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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022

High Pressure | Free Lunch | Cat Rescue | Hollofield Lumber | PG&E Relents | Watertower Home | 4th Place | Sanhedrin Repeater | Tsunotmi | Pet Bunny | Skunk Protest | Dear Marilyn | Clearlake Sunset | Redwoods Purchased | Niners/Cowboys | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | He's Responsible | Hiring Drivers | Support CalCare | 1918 Picnickers | National Psychosis | Tofu Scared | Confusing Guidance | Megapuss | Dope Farming | Little Walter | Rosy Budget | Strong Enough | Giant Porcupine | Grimshaw Island | Marco Radio | Killer Signs | Kirn Interview | Manson License | Cannabis Portal | 1896 Footballers

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HIGH PRESSURE will ensure that dry weather will prevail across northwest California for the vast majority of the time through next weekend. Cool mornings with areas of valley fog will be followed by mild and mainly sunny afternoons accompanied by light or calm winds through Monday, but more coastal clouds are expected Tuesday, along with some drizzle.

ALL TSUNAMI ADVISORIES were dropped yesterday evening for the California coast. Tide gauges along our coast continue to show anomalous fluctuations in water level, but these are relatively minor, amounting to perhaps a half-foot. Any lingering impacts will be mainly limited to erratic and stronger-than-usual currents through our near coastal waters, which could be a hazard to some marine interests. With tsunami energy continuing to gradually dissipate today, expect this to gradually improve.

(NWS)

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FREE FOOD PHILO (formerly known as Love to Table) is distributing meals in town to those who could use some extra love in the form of food. 

We cook nourishing meals using produce from our farm and others, and would love to offer you a warm lunch on Monday, January 17. If you could use a home cooked meal, or have a friend in mind who would, please message, call or text Arline Bloom (415) 308-3575, who will head up distribution in town.

~ This week’s menu ~

  • Beef Stew with Garden Vegetables
  • Parker House Bread Rolls 
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake

Thank you for letting us be of service.

For more information on Free Food Philo / Love to Table, check out: https://unconditionalfreedom.org/love-to-table/

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A LOCAL PLEA: Please help this local charity! The mission is rescuing local cats in Anderson Valley. 

gofundme.com/f/tree-of-life-animal-rescue

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ANOTHER POSTCARD FROM E-BAY (via Marshall Newman)

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PROTEST BLOCKS PG&E PLANS TO FELL BALD EAGLE NESTING TREE IN POTTER VALLEY

by Mary Callahan

It wasn’t an enormous crowd — some described it as 20 people at its peak.

But they were committed. So committed in fact that some reportedly vowed to chain themselves to a stately 120-foot-tall bishop pine to protect a pair of bald eagles that had just begun refurbishing their long-established nest.

It was standoff that had been brewing for five days in the quiet woods of Potter Valley in Mendocino County after word leaked out that PG&E crews had targeted the tree for removal as part of the utility’s wildfire mitigation efforts.

Friday was the last day crews could legally cut the tree down, but in the end, the PG&E crews stood down, and the pine tree stood tall.

The tree is on property owned by Linda Marlin of Los Angeles. After what she described as five increasingly stressful days in which the weight of catastrophic wildfire risk and the fate of the birds swirled in an information void, she said she finally told PG&E they could topple the tree only if they could get a court order.

Marlin said she had been told, as had her tenants who live on the property, that PG&E would cut power to the ranch if they couldn’t cut the tree.

But Marlin said she could not let that happen because she hadn’t seen viable evidence that the birds would be OK if the nest came down.

“I’ve been threatened. I’ve been bullied. I was given no notice really to process all this information intelligently,” Marlin said. “I care about lives in California. I always care about protecting our nationally treasured, endangered species, so the only decision I can make now is, give me a court order telling me what to do.”

Tension over the situation grew throughout the week, after a PG&E tree crew arrived Monday at the 186-acre, Ridgeway Highway ranch and told the tenants they were there to eliminate a potential fire hazard: the nesting tree, which all agree is in decline.

But it’s still alive, and the fact that two eagles have actively worked on the nest through the week indicates it remains a viable breeding site for this year, said tenant Joseph Seidell, who first turned away the tree cutters and has led the campaign to save the pine.

A second tenant, Joe West, 74, has lived on the ranch since 1992 and once owned it. He sold it to Marlin, over a decade ago.

“I’ve been watching the eagles in this particular tree since about 1998 or 1999 — I can’t remember exactly — and they nest in this particular nest about four out of every five years,” West said.

They also have two other nesting sites in the area, presumably used in the other years.

While PG&E has had folks on site to trim and limb trees in the past, this time was different, and neither Seidell nor West was prepared to allow chainsaws near the pine.

“This nest should be allowed to continue over the years,” said Warren “Beb” Ware, a neighbor who has lived in the area for 50 years. “It has produced many, many bald eagles as baby birds that have fledged.”

Marlin, who had received no independent notification from PG&E, was informed of the situation, as were a variety of neighbors. So, eventually, was Tim Bray, president of the Mendocino Coast Audubon Society, who put word out about a potentially troubling development inland. His concerns were later put to rest, though his initial email raised alarm in the area.

“The problem with this whole thing is PG&E tried to do it at the at last minute, and nobody knew what was going on,” he said.

Bald eagles, though no longer listed under the Endangered Species Act, remain protected by federal law. Under state forest practice rules, Jan. 15 each year is the start of a seven-month “critical period” during which bald eagle nesting sites are protected from the disturbance of timber cutting.

PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras said the company’s vegetation management crews had been keeping an eye on the tree for at least a year and, as part of its routine work in Mendocino County, had decided it needed to come down this year.

Biologists also had been monitoring the nest and had authorization from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to cut the tree before Jan. 15 in hopes that the eagle pair’s attention would shift to an alternate nest.

Inspections have determined the pine “is dead and dying, that it will fail,” she said. The company is mandated to comply with state standards for equipment maintenance to mitigate fire risk, especially in high fire risk areas, she said.

But Seidell paid an arborist out of his own pocket who determined that the tree had sufficient time to get through the nesting season, until more time could be given to assess different solutions.

Seidell said supporters also are prepared to raise money to pay for undergrounding of the electrical lines so the tree can be spared.

In the meantime, Marlin said she’s been agonizing over what to do, particularly when informed the power to that line would be cut if she forbade crews from entering the property. West uses a medical ventilator, and she insisted he tell her, with witnesses, that he accepted her decision to spare the nest.

Seidell said he also was prepared to find a way to abide without PG&E power until August, though Contreras said de-energizing the line was only one possible outcome of the stalemate.

“We aren’t going to cut the power,” she said. “We are going to circle back and take a look at next steps and come to a better solution to mitigate hazards because the tree is dead. It’s dying and it’s going to fail.”

Bray said he felt better about the situation after reaching the federal bald eagle nesting expert who wrote a letter authorizing PG&E’s removal of the tree on behalf of PG&E, who told him the eagles had evolved so they could use other nests if need-be.

But Marlin said she had been unable to see any permits or letters from the federal wildlife agency, despite inquiries.

A Fish & Wildlife spokeswoman said press inquiries submitted Friday afternoon could not be addressed until next week.

“I wasn’t a hard-liner,” Marlin said. “I really wasn’t. I want to save lives, too, but really truly, in this particular situation, you’ve got hundreds of people up there that know about this tree with the eagles in it. Can you imagine what they’re thinking of me if I just said, ‘Go, cut it down.’

“Not to mention, I care. These birds have been nesting in that tree a long time.”

The standoff was reminiscent of decades-old timber wars, when hundreds of protesters took to the North Coast to defend diminishing numbers of northern spotted owl from wide scale, commercial logging — though on a miniature scale.

And it reflected ongoing distrust of PG&E, whose maintenance of power equipment has come into question due a series of deadly California wildfires, several of them blamed on interaction between trees and power lines during extreme wind conditions. Some landowners also have questioned the company’s removal of burned trees that critics say could survive if left to heal.

Contreras said she appreciated that the ongoing dialog with people at the ranch site may have allowed some improved understanding of PG&E’s intentions and what she hoped would be better communication and transparency in the future.

“We want to earn trust back from our customers,” she said.

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PG&E CONCEDES—the Potter Valley Pine Tree Stands—The Future of the Eagle’s Nest Remains Uncertain

mendofever.com/2022/01/15/pge-concedes-the-potter-valley-pine-tree-stands-the-future-of-the-eagles-nest-remains-uncertain/

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Watertower Home, Mendocino

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FROM A SAC BEE TRAVEL RECOMMENDER:

#4 Best Road Trip

Residents once discarded trash on Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, shown on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, and over time the action of the waves has worn smooth the shards of glass that littered the beach. The beach is now covered with smooth colorful pieces of glass.

The Northern California coastal community had 8% of the votes, tallying 93.

“Mendocino is an enchanted place filled with real, unspoiled California opportunities and inhabited by fun-loving misfits, mavericks and makers,” according to the county’s tourism website.

Here you can find cliffside trails, wine, beaches, and art and history museums.

Distance: Just under 200 miles from Sacramento, it would take you roughly three hours and 45 minutes to get to your destination.

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CHRIS CALDER COMMENTS: Fourth best road trip from Sacramento. Well that's something I guess.

But then: “Mendocino is an enchanted place filled with real, unspoiled California opportunities and inhabited by fun-loving misfits… according to the county’s tourism website.”

Fun-loving misfits? WTF? This is what our own county government calls us? And what, exactly, is a “real, unspoiled California opportunity”? You'd think I would have come across one of those by now. Or are they just for the tourists? I don't know. It's just hard to be thrilled about fourth place.

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SANHEDRIN REPEATER REPAIR

On Tuesday, January 4, 2022 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and Mendocino County Search & Rescue team provided assistance to the Mendocino County Facilities & Fleet Division.

It was imperative that county workers reach the Sanhedrin Mountain communication repeater site (Potter Valley) to perform emergency maintenance due to a large snow storm.

The repeater is utilized by First Responders (Law, Fire & Medical) for radio communications associated with the daily public safety services they provide.

The Sheriff's Office Sno-Cat and Search & Rescue tracked UTV were used to provide transportation through the heavy snow as standard modes of transportation (foot or 4x4 vehicle) were not possible.

With use of the equipment and personnel from the Sheriff's Office, Search & Rescue Team and Facilities & Fleet, the emergency maintenance was completed and no communication abilities were lost.

It was a great team effort in the interest of public safety!

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CHRIS CALDER: A collection of oceanside livecams from which to view the aftermath of the Great Tonga Tsunami Of 2022. Spoiler alert: there is no aftermath. There was no tsunami. Having covered numerous non-tsunamis, I can report the same ol thing:

- On getting the alert this morning to stay away from the beaches, people rushed to the beaches to see the tsunami.

- Some people thought they saw the tsunami. I don't want to take that away from them.

- Some people fretted about people rushing to the beach when we are supposed to run the other way. Did you ever consider that certain people might prefer to be swallowed by a building-sized wall of water?

- Other people fretted about the local Tsunami Warning System. There is no local Tsunami Warning System. There is a siren in the harbor you can hear for three blocks, and some highway signs. If you're worried whether that system is adequate, you can stop worrying. It isn't. In Japan, they have huge, raisable sea walls that activate automatically at the approach of the giant waves. That isn't adequate either.

On the other hand, beach livecams are great for figuring out how many layers you and your dog might want to wear for your next beach outing on the North Coast, where "chill" is not really a choice.

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UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK

Bunny enjoyed spending time in the meet & greet room during her evaluation. As new people walked in and out, she was a little shy at first, but then was curious and engaging. More exposure to new people and experiences will help Bunny feel comfortable and confident. Bunny enjoys going for walks and knows some basic commands. Bunny is 1 year old and 53 lovely pounds.

For more about Bunny, visit mendoanimalshelter.com While you’re there, check out all of our canine and feline guests, and our services, programs, events, and updates. Visit us on Facebook at: facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/

For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.

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YESTERDAY'S SKUNK RALLY VIDEO AT TOWN HALL

Interviews from in front of Town Hall with Alberto Aldaco: youtube.com/watch?v=Aug5nxZSlGQ

(via Bruce Broderick)


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APPRAISING MARILYN DAVIN’S PELOSI HOUSE APPRAISAL (and in the memory of Jerry Philbrick)

Dear Marilyn Davin, 

Your blathering “Dear Nancy” advice column got the 2022 pages of the AVA off to a worse start for me than my case of coronavirus.

Are you vying for some sort of J.D. Vance Hillmuffin Elegy Award? 

A few new year notes on your “2022 Pelosi to-do list.”

1) Giving “fundraising advice” to Speaker Pelosi who The Hill recently reported, “holds the undisputed title as Democrats' most successful fundraiser in Congress. She's raked in more than $1 billion for her party since she joined the leadership ranks in 2002, a spokesman said, dwarfing amounts raised by others like Hoyer and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer...” is like a MTA bus driver in Willits telling Jeff Bezos how to deliver an Amazon package. 

2) I’d like to “forget about January 6.” Afterall, I hardly think about the last time The Capitol Building was stormed – over 200 years ago. And I didn’t learn enough during my own public-school education in Mendoland to even forget about The War of 1812. The British, Native American tribes, Canadians? Or much about slavery. We must have had different textbooks. Maybe we even saw different productions of “Hamilton” too? In the plucky “creating-a-bank is way more important than slavery“ version I saw, there was a joke the audience really liked about Jefferson sneaking into the slave quarters, though they didn’t use the word rape, or serial rapist, nor did they add the hilarious punchline that Jefferson, of course, must have sold his own children into slavery. Har-dee har har! That’s a knee-slapper that wasn’t in my textbook about the greatness of our Founding Fathers either. 

Was it in yours? 

Historically speaking, and that particular history were speaking of having taken place only a year ago, it’s probably more difficult to forget if you were inside the building (like Speaker Pelosi) trying to ratify the 2020 Presidential election when the angry mob, many from militia groups, encouraged by the outgoing President (and others), stormed in, chanting they were going to kill you! 

According to ABC News, “approximately 10,000 people came onto Capitol grounds, with many engaging in violent clashes with officers trying to protect the building and lawmakers inside. At least 2,000 made it inside the Capitol building. Five people died during or after the attack, including four protesters and one police officer, and approximately 140 officers suffered injuries, according to the Department of Justice.”

That is a moderate account. I’m sure you’ve seen the footage. Amongst other things, you can now add “sedition” to those charges. 

Calling them “A bunch of costumed and feathered trespassers” is the sort of JD Vanceism that is rottenly disingenuous to the core. Feathered trespassers”? Plural? I didn’t see one person dressed in feathers. What other imagined definition of the word “feathered” are you using? And for what effect? And “costumed”? Aside from the overhyped “QAnon Shaman” the only “costume” I saw was Stop The Steal garb, MAGA hats, pro-Trump clothing, paramilitary and hunting gear, and American flags. Does that mean millions of Americans are in costume every day? I saw more confederate flags flying than feathers that’s for sure. 

You also may want to try to take a tour of The Capitol someday. You might be surprised to find The Old Supreme Court Chamber is inside! And even more surprised to learn that our “federal surplus of wartime weaponry to kill us many times over” is not. Just “normal” defenses in The Capitol Building to protect the people that work there. Not some imaginary omnipotent fantasy fighting force. Those police and military personnel almost couldn’t protect our Vice President, Speaker of the House, and almost every other member of Congress, and other workers. It was more than the “serious threat” that you downplay. It was a “serious threat” put into action. We are incredibly lucky the day wasn’t much worse in terms of injuries and deaths. What would have happened if VP Pence, Speaker Pelosi, or any of our elected officials were assassinated?

3) Don’t start 2022 by criticizing and judging women for the way they look or dress. Not their hair, not their shoes, not their covid masks. Was Feminism 101 taught in your 1950’s-60’s public high school? After slavery class? Maybe a refresher course is in order? If a multiple choice question arises afterwards, it’s probably a better guess that a color-coordinated covid mask worn by a public policymaker is a) to bring attention to the importance of wearing a mask during a pandemic which has killed over 800,000 Americans, than B) signifying how much money they have. 

4) Shit, I’m only on 4? 

I don’t have time to go into the rest of your misguided fuzzy-thinking and false equivalencies. But regarding another of your Vanceisms... “Everybody knows the US was and continues to be racist.” What are you forgiving? Or forgetting? Slavery? Segregation? Voting rights? Lynching? Our current prison system (which you later bemoan)? Income inequality? How difficult it was for Vice President Kamala Harris to achieve her current position, and all the “firsts” in her political life and our American history as a person of color and a woman (Thank you Nancy for the helping crack the glass ceiling). And what are these “actual accomplishments and qualifications” that are suddenly race and gender neutral? Who made them? Is it not an “actual accomplishment” to become elected DA of San Francisco? To be elected Attorney General of California? And then US Senator of California, the most diverse and largest state in the US? The fifth biggest economy! And to do it as the first black, first Asian-American, first woman (except for California Senator) is quite an achievement. You are the one who “denigrates the honest successes of minorities by leaving the impression that they were chosen or promoted solely because they weren’t white men” by not acknowledging her amazing accomplishments and writing that Biden just “ended up with Kamala Harris.” 

If you can put race and gender aside (which is impossible in our culture, but let’s live in an even more pretend world than you do), Biden chose the resume of a campaign-tested US Senator, former State Attorney General, from a different geographical location than his, which is also the largest fundraising state in America.

By the way, polls seem to show that about 40% of Americans don’t think the country is racist. And around 70% of them are Republicans. But after stating that everyone knows the country is racist, you later write that there is a misguided emphasis on diversity. Pick a lane. What’s your suggestion? Because the country is so racist we put no emphasis on diversity and wait for racism and economic inequality to altruistically get better on their own? 

Oh, I’m an FDR fan too. I commend you for going back 80 years into the political Hall of Fame to find a Dem as formidable in politics as Speaker Pelosi. It is true, as you wrote, FDR was rich. But guess what you didn’t write? FDR amassed even more millions during his Presidency. He got richer! Is he still allowed to speak of socialism? And to be your gold standard? And, sorry, his incredible “privilege” made his becoming elected President less of a monumental achievement (Side note to the monumental: Hattie Caraway was the lone woman Senator, and second ever, in 1933, the year of FDR’s first election. Only 6 other women were in Congress, with only one Black congressman, and since Reconstruction we’ve still only had 9 black Senators from our 50 states over these last almost 150 years, and yep, that includes Obama, and Harris, who is only the second black woman...) and more of a ruling class inevitability given his cousin Teddy held the office prior, and his other cousin, Anna Eleanor, whom he married, was also a member of “the idle rich” Roosevelts whose family made their vast wealth in the far from socialist business of the opium trade. Unless opium is the opiate of the people? One of the great lines about incest (much funnier than anything in “Hamilton”) is Teddy quipping about the FDR and Eleanor marriage, “at least she kept the name in the family.” FDR can less humorously be credited for institutionalizing the racist practice of “red-lining” in America in his attempt to help the working class, I mean the white working class. 

But I guess that would be “quibbling” about what goes into our history textbooks? 

5) “Latte-democratic stronghold of San Francisco?” Is this your lame update on limousine liberal? As a former barista at Caffe Trieste, which claims to be the first coffee house on the west coast, established in 1956, I can assure you that this city is no stronghold of lattes! I demand an apology on this most outlandish insult! Espresso, macchiato, sure, cappuccinos. Or drip. You’re confusing San Francisco with Marin. Or The Village of Mendocino. Possibly your own perverse caffeine inclinations. 

Wrong, yet again.

And Speaker Pelosi doesn’t drink coffee. Hot water with a little lemon.

I’ll stop now.

But when Speaker Pelosi retires, maybe you should run? In 2024? You’ve got great ideas and no doubt a thick skin. Show her and Kamala how it’s done.

Happy new year.

Robert Mailer Anderson

San Francisco

PS. You also may be lucky enough to officiate a friend’s granddaughter’s wedding someday. Especially if that friend donated and helped raise untold millions of dollars for your campaign and causes over the past 35 years. Knowing Gordon and Anne (who recently passed away, so even more reason to accept the honor), it is more than possible that without Speaker Pelosi’s incredible persuasiveness and ability to find commonality, those particular funds and support would have gone into Republican pockets, instead of organizations like the DCCC, which helped your “unstoppable future” Representative Ocasio-Cortez become elected, and Speaker Pelosi appoint her to important Congressional committees well above the grade of normal freshman representatives.

PPS. You are right about public/private schools. But there is less appetite for that than gun reform laws, which is being highjacked from the majority of Americans by lobbyists. Please put on next year’s list, the larger governmental problems of campaign finance reform and anti-gerrymandering. But Speaker Pelosi is for both already.

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SUNSET OVER CLEARLAKE

photo by James Marmon

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SAVE THE REDWOODS LEAGUE today announced that it has purchased the 3,181-acre Lost Coast Redwoods property in Mendocino County from timberland owner Soper Company for $36.9 million.

After negotiating the rare opportunity to protect 5 miles of privately owned coastline in November 2021, the League raised $19 million in private donations from 4,884 individuals and foundations from across the United States and 10 other countries. Raising this much funding in less than two months is a record for the nonprofit organization. Loans and other financing enabled the League to finalize the purchase in the seller’s required timeframe.

Estelle Clifton hikes on the Lost Coast Redwoods property near Rockport, California on December 2, 2021.

The League will continue fundraising in 2022, seeking public and private funding to repay the loans and support the permanent protection, restoration and stewardship of the property. Leading that effort is a new challenge grant that will match new donations dollar-for-dollar up to $1 million through March 31 from The Goodman Family Foundation, a Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation & Endowment Fund.

“Adding 5 miles of spectacular shoreline and thousands of acres of redwood forest to California’s protected coast is an extraordinary investment in our future,” said Sam Hodder, president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League. “With people from around the world offering their generous support, it’s clear that the public cares deeply about the beauty and wildness of California’s coastline and redwood forests.”

“Now that we have removed the immediate threat of timber harvesting and development,” Hodder continued, “the work begins to complete the conservation vision, secure full funding and work with our tribal, state and federal partners to add this land to the protected mosaic of California’s Lost Coast.”

With the purchase of the property, the League can now begin to restore the former timberland, explore opportunities to expand public access to the famed Lost Coast and identify a permanent steward.

The 3,181-acre Lost Coast Redwoods property includes 5 miles of shoreline and an expansive 2,250-acre forest. Though most of the property had been aggressively logged in prior decades, second-growth coast redwoods, Douglas-fir and grand fir ranging in age from 80 to 100 years make up a significant portion of the forest, with large old-growth trees scattered throughout.

The property supports abundant habitat for coho salmon and steelhead trout, culturally and ecologically important species that are protected under the Endangered Species Act. This property is also home to Roosevelt elk, black-tailed deer and mountain lions.

Offshore, the recently designated Double Cone Rock State Marine Conservation Area buffers this sensitive coastline and protects sea lions and other marine life along the undeveloped shoreline. The islands offshore, including Vizcaino Rock, support more than 11,500 nesting seabirds.

Potential Future Public Access Along The Lost Coast

Protection of Lost Coast Redwoods and its 5 miles of iconic California coastline at the southern gateway to the 57-mile-long undeveloped Lost Coast is a critical investment in California’s biodiversity, climate resilience and equitable access to nature. 

Lost Coast Redwoods is adjacent to the League’s Shady Dell property and within a quarter-mile of its Cape Vizcaino property. This connectivity offers the potential for the League and its partners to expand public access in the area and extend the famed Lost Coast Trail southward from Shady Dell.

The public can learn more about Lost Coast Redwoods and donate to support its protection and stewardship on the Save the Redwoods League website.

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SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS AT DALLAS COWBOYS [today at 1:30pm pst]

The 49ers (10-7) were 2-4 on Oct. 24, behind the Cardinals and the Rams in a tough N.F.C. West division. The Cowboys (12-5) were 5-1 by then, sitting comfortably in the N.F.C. East.

San Francisco’s poor start to the season was in part the result of a brutal schedule. Its first six games included matchups against the Seahawks, the Packers, the Cardinals and the Colts. Two of those teams are in the postseason (Indianapolis missed the playoffs after a Week 18 blunder against Jacksonville). The 49ers played themselves back into playoff contention, though. They won six of their last eight games and came back from a 17-point deficit to defeat the Rams last week to clinch the No. 6 seed in the N.F.C.

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco’s quarterback, battled various injuries all season. Recently, he tore a ligament and chipped a bone in his throwing thumb, which sidelined him in Week 17, but he’s expected to start Sunday.

The 49ers have a physical defense that defends both the run and the pass well, and they have a bevy of threats on offense. But the centerpiece of San Francisco’s offense is Deebo Samuel, who can bully teams when he’s split out wide and when he’s in the backfield. Samuel was second in the league in receiving yards after the catch and recorded over 1,400 receiving yards (a team high) and over 300 rushing yards.

When Dallas’s offense was on the same page this season, it was one of the N.F.L.’s most fearsome units. Quarterback Dak Prescott completed over 80 percent of his passes in two of the Cowboys’ first three games. In their season opener, he threw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns against Tampa Bay. But the Cowboys’ dynamic offensive attack has vacillated between exceptional and mediocre this season.

Miscommunication between Prescott and his receivers has stifled Dallas’s offensive rhythm. Opposing defenses have essentially eliminated explosive plays. And a knee injury from October has limited running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Dallas never gave up its spot as the top team in the N.F.C. East, however. Its defense has the front-runner for the league’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Award in linebacker Micah Parsons, and the league’s interception leader in cornerback Trevon Diggs. (The Cowboys do struggle against the run and will face one of the league’s best running teams.)

(New York Times)


Ed note: Usually, I tape the Niners to avoid the soul destroying commercials. But I can't resist watching this one in real time. Go, Niners!

* * *

ED NOTES

MARTIN LUTHER KING. Best biography remains Marshall Frady’s Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Life, Penguin edition. 

SO WE ALL take a day off, on the off chance we have a job to take off from, to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday.

MARTIN LUTHER KING memorials will emphasize his commitment to non-violence to achieve full citizenship for Black Americans, leaving out King’s commitment to economic justice, for which the FBI circulated the libel that he was a communist and was murdered just as he became outspokenly critical of the War on Vietnam, American imperialism generally, and the multi-ethnic, color-blind class structure of American poverty. The way King is often remembered these days is as the guy who made Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell possible.

NOT TO BE TOO much of a geezer about it, but I was there, a foot soldier on the left when King was besieged from all directions, denounced practically on a daily basis in the media of the 1960s, and written off by the left for his non-violent strategies and ridiculed for his Christianity. 

KING was among the very bravest figures of those low times, beginning every day without police protection for himself and his family, not knowing if he or his wife and children would survive the day. 

THE DAY AFTER KING was finally murdered, I was leafletting for a protest rally on Market Street when a young guy walked up and started screaming vile insults about how happy he was that King was dead. I thought I was going to have to fight the great white knight before he walked away. That guy was the only negative on the whole day. Everyone else who took a leaflet or stopped to talk was sympathetic and shocked at King's murder. But I still remember that one encounter as emblematic of '68, and hadn't experienced anything like it since until these Tiki Torch clowns, emboldened by the Trump election, started popping up around the country.

SAN FRANCISCO back in the day was not at all the liberal bastion it has since become. Sort of. The City was strictly, militantly segregated up through the 1970s, and the cops routinely busted gay bars just for the hell of it.

I HAVE VIVID MEMORIES of the assassination of Martin Luther King. My daughter had just been born at Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco. Her delivery doctor was barefoot and wore a flower behind his ear. I remember feeling that I should probably check his credentials. I was driving a cab, writing bad poetry and working to overthrow the government for all the reasons King himself perfectly articulated — the insane war on Vietnam at the expense of home front spending. My brother had just gotten out of the federal penitentiary at Lompoc for refusing to register for the draft. He was the first guy in the state to refuse to register and had been packed off in '64. Just as he was leaving prison, my cousin, sentenced out of Arizona, was arriving at Lompoc on the same charges that had locked up my brother. Cousin Jim was the first guy in Arizona to get prison time for refusing to register. Years later, as a public defender here in Mendo, DA Massini always referred to him as "The Felon."

I WAS WATCHING the news when the announcements that King had been shot began. Later that night, Yellow Cab Dispatch warned us to stay out of Hunter's Point and the Fillmore District because men were shooting at cab toplights. I tried to find confirmation that this was true but never did. No driver I knew had had it happen to him. But it was a bad time generally in San Francisco with lots of violent street crime and hard drugs mowing down acres of flower children, hastening the “back-to-the-land” movement that would form the Mendocino County we see around us today.

I HAD A WIFE and two small children and no money. But cab driving, in the San Francisco of 1968, could pay the bills out of the cash it generated, and I "managed" the slum apartment building we lived in at 925 Sacramento at the mouth of the Stockton Tunnel, perhaps the noisiest residential neighborhood in the world, with horns honking and idiot shrieks emanating from the tunnel's echo chamber round-the-clock.

I GOT A FREE apartment in return for my management, which consisted of doing absolutely nothing because rents were mailed directly to Coldwell Banker. The Nude Girl On A Swing was our immediate neighbor. She sailed out of the ceiling naked every night at a North Beach nightclub over a sea of upturned faces. Her act was a big draw, and more evidence that the male species is generally pathetic. She was also a junkie whose dope head boyfriend threatened to kill me one night when I stopped him from beating her up. We headed north, too, soon after, but not "back to the land," just out of the city and, purely by accident, we landed in Boonville.

HERE'S AN excerpt from the MLK speech that probably got him killed, the last straw for the guardians of a corrupt system. You’re unlikely to hear it repeated at the occasions memorializing him:

“I should make it clear that while I have tried to give a voice to the voiceless on Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor. Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours. There is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy — and laymen — concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God." — Martin Luther King Jr., April 1967

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, January 15, 2022

Cauckwell, Cordova, Ellis, McElroy

RICHARD CAUCKWELL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

CARRIE CORDOVA-DALSON, Covelo. Trespassing, stolen property, probation revocation.

TIMOTHY ELLIS, Willits. DUI.

TONY MCELROY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

McIntyre, Moore, A.Smith, T.Smith

RYAN MCINTYRE, Potter Valley. Felon-addict with firearm, controlled substance while armed.

ANTOINE MOORE, Ukiah. Counterfeiting bill, note or check, suspended license.

AUGUSTUS SMITH, Ukiah. Suspended license, probation revocation.

TONY SMITH JR., Santa Rosa/Ukiah. County parole violation.

* * *

PLENTY CLEAR

Editor: 

Statements by Jan. 6 committee members have been intriguing (e.g, that Ivanka Trump twice implored her father to stop the riot). It sounds like they have a pretty full picture of what happened that day and are researching events leading up to it. That may be more difficult with so many refusing to testify.

But without further work they have two great closing statements: Sen. Mitch McConnell’s Feb. 13 speech saying that Donald Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for what transpired on Jan. 6, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Jan. 13, 2021 statement: “Last week’s violent attack on the Capitol was undemocratic, un-American and criminal. … The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters.”

Those words leave no doubt on responsibility.

Jon Yatabe

Bodega Bay

* * *

* * *

JOIN NURSES TO SUPPORT AB1400 CALCARE HEALTHCARE FOR ALL

We're excited to be working with you over the next few weeks to pass CalCare through Assembly. If we want AB 1400 to make it through the Appropriations Committee by January 21st and the Assembly floor by January 31st, we need to get to work now. Here’s what we need you to do next:

RSVP for one or both of our upcoming CalCare virtual phone bank parties: 

1. Tuesday, Jan. 18th at 6:30 PM 

2. Wednesday, Jan. 19th at 6 PM 

We will be calling supporters of CALCARE to directly connecting them to their Assembly Member's phone line to urge them to leave a message in support. All you need is your phone and some time.

You can submit a support letter to the Appropriations Committee using  our template support letter: http://bit.ly/AB1400support. The instructions on how to use the legislature's position letter portal are listed at the top of the document. 2. If you're brand new to the movement and want to learn more, join an upcoming CalCare 101 webinar, where we'll cover the basics of what CalCare is and how it will fix our broken health care system.

Finally, please sign our letter to Governor Newsom calling on the California Department of Public Health to rescind the dangerous new guidance allowing asymptomatic health care workers who test positive for Covid-19 or who have been exposed to the virus and are asymptomatic to return to work immediately — without isolation or testing. You can learn more in this Sacramento Bee article

by CNA President Cathy Kennedy, RN.

Thanks for your support and for taking action with us. Together, we can pass AB 1400 through the Assembly, over to the State Senate, and ultimately to the governor's desk. Onward to CalCare!

* * *

Picnic, 1918

* * *

HISTORIANS HAVE LONG ARGUED the USA was, from its inception, destined for explosive showdowns over the size and role of government. Maybe not on the scale of the Civil War, but certainly clamorous schisms, bound to depart from gentlemanly decorum in the collision of political philosophies. What they didn’t necessarily anticipate were the foundational support beams splintering over objective truths, like mathematics, like scientific data, like certified vote counts. Even the southern slave states acknowledged that arch-villain Abraham Lincoln won the election of 1860.

But over the last quarter century, the U.S. has accommodated unprecedented seismic fissures between objective reality and full-throated national psychosis. And nothing has slung more toxic sludge into the breach than Fox News. Yet, the Fox accelerant is less about politics and more about a billionaire’s deep appreciation of addictive human behaviors, and the potential for generating insane profits by waging a rim-to-rim blitz of fear and loathing.

— Billy Cox

* * *

* * *

I’M A DOCTOR, AND EVEN I CAN’T FIGURE OUT OMICRON PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDANCE

by Kendall S. Allred with Sukhjit S. Takhar

Minutes after heading to the park to play with friends, my 10-year-old son called to tell me he was leaving. Confused, I asked, “Didn’t you just get there?”

“Yep, (a friend) is out of quarantine, but the other kids don’t wanna play with him because they’re afraid he’ll give them the ‘rona,’” he replied.

Huh?” I said. “You mean he’s out of isolation, feels fine, you’re playing outside, and you guys don’t want to play with him?”

“No, Dad. I’m going to play with him. We’re headed to his house,” he replied.

“OK,” I say to myself. “They’re 10. They’re allowed to be confused. Kids can’t always be expected to get it right with all that has changed recently.”

Less than an hour later, my wife, an intensive-care unit nurse, texted me a screenshot of the updated All Facilities Letter from the California Department of Public Health. Released last Saturday, it advises health care professionals, or HCPs, who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and are asymptomatic that they “may return to work immediately without isolation and without testing, and HCPs who have been exposed and are asymptomatic may return to work immediately without quarantine and without testing.”

As a physician treating COVID patients, I know there is a shortage of health care workers. But, does it really make sense to bring back a single potentially infectious individual who can spread the coronavirus to other workers and create an even larger shortage?

My son’s and my wife’s experiences highlight the struggles federal and state officials face in educating the public around COVID-19 isolation and quarantine “guidance” nearly two years into this seemingly never-ending pandemic.

While I applaud my public health and scientific colleagues for their relentless dedication to helping us all navigate the ever-changing evidence around SARS-CoV-2, there have been too many missteps along the way. Whether it was the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s confusing mask guidelines or the state Health Department’s recommendation for routine screening of hospital health workers despite there be no testing bandwidth, those of us on the front lines have become tired of the confusing messages, press releases, graphics and “guidance” released by those who are supposed to be knowledgeable authorities.

In the past three weeks, we’ve seen recommendations from federal and state officials change repeatedly. While it’s true that new and substantiated scientific evidence must drive changes in guidance, the way it has been shared is contradictory, confusing and simply put — not helpful.

Getting it right is hard. But it’s imperative that our officials do just that. That’s their job. The public is depending on these officials to be thoughtful, thorough and pragmatic. In this, they have failed us. Again. And if the past is a predictor of the future, they will continue to do so.

Some of our colleagues have written appropriately about how draconian policies, such as automatic disqualification to work a shift due to a stuffy nose even if that worker has seasonal allergies, are creating staff shortages that endanger patients. 

While coronavirus-related testing and positive cases are higher in the Bay Area now than at any other time during the pandemic, inpatient units, including intensive care, have not been overwhelmed with the number of critically ill patients that spilled over into overflow beds last winter. Instead, emergency departments have been crushed with asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic patients seeking quick, reliable testing due to our public health authorities’ failure to adequately prepare for the omicron wave that came with weeks of warning. Officials had ample time to dust off old surge plans and deploy adequate resources before this wave hit. The lack of preparedness has necessitated new workflows for already overwhelmed emergency departments to deploy “screeners” at the front door to encourage those only seeking testing to go elsewhere.

These same officials released confusing guidance on Jan. 7 to K-12 schools on return-to-school procedures by requiring “a negative test” for children to return to the classroom as a proof of cure when testing kits are in short supply, many testing centers doors were shut over the weekend and emergency departments were already struggling to meet the public’s demand for testing.

It’s mind-blowing that even after all we have learned, federal and state officials continually implement reactionary and poorly thought out ideas that create confusion, frustration and ultimately a lack of confidence. Already this past week, nurses in the Bay Area and Los Angeles County have protested for safer working conditions. It’s not unreasonable to expect additional protests from workers demanding officials craft policies that take their health and safety seriously.

Get it right or get out of the way so someone else can.

(Kendall S. Allred is an emergency medicine and public health physician trained in disaster management and emergency response and serves as the Mills Peninsula Medical Center’s COVID-19 Medical Branch Director and Surge Branch Director. Sukhjit S. Takhar is an emergency medicine and infectious disease physician at Mills Peninsula Medical Center. Their opinions do not necessarily reflect those of their affiliated hospitals.)

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

* * *

* * *

DOPE NEWS, an on-line comment: 

The reality is that when federal legalization happens, there will be 0 shelf space for mediocre outdoor, or of any kind, but outs is just almost always sub-par. Perfectly grown outdoor (and I mean perfect) is definitely better than indoor, but nature almost never allows for that. So the issue remains that once 10k acre farms can produce autoflower for distillate, mids will be completely useless, even with a national market. Cookies is the perfect example. They are absolutely killing it because the whole business model is to create the best genetics, and produce them inside, selling them directly to the consumer. That’s where the profit is...hemp farmers in Oregon are getting 5 dollars a pound. Yes you read that right. 20k lbs for 100k is what my neighbors contract was for. It’s the same plant. And they were still getting $10k an acre at that price. No other plant will produce nearly that return. It’s a losing battle, so any small farmers complaining that it’s unfair need to realize that farming is not a get rich quick scheme, and sell their farm before it’s too late

* * *

WHEN CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE FIRST MOVED to Chicago and was still working outside music, he got to know a Little Walter that was much different than that of his reputation. Charlie says, “I'd pass a bar that had a sign on the front of it saying, “Little Walter, Wednesday night.” I'd see all these places, write down the addresses and be right down there at night.” And since Musselwhite was in the process of establishing quite a reputation of his own, he smiles. “I was just having such a great time, I didn't give a damn. I was wild and drinking, but big enough to take care of myself. I never would back up from anybody! So right away they'd figure I was either crazy or not worth messing with.” Of course, none of this seemed to matter when it was discovered Charlie played. 

Little Walter (art by Nick Cudworth)

“Walter would have me sit in and he'd often give me a ride home after the gig. He was always acting like he was looking out for me; I was a tough man, but we always got along fine.”

Charlie thinks Walter's sound might have come from his environment, and began “probably with the urban influence of Chicago horn players.” Walter's distinctive saxophone-like phrasing Musselwhite says, “combined with his creativity and amplification really took harmonica playing to a whole new level that hadn't been heard before.”

* * *

NEWSOM BASES BUDGET ON ROSY ECONOMIC SCENARIO

The early passages in a 400-page “summary” of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new budget describe the presumably wonderful ways he intends to spend nearly $300 billion in the 2022-23 fiscal year.

They include what he clearly hopes will make a re-election year splash and become one of his legacies — extending state medical coverage to 100% of California’s nearly 40 million residents by folding in undocumented immigrants ineligible for federally financed care.

During a nearly three-hour news conference in which he showed off his prodigious memory of data, Newsom also touted new spending on five “existential threats” to California, including climate change, COVID-19, homelessness, the cost of living and crime.

New commitments are doable, he said, because of tens of billions of unanticipated tax dollars, largely from the state’s highest-income taxpayers, who are seeing huge profits on stocks and other investments.

The back pages of the budget summary explain why Newsom believes that the overall economy, and particularly the personal finances of the wealthy, will continue to pump billions into the state treasury for at least a few more years.

Get a veteran journalist’s take on what’s going on in California with a weekly round-up of Dan’s column every Friday.

“The public health situation is the linchpin of the economic forecast,” the budget declares. “The forecast does not assume the emergence of a disruptive variant, which could lead to a delayed return to pre-pandemic labor force participation, persistent high inflation, and continued supply chain bottlenecks.”

The budget “projects continued real GDP growth throughout the forecast period and recovery to pre-pandemic levels of nonfarm employment by the end of 2022,” but adds, “Structural (non-pandemic) downside risks to the forecast remain, including the challenges of an aging population, declining migration flows, lower fertility rates, higher housing and living costs, increasing inequality, and stock market volatility.”

That last caveat, “stock market volatility,” is the real potential kicker. The top 1% of California taxpayers are providing at least 50% of the state’s income tax revenues and their taxable incomes are largely tied to the stock market, which has surged recently, thanks largely to the Federal Reserve System’s very low interest rates.

Were interest rates to be raised significantly to battle inflation, it would have an adverse effect on the stock market and, in turn, on California’s income tax revenues.

With California having such a narrow revenue base in a relative handful of high-income taxpayers and their taxable incomes being rooted in stocks and other investments subject to wide swings of value, any long-term revenue estimates are educated guesses at best.

It’s called “volatility,” a syndrome that has backfired on California’s budget more than once.

“No one is naïve about the volatility of the tax system,” Newsom said Monday, contending that careful spending and building reserves guard against the boom-and-bust conditions that have afflicted the state in past years.

His budget declares that “the state’s budget resilience is stronger than ever: the result of building reserves, eliminating budgetary debt, reducing retirement liabilities, and focusing on one-time spending over ongoing investments to maintain structurally balanced budgets over the long term.”

The budget’s $34.6 billion in projected reserves sound impressive, but a truly serious and prolonged recession, such as the one that struck 15 years ago, could quickly deplete them.

There’s been an ongoing debate over whether revenue volatility should be tamed by reducing the state’s dependence on taxing the rich or by building big reserves. Under Newsom’s predecessor, Jerry Brown, the state opted for the “rainy day fund” approach but it has yet to face a serious challenge.

* * *

* * *

SALT LAKE TO PARK CITY

by Anne Fashauer

I write this from the laundry room of the Park City RV Resort; not an especially bright spot, but a clean, quiet place to do laundry and write. We arrived here on the 12th, Wednesday of the past week. If you are keeping track, you will note that is a different day than I thought we were arriving. Minutes after my last writing we decided to check in our upcoming reservation and found out we were a couple of days off. That gave us two more days in SLC and the slopes of Alta.

Hamilton is a must-see! It was a little unnerving being so close to so many people but they were very strict about their mask policy, which helped. I’m sure many of you have already seen the show but if you haven’t I encourage you to do so. If only all history was taught in such a beautiful way, even the heartbreaking periods. The streets outside of the theater were still lighted up from the holidays and it was enchanting.

We skied Alta again on Monday and Tuesday and that was fun; their greens were nice and well-groomed and I got comfortable there. One highlight was seeing a giant porcupine! It was crossing one of the lower runs and stopped as I came down. I stopped and it started across again. We stayed there until it made its way safely across to the other side and disappeared into the woods. 

We made our lunches each day - generally albacore tuna sandwiches on sourdough with homemade chicken soup along side. Hot soup on a cold day is just wonderful. Tuesday evening we went to dinner at Nohm, the Japanese restaurant recommended by our new friends. It was very good - a combination of cooked and raw foods; the highlight was the chili fried cauliflower, followed by the chive pancakes. The raw fish was also very good and was nicely paired with their homemade soy sauce. We had an excellent sake to go along with all of it.

Moving day was a bit busy; once packed up we had to find a place to get propane for our on-board tank. We use plug-in electric heat as much as possible but when it’s in the teens we definitely turn on the main heater. After much driving around to find places either closed or not staffed, we ended up at a propane supply company and they made quick work of our fill-up. The drive to Park City is not bad, mostly on I-80, and the park itself is easy to get to. We aren’t crazy about our site - it’s right on the road with the freeway just a little farther on, but it is pretty and everything here is clean. 

After a short drive around the area scouting for the following morning, we headed back to SLC to watch the Utah Jazz take on Cleveland. If you’re a sports fan, you know that was not a great game for the Jazz. I found the whole thing a bit frustrating. The Jazz tout how they are the first team to allow full-size crowds back and are so proud of their requiring vaccination cards or negative Covid tests, but the reality is a joke. You can wave any card at the person at the head of the line and they just let you pass; and there’s no checking ID to make sure the card or test result goes with the person entering. Fail. On top of that, the NBA has started a very discriminating policy of no bags at the games. My irritation here stems from getting to the gates only to have to backtrack in 30° weather to put my bag in the car. Apparently this policy is supposed to make entering faster and easier; it was a failure for me. I had to stuff my pockets with everything in my bag (it’s a small bag) and then when I got to security I had to go through twice, the second time removing everything from my pockets. Fail. And when I say discrimination - who brings bags everywhere? Women; so the NBA’s policy hurts 50% of the population and half of their fans. Fail.

Thursday and Friday we skied at Deer Valley. It’s a lovely resort - and it’s huge. I have no idea the actual size but we haven’t skied the half of it yet. And there’s houses all the way to the top! They do a very good job of grooming and super job marking the trails so you know where you are going. Nearly every lift has at least one green run on it and so I can find lots of places to ski. I’m not terribly comfortable though; last week was a bit traumatizing. I ended up on one run yesterday where I just took off my skis, hiked down for a ways then sat and slid the rest of the way (which was probably the most fun I’d had on snow to date). 

We found a nice place to have lunch - Stein Eriksen Lodge. We sat outside the first day and enjoyed an excellent bottle of South African Chenin Blanc; yesterday it was an excellent Burgundy. There’s a lot of money at this place; I imagine the price of the rooms is ski high. But the restaurant is very nice, with excellent service (Jamaicans mainly - we talked to the head waiter who was telling us that the Jamaican bobsled team trains here at Deer Valley), and good food and an incredible wine list.

Today and tomorrow we are “blacked out” from skiing with our Ikon passes so after I finish laundry we will head into Park City’s touristy Main Street - think Mendocino on steroids. Hopefully we can find some good food there and relax a little. Tomorrow we have massages scheduled back in SLC - another recommendation from our new friends.

I’ve signed up for ski school for Monday and Tuesday; I hope that helps bring back some of my confidence and I can enjoy the snow more than I have. I will say I’m tired of the cold - it was 6° this morning, brrrr. We’re here until the 22nd then we head out, probably south towards Zion and then wend our way back home. You know I’ll tell you all about it next week.

* * *

FOR $13,000, Englishman Brandon Grimshaw bought a tiny uninhabited island in the Seychelles and moved there forever. When the Englishman Brandon Grimshaw was under forty, he quit his job as a newspaper editor and started a new life.

By this time, no human had set foot on the island for 50 years. As befits a real Robinson, Brandon found himself a companion from among the natives. His Friday name was René Lafortin. Together with Rene, Brandon began to equip his new home. While René came to the island only occasionally, Brandon lived on it for decades, never leaving. By oneself.

For 39 years, Grimshaw and Lafortin planted 16 thousand trees with their own hands and built almost 5 kilometers of paths. In 2007, Rene Lafortin died, and Brandon was left all alone on the island.

Brandon Grimshaw

He was 81 years old. He attracted 2,000 new bird species to the island and introduced more than a hundred giant tortoises, which in the rest of the world (including the Seychelles) were already on the verge of extinction. Thanks to Grimshaw's efforts, the once deserted island now hosts two-thirds of the Seychelles' fauna. An abandoned piece of land has turned into a real paradise.

A few years ago, the prince of Saudi Arabia offered Brandon Grimshaw $50 million for the island, but Robinson refused. “I don’t want the island to become a favorite vacation spot for the rich. Better let it be a national park that everyone can enjoy.”

And he achieved that in 2008 the island was indeed declared a national park.

* * *

TRAIN OF FUELS

Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.” — Christopher Morley

Here's the recording of last night's (2022-01-14) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA): https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0471

Thanks heaps to Hank Sims of LostCoastOutpost.com for all kinds of tech help over the years, as well as for his fine news site, his own writing and his commitment to local journalism. Hi to the family.

Speaking of which, thanks are due the Anderson Valley Advertiser, which provided at least an hour of the above eight-hour show's most locally relevant material, as usual, without asking for anything in return. (Though I do pay $25 annually for full access to all articles and features, and you should too, I think. As well as throw a bone once in awhile to KNYO. Be the best person of yourself. Go to KNYO.org, click on the big red heart, and give what you can. (While you're there, tour the renovated site, rebuilt by webmaster Chris Dunn, with an updated schedule, whole new design and new features, including a page of local webcams, three to start, but there'll be more.)

You're invited to email me your writing on any subject and I'll read it on the radio this coming Friday night on the very next MOTA show.

Furthermore at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:

Crystal's story of drugs and sex, kidnapping and rape both of mind and body, friendship, tunnels under the earth, spiritual enlightenment and organic peanut butter: "Yeah, well, the thing is, I'm kinda saying all just only the pros of using DMT anally, because it's kinda great, but the bad thing is, it kinda burns there, y'know, and also it put me in a really weird headspace..." (20 min.)

https://boingboing.net/2022/01/11/former-goth-stripper-krystle-coles-extraordinary-lsd-survival-story.html

Water in motion.

https://boingboing.net/2022/01/10/a-bridge-in-brazil-collapses-in-a-flood-both-victims-survived.html

The House of Small Cubes. (via the AVA)

https://www.theava.com/archives/174849

And a short film about a boy's feelings for his lovely teacher, and what he's prepared to do about them. (15 min.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTN3q_NjuWs

— Marco McClean, memo@mcn.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com

* * *


SERIAL KILLERS AND THEIR ZODIAC SIGNS. Which star sign is the most common?

Not so long ago, I came across a video about serial killers and their respective Zodiac signs. The video in question was more of a “joke” than a factual list. The creator had clearly cherry picked certain serial killers in order to make it seem as though one star sign was worse than the others....

thisinterestsme.com/serial-killers-zodiac-signs/

* * *

LOOK BEHIND THE CURTAIN: Discussion with Author Walter Kirn

The terrific humorist, journalist, and novelist talks about the downfall of journalism, bureaucratic absurdity, and class cruelty in a blistering indictment of an America turned upside down

by Matt Taibbi

Walter Kirn is from the Midwest, worked for Timemagazine, and has written a pile of wonderful novels, fromUp in The Air to Blood Will Out to The Unbinding. I’m from Boston, worked for Rolling Stone, and only wish I could write fiction. But, it turns out we have a lot in common, and we had a charged and hilarious discussion on Callin yesterday, aided by great audience questions. 

I know there’s frustration that Callin is still exclusive to iPhone, but in an effort to share some of yesterday’s wide-ranging talk about the state of the media, vaccine madness, the new urban snobbery, and the lost art of talking, I’m reproducing a partial transcript here. 

The first question came from a caller named Nick:

Nick: Where the hell is this thing coming from?

Walter Kirn: I had a psychiatrist once and when I came in with some dysfunction or problem, he said, “What happened right before that?” So I would say, “What happened right before?” What happened right before this was social media. It has created a sort of hyper-consensus engine, because these ridiculous takes that you’re talking about all just exaggerate a basic take. 

It’s basically an arms race that’s going on now, in which people attempt to agree more intensely than they agreed before. I do credit social media, at least that’s the place where we see these takes. We don’t tend to hear them by CB radio or over the phone necessarily, but there’s something about this third particle accelerator of opinion that we call Twitter which seems to inflate the craziness. 

Now, as to whether the liberals have changed? Yes, they’ve changed! They used to be gentle, interesting, controversial, humorous people. Now they’re strident ideologues who love every institution which they professed to detest and suspect in the old days…

Matt Taibbi: And have no sense of humor. 

Walter Kirn: Yes, and that sense of humor and weirdness is something that they call out, rather than try to cultivate, unless it’s the weirdness that’s already been pre-approved — at which point they compete to inhabit it more completely than anyone else. 

Nick: Matt, I mean your show and your writing, and Chapo Traphouse, was a big political awakening for me…

Walter Kirn: Look, Matt’s a dissident in this community. He may be disappeared before this Callin is over. The mainstream folks who are driving this are on the hunt right now for a sense of humor. If they find any in the landscape, they will launch an arrow. I mean, I have very funny friends who were last night on Twitter, who aren’t this morning.

Taibbi: Wait, that really happened?

Walter Kirn: Oh, yeah. I woke up this morning to find one of my favorite accounts, a guy named Clifton Duncan, a Broadway performer who has been especially critical of Broadway’s COVID policies and their effects on working theater people. He’s just gone, tens of thousands of followers. 

Taibbi: What novelist would do the best job of capturing the current craziness?

Walter Kirn: It’s been a progression. About a year ago, it would’ve been someone like Kafka, who talks about these open-ended crimes and the insoluble cosmic mystery that the individual gets caught up in and never has an explanation for. But to cut to the chase now, it’s somebody like Joseph Heller, because we’re now in an absurd carousel of bad routines. 

And that’s what Catch-22 is. I just re-watched the 1970 Mike Nichols version last night to prepare for this. Just a few outtakes: you’ve got these guys living on a bomber base in the Mediterranean and they’re dying one by one, their planes are getting shot down and they want to get out of it. But the Colonel in charge keeps raising the number of missions you have to fly in order to retire from the bombing. And that reminds me of the vaccines. You’ll need six! No, you’ll need seven!

The great conceit of the whole novel is that the base is slowly turning into a capitalist hell. Milo Minderbinder, the ambitious impresario, is selling the parachutes in Egypt for cotton. The bomber pilots wake up in the middle of runs and find out their parachutes are gone. It’s because this syndicate, which has developed out of their base, has sold them. In the end, Minderbinder does a deal with the Germans: they will buy up the excess cotton, which he spent all his money on and has gone broke on, if he will agree to bomb the base himself so the Germans don’t have to.

I look at COVID a little bit like that. We will agree to destroy our society for you, China… Our greatest product at the moment, this vaccine, our most expensive and profitable export, is the result of our suffering. And it isn’t seeming to cure it either, frankly, from my perspective, since every single person I know who’s gotten the booster in LA is now asking me for recommendations on zinc and other vitamins to take. There’s the famous saying, that the capitalist will sell the revolutionary the rope he will use to hang himself. Well, that’s kind of the situation I see us in. It’s as though there’s only one corporation in charge right now, and that is one Pharma/gov/tech conglomerate. Maybe it’s called BlackRock, or Vanguard. 

It’s literally making a great profit opportunity out of the suffering of society. Oh, you can’t go out? We’ll sell you virtual zoom technology. Oh, you’re sick? We’ll sell you yet another booster, but you’ve gotta wait to get better from the current variant you’re suffering from, you can take the next booster, which is actually happening to friends of mine.

Taibbi: You were telling me that story, that’s such an unbelievable thing.

Walter Kirn: I live in Montana. There are all these college kids who are home from their universities for break. They hang out together, and they all had to be vaccinated in order to be at college in the first place. So they’re all double vaccinated and they’ve all got Covid, and they’re waiting for their Covid to pass because they have to get vaccinated, again. They have to get boosted again, to go back to school. 

Waiting to get better from the thing that wasn’t prevented, so that you can try to prevent it again — if that’s not Joseph Heller, what is?

Taibbi: Where has the instinct to laugh about some of these absurdities gone?

Walter Kirn: If you were talking about the liberal mindset in 1970, the Vietnam War was raging hot. Post-Tet Offensive, America was at least able to laugh or cry in a literary way at books like Slaughterhouse-Five,Vonnegut’s story of the Dresden fire-bombing, at books like Catch-22…

Taibbi:M*A*S*H

Walter Kirn: At the movie M*A*S*H, which came out the same year. We seem to have lost entirely the ability to be in pain and understand things satirically at the same time. What is this, all of the sudden? What is this sudden prohibition on dark humor in the midst of crisis? I don’t get it. 

Taibbi: Wasn’t part of what made Vietnam so horrible the bureaucratic lunacy — that the war didn’t have a real point or end goal, so they had to invent ghoulish metrics for success like body counts and truck kills?

Walter Kirn: It’s all about bureaucracy, ultimately. There’s a scene in Catch-22 in which a doctor, Doc Daneeka, he’s sitting there on the shore, looking out at the ocean, and a plane crashes into the ocean. And someone has a chart showing that the doctor standing next to him is on the plane. He mourns the death of the doctor, giving preference to the chart over the man in front of him, saying “I’m right here. I’m not on the plane!”

There you have the bureaucrat’s preference for their numbers or their forms, or documents, over the reality. That’s really the situation that we face now, even more intensely than in Vietnam, with those stories of body counts and of bombing runs that are deemed a success because so many tons were dropped, as though you could measure progress in a war by the tonnage of explosives expended. All those metrics and surreal measurements were being used far away and reported to us. But now they’re being used at home. They’re being used on us. 

I was at the hospital yesterday in Montana, which I read constantly in the New York Times is almost on its knees from Covid-19. The place was empty. I could barely find anyone to give me directions to the radiology department, where I presumed millions would be having their lungs examined. What am I to say? Is the doctor standing next to me the reality, or is the report that he’s on the plane, i.e. the empty hospital, the reality? I read that here in Trump country, we’re just staggering under the weight of the vaccinated, rude Covid-19 victims. 

Taibbi: That was the root of that bizarre story in Oklahoma, where the horse-paste eaters were supposedly so numerous that they were leaving gunshot victims outside. Everybody repeated that story. Nobody stopped to think: there’s probably not that many gunshot victims in rural Oklahoma…

Walter Kirn: I have to tell you, Matt, the middle of the country is being treated much as the middle of the country was treated back during the Indian wars. These are stories of strange tribes committing atrocities out in the middle of nowhere. Everybody in the metropolitan areas is reading these newspapers and thinking: “Oh, the Commanche just bore off another 30 white women into slavery!” or whatever. Or, the stories they would tell about Mormon polygamy as potboilers in East coast newspapers back in the middle of the 19th century. Living in Montana, which I promise you is no longer The Revenant —we aren’t warming ourselves inside of bear carcasses. It’s an incredibly sophisticated state with airline connections to the world, sometimes even with just one stop. 

Yet we’re being described as though we’re on the precipice of savagery. I saw that with the Oklahoma thing. I was in South Dakota last year when I heard an NPR report that the hospital in Rapid City, which I was one mile from, was about to collapse. And I drove over. I had a thousand parking spots to choose from. Then when I rechecked the text of the NPR story, I saw that it was a speculative story, which interviewed a doctor about what might happen if things got so much worse. So, I’ve had that experience over and over of being reported on as a resident of the great frontier and then checking outside my door to see whether or not it was accurate and finding it wasn’t. 

Taibbi: Walter, you come from the journalism world. You wrote for Time, a leading member of the club.

Walter Kirn: Talk about liberalism. I was a columnist for Harper’s. I was the national correspondent for The New Republic, three-and-a-half owners back or whatever. I’m joking: maybe just two. So I know what journalistic standards are. I used to have to meet them myself.

Taibbi: What do you think is going on? Is it dishonesty? Is it cluelessness?

Walter Kirn: One thing we know is that it’s not “mass formation psychosis,” because the AP fact-checked that with a New York University professor and found out that there’s no such thing!

What’s going on? Scapegoating. That’s the old-fashioned word for it. In that piece that you wrote about that Jimmy Kimmel routine about Anti-Vax Barbie: It said it was available only in Kentucky and Florida. That was amazing! The left loves to talk about dog whistles. That’s not a dog whistle, that’s a dog horn! You know, Kentucky! You know, Deliverance! You know, no teeth, stupid people!

If the left could solve the problem of two Americas that RFK so eloquently spoke of, it’s now decided that the America that is left behind, that it used to profess great care for and ambitions for, should just be annihilated with ridicule and a sort of mockery that dehumanizes them and renders them irrelevant. 

That’s a sign of real failure. To be serious, that’s a kind of real failure on the left when it starts making fun of poverty, basically, in order to advance its cosmopolitan agenda. Another joke was it comes with a “Barbie dream ventilator,” which suggests these people are dying, and we could have a laugh over it. I mean, I don’t wanna laugh over anyone on a ventilator in my lifetime if I can help it, but we’re already there on network television.

Taibbi: Another journalism-related question: In the eighties and nineties, it seemed the reigning attitude of most journalists was they didn’t really care that much. Or, I don’t know if that’s the right way to put it — let’s say they were sufficiently detached from the subject that they were more concerned about whether they were getting things right, than whether they were sending the right message. Do you think there’s a change there?

Walter Kirn: I feel like it’s a massive change. Most journalism now is about other journalism. Most journalism now is internecine warfare between the so-called legacy and prestige outlets, and all their competitors, which are accused of being everything from in the pockets of Vladimir Putin to insurrectionists. The hunt for disinformation and misinformation is now almost the whole of the job. In fact, from what I’ve seen, 98% of journalism is committed without ever leaving the laptop screen. 

That’s one of the openings for these whopper stories about the real America, which they only visit when they go to the Iowa caucuses. Everybody thinks that because they went to a diner during a presidential primary, that they know the heartbeat of grassroots America.

One of the reasons they can tell so many stories so inaccurately about people in places that they aren’t is that they don’t even have a fact-check in memory about being to of those places, let alone a friend who lives there. So they can expect from their audience total incuriosity about the truth. So you get a spiral of reaffirmation that becomes almost completely detached from reality and journalism. 

You know, it’s funny to see this term fact check now used every day on Twitter. Remember Matt, when that was kind of a specialty term, that only we knew as journalists. It was inside baseball, a fact-checker, a fact-checking department. It was most probably famously evoked in Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney, the hyper-elitist novel about cocaine, and the New Yorkerfact-checking department. 

Taibbi: The Bolivian Marching powder! 

Walter Kirn: Now our inside baseball is for everybody because the process of journalism has now become the story, rather than the supposed outcome of journalism, which is going somewhere, getting facts right. 

Taibbi: In my father’s generation, all journalists were on the phone all the time, and now they’re not. Do you talk about that with colleagues — this astonishment at how much the idea of talking to people has disappeared from the job, replaced by looking for links? 

Walter Kirn: Matt, this profession, especially in its mainstream liberal form, now distrusts people — they have a one out of two chance of being an insurrectionist or a racist, a bad wrong-thinking person. What journalism now specializes in is waiting in line to talk to the same expert, the former intelligence agency chief, the John Hopkins professor, the Nate Silverish statistician. Sometimes I think that these 50 or 100 experts who are generating about a third of the news now must almost be like professional witnesses in trials. They’re so in demand that must be getting paid because they’re apparently spending their whole day talking to a circle of journalists. And that is no exaggeration. 

Taibbi: Remember Mark Halperin’s Gang of 500? The premise was the same 500 lobbyists, experts, donors, and politicians decided everything. His “Note” column was supposedly so valuable because he had the whole 500 on his Rolodex and that’s basically what journalism was. Everybody’s talking to the same 500 people.

Walter Kirn: I used to love talk radio, and I didn’t care what the political views of the host were because it was the only time I got to hear Joe truck driver call in and tell me what he was going through or whatever. And because we have become a country divided by a certain kind of populism, a hyper populism, the news now tends to come from the elite sector of society. We don’t have the Mike Roykos and the Jimmy Breslins and those guys who sat at the bar, heard about cops’ divorces and got some story from the bartender and checked it out. That sort of gumshoe, working-class journalism of the big city seems to have disappeared. And that was, to me, the original romance of journalism was to kind of get gossip and check it out. 

Taibbi: Let’s talk to — Andrew?

Andrew: The writer Thomas Frank was basically saying in “Listen, Liberal” is that they’ve become the professional class, the adults in the room. They know that they’re the smart ones, the ones with the college degrees, so they basically get to tell us what to do and what harm is real and what harm isn’t. I think that’s part of what’s shifted because in the past it was the conservatives deciding that, for example, gay marriage was too harmful for society. 

I don’t know what we do because it seems like the conservative response is to simply just throw up their hands and say, well, we’re not applying any kind of measures that might be useful, just because we don’t wanna go down the slippery slope. What do we do to break this framework? 

Walter Kirn: To start, I would say you could not have a more slanted situation than the largest advertiser and corporate sponsor for the media, the pharmaceutical industry being basically the subject of inquiry. In other words, you’re less likely to get honest inquiry and diversity of opinions and adversarial reporting in a press that is owned by big Pharma than you were. Jake Tapper is literally brought to you by Pfizer; his segments on CNN are introduced as such. You are in a snake-eating-its-tail situation, when the subject of journalism is the greatest advertiser. 

Taibbi: Just to follow up on that, people forget that until 1997, pharmaceutical companies weren’t allowed to advertise.

Walter Kirn: My father was a patent lawyer for the 3M corporation… he spent his life suing Johnson and Johnson. Basically, they were the biggest infringer on 3M’s medical patents. And he told me when that change came about, when pharmaceutical companies were allowed to advertise on television, he said, “This country is going to rue the day it allowed this to happen.” Of all the prophecies of the late Walter Kirn, Jr., that one is the one that rings in my ear most often now.

Andrew: Quick follow-up: do you think that the consumers of these media outlets even care that they’re brought to you by Pfizer? Because I see it as a problem, but I’m not sure they do at all. I’m also not sure they don’t see it as a benefit, like who else should be sponsoring them? After all, they’re the ones that made the drug!

Taibbi: I’ve got an answer for that one because it ties into another issue that drives me crazy, which is the prevalence of ex-intelligence officials who are suddenly every second anchor-person. When you complain about that, one of the things that people will say is, “What’s wrong with that? They’re the people who know!”

I don’t even know how to approach the person who has that reaction. With the FBI or the CIA or the NSA, if you have an ex-intelligence agent on the air, these people, their whole purpose, they’re trained to manipulate facts, and lie. That’s their job! It’s completely antithetical to what the journalist’s job is supposed to be. 

I think people have the same naïveté about drug company officials — who, by the way, I started to notice are appearing as experts more and more often on the air too. It’s starting to remind me a little bit of the Iraq war period when suddenly there were former generals on the air all the time. But yeah, you have to be crazy to not understand the problem with pharmaceutical companies having an influence over the news.

Walter Kirn: This is going to offend everyone — I can just hear people clicking off out there — but we live in a country where our chief health official for governmental and media purposes, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is at least mentioned in every single account of the origins of the virus, either as a manipulated virus or one that was captured wild. Now we used to call that conflict of interest. We used to say that if you made money from something, or if you knew someone involved in the story, or if you made money from some aspect of the story, you couldn’t comment on it. 

Now, what used to be considered a flaw, having a conflict of interest, is considered a virtue, because just as Matt said, if you’re on the inside now, where the conflicts of interests are, you’re considered an expert. Conflict of interest is considered evidence of your having been read in, of being knowledgeable. So we have taken what was the first commandment in journalism — Thou shalt police for conflict of interest! — and turned it upside-down. We’ve said, you should seek out those who have the most conflict. The intelligence person is reporting on war, the pharmaceutical spokesman is reporting on the effectiveness of a vaccine. The pharmaceutical CEOs, you go to them first. 

This was thought in the past to disqualify someone from at least being the sole commentator on the story. I mean, you expected a general to feed you BS about his own accomplishments in the war. You expected a corporate talking head to feed you PR about the vast success of their company, and its loving kindness to all people. You expected a politician to sing the praises of the party platform. But you did not credit them with truth. 

Taibbi: I remember the reaction I had when they hired [former CIA head] John Brennan and [former Director of National Intelligence] James Clapper as TV analysts. Former CIA chief Michael Hayden was another one. I thought, theoretically, I guess you could have them comment on so certain general topics, but they would have to recuse themselves from all the ones that they were directly involved in, at least. 

It turned out to be the opposite. In other words, they would have Brennan and Clapper and all those guys, and they would bring them on to talk about the stories that they themselves were most directly involved with. This new thing with Fauci — the new emails that have come out, they’re kind of shocking, just on the level of proving that Fauci and others were being deceitful about their assessment of the lab-leak story at the beginning. The fact that people aren’t jumping all over those stories is amazing to me. 

Walter Kirn: To point out the conflict of interest, you are now accused of being a conspiracy theorist. Well, journalists aren’t supposed to be conspiracy theorists. They’re supposed to be conspiracy finders.

The thing that infuriated me and almost radicalized me against this corporate regime, and journalism, was the Russiagate story. I’ll tell you why, and it’s not because it was adversarial for Donald Trump. It’s because the Russiagate story, which was, I’m just here to tell you — it was bullshit. It had bullshit sources. It stemmed from high influence peddlers and campaign officials and places like the Brooking Institute and so on. It posed as Watergate. It posed as an outsider exposure of the ways of power, when in fact it was just the opposite. It posed as muckraking when in fact it was icing the cake of power. Pulitzer Prizes were awarded, and star reporters were crowned in this supposedly anti-authoritarian mega-story, which was being reported despite the anger and fury of power. 

In fact, it was just the opposite. It was a completely phony caricature of a Watergate-style investigation. When I saw the press willing to pose as crusaders and outsiders on behalf of the most established political, intelligence, and even corporate entities in America, I was just like, this is the biggest travesty. 

Taibbi: Obviously you’re not going to have to work too hard to get me to agree about Russiagate being bunk, but one of the first clues for me that the story probably wasn’t real was that there was so much pressure to go along with it, and also so much pressure in the other direction, not to say anything against it. 

As a journalist, you know when you’re saying something risky. This is a business where they let you know right away when you’ve said something that crosses a line somewhere. There was none of that with this story. It was completely in the other direction. 

Walter Kirn: All those newspaper movies, those romantic movies, like All The President’s Men and Spotlight, in which the crusty editor says, “I’m not gonna put the reputation of this paper on the line for your half baked reporting! You get me a witness in the next 36 hours, or we’re killing this story forever! And I’m firing you!” That’s the supposed newsroom. When you’re going up against power in Russiagate, it was: “Get me more people from the DNC to be outraged about this by tomorrow, or, we’re going to pay somebody elsehundreds of thousands of dollars to write this story!”

Taibbi: Let’s do one more. Kevin? 

Kevin: A lot of us are having conversations about, as Walter said, regular folks. I’m in Ohio, which by the way, shout out to Walter — you were born in Akron, weren’t you? 

Walter Kirn: Akron. St. Thomas Hospital, man. Yep. 

Kevin: One of the most disturbing aspects of that just horrible, cruel, nasty Kimmel sketch was the one bit where the doll “does her own research.” It wouldn’t be so insidious if there wasn’t a wholeNew York Timesarticle saying, “Careful now, do not do your own research.” As if that’s the last thing you want to do…

Lastly, I want to read something that Walter tweeted a couple months ago, because I think eventually we’re going to have social media awards, and Walter, you wrote this, and I thought it was so brilliant:

”The immaterialists have made a crucial and devastating category error with their rush to contrive a patentable reality. All we really wanted was hamburger & a cold drink & a smile from our date. They are giving us virtual Xanadu & a picture of a burger.”

Walter Kirn: Wow. Thank you. I have to say I had, I want to focus on what appeared to be the most trivial part of the question — the preface that we’re both from Ohio. That was I think the most important part of it. We have a national myth, and a great musical called the Wizard of Oz, which I think warms the heart of every child at least initially. Remember, Dorothy’s a Midwesterner, but Holden Caulfield felt the same way, and he was an Easterner. Its message was, “Look behind the curtain. Don’t be Buffaloed by power, money, glamor, smoke, and mirrors. Make sure that you take a peek at the hidden aspects of reality.” Now, the opposite of that is Chris Cuomo telling us on CNN that it’s illegal to look at WikiLeaks. We can do that as journalists. 

He actually said this on TV. He literally said, I know you’ve seen behind the curtain, and seen that the Wizard of Oz is actually this little con man from Kansas. But pretend you never saw that. In fact, it’s illegal for you to have seen that. So if you can wipe your memory banks, we’ll tell you what to think.

When I saw that moment on CNN, a journalist actually demanding incuriosity of the audience, I went, okay, the country I know is dead. The Midwestern ethos of, I’m gonna look behind the side show, or the Emperor’s New Clothes myth, of being that little kid who stands up and says, “Hey, you know, he’s naked, he’s a fat naked man.”

That was being systematically and affirmatively repressed. We now have a professional priesthood because, because throughout Trump, what we heard about journalists was that they were the most persecuted they’d ever been. They were one minute from being thrown into camps by Trump, and how dare we insult their profession. They exalted themselves into something resembling medieval priests. We read Latin, please. You don’t want to look at the Bible — we’ll tell you what’s in it. 

So I’m standing up for a cultural tradition of seeing for yourself. You know — Missouri, the Show-Me State. Ohio, the state that produced James Thurber, who laughs at the fancy people, and so on. Look behind the curtain. I don’t wanna let that go. 

* * *

* * *

CANNABIS PORTAL INFO: Portal Timing Update

Editor,

In response to requests for any update available about the timing of the Portal resubmission process, Supervisor Haschak was able to provide the following information:

The Portal will NOT be opening in January or early February.

Before the Portal can re-open, MCP must review and prep notices for applicants who are subject to denial.

Denials will be issued for unauthorized tree removal, as well as for egregious violations of the Ordinance.

These Denials will be sent out over the next few weeks.

MCA has requested further clarification on the egregious violations.

Simultaneously MCP will be updating the document checklist to include citations to 10A.17 and 20.242 so applicants can better understand the needed materials.

Once these items are complete and vetted by County Counsel, a letter will be sent to all applicants.

MCP Plans to have at least one online webinar to discuss the re-opening of the Portal prior to its opening.

For applicants who began a submission but due to consultant error were unable to complete the submission, MCP will be reaching out to them to receive documents requested during the initial submission process directly.

MCP will provide a 30 day notice prior to the re-opening of the Portal. 

At this time MCP is planning to have the Portal open for 30 days during which time applicants can resubmit the required documents.

MCA has continuously recommended that this arbitrary timeline be extended to ensure each applicant have the opportunity to work with MCP on any outstanding items to reach completion.

(via John Sakowicz)

* * *

Mendocino High Football Team, 1896

20 Comments

  1. Lee Edmundson January 16, 2022

    I hate picking nits fellas, but it’s Sunday, January 16th, not 17th. Thought I’d lost another day and had to check my wall calendar.
    Stay Well.

  2. Lazarus January 16, 2022

    “FREE FOOD PHILO”
    Those food packages resemble Mexican kilos. 60’s and 70’s circa…
    Laz

    • Betsy Cawn January 16, 2022

      The task of informing the public is not helped by the general attitude of the elected officials that they do not have to “reply” to inquiries from lesser members of the “press” or individual citizens not officially representing an organization with any kind of clout. When the officials themselves spout their glorified descriptions of programs and projects they deem to have foundations in structured, executable “plans” that are not even close to the concept, the public is further removed from the process of collective decision-making. Thanks again for Taibbi in today’s edition, and thanks always for the AVA.

      [Note to readers and dearest editoria: I mistakenly entered these comments into yesterday’s edition, mea culpa. The Substack version includes several YouTube links relevant to the arguments made by Mr. Taibbi and Mr. Kirn, worth looking for if you are devoted to this subject.]

  3. john ignoffo January 16, 2022

    Pelosi collecting a billion dollars in bribes, I mean campaign contributions is a good thing? FDR stabbed his loyal VP Henry Wallace in the back for the despicable Truman ( Taft Hartley, Cold War, Korea) .Perhaps the super rich can save us, but don’t bet the farm on it. Sincerely, Iggy

    • Harvey Reading January 16, 2022

      Much as I may despise Truman for his Korean invasion and permanent-war-footing basis for guvamint, Taft-Hartley was rammed through by republofascists over Truman’s veto. That said, the SOB used it a lot against strikers once it became law. Pelosi is the past. She should have lost her speakership long ago.

  4. Randy Burke January 16, 2022

    Little Walter – All Around The World lyrics
    Play “All Around The Wor…”
    on Amazon Music Unlimited (ad)
    All Around The World 2:58
    Little Willie John
    (Titus Turner)
    Recorded NYC Jun 27, 1955 King Single #4818
    With Jack Dupree-piano, Mickey Baker-guitar, Ivan Rolle-bass
    Calvin Shields-drums, Willis Jackson-tenor sax.

    Well, if I don’t love you baby
    Grits ain’t groceries, eggs ain’t poultry
    And Mona Lisa was a man
    All around the world I’d-a rather be a fly
    I’ll lite on my baby n’ stay with her ’till I die
    With a toothpick in my hand, I’d dig a ten foot ditch
    And run through the jungle fightin’ lions with a switch
    ‘Cause you know I love you, baby
    Yes, you know I love you, baby
    Well, if I don’t love you, baby
    Grits ain’t groceries, eggs ain’t poultrys
    And Mona Lisa was a man
    All around the world I got blisters on my feet
    Tryin’ to find my baby n’ bring her home with me
    You better run into me baby and be convinced
    If you don’t run into me, woman, you ain’t got no sense
    ‘Cause you know I love you, baby
    Well, you know I love you, baby
    Well, if I don’t love you, baby
    Grits ain’t groceries, eggs ain’t poultrys
    And Mona Lisa was a man

  5. Kirk Vodopals January 16, 2022

    As a Libra I feel hesitantly proud about your serial killer zodiac list.

  6. Bill Pilgrim January 16, 2022

    re: MLK, Jr.
    After “Beyond Vietnam” , even the so-called liberal press turned against King with a fury.
    Agitating for civil rights is one thing, but challenging the geopolitical pursuits of the empire is intolerable.

  7. Michael Geniella January 16, 2022

    Here’s to Robert Mailer Anderson, and his rebuttal to the Marilyn Davin screed about Speaker Pelosi. Point by point the best yet. Put this guy on the payroll.

  8. Rye N Flint January 16, 2022

    Re: “Dope” Farming

  9. Bruce McEwen January 16, 2022

    I say, Mailer, your letter has certainly disrupted my morning coffee. When I proof-read her spoof I had a hunch it might get some response from DNC HQ, But she’s been right in step for so many years with her columns and it was refreshing to see so many positive responses when she threw over her traces, but to have you come down her with such a thorough tongue-lashing was both a shock and an honor — like having a brigadier come down to discipline a soldier who got out of step. But I fear you may have stung her with some of those snappy alliterations. Be a prince and say you meant no harm.

    • Michael Geniella January 16, 2022

      Oh, her screed was a ‘spoof.’ Now I get it.

      • Bruce McEwen January 16, 2022

        Here’s a letter to the editor of the weekly where it originally appeared: “Compliments to Marilyn Davin for her Progressive View column. Written with humor, nuance, satire and understatement, it was packed with truths and one of the most enjoyable critiques of Nancy Pelosi I’ve ever read. She nailed it.”

  10. Marmon January 16, 2022

    RE: BRUCE ANDERSON’S CRISIS VAN

    A standoff between a fugitive and law enforcement on Laytonville’s Branscomb Road has resulted in the deployment of SWAT, a Hostage Negotiation Team, and Behavioral Health personnel to assist in de-escalating the situation, Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall told us.

    Initial reports gathered over the police scanner indicated that around 9:00 a.m. the suspect was pulled over by law enforcement and barricaded himself in his vehicle. Scanner traffic indicates the individual could be armed with a firearm and is threatening suicide

    UPDATE 9:53 a.m.:Scanner traffic indicates that despite being requested, Behavioral Health personnel will not be responding to the incident.

    https://mendofever.com/2022/01/16/standoff-in-laytonville-after-fugitive-barricades-himself-in-vehicle-on-branscomb-road/?fbclid=IwAR2WsWT198zvhkQoQFTz22CI6eELA3l8BylGdnN-EGr6c8j-tH-s0mhdHXg

    Marmon

  11. Stephen Rosenthal January 16, 2022

    “We want to earn trust back from our customers,”
    — PG&E spokesperson

    I gotta tell you I don’t see that happening.

    • chuck dunbar January 16, 2022

      Indeed it will be a long time coming. They’ve dug their hole pretty darn deep.

      • Jim Armstrong January 16, 2022

        It is really hard to figure out why and how (besides greed, of course) they make their decisions.
        They were simply going do this.
        “Shoo, eagle. Family Tree, start your saws.”
        Fait accompli.
        The folks who stepped in should be proud.

  12. Joe January 16, 2022

    I think you would have a better chance posting an open letter to Santa Claus instead of Pelosi you might get a reply and you can still fight about the contents.

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