UP, THE WORLD’S ON FIRE!
by Steve Heilig
What is the "use" of poetry? Or, as more than one author has asked, Can Poetry Matter?
Lawrence Ferlinghetti put his prolonged answer to that question into “Poetry As Insurgent Art,” one of his latter books, published in 2007 in a hardcover pocketbook by New Directions, a longtime adventurous publisher something of a counterpart to his own fabled City Lights Books. The slim volume, collecting some of his statements of purpose from a span of decades, seemed to be one of his own favorites, as copies of it often occupied the front counter of his fabled San Francisco bookstore of the same name. In fact it could be called his own ultimate manifesto of his own poetic and political vision. He in fact argued that poetry might be needed to save the world, or at least humanity – from itself.
More than 60 years ago, renowned American poet William Carlos Williams wrote famously that "It is difficult/ to get the news from poems/ yet men die miserably every day/ for lack/ of what is found there." A practical man who was not only a poet but also a practicing physician, Williams' lines are usually read to imply that poetry - good poetry, at least – can be essential to one's inner life and spirit. In the cultural doldrums of the early 1950s, that rang true for many people.
Around the same time Williams wrote those lines, Lawrence Ferlinghetti arrived in San Francisco, a World War II veteran fresh from Paris with a doctorate from the Sorbonne and a love of the printed word. He soon co-founded the landmark and still-thriving City Lights Bookstore and publishers, issuing not only his own work but also the first printing of Allen Ginsberg’s iconic poem "Howl" and many other works by writers who became known as Beat and others, although Ferlinghetti never self-identified as a beat himself. Battles for free speech soon ensued, and were won. Many other political struggles were supported as well. The store became a rare tourist attraction that maintained and even grew in importance and authenticity. Ferlinghetti was named poet laureate of San Francisco, received numerous awards both literary and civic, had his paintings widely exhibited and printed and became as famous as a poet can be in these times. Besides all that, he seemed fairly universally admired and liked as a human.
For Ferlinghetti, poetry's "use" extends far beyond the personal into the political. "Poetry can save the world by transforming consciousness," he argued in "Poetry as Insurgent Art.” But first one had to be open to it, even if only a little. "I am signaling you through the flames," he begins in the new section from which his book takes its title. "The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it." Poetry, in this vision, must be a political statement, arrows slung for freedom of expression, thought and resistance. "Write living newspapers," he counsels. "Your poems must be more than want ads for broken hearts" - in other words, to paraphrase Bertolt Brecht, to write mere "love poetry" in such times is "almost a crime." So "challenge capitalism masquerading as democracy"; "Liberate have-nots and enrage despots"; "Don't cater to the Middle Mind of America nor to consumer society." And so on, in variations of his admonition to "be committed to something outside yourself."
This is a tall order for poetry, or any kind of writing. But the six or seven (mostly) one-liners on each of the 30 pages are testament to Ferlinghetti's enduring vision and commitment. Some of these lines read as if they could have been penned in the Beat heyday, decades ago: "Stand up for the stupid and crazy"; "Dig folksingers who are the true singing poets of yesterday and today." Political economy, down-home mysticisms, and occasional cringe-worthy silliness ("Make permanent waves, and not just on the heads of stylish women") all blend into his own version of Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet." Thus, poets should "see eternity in the eyes of animals," but not "be too arcane for the man in the street." Ferlinghetti can be self-deprecating: "Don't lecture like this. Don't say don't." But he is also dead serious: "Don't let them tell you poetry is bull-" and, especially, "Don't ever believe poetry is irrelevant in dark times." Indeed, as Williams would probably agree, in dark times and in this vision, poetry becomes even more essential.
The second major section of the book, "What Is Poetry?," was started by Ferlinghetti in the late 1950s; here he provides backup for his argument for the importance of poetry, and that "life lived with poetry in mind is itself an art." The political returns - somewhat - to the personal, as "poetry is the shortest distance between two humans," is "the anarchy of the senses making sense"; and "it is a pulsing fragment of the inner life, an untethered music" which "restores wonder and innocence."
Again, a lofty charge, but many have believed it, and some, such as Ferlinghetti, have lived it - even though, as he acidly quips (echoing Ginsberg's famed opening lines to "Howl") in "The Populist Manifesto" appended here, "We have seen the best minds of our generation/ destroyed by boredom at poetry readings." This impassioned, compact and concise book won't destroy any minds. But it may stoke some hearts, as Ferlinghetti intends.
After I reviewed “Poetry as Insurgent Art” for the San Francisco Chronicle, a nice little handwritten note arrived from the poet himself, modestly and tactfully saying “Thanks for not ignoring it.” He enclosed a copy of the book with the title page customized with a self-portrait. Those who review books tend to only hear from authors when they are angry, but not this time (although he did tactfully ignore my one poetry contest winner, a tribute to Charles Bukowski titled “Deja Buk” that featured my fictional self and the ghost of Buk urinating on the wall of City Lights; crass, yes, but meant as a tribute). Brief encounters at the store or in the North Beach streets only confirmed that he was a true gentleman, with an enduring twinkly in his wise eyes.
As far back as 1977, Ferlinghetti remarked “You're supposed to get more conservative the older you get. I seem to be getting just the opposite.” Living and writing through the Nixon, Reagan, Bushes and Trump eras as Ferlinghetti did, that seems more than justified. But it also seems true that all should heed his poetic, and maybe political and ecological, warning: "Wake up, the world's on fire!”
GROW IT INSIDE
I propose a simple solution to Sonoma County’s cannabis angst.
Marijuana is an intensively farmed crop that, unlike wine grapes, can be grown in commercial quantities inside a dedicated structure. Ag land is not necessary. A warehouse with on-site production facilities located in commercial zoning is ideal. Here it would enjoy fire and police protection, close access to workers and distribution networks, electrical grids, plumbing, waste disposal, visitor facilities and so on.
Limit cannabis growing and production to commercial zoning. No more cannabis permits in rural and ag zoning. No more upset neighbors, theft, crime, inefficient and negligent land use, and angst. Simple.
PAUL MODIC WRITES:
Good to read your comments about Paul Theroux's latest book On the Plain of Snakes. It was an illuminating read, to say the least. When I read it last year (and got copies for three or four friends in Texas and Mexico) I was inordinately thrilled to read that the author twice stayed in Motel Las Palmas in Matehuala, San Luis Potosi on his trip down and back. That's the restaurant where I've been writing my memoirs for the last forty-plus years at the same window seat where all the waiters know me, my international claim to fame.
Also, in the few contributions of yours and other Giant's fans all-time players list I was perplexed why no one mentioned Bumgarner who was contributed to all three World Series victories including the last one when he brought us great excitement with his superb showing in Game 7, blowing away the Royals for five innings on two days rest. Wow. (What's the deal? Because he was a redneck who "deserted" the team?) Okay, take care...
PS No word from Flynn? That marriage sounded like a match made in hell, but what do I know? And my fellow Hoosier Spec? Always enjoyed his tales, hmm, maybe he's too busy with the new baby (but that's been a few years, maybe he's got a few more?) to play around with AVA fol de rol? And what ever happened to Mark Heimann? Where are they now? I know most probably left on bad terms with the B of B but it would be interesting to do a little compendium of past contributors with updates. Major, white courtesy phone! You know we like nostalgia, hell that's half your paper.
ED REPLY: Bum belongs on any Giant's greats list. Excuse the oversight. Heimann has been in New Orleans for a long time now where, we assumed, his m.o. would have gotten him murdered early on, but apparently hasn't. We've posted Spec a few times lately. He's farming in Indiana, once the home to more Klan people per capita than any area of the South. Last heard from, Flynn was in Eureka, not the most salubrious venue for a person addicted to white powders, but we assume he's still among the (barely) living.
ANYBODY who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.
— Flannery O’Connor
MICHAEL MOORE: One of the most memorable voices in "Bowling For Columbine" was Tom Mauser, father of 15 year-old Daniel Mauser, one of the 12 students killed at Columbine High School on April 20th, 1999. It was Tom Mauser who raised an idea that became the key question in the film: while other countries have violent histories, violent video games, violent movies, and profane music, and while some also have lots of guns, why is it Americans who shoot and kill each other as much as we do?
On Tuesday, March 23rd, when a young American man went on a shooting rampage at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, killing 10 people, it marked the 7th mass shooting in America in 7 days.
March 23rd also happened to be the 18-year anniversary of when "Bowling For Columbine" won the Academy Award. I thought of Tom Mauser and reached out to him, and almost 20 years later, he and I were discussing the same exact question that he raised to me in that film. Maybe someday we'll come up with the answer.
Only when we answer that question will we have our solution.
If you'd like to listen to my new conversation with Tom, you can listen wherever you get your podcasts.
Look out for Ep. 176: "What Is So Different About Americans? Are We Homicidal By Nature?" Links below:
CONGRESS DEMANDS TECH CEOs CENSOR THE INTERNET IN DESPOTIC HEARING
Over the course of five-plus hours on Thursday, a House Committee along with two subcommittees badgered three tech CEOs, repeatedly demanding that they censor more political content from their platforms and vowing legislative retaliation if they fail to comply.
A Reader Writes: What ever happened to your catch of the day addendum of backfeifengesicht? One of the best words in the known world.
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?
by James Kunstler
The people pretending to run the world’s financial affairs do. The more layers of abstract game-playing they add to the existing armatures of unreality they’ve already constructed, the more certain it becomes that they will blow up all the support systems of a sunsetting hyper-tech economy that now has no safe lane to continue running in.
Virtually all the big nations are doing this now in desperation because they don’t understand that the hyper-tech economy is hostage to the deteriorating economics of energy, basically fossil fuels, and oil especially. The macro mega-system can’t grow anymore. We’re now in the de-growth phase of a dynamic that pulsates through history, as everything in the universe pulsates. We attempted to compensate for de-growth with debt, borrowing from the future.
But debt only works in the youthful growth phases of economic pulsation, when the prospect of being paid back is statistically favorable. Now in the elder de-growth phase, the prospect of paying back debts, or even servicing the interest, is statistically dismal. The amount of racked-up debt worldwide has entered the realm of the laughable. So, the roughly twenty-year experiment in Central Bank credit magic, as a replacement for true capital formation, has come to its grievous end.
Hence, America under the pretend leadership of Joe Biden ventures into the final act of this melodrama, which will end badly and probably pretty quickly. They are about to call in the financial four horsemen of apocalypse: 1) Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), 2) a command economy, 3) Universal Basic Income (UBI, “helicopter” money for the people), and 4) the “Build Back Better” infrastructure scheme.
MMT is the idea that a nation which claims a monopoly on issuing money can “create” new money ad infinitum with no negative consequences. That is, we can “lend” ourselves money (borrow it into existence) without having to worry about paying it back. The theory caught on only because that’s what we’ve done for two decades and, so far, it hasn’t destroyed the banking system — though debt turned exponential, which is to say ruinous, only recently — so we won’t have to stand by long to see how this experiment works out. Note this too: MMT completes the divorce between productive activity and capital formation, that is, prosperity without wealth.
A command economy means that government increasingly attempts to takes over economic enterprise, to replace x-million individual economic choices of freely-acting people in a society with bureaucratic central planning. (Have you already said ha-ha-ha, knowing how that has worked out through history?)
UBI is the primary feature of that because, in a command economy, production is mostly pretend, so you just have to give people money (for nothing). Remember the old basic operating system of the Soviet Union, stated succinctly as: We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us. Got that?
The idea behind “Build Back Better” is to renovate the infrastructure of a hyper-tech economy that actually no longer exists because we are in the contraction phase of an historic pulsation or cycle, leaving us with lots of tech and less production, tending toward zero. Nobody flogging this slogan actually knows what it ought to mean under the circumstances, which is to go with the flow of the reality of this contraction: to downsize, downscale, and re-localize all our activities to bring them back into sync with actual productivity — that is, raising food, making real stuff, and trading it. Again, it’s the energy dynamic, stupid.
To get to that point, we’re going to shed the massive over-burden of financial game-playing that has pretended to represent our economy. That means stock valuations and bond prices will vaporize along with the derivative activities concocted for trading gainfully in these now-phantom representations of capital. If that happens sooner rather than later, we won’t even be able to pretend to Build Back Better the interstate highways, the electric grid, airports, and all the other stuff in the “infrastructure” folder.
Indeed, a lot of that would be malinvestment folly now because we’re nearing the end of mass motoring and commercial aviation as we’ve known them. If we even have electricity twenty-five years from now, it will come from much-reduced grids on a much more regional basis. The bottom line for all this is that pretty soon every corner of the country will be on its own amid quite a bit of social disorder and financial wreckage. So, whatever energy you actually can marshal to Build Back Better, save it for your town or your local community. And remember, all of the attempts by a national government to control these events, and coerce its citizens in the service of that, will only lead to a more ineffectual and impotent national government that nobody has faith in, confirming the fact that you are on your own.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
RICHARD NIXON, JEWS, AND MARIJUANA
by Jonah Raskin
What is about Jews and marijuana? That’s what Richard Nixon asked H. R. (Bob) Halderman 50-years ago, on May 26, 1971 to be precise. The White House tapes recorded Nixon saying, “There’s a funny thing, every one of the bastards who is out there to legalize marijuana is Jewish.” Nixon added, “What the Christ is the matter with the Jews.” Like a lot of things that Nixon said, his comments about Jews and marijuana had little if any basis in fact.
All the bastards who wanted to legalize weed in the late Sixties and early Seventies weren’t Jewish. They were also Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists. Some worshipped at the shrine of cannabis. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, the oldest and the most efficacious pro–pot force in the word, has never been solely a group made up of Jews.
Mr. Nixon had a problem with Jews that was of his own making. He also had a problem with marijuana, also of his own making. Under the Nixon’s administration’s Controlled Substances Act, marijuana was listed as a “Schedule 1” drug with no medical value and the potential for maximum abuse. Fifty years later, it’s still a Schedule I drug, and illegal by federal law, though at last count “adult” use is permitted in 12 states and the District of Columbia and also permitted for medical use in 13 states.
Not surprisingly, given their long and arduous history, Jews have turned to all sorts of trades, including tinkers, tailors, sailors and spies. It’s likely Jews have been tinkers who mended household utensils throughout the ages. But Google the words “Jewish tinkers” and you get, “Jewish thinkers.” Indeed, what self-respecting Jew isn’t a thinker? Jews have certainly been soldiers and tailors. “Schneider” is the Yiddish word for tailor. In modern times, Jews have also been effective spies, especially when they have worked for the Mossad.
Fast forward to the present day. Michael Steinmetz, the CEO at Flow Kana— a major cannabis company in the U.S.—is one of the few cannabis growers and entrepreneurs who has advertised his Jewishness. “Mazel Tov” may be the only widely recognized Jewish cannabis farm in California. Cary Neiman, the founder of Mazel Tov, says he doesn’t consider himself a religious person, though he adds that he has derived a sense of community from Judaism.
According to Neal Gabler, the author of An Empire of their Own, Jews invented Hollywood, though he had to exaggerate and embellish to make his point. One could not accurately say that Jews invented the cannabiz, though it’s true that the most advanced scientific study of cannabis has taken place in Israel for more than half a century. The Israeli chemist, Raphael Mechoulam “discovered” THC in 1968 when cannabis played an essential role in the counterculture. Later marijuana became an agriculture crop, and then a commodity in an industry all its own. Now, it’s a business that’s taxed and regulated, from California to Michigan and Maine. Outlaws, including Jewish outlaws, are coming in from the cold, slowly. Old habits are hard to break.
The history of the relationship between Jews and cannabis is still being written. Archeologists have argued that artifacts and seeds unearthed at digs show that cannabis has been used by humans for thousands of years. Pot activists say that’s a good reason why weed ought to be legalized by the federal government. Foes of legalization insist that simply because it has been used by humans in the past, doesn’t mean that it should be used in the present.
Biblical scholars and historians point to a passage in the Old Testament that mentions a plant named “qaneh bosem.” Like marijuana, qaneh bosem is described as “reedy, aromatic and sticky.” If qaneh bosem looks, smells and feels like marijuana, as it does, it might well be marijuana. Then, too, it’s possible that the “burning bush,” which also appears in the Bible, is none other than the cannabis plant. Rastafarians insist it is.
Along with Berbers in Egypt, Morocco and Algeria, Jews were involved long ago in the lucrative hashish trade, which spread from the Middle East to North Africa. The mystic, composer and herbalist, Hildegard von Bingen. recommended cannabis because, she explained, “it diminishes the bad humors and makes the good humors strong.” Hildegard also suggested that people who were “weak in the head” and had “a vacant mind” refrain from cannabis because it would “make the person suffer pain in his or her head.” Sounds like she had a bad experience with weed.
Early Taoists discouraged its use because it was too yin. Pope Innocent VIII condemned it because it was used in what he regarded as “satantic masses.” The medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher, Maimonides, prescribed it for infections. What’s clear is that cannabis has been controversial through the ages, and that it has also been used as a sacrament by various religions in Asia, Africa and Europe.
Ron Silver, the executive chef and the owner of Bubby’s restaurant on Hudson Street in Manhattan, says “As far as I’m concerned, marijuana has been legal ever since I was born.” He adds, “In parts of Asia and Africa it grows wild.”
Silver says he has been smoking weed ever since he was a teenager, though for most of his life he lived in the cannabis closet. Recently, he came out. “It’s a joy not to have to hide the fact anymore,” he tells me. While he’s not an advocate for “couch lock,” it would be fair to call him a cannabis connoisseur who is taking marijuana places where it has never been before. As the founder of Azuca and the company’s top chef, he makes cannabis edibles and cannabis drinks.
Many of Azuca’s products have “CBD,” which isn’t psychoactive, though it might help an insomniac sleep and also provide a cancer survivor with a healthy appetite. Other Azuca cannabis products, which are not yet on the market, have THC, which is psychoactive. Ingest it and you might think you’ve seen the original burning bush, or maybe you’ll be persuaded to become a rastafarian and make weed a sacrament.
Ron Silver, who was born in New York, says that when he was a teenager he had the opportunity to travel to Spy Rock Road in Mendocino County, California and observe up close and personal the cultivation of marijuana. “I pitched a tent on land a relative owned and lived like Tom Sawyer,” Silver explains. “It was wonderful.” The summer that Silver lived in a tent in the Triangle and learned how to cultivate primo weed, sheriffs and deputies raided gardens, arrested farmers and destroyed crops.
“Once, on a flight between San Francisco and Salt Lake City I checked a bag with marijuana,” he tells me. “When we were in the air the whole plane stank. After we landed, I grabbed my luggage, took off and didn’t look back.” Yes, Silver has had “chutzpah,” or balls, but it would not be fair or accurate to describe him as a smuggler or a trafficker. He has had other fish to fry.
While California cannabis moved slowly from illegality to legality, Silver was cooking up a storm at Bubby’s, the restaurant he started with $10,000 cash. He has operated it for the last 30 years, through terrorist attacks, super storms like Sandy and the financial meltdown of 2007-2008. “Running a restaurant is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he says. Silver also ventured halfway around the world to Tokyo, Japan, where, with backing from Japanese businessmen, he opened six restaurants: Bubby’s Akasaka, Bubby’s Shiodome, Bubby’s Yaechika and Bubby’s Yaesu.
“That was a challenge,” Silver says. “The Japanese have a rice-based culture and cuisine, and Bubby’s relies on wheat for so many dishes. I had to teach the Japanese how to work with flour. They taught me a lot about rice.”
Silver married and raised a family in Manhattan. He hasn’t encouraged his kids to smoke dope. The youngest doesn’t know about the laboratory that he set up a couple of blocks from home, where he has used his kitchen experience and culinary expertise to experiment with cannabis. After years of diligent work, he discovered how to make pot “hydrophilic” or water friendly. The essential oils in cannabis, which contain the plant’s powerful cannabinoids, don’t dissolve in water. It’s true: oil and water don’t mix. But Silver persuaded cannabis oils to be polite to water, so the human body can absorb them more easily.
In his lab, he discovered how to isolate the molecules in cannabis. He added the ones that he prized the most to both edibles and liquids. His products are fast-acting, safe and reliable. Silver founded Azuca and joined forces with an unlikely business partner, Kim Rael, a New Mexico native who has a B.A. from Harvard and an MBA from Stanford. Rael served as the CEO at Qynergy, an innovative energy company, and worked as an aide to Jeff Bingaman, a U.S. Senator from the Land of Enchantment.
These days, Rael sits on the Board of Regents of the University of New Mexico and on the Board of Directors of the International Women’s Forum. “We needed to have an adult in the room,” Silver tells me. “Kim is great.” A versatile cook in her own kitchen, Rael explains, “I spent a lot of time in Silicon Valley and wanted to get out of tech and into the wellness sector. I was in a focus group where we tasted cannabis-infused sugar. I had been a skeptic, but I became an instant convert.”
One of Azuca’s cannabis-infused sugar products, which contains CBD, not THC—the psychoactive ingredient—is on the menu at Silver’s restaurant, which is open seven days a week, from 8 am. to 9:15 p.m. You have to be 21 or over to be served the CBD sugar.
Tourists and newbies who show up at Bubby’s often expect to find a New York-style Jewish deli. Whatever it is, it’s not that.
Though he was born a Jew and raised a Jew, with a Jewish sense of humor gleaned from the likes of Lenny Bruce and Mel Brooks, Silver shies away from “Jew Food” that includes classics such as kasha, knishes, kugle and tzimmes.
“I have nothing Kosher on Bubby’s menu,” Silver tells me. “I go through 1,100 pounds of bacon a week. In the kitchen we use lard to make the crust for our pies.” In his spare time, he’s revising Bubby’s Brunch Cookbook. In the new edition, he will urge chefs to convert from butter and vegetable oils to lard. “They won’t be sorry,” he says. “You can taste the difference. Pies are better with lard.”
At Bubby’s, Silver aims, not for culinary orthodoxy, but for culinary diversity. This year for St. Patrick’s Day, the restaurant served corned beef and cabbage, and for Passover, that old stand-by, matzo brei. Every day, the wait staff serves an honor roll of comfort foods: buttermilk biscuits with jam, mac ‘n’ cheese, meatloaf, fried chicken and apple pie.
“Some people might call me a bad Jew,” Silver says. “Thinking back to Hebrew school, I remember I was always getting into trouble, breaking the rules and causing grief for my mother. But it was non-malicious mischief. Over the years, Judaism has given me a sense of cultural identity.” Silver feels much the same about cannabis. It has helped to make him into the man he is today. After all, as someone observed centuries ago, we are what we eat.
Earlier this year. the Society for Humanistic Judaism, which is based in Farmington Hill, Michigan—hardly a center for the consumption and cultivation of cannabis—adopted a resolution for “full legalization” of marijuana in the U.S. The resolution states, “all laws making the production, sale, trade, possession, and use of cannabis a criminal offense—for any reason, including recreational—should be immediately repealed.” Silver has been acting under the assumption that it’s legal for a long time.
While he can be a wisenheimer, he’s not a wise guy of the kind Martin Scorsese depicts in movies like Goodfellas and The Irishman. If Scorsese were to make a movie about Silver and his love of cannabis and food, he might call it “Mensch,” or perhaps “The Man with the Yiddish Cup.” Richard Nixon is surely shaking his fist and threatening to close down Bubby’s, lock up Silver and throw away the keys.
(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.)
GEORGE CARLIN SPEECH at the National Press Club (May 13, 1999)