Cooler | 126 New Cases | Marguerite Crown | Monoclonal Antibodies | Miles Ahead | Hip Camps | Hooty Spool | Marijuana Widow | Don't Encourage | Watertower Town | Labor Movement | Four Years | Emergency Call | Factory Work | Chainsaw Threat | Ford Goons | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Dr Pitts | Pro-Life Commandments | Usal Store | Priorities Wrong | Swingers | Gig Workers | Trespassers Asked | Abortion Hunters | Side Effects | Moral Mania
HOT INLAND TEMPERATURES COOL SOMEWHAT Thursday and Friday as an upper level trough passes by, while coastal areas will remain seasonably mild with areas of morning fog. The trough may bring a few showers and isolated thunderstorms to the interior mountains late Thursday, otherwise it will be mainly dry through the weekend. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Yorkville 100°, Ukiah 100°, Boonville 96°, Fort Bragg 63°
126 NEW COVID CASES (since last Friday) reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
MARGUERITE SUSAN CROWN
March 4, 1947 – August 22, 2021
Marguerite was born in Palo Alto, California on March 4, 1947 to Virginia Smith McCowen and Hale McCowen Jr. and passed away peacefully at her home in Sacramento on August 22, 2021 surrounded by family.
Marguerite is survived by her daughter Susan Cellitti, Susan's husband Jason, grandchildren Jackson and Agnes, her brother John McCowen and many dear friends. Her family has roots in Mendocino County dating back to the 1850's, and she continued the family traditions of public service and of strong, capable, intelligent women.
Marguerite graduated from UC Berkeley where she met her future husband. They settled in Sacramento with their daughter, and Marguerite was soon recognized for her outstanding contributions to youth organizations including Arden Manor Recreation and Park District and Sacramento-Yolo Council of Camp Fire.
Marguerite stayed in Sacramento after her divorce and continued to build lifelong friendships through her devotion to resolving problems, getting things done, and being there for those in need. She was active in the Sierra Oaks School community for almost 40 years, including over twenty years as school secretary, before illness led to her retirement in 2018.
Marguerite enjoyed travel, the arts and many hobbies and activities but possibly none so much as reading a good book with a tall iced tea nearby.
A Remembrance will be held at Lombard Funeral Home in Sacramento on Thursday, September 9th at 3-5 pm. A small graveside service will be held in Ukiah on Friday September 10th at 11 am. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Sierra Oaks PTA, The Sun House Museum in Ukiah, or your local arts institution.
MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY TREATMENT FOR COVID
by William Miller, MD; Chief of Staff at Adventist Health – Mendocino Coast Hospital
Antibodies are proteins made by our immune system that stick to invading bacteria or viruses. In doing so, they assist the immune cells in quickly identifying and clearing infection. Antibodies are normally made only after the immune system has seen the infection for the first time and as a result are the “memory” that gives us “immunity”. In other words, we do not have antibodies against an invader the first time we encounter the infection. All vaccines work by stimulating the immune system to create antibodies against an infection and thus have the “memory” without the person having to get the actual infection.
For a long time, we have known that we can give someone an injection of antibodies that will give temporary immunity as long as those antibodies stay in circulation, which is usually about 12 weeks. For example, we gave travelers gamma globulin shots before they went on trips to places were hepatitis was prevalent. Gamma globulin was simply pooled antibodies from many blood donors and contained antibodies against many things, including hepatitis. Now we simply vaccinate them against hepatitis, which is better because it gives lasting immunity instead of a temporary one.
Early in the COVID pandemic, we experimented with giving patients “convalescent serum”. This was simply serum from a COVID patient who got sick and survived. This was done because that serum contained the donor’s antibodies against the infection. Subsequently, the specific antibodies that were most effective were identified and then manufactured artificially in a lab. This is what is meant by “monoclonal antibody”. There are several monoclonal antibody preparations available for COVID, but the most effective so far is Regen-COV.
Regen-COV is made by Regeneron and is a combination of two artificially manufactured antibodies against SARS-2, the virus that causes COVID. It has shown effectiveness against most of the strains including the Delta variant. In selected patients, it can reduce the risk of progression of illness and hospitalization by about 50%. It may also reduce fatality by an equal amount in certain patients.
Before we go further, recall some important statistics about COVID. First, the majority of persons, 70% or so, who get infected with SARS-2 either never develop symptoms or their symptoms are mild. Of the remaining 30% who do develop more significant symptoms, about a third (12% of the total) require hospitalization. Only about 4-6% of all persons with COVID get so sick as to be an ICU. The overall fatality rate in the US is about 2%. The Delta variant approximately doubles some of these figures with about half of infected persons becoming symptomatic and around 24% ending up in a hospital.
The FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for giving Regen-COV to selected patients back in April. The recipient has to be positive for COVID with only mild to moderate symptoms, and in a group that is high-risk for progression to more serious illness. The treatment must be given within ten days of onset of symptoms and preferably within the first five days for greatest effect. The treatment only helps to prevent progression from mild/moderate to more severe. If symptoms are already severe, such as the patient is in a hospital already, then there is no benefit from the treatment.
Like most things related to this pandemic, Regen-COV was hard to get initially back in April when it first received EUA approval. However, now it is more readily available and we are giving it to patients here on the Coast at Adventist Health (AH) Mendocino Coast hospital and inland through AH Ukiah Valley hospital. The intravenous (IV) infusion takes a little over 30 minutes and there is a 1 hour observation that follows. As with other antibody infusions, the biggest risk is anaphylaxis which occurs rarely (less than 1% of the time). We are not giving it as a subcutaneous injection as it is slightly more effective if given IV. The FDA also added the possibility for use as post-exposure prophylaxis, but that is limited only to people and settings of particularly high risk, such as during an outbreak in a nursing home. Wearing a mask remains your best defense against exposure in the first place.
The treatment requires an order from a doctor or other healthcare provider. If you have recently tested positive for COVID, are within ten days of onset of mild or moderate symptoms and feel that you may be a candidate to receive the infusion, then contact your primary care provider and discuss it. If you do qualify, then your provider will order it. Please, do not call the hospital or show up in the ER as a means of trying to get the treatment. Start with your primary care provider who would be the one to order it for you.
You can access previous Miller Reports by visiting www.WMillerMD.com.
(The views shared in this weekly column are those of the author, Dr. William Miller, and do not necessarily represent those of the publisher or of Adventist Health.)
HIP CAMP SPREAD, a facebook comment:
I am concerned about the Hip Camps that have been popping up in the wooded residential areas of our county. One neighbor of mine had one started next door to them. This person used a bull dozer to plow a trail through 2 stream beds. He overbooks so campers end up just camping anywhere they can find since there are no available sites. He has no source of water but told the county he did. Despite all of these violations my neighbor cannot get any local enforcement folks to come out to inspect this site. They are stretched too thin. They had to pay out of pocket for an attorney to write this guy a letter but so far he has not stopped.
I raise this concern because, as a part time resident of Covelo this is how illegal pot cultivation sites started. Now they are out of control and too many for the Sheriff to deal with.
No enforcement and not enough staff to check up on these camps means the potential for further proliferation of these sites.
Without enforcement people just continue to break the law since there is no downside to just trying and seeing if you can make a quick buck before something happens to stop you.
It is sad that my neighbor is having such a hard time getting help in the midst of this drought. Having people camping and building fires increases the risk of fire danger.
A possible source of revenue for the county are significant fines for people who don’t comply with the protections they are supposed to follow in setting up these camps. Property owners who allow someone to set up these camps should be held responsible. I think there should be a high bar for these camps to be legal due to the risk of fire and the lack of water.
I hate even bringing this topic up in this manner. But without awareness of and pressure from the public I am concerned that Hip Camps could become a fire danger and a further drain on our limited water.
Thx for reading
PORTRAIT OF A MARIJUANA WIDOW
by Jonah Raskin
War makes women into widows. In fact, war is called "the widow maker." Football also makes some women into widows, especially during football season, which has started once again with a vengeance in high schools, colleges and in the NFL. Anyone who doesn't like it, and doesn't want to participate in the spectacle has to make a concerted effort to avoid it. Granted, men don't die during football season, but they're often just not available to their wives. Not emotionally available and not really present. The minds of many American men are not focused on their wives, their marriages, and their families or even on themselves. They're thinking about TDs, extra points, bad calls, the red zone, first downs, punt returns and kick-offs. Football is a world unto itself.
Mind you, I'm talking as a fan, not a foe. I played high school football, college football and college rugby. For 40 years I watched Monday Night Football with a bunch of guys who were carpenters, contractors, electricians and plumbers. Women were not banned, but no women attended those Monday night games. Only when the Super Bowl arrived did women join the crowd.
Recently, I thought about my friend, Ichika, (not her real name), a Japanese woman who was and is still married to an American man who grew marijuana deep in a Lake County forest. During the marijuana-growing season, which began in February and lasted until October or November, she felt like a widow. She lived alone near Finley and didn't see her husband, except on rare occasions when he came down from the wilderness and reentered civilization.
Ichika lived by herself in a cabin at an old Lake County resort that had closed down. She read books, walked the dog, swam in an Olympic sized pool, watched the creek which got wild in winter, and followed the mountain lions that came down from the forest. She also cultivated eight marijuana plants that grew to be ten feet tall. Might as well cultivate, she thought. "In many ways it was a very solitary life," she told me. "When I got married I didn't think I'd be living alone for most of the year."
To be among people, Ichika took a job as a waitress at Angel's Rock House in Finley, which is still in operation and which bills itself as the best Mexican restaurant in Lake County. On weekends, she made between $180 and $200 a night. Also, she could eat all she wanted to eat at Angel's, which was called the Rock House because it was once home to a bar and dance palace where rock bands played.
"Most of the people who ate there were rednecks," Ichika told me. "The parking lot was packed with pick-up trucks. On Fridays and Saturdays we'd serve one hundred customers. Some of them were growers who hung out at Angel's until it was time to harvest. The cook was Mexican. His wife also worked in the restaurant, and other family members came and ate burritos, enchiladas, tacos, fajitas, sopes, plus a Mexican version of pizza, and of course rice and beans. For dessert there were tortilla chips with cinnamon and sugar."
Ichika learned enough Spanish to say, "si, si, la comida es buena" when someone asked if the food was good. Rumor had it that some of the Mexicans in Finley were also growing weed. “They had their own little cartel,” Ichika said.
After her husband harvested his crop in the mountains, he came down to Finley and harvested his wife's crop.
She was a marijuana widow for several seasons. That way of life got old fast, but the money was so good it was hard to give it up. Ichika's marriage survived. She and her husband are still together. He's still growing. She helps with the trimming.
Recently, a big newspaper ran a story that said that pot farmers were getting $500 a pound. Ichika's husband told me he was getting $1,000 a pound and that buyers from all over the country came to his place, made big purchases and paid him in cash.
Don't feel too sorry for the pot growers. “The money I make stays in the local economy,” Ichika's husband told me. Still, he and his wife are thinking about getting out of the cannabiz. “We might go to Japan,” she said. “I have family there. It would be good to be in my own country again."
Angel's is going strong. If you're anywhere near Finley or Lakeport, stop and have a burrito and a beer or two. Drink a couple of margaritas and soak up the atmosphere. You'll probably rub shoulders with a grower. The fact that Mexicans run a restaurant in Finley will remind you of what you already know: that Mexicans are everywhere in the U.S.A. and that everyone eats Mexican food, during football season and anytime of the year.
WHERE DID THE WATER TOWERS GO?
Did our predecessors have it right a century ago? Mendocino used to be call “water tower town.” Why? Because town wells went sally by the end of Summer, so businesses and wealthy residents had its own water storage. Of course, to have water pressure in one's pipes, you put the water up in the air. You know, use gravity. Duh. Where have the water towers gone? Hmmm.
* * *
Old-time wooden water towers were built to provide gravity pressure to the water supply. Windmill powered pumps sucked water from the well and pumped it to the tank. When a tap in the building was opened the water pressure was provided by gravity, so the windmill didn't have to be working at the moment. The tanks were not big enough to store enough water to last for months in case the well went dry, and hauling water by horse and wagon and pumping it up into the tower tanks wasn't practical or economic.
Water towers weren't built after electric pumps and air pressure tanks became the norm in the early 20th century. The electric pump forces water into the pressure tank against air pressure from the upper part of the tank. A pressure switch turns off the pump when the desired upper pressure limit is reached, and turns the pump on again when water usage brings the pressure in the tank down to the cut-in point. The captive air pressure water tank replaced the wooden tower water tank because it was far less costly.
Mendocino was far from the only town on the coast to have wooden water towers in the 1800s. Some towns, like Fort Bragg, Caspar and Greenwood (Elk) had central water systems, often built by the local lumber mill company, but others, like Mendocino, depended on individual wells on each property. That's why there were so many water towers in Mendocino; no central water system.
If you look at the cost of putting up a wooden water tower and tank (several thousand dollars) and compare it to using a pressurized air tank (about $300), there's no contest.
Nick Wilson, Albion
Good morning! Well, reading about myself in the AVA for two days being described as a hysterical and inaccurate hyperbole, a computer addict, twister of truth and all that fun stuff by two of the AVCSD directors, I would like to make the following statement: I stand by what I wrote in the AVA.
I do have one factual statement I believe is worth repeating: The term for Community Services District directors is four years.
CALL FOR EMERGENCY ACTION To Limit Global Temperature Increases, Restore Biodiversity, And Protect Health
The UN General Assembly in September, 2021, will bring countries together at a critical time for marshalling collective action to tackle the global environmental crisis. They will meet again at the biodiversity summit in Kunming, China, and the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, UK. Ahead of these pivotal meetings, we—the editors of health journals worldwide—call for urgent action to keep average global temperature increases below 1·5°C, halt the destruction of nature, and protect health.
Health is already being harmed by global temperature increases and the destruction of the natural world, a state of affairs health professionals have been bringing attention to for decades. The science is unequivocal; a global increase of 1·5°C above the pre-industrial average and the continued loss of biodiversity risk catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse. Despite the world's necessary preoccupation with COVID-19, we cannot wait for the pandemic to pass to rapidly reduce emissions.
Reflecting the severity of the moment, this Comment appears in health journals across the world. We are united in recognising that only fundamental and equitable changes to societies will reverse our current trajectory....
MONTERO’S CHAINSAW THREAT
On September 06, 2021 at approximately 1:31 p.m., Officers of the Fort Bragg Police Department were dispatched to a local residence for reports of a vehicle that had been stolen moments earlier. Dispatch provided additional information that the suspect (later identified to be Arthur Montero, 37, of Hayfork) had threatened the victim with a chainsaw in order to obtain vehicle keys from the victim after unlawfully entering her home.
Officers arrived at the residence and made contact with the victim who reported Montero had stated he was going to use the chainsaw to “chop” the victim up if his demand for vehicle keys was not met. Montero was then reported to have attempted to start the chainsaw several times until the victim advised him where the keys were. Officers also learned the vehicle that had been taken was a green Ford F250 pickup truck and was last seen driving in the area of Simpson Lane at a high rate of speed. The Officer relayed information to allied agencies which included Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and California Highway Patrol.
Montero was later located on Simpson Lane and a traffic enforcement stop was initiated by allied agencies near Speedway Express Gas Station (located at 18475 N. Highway 1, Fort Bragg). Montero was detained without incident and Fort Bragg Police Officers took Montero into custody. The victim was reunited with her vehicle which had not sustained any damages in regards to this incident. Montero was transported to Mendocino County Jail for the following charges: possession of stolen vehicle, criminal threats, robbery, burglary and possession of stolen property.
The Fort Bragg Police Department would like to commend our allied agencies for their quick response in assisting with the apprehension of Montero.
Questions regarding this press release may be forwarded to Officer Anthony Welter at 707-961-2800 ext. 168 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Fort Bragg Police Presser)
FORD "SERVICE DEPARTMENT" GOONS BEAT UNION ORGANIZER
FROM THE ANDERSON VALLEY HEALTH CENTER: “Hi Community - We have been getting a lot of calls asking about the Boonville fair and whether we think it is safe. Given the state of the covid surge in Mendocino County, our recommendation is that large scale events whether outdoor or indoor and vaccinated or not are not safe right now. Our emergency rooms are beyond capacity, so any more surge than what we have now will be devastating in many ways. If you do choose to go to the fair, our advice is to stay 100% masked at all times. We are sorry to say, this may be a good year to stay home.”
AND forego my annual corndog? Not a chance. Boonville's beloved community newspaper will be there Friday morning, as per ancient custom. Haven't missed a Fair since '71 when, already a totally woke kinda dude fresh outta Frisco, I was surprised to hear the rodeo announcer tell all manner of un-PC jokes over the PA system, heavy on hippie gags. “Why did the hippie go to Garberville? He heard there were no jobs there.” I thought that was pretty funny at the time, but I'll bet I've heard it 500 times since.
I'VE MENTIONED this before; I've mentioned everything before; which is one of the many advantages of publishing a newspaper in the county where history starts all over again every day, and you are whatever you say you are, and this is the last time you'll see a semi-colon from me. Down with equivocal punctuation! Down with stuttering prose! Tight and bright. Get on and get off.
ANYWAY, Slim Pickens was a rodeo caller before he hit it big in the movies. Remember him yee-hawing as he rode the A-bomb in Doctor Strangelove? He called a rodeo in Boonville in, I believe, the late 1950s, commenting that Boonville was the roughest town he ever worked. Friends who grew up in the Anderson Valley remember sitting outside Boonville's several bars to watch all the weekend fights when bars posted warning signs, “No Corks,” meaning woods workers couldn't wear those spiked logging boots inside because so many guys got punctured with them during Saturday night combats. And all through the 1970s the Boonville Fair required a large police presence to maintain order among all the drunks and annual combatants.
ALARMING SCANNER CALL coupla days ago said a black man had just taken a girl at gunpoint from her Peachland Road home, lower Peachland. The responding deputies somehow wound up at High Peachland looking for the alleged excitement about five miles behind them down the hill. Whatever happened must not have been as thrilling as advertised because there has been no further mention of it anywhere.
THERE WAS an anti-vax demo in front of the County Courthouse Tuesday morning. “Masks are useless,” read one placard clutched by a large female whose next stop could well be the emergency room. Not more than a dozen persons participated, and all were victims of the great misinformation cyber machine. I would have stopped to watch the entertainment if the mark of the beast guy was there, the man who disrupted Saturday's small business rally at the Redwood Health Club with tourette's-like 666 shouts.
POOR OLD JOE, visiting New York and New Jersey today for photo ops with flood damage victims of Hurricane Ida that killed 52 people over the weekend. POJ was rudely heckled as he hugged survivors. Biden said global warming was here in “real time,”" suggesting his infrastructure plan was one way of combating the ravages of violent storms. Poor old Joe was met by jeers and profane signs. One red, white and blue flag said “Fuck Biden” with a sub-heading that read: “And Fuck You for voting For Him.” Several feral children flipped him off. Ignoring his reception or oblivious of it, POJ, his perfect big white teeth flashing in the late summer sun, grinned and grinned and grinned.
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 7, 2021
JOSE BUCIO-MAGALLON, Ukiah. DUI.
KASE KRUMWIEDE, Salem, Oregon/Ukiah. Under influence, controlled substance, paraphernalia, ammo possession by prohibited person.
MATASHIA LILLY, Willits. Failure to appear.
MATTHEW MATUSHENKO, Ukiah. Burglary.
ARTHUR MONTERO, Hayfork/Fort Bragg. Robbery, criminal threats, taking vehicle without owner’s consent burglary, stolen property.
ALEX MORA-WHITEHURST, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
VICTOR RICO-GONZALEZ, Geyserville/Ukiah. DUI, suspended license for DUI.
CHERRI ROBERTS, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, contempt of court, competency status. (Frequent flyer.)
PAULLEN SEVERN-WALSH, Philo. DUI, suspended license for DUI, child endangerment.
TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR ‘PRO-LIFERS’
by Steve Heilig
Thou shalt not seek to insert anti-abortion words into the Bible or any other scriptures where it is never once mentioned, nor seek to breach America’s hallowed separation of church and state, recalling that the Constitution’s first amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”
Thou shalt not further assume your God agrees with you regarding anything having to do with women’s health, especially if for whatever reason you imagine Him to be a man.
Thou shalt shut thy mouth about women’s reproductive health and choices, and not falsely assume women have abortions “casually” or “as birth control” or otherwise treat it as a not serious matter, especially if thy thyself are a man, and if so, thou shalt have the growing “baby” implanted into your own body to carry to term and afterwards fully support for at least 18 years, preferably and likely much longer.
Thou shalt deeply study embryology so as to not believe a six-week embryo has a “heartbeat,” let alone any kind of sentience, sensations of pain, or other characteristics that make it anything like a “baby”, and otherwise heed and side with established medical and other true expert opinion on matters of reproductive health rather than that of ill-informed or lying zealots.
Thou shalt recognize that almost all bans on abortion and other reproductive health services, both here and abroad, actually result in more abortions rather than less, later abortions due to barriers, great harm and even death to desperate women who seek illegal procedures, and yes it should be said, more nonwhite and poor children ye likely don't want to support with your precious tax dollars.
Thou shalt thus shell out all your non-essential income to any woman and baby thou hast caused to be born despite the woman’s own wishes and needs, regardless of their ethnicity, immigration status, gender, etc, and will legally adopt any such baby upon request.
Thou shalt strongly support both in concept and cash the only things proven to actually reduce unwanted pregnancies, namely freely available effective contraception, scientifically solid and sensitive sex education, and substantial healthcare access and economic support for pregnant women including after birth if she so chooses.
Thou shalt not seek to empower self-righteous “vigilantes” to enforce your beliefs about abortion in exchange for cash, as really, what could wrong with that.
Thou shalt reject any political figure who professes to be “pro-life” just to troll for votes even though said candidate is grossly anti-woman and child in both policy and personal life, including likely causing unwanted pregnancies himself.
Thou shalt only profess to be “pro-life” if you can adhere in conviction and action to all the commandments above, vowing otherwise to simply mind thine own business, forever and ever, amen.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Yep when I was at one of my court dates many years ago to see if I would be spending 3 years in Quentin or not, there was a man ahead of me who was charged with DUI, reckless endangerment, and two counts of involuntary manslaughter. He was about 40, had been driving through Eureka with a 19 year old and 17 year old girl in his vehicle, when he wrecked and both girls died. Both of the young girl’s families were there to see justice served. The man got convicted and sentenced to all of 7 years in prison, with the possibility of parole in 3 1/2 years. That’s when I realized that our system is a complete joke. Dude killed two young women and was eligible for parole, I was looking at 3 years without the possibility of parole due to some special allegations, for having some weed and a few firearms (before you get all in a tizzy, they were two hunting rifles and a benelli, which I used for hunting). Stupid on my part? Absolutely. But what I had could cause harm to nobody, unless you were a deer or a duck. That man killed two young girls, and it was his 3rd DUI. California has its priorities wrong.
AND FOR THE LADIES...
IMMIGRANT GIG WORKERS RISKED THEIR LIVES DURING IDA. THEY WANT BETTER WAGES.
by Luis Feliz Leon
During a typical downpour, the rainwater also pours gobs of cash in tips into the pockets of immigrant gig workers as they zip around the city delivering takeout to New Yorkers hunkering down at home. Flash flooding warnings are not a case for worry; they are signs of a boon to come, as food delivery apps like GrubHub, DoorDash, and Relay offer bonuses to entice workers to traipse through snow and rain to feed homebound residents. On these days of extreme weather, upwardly mobile customers are apt to be less stingy.
But the incongruity between the expectation of high earnings and the realities of a hurricane storm dumping a historic five to seven inches of rain couldn’t have been starker September 1.
“We lost more than we earned,” says Miguel Reynoso, 34, a Guatemalan member of Los Deliveristas Unidos, or Delivery Workers United, a gig worker collective.
Reynoso was delivering food for GrubHub at 9 p.m. in Manhattan when his $1,300 scooter broke down. The food app paid him $5 based on time spent and miles traveled for that order, and the customer tipped him $6; his total earnings after working 10 hours that day were $240. He says GrubHub had a $12 promotion for completing three delivery trips in a row. But his decision to brave the rain cost him $160 to repair the carburetor on the scooter after it filled with water and stranded him miles from his home in the Bronx.
Reynoso is an independent contractor, but one with severely circumscribed independence. He isn’t allowed to decline orders after signing up to be on the app schedule for deliveries. GrubHub didn’t suspend service, according to gig workers. He doesn’t receive health care, paid time off, workers’ compensation, or even a minimum wage guarantee. GrubHub isn’t responsible for fixing his wrecked scooter’s motor.
The trail of destruction left behind by Hurricane Ida rendered inoperable hundreds of scooters that immigrant gig workers like Reynoso depend on to earn a living, said Ligia Guallpa, executive director of Worker’s Justice Project. The worker center in Brooklyn, which has provided critical support to Los Deliveristas since the group was formed last year, is running a fundraiser to help workers fund repairs and pay for replacements.
At least 21 people are dead in New York and New Jersey. Eleven of the fatalities occurred in Queens, where residents died trapped in their homes as water rushed in. They had heeded the official message from Mayor Bill de Blasio: “Stay inside.”
Deliverista Toño Martinez, 34, a resident of Queens, never planned to stay home. “We thought it was going to be a good day. We go out come rain or snow,” said Martinez, a native of Mexico who has worked mostly for restaurants. He transitioned to app-based food delivery a little over a year ago.
Martinez said working an eight-hour shift for GrubHub on a rainy day he would typically earn $300. However, by 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, an onslaught of rainwater rising waist-deep around him, Martinez called it quits, after waiting an hour for $5 on a delivery. Wading past parked cars inundated by floodwaters, after nearly eight hours in the rain, he ended the night with a measly $110.
The blessing was escaping unscathed, and with the motor of his gasoline-powered scooter still working.
“The rain hit hard; the drops hurt on my face,” wrote another Deliverista, Antony, via text message. (He asked to only use his first name, fearful of retaliation from the app.) Despite the platform Relay offering a $2 bonus per trip, he logged off at 8 p.m. having earned $110 in three hours ‹ worried he’d be stranded as the rain pelleted him. Better Wages Demanded Food delivery workers may have saved lives by making it possible for other New Yorkers to remain indoors dry and safe during the record-breaking rainfall.
After a video on social media went viral — it showed a food delivery worker submerged in water carrying food in a white plastic bag — the admonitions poured in to tip generously or forgo ordering takeout. Those posting were right to recognize the workers’ essential labor, but most missed the solutions that delivery workers themselves are calling for.
“Every sacrifice deserves to be rewarded,” says Reynoso. The reward he has in mind is GrubHub increasing its base pay for deliveries to $8, instead of its opaque calculations on time and miles.
Martinez is hopeful about “a package of bills that will help us have better wages.” Los Deliveristas have fought for legislation at the city level to boost wages, among other demands. Recently they defeated a state proposal that would have relegated them to a third-class category of employee. Said Martinez: “We’ll continue to fight.”
ABORTION BOUNTY HUNTERS IN TEXAS Are Not "Whistleblowers" — They’re Cruel Vigilantes
by Norman Solomon
One of the many preposterous claims coming from supporters of the vicious new Texas law against abortion is that bounty hunters -- standing to gain a $10,000 reward from the state -- will somehow be “whistleblowers.” The largest anti-abortion group in Texas is trying to attach the virtuous “whistleblower” label to predators who’ll file lawsuits against abortion providers and anyone who “aids or abets” a woman getting an abortion.
As a journalist and activist, I’ve worked with a range of genuine whistleblowers during the last several decades. Coming from diverse backgrounds, they ended up tangling with institutions ranging from the Pentagon and CIA to the National Security Agency and the Veterans Administration. Their personalities and outlooks varied greatly, but none of them were bullies. None of them wanted to threaten or harm powerless people in distress. On the contrary, the point of the whistleblowing was to hold powerful institutions accountable for violations of human rights.
What the Texas vigilantes will be seeking to do is quite the opposite. The targets will be women who want abortions as well as their allies -- people under duress -- with pursuers seeing a bullseye on their backs.
The whistleblowers I’ve known have all taken huge risks. Most lost their jobs. Many endured all-out prosecutions on bogus charges, like violating the Espionage Act for the “crime” of informing the public with vital information. Some went to prison. Almost all suffered large -- often massive -- losses that wrecked their personal finances.
In sharp contrast, the Texans trying to cash in on the new law will risk nothing. While collaborating with the state to spy on the lives of others, they will be striving to enrich themselves.
“The state law created a so-called ‘private right of action’ to enforce the restriction,” in the words of a CNN report. “Essentially, the legislature deputized private citizens to bring civil litigation -- with the threat of $10,000 or more in damages -- against providers or even anyone who helped a woman access an abortion after six weeks.”
Calling those who exploit this law “whistleblowers” is a way to turn the true meaning of whistleblowing on its head. We might as well have history books referring to enforcers of the Fugitive Slave Act as “good Samaritans,” or monitors of Jim Crow compliance as “civic activists.”
It’s fitting -- and revealing -- that the professed “whistleblowing” website thrown up by the big Texas Right to Life organization was welcomed by an internet provider that specializes in hosting services for extreme far-right groups. Thanks to a provider called Epik, the Daily Beast reported, the site “found a new home alongside neo-Nazis and white supremacists.” The digital relocation came after the site was booted by GoDaddy on Friday. But before the end of the weekend, even Epik backed away.
One of the enormous dangers of the Texas abortion law is that a Stasi-like culture of betrayal and fear will evolve in the Lone Star State and copy-cat states, with long-lasting destructive effects. If a friend, neighbor or co-worker can turn someone in and gain a reward for doing so, the ripple effects are going to be corrosive, intensifying over time.
Aided by the U.S. Supreme Court, the state of Texas has now codified misogyny. The results will surely include ongoing deaths, making the coat hanger the state’s unofficial symbol. Real whistleblowing will expose those who profit from victimizing women under cover of this horrible new law.
(Norman Solomon is the national director of RootsAction.org and the author of many books including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 and 2020 Democratic National Conventions. Solomon is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.)
MORAL MAJORITY MEDIA STRIKES AGAIN
by Matt Taibbi
Citing a report of Oklahoma emergency rooms so overwhelmed by ivermectin overdoses that gunshot victims were going untreated, MSNBC anchor Joy Ann Reid Sunday proposed sticking the swallowers of “horse paste” at the back of the line in order to prioritize the more deserving, “rather than allowing the ivermectin people” — she spoke the words as if holding a vile wriggling thing with tweezers — to “take up all the beds.”
This was a network anchor despising a group of people so much that she itched to deny them medical care, not only despite having never met them, but despite the fact that they may not even exist. The “overwhelmed Oklahoma E.R.” tale later seemed to go sideways, the latest in a line of crackups by media lost in the throes of a moral panic. The tale of mobbed E.R.s originated with a September 1 print story in the Tulsa World, followed by a piece by Oklahoma City-based NBC affiliate KFOR. Both interviewed a Dr. Jason McElyea, who spoke in the KFOR piece of “gunshot victims having hard times getting to facilities.” Separately he spoke about both the overcrowding problem and of seeing ivermectin overdose cases, but we don’t actually hear him making the connection that it’s the “ivermectin people” causing the bed shortage. That was done by KFOR, whose chyron and tweet identically read, “PATIENTS OVERDOSING ON IVERMECTIN BACKING UP HOSPITALS, AMBULANCES.”
The line spread the next day with a retweet by Rachel Maddow — the real patient zero of this mess — followed by tweet-pushes by MSNBC executive producer Lauren Peikoff, the Guardian, the Business Insider, the Daily Mail, Newsweek, the New York Daily News, Daily Kos, Occupy Democrats, Reid, moral mania all-star Kurt Eichenwald, the humorously dependable wrongness-barnacle Eoin Higgins, and of course my former employers at Rolling Stone. My old mag got most of the catcalls on social media, after adding a full written story that widened the scope beyond Oklahoma to note in a tsk-tsking tone that “even podcaster and anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Joe Rogan bragged” of taking ivermectin.
The original report would have been sensational enough, if true. McElyea told stories of backed-up ambulances, patients “in worse conditions than if they’d caught COVID,” and “scariest” of all, “people coming in with vision loss.” Nonetheless, in the game of Twitter telephone that led from KFOR to the Stone, details were magically added. Reid somehow knew the hated overdosers not only swallowed “horse paste” but had done so “instead of taking the vaccine.” Occupy Democrats knew for whom the horse-pasters voted, noting that “so many Trumpers are overdosing” that emergency rooms are full.
MSNBC contributor Dr. Jason Johnson even speculated that Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe was somehow profiteering from the misery: “Wonder if Inhofe (R-OK) has any financial ties to ivermectin. Wouldn’t be the first time he appeared to have profited off #Covid-19.”
Things appeared to go south when the Stone put out an “update” with a statement from Oklahoma’s Northeastern Hospital System Sequoyah, which said Dr. McElyea “has not worked at our Sallisaw location in over 2 months,” and, worse, that “NHS Sequoyah has not treated any patients due to complications related to taking ivermectin,” which “includes not treating any patients for ivermectin overdose.” Of course that was only one hospital system, and it wasn’t clear if it was relevant to McElyea’s story. However, Rolling Stone then put out a second update noting that, “Rolling Stone has been unable to independently verify any such cases,” adding:
”The National Poison Data System states there were 459 reported cases of ivermectin overdose in the United States in August. Oklahoma-specific ivermectin overdose figures are not available, but the count is unlikely to be a significant factor in hospital bed availability in a state that, per the CDC, currently has a 7-day average of 1,528 Covid hospitalizations.”
Mistakes happen and Rolling Stone at least did the right thing and owned up to an issue, while Maddow as of this writing still has her tweet up, as do others on the list, who clearly don’t care. The story in a vacuum appears to be a garden variety series of misunderstandings, in which perhaps-real tales of ivermectin overdoses got conflated somehow with an also-real overcrowding story.
But as Rolling Stone pointed out, a brief glance at statistics should have given reason to be skeptical of tales of gunshot victims turned away by tidal waves of Trump-loving consumers of veterinary medicine, especially given that such patients everywhere are competing with an exponentially larger actual flood of Covid-19 patients.
The problem lay in the reason the error spread, which happens to be the same reason underlying innumerable other media shipwrecks in the last five years. These include everything from wrong reports of Russians hacking a Vermont energy grid, to tales of Michael Cohen in Prague, to the pee tape, to Julie Swetnick’s rape accusation, to the Covington high school fiasco, to Russian oligarchs co-signing a Deutsche Bank loan application for Donald Trump, to Bountygate, to the “mass hysterectomies” story, and dozens beyond: the media business has become a machine for generating error-ridden moral panics.
News has become a corporatized version of the “Two Minutes Hate,” in which the goal of every broadcast is an anxiety-ridden audience provoked to the point of fury by the un-policed infamy of whatever wreckers are said to be threatening civilization this week: the unvaccinated, insurrectionists, Assadists, Greens, Bernie Bros, Jill Stein, Russians, the promoters of “white supremacy culture,” etc.
Mistakes are inevitable because this brand of media business isn’t about accuracy, but rallying audiences to addictive disgust. As a result, most press people now shrug off the odd error or six —look at Maddow leaving her tweet up —so long as they feel stories are directionally right, i.e. aimed at deserving targets.
I never thought this could happen, but people like Maddow, Reid, and the editors of the New York Times opinion page have taken over the role once occupied by Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority. As a kid I tilted blue in my politics in significant part because I couldn’t stand (or understand) crusading moralists like Falwell, whose entire raison d'etre was driving millions of followers to hate and fear people they not only seemed to know nothing about, but claimed they hoped never to meet: gays and lesbians, punk and rock musicians, rappers, comics who used naughty words, fantasy gamers, and scariest of all, goth teens who drew pentagrams on their Trapper-Keepers.
Falwell and his imitators mixed a conspicuously un-Christian unforgiving attitude with undisguised glee at the suffering of anyone they understood to have brought divine retribution upon themselves. Sound familiar?
Remember the fundamentalist opinion on AIDS patients, that “if the homosexual community would stop doing what they are doing, they would stop getting what they are getting”? Then there was Falwell’s take on New York after 9/11, that “when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad,” and “the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians [and] the ACLU… I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.’”
That brand of pious sadism is now baseline norm in the wing of the media business where I once worked. Today’s press constantly makes religious icons out of tendentious bureaucrats like Bob Mueller and “Saint” Anthony Fauci, strives all the time to turn changeable news narratives into inflexible Holy Writ, and delights even more than Falwell in its own version of divine retribution stories.