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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022

Warming | 527 New Cases | AVUSD Results | Ukiah Dusk | Free Tests | Alyssa Fund | Waste Staffing | Timber Sales | Beerfest Canceled | Ed Notes | Shelter Dogs | Blood Brother | Hotel Raid | Yesterday's Catch | Niner Mojo | Sanhedrin Dawn | Hazard Tree | Wyatt Earp | Murphy Sources | Einstein & Curie | Totalitarian Regimes | Vax Rates | Broderick Letter | Punk | Boomers Lament | 1880 Mendocino | Sad Day | NATO Clinton | Wolfe Chop | CalAIM | Van Gogh | Get Better | Global Deaths | Rural Hopsitals | Left Update | Poetry Anthology | Garden Secrets

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MARINE LAYER STRATUS will be fairly extensive and persistent through Thursday morning to the north of Cape Mendocino, with a few drops of rain near the Oregon border. Otherwise, high pressure will allow for mainly dry weather to prevail, with warming temperatures and more sunshine late week and through the weekend. (NWS)

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527 NEW COVID CASES (since last Friday) reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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POSITIVE CASE UPDATE:

Dear Anderson Valley Community,

As to be expected post break incubation period, we are receiving some positive test results at the schools for Covid-19. The staff has been diligently testing contacts. We will run another scheduled pool testing on Wednesday.

Take care,

Louise Simson
Superintendent
Anderson Valley Unified School District
Cell:  707-684-1017

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Ukiah at Dusk (photo by Kathy Shearn)

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AT HOME COVID-19 TESTS DELIVERED to your house for Free!

Place Your Order for Free At Home COVID-19 Tests

Residential households in the U.S. can order one set of 4 free at home tests from USPS.com

Here’s what you need to know about your order:

Limit of one order per residential address

One order includes 4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests

Orders will ship free starting in late January

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ALYSSA MAE SAWDEY MEMORIAL FUND

Hi my name is Alyssa Porter and I am putting this GoFundMe together for my beautiful big sister Alyssa Mae Sawdey, who sadly has passed away on January 11, 2022. 

Alyssa was a very beautiful, smart, and outgoing girl who had a very big heart. She loved meeting new people and was always ready for her next adventure. May she find peace in her new journey. Our GoFund goal is $5,000 to help cover cost for her memorial and related expenses. We appreciate any help, thought, or share contributed to Alyssa Mae. Thank you!

gofundme.com/f/help-support-alyssa-sawdey-memorial/donate

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HERE AT SOLID WASTE OF WILLITS we are still being affected by Covid 19 exposures as well as other illnesses making us short-handed. Your curbside and transfer station service may be affected by these situations. Please understand that these issues are beyond our control. Our main concern is the safety of our employees and your community in which they serve.

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A MORATORIUM IN JACKSON! OR SO THEY THINK.

According to agenda item 9 for the Board of Forestry meeting set for Wed January 19th, “Due to delays in Timber Harvest Plan approvals and 2021 planned operations, no additional timber sales will be offered in 2022.” This comes after rumors that timber sales were offered and no bids were placed. 

Forest defenders are ecstatic and weary at the same time. What does this mean going forward? While new sales may not go through, Caspar 500 is still on the chopping block. Completed harvest would seriously degrade a tremendous tourist and recreation draw. Soda Gulch is on the chopping block and its completion would destroy numerous native cultural sites, the campgrounds at Camp 1 are on the chopping block (pic right) and will cause cumulative impacts to a fragile watershed that has seen over a thousand acres of logging in the past two years. 

We appreciate a halt in selling our important public resources to timber interests, but we still want a halt in destroying our important public resources. 

You can get involved with the movements ongoing victories by going to SaveJackson.org sign the petition, send some emails, make a couple phone calls, and get in touch to join in on the ground. 

Together we have made a difference, together we can make a change. 

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ROTARY CLUB OF FORT BRAGG:

We have come to the difficult decision that we need to cancel the 2022 Beer Festival, which is usually held in mid March. It is just too risky for our community to hold a large gathering at this time.

Please continue to support the Crab Feed this Saturday, January 22. We still have Crab Feed tickets and raffle tickets available. You don't need a Crab Feed ticket to buy a raffle ticket. There are lots of great raffle prizes to be handed out. We appreciate everybody's interest and we hope the Beer Festival will be back in 2023.

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ED NOTES

IT WAS a late summer in 1970 on a ranch south of Boonville. The property is now a gay resort, a huge irony considering that when we leased it on the assumption that urban delinquents would somehow be less delinquent far from the street lights, their criminal impulses cooled out by the rustic calm beneath the redwoods. The 320 acres were owned by a man who made a big show of his Christianity who didn't approve of us and our liberal ways, and certainly would not approve of the gay resort that occupies his old ranch today.

TO OCCUPY the delinquents, and also to exhaust them so they'd sleep at night rather than assault each other and hitchhike into Boonville to get hippies to buy them dope or alcohol, I'd take them on night hikes up in the hills. We'd spotlight whatever creatures were about, not with a view to shooting them as I learned rural men often did to fatten their protein larder for the winter, but simply to look at them. Most of them had never seen a wild thing outside their social circles, and one kid, raised in San Francisco, had never seen the Golden Gate Bridge before he crossed it, headed north for Boonville. Although the delinquents had committed serious felonies and would go on to adult prisons, at the time we, my comrades and I, were still naive enough to think that that grim progression was not inevitable. 

AT THE TIME there weren't electronic amusements to occupy the junior thugs, and we couldn't get television reception where we were so we were the entertainment, and night hikes were consensus entertainment. We all enjoyed them. They were still just kids in some ways, not entirely the doomed junior criminals the courts said they were. 

I REMEMBER two episodes from those excursions. The first on a full moon night when a full moon rose over the east hills, Domingo Ramirez — two terms in Pelican Bay's “secure housing unit” as an adult — suddenly screamed, “Jesu Cristo, what's that!?” An Oakland street kid who'd never seen the moon, although his arrest record established he was often outside at night, he was seeing his first moon.

THE SECOND occurred on another night when a toad appeared on the path in front of us. As one, all six “troubled youth,” instinctively, and jostling each other for firsts, jumped forward to stomp the creature, laughing about it for minutes afterwards. 

AND THAT right there, citizens, is the diff between the criminal mentality and our criminal mentalities. It wouldn't occur to us to stomp frogs but you could say that we approve, at least tacitly, the social arrangements that create frog stompers.

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WHEN I GREW UP IN OHIO

by Tom McFadden 

It was a time when everybody in the neighborhood trusted everybody else. I mean that my parents and Dave’s parents trusted each other with their kids; even though our parents rarely spoke to each other. I think that Covington in 1955 was maybe 3000 or 4000 souls, and that everybody in town knew exactly whose kid I was on sight — and I believe it was the same with all the other kids. It was a town on the plain beside a river, the streets were lined and shaded by elm and maple trees, and a double track railroad main line ran through it and crossed the Stillwater River on a double arch bridge built by Italian stone masons from limestone quarried along the river. Dave, my best friend, and I were both outcasts as far as the town and the school establishment were concerned. I was an outcast because I and my family were newcomers, Dave was an outcast because he was “behind” in school. We took to each other like fish to water. The elms are gone from Covington now, caught by something called the “Dutch Elm Disease,” the railroad is gone, and a lot more is gone too. There still are maple trees shading the streets, and the 7 or 9 or whatever churches are still there; but the men’s shop is gone. The drug store where we had phosphates after church is gone, and the hardware store. The five and dime is gone, as well as the heating/cooling store. The railroad bridge is there but there are no tracks and no trains and no long whistles in the night that we heard in my room and Dave’s. The Ford dealership closed a long time ago and so did the farm implement store across the street from my house where we stole packs of cigarettes and where I got sent with a one gallon can and a quarter to buy gas for the lawn mower. Covington has changed a lot but in some ways, I suppose, it is still the same. Although my Dad had paid little attention to me, he did have the foresight to think of where he wanted me to grow up. He and my Mom bought an old stone quarry, and it was just across the street from where Dave’s family lived, and it bordered on the Stillwater River. 

My parents moved to Covington in 1955, when I was in the last half of the sixth grade. They bought the local newspaper, “The Stillwater Valley News,” and they had a dream that they would be able to make a living running a real newspaper. That didn’t turn out, not the way my Dad wanted it to. The “News” became the “The Stillwater Advertiser,” and I don’t know if it continues today or not, but I suspect that it does. If so, it is not a newspaper, it is a “shopper,” and that is the direction that my Dad felt he had to turn it. My family moved there, and I was a kid, last half of 6th grade, from cosmopolitan Washington, DC., to rural Ohio. 

Covington was not a welcoming place. On my first day at school I was set upon and roughed up on the playground by 6 local boys. Dave, who lived across the street diagonally, soon came forward and offered to be my friend; at a time when I had no friends. We became almost inseparable, spending nights at each other’s homes and each calling the other’s mother “Mom.” We helped each other through that hard time from grade 7 through 9. A short story by Steven King, “Stand By Me” comes to mind when I think of the way we were. We even performed a little ritual in which we became ”blood brothers.” 

“Blood brothers” is this deal where you each cut the inside pad of your thumb open with a very sharp knife until blood flows quite freely. Then you put your thumbs together and bind them in place until each of your blood flows into the other person’s body. What this means is that you are united, that you are brothers in blood, and that you will each always forever after be there for each other. You will be there to talk with your brother, or you will be there to fight to the death defending each other. No Matter What — you are bound. You will mentor his kid, and he will mentor yours. Dave and I drifted apart, and we didn’t do all of this as well as we might have, but this is what it meant to us at the time, and we did start it off the way I have described. 

Dave was smart as a whip, strong like an oak and could bend like a willow. He had not managed to make the people in charge of the school happy, so he was “behind” in school, although ahead in smarts. I think that the deal was that they held him back in first grade for another year (how can anybody flunk first grade?) and then he lost another year because of a broken leg. As a result Dave was the oldest and biggest kid in his class. He dropped out after the ninth grade, and joined the army. His dad had worked for the railroad and when he got out, just as Vietnam was heating up, Dave became a train engineer and that was his lifetime work until later when he needed to stay near home to take care of his wife. 

Along the way there, for a while and even into today, we became friends and more than that. We rode our bikes everywhere, seven miles over popping hot tar bubbles to Piqua to swim, out to Greenville Falls to fish and swim, and all over Covington. Fifty some years later there are signs at the falls, “No Swimming!!” For crying out loud, there are pools in Greenville Falls where the swirling water has cut holes in the limestone, and water pours heavily into them, and we just got naked and let ourselves be washed through this. Today there is some great interpretive stuff, and some local history, posted at Greenville Falls. A little of what I remember is still there, but the place is sterile today with fences and “danger” signs everywhere. ”No Swimming?” — Give Me A Break, swimming is what Greenville Falls is about. 

My family thought that we owned an Island in the Stillwater, but I am not really so sure, although there is where I went to spread some of my Mom’s ashes in the water. I think that the State of Ohio owns to the high water mark, and I have seen that island very nearly under water. My family did own the abandoned stone quarry along the river. A limestone quarry. There was a creek, Rocky Branch, which flowed out of the fields nearby and fell over two limestone ledges into a pool just beside our house. In the winter and the spring it roared and stormed through our dreams in the night, and in the summer if fell gently into the pool at the foot of the falls, dripping musically. In the winter it was sometimes frozen and in the springtime we would pick violets for our Moms along the path. 

The very best thing was getting the canoe. Somehow Dave, or his Dad, came up with what I think was an Old Town canoe. The canvas was shot and there were multiple broken and cracked ribs. My folks had bought me a really nice boat. It appeared on a trailer one day after quite a bit of talk about a pony for our five acres. This wonderful boat, on a trailer in front of my house, and it was mine if I would only give up my idea of the pony! (Just pause for a moment here and see if you can see my Dad’s hand in this.) I chose the boat, and it got a number of its beautiful bent ribs stove in by the ice because we didn’t pull it out of the river in the fall. 

Dave and I agreed that we would trade the boat for the canoe and working on that canoe was my first experience with bending wood. I got some white oak, and used my Mom’s kitchen stove to heat up a long pan that I got somewhere, and steamed the wood over it before I ran out to bend it into a rib. I had torn off the rotten canvas, cut out some rotten boards, and I was able to fit the new ribs into the thing. I replaced the sections of the boards, put new canvas on the canoe and painted it dark green. 

The directions I had called for setting the keel back into a bed of “white lead.” I bought a can of “white lead” at the local hardware store and laid the keel in it, painted my Thunderbird logo on bow and stern, and we were ready to go. Meanwhile Dave’s Dad was working on the boat, which he fixed quite nicely. 

We paddled that canoe over 40 miles down the river, going way South of Dayton, several times. We would be gone for a week, camping on the banks and cooking over a driftwood fire. I am sure that sleeping bags had been invented by then, but we didn’t have any — our bedrolls were made from army blankets that our Dads had brought home from WWII, and our cook kit was army surplus too. We had two things called “shelter halves” that could be snapped together to make a simple tent, or worn individually like a poncho if it was raining. We kept the cooking stuff and the food in a couple of boxes that I made and painted green with the thunderbird on them. The blanket rolls and a change of clothes were in a couple of olive drab duffle bags. I turned the remains of all that stuff over to my own kids in 2018. 

It was an amazing time and a wonderful place to grow up. I don’t suppose that you could do what we did along the Stillwater today, and I don’t suppose that kids will ever again be as free as we were. It is a different river, and the place is different, and it is a very different time today. We did a lot of fishing, in the daytime and the night as well. We mostly caught bluegills, sunfish, suckers and carp along with an occasional bass. I caught a turtle once. I will never forget the smell of the river and the mud in the summertime. We didn’t eat the fish that we caught, but we did “fall” in the river or a nearby creek and swim a whole lot. We were not supposed to do this because every little town dumped untreated or partially treated sewage into whatever stream was handy. Dave and I roamed up and down that river in every season; we went in boats, in the canoe, on rafts that we made with inner tubes or logs, and on the ice in the winter. The river was our life, and our hope. The river encompassed our dreams for our lives, the river connected us to America’s past and in some way to America’s future. We learned how to “run” a river, and that stood us in good stead as we each faced having a family of our own or finding our way through the rapids of the economy and through the wars our Nation chose to fight. We learned how to steady the boat in the water. We learned when to pull hard, and on what side. There are the upstream “v’s” and the downstream ones, there are the rocks too — and the logs — and then there are always some surprises along the way. 

There were two dams on the Stillwater right near Covington. Deeter’s dam just a little over a mile below my family’s place, and another dam a mile or more further downstream at a place called Sugar Grove. They were both shallow, poured concrete dams across a wide place in a slowly meandering river. Each of these dams fed a mill race, which turned a turbine, and then the water flowed back into the river. By my time the river had found a way around Deeter’s dam, and the mill below had fallen into the mill race. We called the breach in the bank ”the place where the water runs out of the river.” It was across the river and just a little above a place where there was a cave on the left bank. This wasn’t much of a cave, mind you, nothing like what you might have read about, but we had to dock the boat above and sneak down along the river bank, hoping the folks who lived there would not see us. Once in the cave we felt safe from their eyes. One time we took the canoe down the way of the water running out of the river and we saw some ducks that belonged to the people who owned the place with the little cave. We had our bows and arrows and I took aim at one and was astonished to hit it. We totally panicked, tied a stone to it with a shoelace, and sank it to the bottom. 

Now, I said that both dams had a turbine, and that is not quite true. The mill at Deeter’s dam had collapsed into the river and I don’t know for sure if the turbine is still there. I think that it had powered turning stones for grinding grain. On the other hand, the turbine at Sugar Grove Mill worked! At the upper end of the Sugar Grove mill race there were the remains of a “weir,” or a thing that caught sticks and logs and held them out of the mill race. We had to carry the canoe around that and put it back into the mill race, or else carry it over the dam and wade it downriver until the water going through the mill race came back into the river. Everything at the head of the mill race was made out of huge blocks of limestone, and we usually elected that route. We floated down the mill race; it was cool and shady and slow, lined with rows of old sycamores and elms and maples. At the end we came to the mill. The river fell maybe 15 feet through another weir into a huge wooden box. The turbine was in the bottom of the box and the river had to run through it in order to escape and continue its journey to the Mississippi. While the water was running out of there it turned a wheel. A shaft came up out of the box and the water, turning, and gears under the building turned the power to this machine above and to that one. The mill stones above creaked and groaned, and the whole building shook. Two boys crouched underneath all this and then broke and ran for the canoe, carried it around the mill, and put it into the race below. We soon rejoined the Stillwater and headed on down. Sometime much later that mill burned down. The Sugar Grove Mill.

I think that Dave and I tried the Boy Scouts, and that both of us felt that they were way too organized for us, and too tame as well. We wanted to emulate the mountain men of the old West, or the Indians, and we tried quite hard. We would go down into the quarry in winter, with snow on the ground and ice on the river, and we would build a fire and cook a meal. I don’t know that we ever slept out there in the winter, we might have tried it, but we did have a lot of fires of dead sycamore branches built up against the stone walls which reflected the heat into our lean-to. We ardently wished that we had lived 100 years before our time. We took our bows and arrows along, and later our bb guns, and later 22’s, and I think there was a shotgun at some point. 

One time in the winter we went skating on the river between the old quarry and the island. We had brought a little can with a screw top that had some gasoline in it that we used to start the fire. When the fire got going good I had this great idea to toss the can on and see what would happen. The top was screwed on, but soon a flame began to shoot straight out of it. I went around to that side the better to see this and that is when the can exploded showering me with flaming gasoline. My coat that winter was a long red parka that had a hood which laced tightly around my face. Dave threw me down in the snow and got the fire out but all the hair that was outside the parka got burned and the coat itself was a little the worse for wear. I don’t remember what I told my Mom when I got home.

Another time went down to Deeter’s dam on the ice and built a fire there on the dam inside of a large old truck tire that we found on the bank. We changed into our skates, put our boots on the tire so they would be nice and warm when we came back and set off on a skating expedition. We noticed that there was a lot of black smoke, and when we got back the tire and both pairs of boots were blazing merrily. 

Let me know if you can buy a can of “white lead,” today, and while you are thinking of “white lead” do remember that I come from a time when the science teacher at my high school gave us a little vial of Mercury to play with, or “study”. Mercury was really neat — it was this very heavy silver colored liquid metal that broke up into tiny specks when one of us, or more, dropped it on the floor. We crawled around on the polished floor trying to corral it and found that we could not do that. There were a lot of tiny little balls of it. The science teacher laughed at our efforts. We probably had it all over us, probably in our hair, but to my knowledge nobody ever had any bad effects, and nobody ever filed a suit. What I want to say here is that we survived this and a lot more too. It wasn’t perhaps the best of times, which is probably unattainable, but I think that it was one of the best. 

Somehow, toward the end of 9th grade, we kind of slid apart. For me the social scene became more important than the river, and I suppose that for Dave the thought of the Army and getting away from Covington began to pull at him, and he went that way. After all, we were getting older, there were girls out there. Dave did join the Army, and served well and proudly. When he came home he seemed strangely different — today I realize that is because he had grown up — and I was still a kid doing high school kid stuff with everybody else. My best friend, my pal, was somehow out of touch, and it took me a long time to figure out why. I went on to college, and then to California. 

One time in the 1980’s I came back to visit my Mom, who was by herself at this time because my Dad had left her and moved to Seattle to live with and later marry a Covington girl who had graduated high school a year or two before I did — but that is another story. I brought my son Cameron with me and I called Dave. He was working but he said to come down to Dayton, he told me exactly where, and that we could meet up with him at his work. We did, and there was Dave, running a switch engine pushing some cars around. He had us climb up into the cab and we rode around with him for a while and visited. Cam was probably 6 or 7 years old, and this really made his day — mine too. 

A long time passed, over 40 years broken only by that one visit, and then one day the phone rang in my shop and it was Dave on the line. We talked for a while about all that we had done back then, and about what we had been doing since, just some catching up. Dave said that his wife was ill and that he was taking care of her and that when she no longer needed him he planned to ride his Harley out to California to visit me. I told him that I was planning to come to my 50 year Class Reunion in 2010 and we agreed we would hook up and try to get a canoe onto the Stillwater. 

We did that. A friend of Dave’s had a canoe and agreed to help us put it in under the Bridge Street bridge in Covington. My wife Kathleen was with me, and she met us downriver at the old steel bridge that went over to Lovers Lane, by the mill race. The river was muddy and a little high, so we just paddled on along over all the shallow places. Deeter’s dam is mostly gone, washed away over the years, and we ran straight through a hole in it. Kathleen took some pictures as we passed under the rusty bridge and pulled up to shore. That day was the best part of the trip back there. I wanted Dave to come to the reunion, after all he knew everybody and he was the same age as the rest of us. There was a bit of a problem because he had not actually graduated with us in 1960, but I pushed pretty hard and he did get to come. 

We talked on the phone from time to time, and he still said he was going to ride out for a visit. In 2014 he did it — at the end of the trip he called me from the Boonville foot of 253 and said I should come and get him, that he was real tired. His chest hurt because the bike had fallen over on him in some small town along Highway 20 on his way down the western slope of the Sierra. He was here for about a week and we had a really good visit — Kathleen and I took him on a day trip for a picnic in the redwoods a ways north on Highway 101. He had the local Harley Dealer ship the bike back to Dayton and he booked a flight. He died about a year later, nothing related to the fall of the bike. My best friend ever, my blood brother. 

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ON THIS DAY IN MENDOCINO HISTORY…

January 17, 1914 - Mendocino County Sheriff Ralph Byrnes raided the Sempione Hotel on Ukiah Street and arrested Mrs. Teresa Borgna, the hotel’s owner and proprietress, for selling alcohol. Liquor sales were banned in Mendocino in 1909, long before National Prohibition took effect in 1920.

Sheriff Byrnes “found a large quantity of liquor, consisting principally of wine and beer, whisky in barrels and flasks, rum, gin, brandy, vermouth, and various cordials. Mrs. Borgna made no attempt to deny her guilt, but freely admitted having sold liquor to different parties, and gave as her excuse that the hotel business was bad and she had to sell booze to support her family.” Her husband had deserted her, and she had several small children depending on her.

Two days later, she pled guilty to the charge of illicit liquor selling and was sentenced to pay a fine of $50 and serve 90 days in the county jail. The jail sentence was suspended, as long as she didn’t sell alcohol for the next 6 months.

Following her sentence, the sheriff and his assistants threw the confiscated booze off the bluff into Mendocino Bay.

Photo: Borgna Family at Sempione Hotel, 1911-1912. Joseph and Teresa Borgna seated with daughters Ann and Rene between them in front in the Sempione Hotel. (Gift of Rene Borgna Tanner, The Rene Borgna Tanner and Ann Borgna Pesula Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 18, 2022

Hughes, Mertz, Munday, Parmely

WHITNEY HUGHES, Ukiah. Trespassing, disorderly conduct-alcohol.

GEOFFERY MERTZ, Fortuna/Piercy. DUI.

JAMES MUNDAY, Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, marijuana possession for sale, paraphernalia, offenses while on bail.

JACOB PARMELY, Ukiah. Parole violation.

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QB ANTI-VAXX GETS PUNCTURED THIS SATURDAY

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers rolls out in 2nd quarter against San Francisco 49ers during NFL game at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, November 5, 2020.

FACING AARON RODGERS IN JANUARY NOT INTIMIDATING TO 49ERS

by Ann Killion

The 49ers have a date with the reigning league MVP on Saturday night, in his home building.

Aaron Rodgers is the best player in the league. His four Most Valuable Player trophies — and he’s favored to win his fifth in the coming weeks — are proof.

He’s a magician with the ball, can make throws no other player can, and is the main reason the Packers are the top seed in the NFC and spent last weekend with their feet up watching other teams beat up on each other.

Rodgers is a player everyone covets, including Kyle Shanahan, who reached out to see whether he could trade for the temperamental quarterback shortly before April’s draft, when the 49ers’ head coach was figuring out how to part ways with Jimmy Garoppolo.

It all should be a rather daunting prospect for the wild-card 49ers. Except, somehow, it’s not.

Because — pardon my wording — the 49ers seem to be immunized against Rodgers’ talent, at least in the postseason. Rodgers has started 20 playoff games and has won 11 of those, including the Super Bowl after the 2010 season. But of the nine games he has lost, three have come at the hands of the 49ers.

He lost twice to a Colin Kaepernick-led team, once in San Francisco and once in freezing Green Bay. And he lost two years ago in the NFC Championship Game to the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.

The 49ers, more than any other team, are responsible for bouncing the league’s best player out of the playoffs early and making him a very frustrated 38-year-old QB.

Rodgers’ lone Super Bowl is more than a decade old, and the Packers haven’t done enough over the years — both in Rodgers’ opinion and those of many observers — to give him the supporting cast he deserves. His frustration boiled over last offseason, when his fractured relationship with the Packers became so public that it seemed beyond repair.

Hence, Shanahan’s query about trading for him, which quickly was rejected and reportedly led to tension in the friendship between Shanahan and Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur (the terse postgame handshake in September might have been evidence of that chilliness). On Monday, Shanahan said LaFleur is “my guy” and that their relationship is good.

Of course, all that playoff history with the 49ers makes Rodgers probably more dangerous. He often has played, generally, with a chip on his shoulder and, specifically, against the 49ers, who failed to draft the Chico native and Cal alum with the top pick of the draft in 2005. He plummeted to the Packers at No. 24.

Rodgers is 6-3 against the 49ers in the regular season, including the last-second victory in September when the 49ers took the lead late in the game but left 37 seconds on the clock, more than enough time for Rodgers to get the Packers into position for a game-winning field goal.

Back then, the Packers were starting to hit their stride as the best team in football, shaking off a lopsided opening loss to the Saints. Since the opener, the Packers lost three more times, once to Minnesota, a season-ender to Detroit when they rested everyone, and to Kansas City when Rodgers was out with COVID.

This pandemic has made Rodgers even more of a lightning rod. He was intentionally dishonest about his vaccination status in the preseason when asked, replying to a direct question by saying, “I’m immunized.” This season, he has been on podcasts spouting misinformation about vaccinations and then claims to be “in the crosshairs of the woke mob,” and that he was being canceled. Because you can’t turn on your TV without seeing Rodgers, the canceling doesn’t really seem to be occurring — but, hey, don’t let reality stand in the way of the man’s narrative.

Where Rodgers does seem to be canceled is in the hearts of some Cal alumni who spent years rooting for him but have been put out by his failure to acknowledge Cal in NBC Sunday night-telecast introductions (he has said, “Butte College”) and now by his unscientific, anti-vax stance that doesn’t reflect well on one of the top public universities in the world.

But whatever you might think of Rodgers’ behavior off the field, on the field he’s a dangerous man.

Yet, he hasn’t intimidated the 49ers in January.

The September loss to the Packers started the 49ers’ in-season slide, the first of four straight losses that sent them spiraling to a 2-4 record. By that point, few would have predicted the 49ers would meet the Packers again in the playoffs.

But the 49ers are a different team now. Garoppolo, despite a torn-up thumb and — revealed Monday — a sprained shoulder, is playing with more confidence and job security. Back in September, Elijah Mitchell was hurt. Deebo Samuel had yet to become an unstoppable force. Brandon Aiyuk was in Shanahan’s doghouse.

As a team that wasn’t expected to get this far, the 49ers enter Saturday night’s game with little pressure. The Packers, on the other hand, have enormous pressure. Rodgers is trying to get to another Super Bowl.

And for the fourth time in his career, the 49ers are standing in his way.

(SFgate.com)

* * *

Mt. Sanhedrin dawn (photo by Elaine Kalantarian)

* * *

MARILYN DAVIN: 

Y'all remember the Dixie Fire last summer? You know, the one that burned nearly a million acres in four counties and burned down 1,324 houses? Yea, that one. It was caused by a tree falling into a utility's overhead line. Oh the hue and cry, including in this paper, that the utility involved, in this case PG&E, should be “held accountable” for poor vegetation management of its 106,681 miles distribution lines and 18,466 miles of transmission lines. A scant six months later a crew set out to do just that by cutting down a pine tree “that was not doing well” in Potter Valley. The crew had a permit to cut down the tree outside of mating season since there was a bald eagle nest in the tree. The utility crew finally gave up trying to cut it down in the face of “protectors” of the tree and the nest. Sooo… next summer on some blistering hot day when that tree falls into the line and starts a potentially catastrophic fire, who should be held accountable? Those responsible, of course: the property owner who refused to allow a utility crew to lawfully cut down an unhealthy tree that is a fire hazard. Fair is fair. 

— Marilyn Davin 

* * *

ON THIS DAY IN 1929, Wyatt Earp dies at his Los Angeles home at the age of 80. Shortly before his death a 24 year old ambitious journalist and writer, Adela Rogers St. Johns met Wyatt for the first time and had this to say:

“He was straight as a pine tree, tall and magnificently built. I knew he was nearly 80, but in spite of his snow white hair and mustache, he did not seem or look old. His greetings were warm and friendly. I stood in awe. Somehow, like a mountain, or desert, he reduced you to size.”

* * *

GPS

Dear Editor,

No, Phil Murphy has not “lost his way.” Have you checked out his sources? 

S.K. Dodge

Willits

* * *

THIS INCREDIBLE PHOTO shows two Nobel Prize winners, Albert Einstein and Maria Skłodowska-Curie, having a stroll by Lake Léman in Switzerland. 

Einstein invited the Polish scientist to go sailing on the lake, where Maria Skłodowska-Curie discovered that Albert Einstein, the man who discovered the theory of relativity did not know how to … swim! 

The two scientists were long time friends, a friendship that lasted from 1909 till 1933, during which they corresponded with each other, met at conferences, went on holidays to the Alps and had joint projects for the League of Nations. 

Both of them admired each other deeply, with Einstein saying of the Pole: “Maria Curie-Skłodowska is, of all celebrated beings, the only one whom fame has not corrupted.”

* * *

FAUCI'S MONEY 

Dr. Fauci's personal finances have been public record for 37 years and though it takes a little hunting to get a copy, has in fact been collected by journalists and here's a good article describing them in detail: newsweek.com/what-dr-fauci-financial-disclosures-reveal-roger-marshall-1668434

It appears his personal assets come to about $10.4 million, this includes royalties for medical books he's written ($1,000,000 and $100,001 respectively), and a surprisingly broad collection of personal investments including $15,000 for an Italian Restaurant (must like it a lot to pitch in $15,000.) There's even assets involving his Wife.

What's patently not there, is any sign of illegal, immoral, or professionally inappropriate income or investment.

The man is the highest paid civil servant in the country. It's not at all surprising, that a bright guy over several decades, with his income might amass that much in investments also given 4 decades of interest.

Another interesting fact. Fauci is required by law to take royalties on those drugs he was party to developing. It's become a problem at NIH that they don't publicly disclose the money their doctors are receiving for their participation in drug creation. Dr. Fauci first tried to give the money back, and when rebuffed, donated the entire amount to charity: cbsnews.com/news/profit-motive-hidden-from-patients/

Fauci is a lot of things including an alpha bureaucrat, but he has done mountains of seminal work on everything from cancer to disease agents including all of the groundbreaking work on HIV that had saved millions of lives. He's been at the center of preventing over a dozen pandemics since 2000, and were it not for the grotesque mismanagement of the CDC, FDA, FEMA, and Homeland Security, would have saved us from COVID, or at least profoundly mitigated its impact. As it is he's trying to fight a pandemic with his hands tied behind his back because billionaires with the help of the Republican Party have spread massive disinformation to protect their wealth to the detriment of the nation: dailyposter.com/how-the-koch-network-hijacked-the-war-on-covid/

By the way, this story comes from dailyposter.com which is a strongly liberal biased source. Though they have a STRONG fact based rating, the liberal bias means you can't expect this source to print the "Whole Story" particularly facts that might disagree with their premise, which is why I normally avoid these sources altogether. I'm mentioning this because this story is the most comprehensive on this topic, and I've vetted the content for accuracy and would have had to link 4 or more other sources to present all these facts from less biased sources, so my choice to use this was only because it makes getting the whole story easier and I've vetted this content. You probably won't be seeing this source again in one of my posts. The Koch Network has been a primary source of politifying the nation's pandemic response, and can be seen as the primary culprit in causing most of a million needless deaths to this disease.

Worse for conservatives, with the vast majority of people dying from COVID being the unvaccinated, and the vast majority of them, Religious Conservatives, hundreds of counties in the country that were close wins for the Republicans in the last election, are now solidly Democratic. Republicans are losing political position by simple attrition. Another reason for the profound push for eliminating voter rights, gerrymandering, and replacing state election officials with new officials who are willing to overturn elections they don't like. Because they know, without a doubt, their ability to win, is shrinking fast, and they have to come up with another means to hold power or vanish from the political scene completely: brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2021/07/29/covid-19-is-crushing-red-states-why-isnt-trump-turning-his-rallies-into-mass-vaccination-sites/

It's clear Fauci is in the crosshairs of folks who are doubling down on the path started by Trump, and now even when Trump tries to push the vaccine is booed at his own fund raisers. The only other countries in the world doing this are Totalitarian Regimes. Every other (NonTotalitarian) country on the planet has a sane public safety program designed to stop the spread of disease and promote public safety. Those countries have varied in their success for a litany of reasons, but all are doing better than the US. If nothing else, that is proof we're on an insane road, and if Fauci has any blame to confront, it's not stopping Trump from the get go. Like so many other folks who thought they could get Trump to do the right thing by playing nice, they were impossibly naive.

(Marie Tobias, MCN Chat Line)

* * *

* * *

RED PILL BLUE BILL 

The posting of a Cease and Desist letter from Mendocino Railway as well as my response to that letter was posted in The Anderson Valley Advertiser (AVA) this morning. And while their typesetter seemed to get a bit of my response a little cobbled up, I appreciate that the AVA found and posted everything. I have included the Cease and Desist letter from Mendocino Railroad/Sierra Railroad and Sierra Energy’s mutual attorney. It speaks for itself. My response however, is a bit long and detailed for a Facebook post and goes beyond the attention span of most readers here. But, if you are inclined to take the red pill and click the link to read it, your knowledge base will have increased to your benefit. 

* * *

* * *

BOOMERS LAMENT

we are the sons of these fathers
wee lads
brought out of mother’s womb
after the second world war
Daddy, back from fighting
the product of the depression
intent on establishing
economic security
at all costs
which made his childhood replete with
fears of want
and deprivation
he, not blaming
the system
for his lack
accepting for the most part
the way things were
his job was to climb
to the top
compete
go to the head of the class
win
succeed
for General Electric
Bechtel Engineering
and Kraft Foods
so he married her
and they had children
one
two
three
four
five
cute things
the little boys
given baseball bats
and sent to cub scouts
watching Mikey Mouse Club on Television
and eating Hostess Cakes
playing cowboys,
cavalry and indians
pledging allegiance
to the flag
told that they were little men
Daddy’s work a mystery
for the most part
he left every morning
and came home at night
bringing his work
home with him sometimes.
he was serious
mostly
always in a suit
or dirty work clothes
and we grew up
mowing lawns
rooting for the Giants or the Dodgers
going to the high school football games
hit em again
hit em again
harder harder
Some of us played football
others watched enviously
Dad gave us the money
if we did our chores
He taught us how to drive
Studebaker Larks
Ford Falcons
and he moved us
from place to place
to meet his career goals
we went on hurried summer trips
of short duration
usually
and to summer camp
we graduated from high school
and went to college
fulfilling the dream
completing the cycle
of programmed success
and we joined college groups
and adopted majors
and did all the right things
and became lawyers and pesticide salesmen
and administrative assistants
and employees of Nestle’s conglomerates
all this time
gnawing inside
was a question
Who am I?
Who is dad?
am I connected to him?
is he connected to anything?
is there such a thing as an older male
a male who cares about me, the real me?
I did not know my father
he wore a suit or working clothes
and went off
mostly
although at times he tried
and now I have become a man
without him.
He was quiet at home
reading the Cleveland Plain Dealer
or the Portland Oregonian
Once I remember we had a good talk
and he loved me
in a detached way
but it was
not enough
not nearly enough
and we have trouble loving women properly
respectfully
perhaps because we received
too much love or not enough
from our mother
and little or none from our father
Some of us admit
our strong unmet emotional needs
that can only be met by other men.
some of us repress it
or struggle with it, quietly
and we get angry
at the giant impersonal institutions
that entrapped our fathers
and isolated them
from us
and now entrap us
as parts of a gigantic system
but we don’t know what to do
we are ensnarled by materialism
cars
pollution
suburbs
conspicuous consumption
conflicting value systems
loneliness and alienation
from each other
from other men, especially
because we were taught
that we were supposed to compete
to get that other S.O.B.
to achieve more than he
recreate, accumulate, procreate
How can we reach out
to each other?
As humans? As men?
Perhaps we don’t know what we feel
about ourselves and other men
and down deep
we don’t even know
what we want.
If we did know
we might explode
and so we carry on
with our jobs
growing older
frustrated and resigned to accept our fate
cast upon us by a machine age
which counts our value as tools
to keep an exploitive and
emotionally bankrupt world system
operating.
Perhaps things would be different
without the 30s depression
which so deeply frightened an entire generation
producing the rush to materialism
silly speculation for us
the men of this generation
reality, our reality
points to our aloneness
and separation
to continuation of the same.

— Hugh Scaramella, 1948-2014

* * *

Mendocino, 1880

* * *

SOMETHING IMPORTANT HAS DIED

Editor,

The idea of Congress meeting together to represent the American people is gone. For almost my entire life, with the possible exception of the last twenty years, Congress has been under bipartisan control. Members of both parties sometimes would bravely cross that imaginary line down its middle called the “aisle,” in order to pass a very important bill.

For example, in 1965 Congress passed the Voting Rights Bill. This meant that, at least in theory, if not strictly in reality, everywhere in the United States, black voters were equal to white voters. This was the result of the great Civil Rights Marches of the early to mid 1960s.

In part, due to the Big Lie, promoted and maintained by D.J. Trump, aided by the almost complete majority of the GOP in Congress, the voting rights bill is gone. It is erased. This is a very sad day for America.

Frank H. Baumgardner, III

Santa Rosa

* * *

WE ARE STILL DEALING with the results of Clinton’s ill-informed decision making, particularly with regard to the current crisis with Russia over Ukraine. Clinton’s decision to expand NATO virtually ensured that there would be little progress in developing a strategic approach toward Russia. The liberated states of East Europe, in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, wanted to be anchored to the West, but the proper vehicle for such an arrangement was the European Union, not NATO. So here we are. 

— Melvin Goodman

* * *

Dr. Homer Wolfe, Albion, 1925

* * *

CALIFORNIA TRIES NEW APPROACH ON SOCIAL MALADIES 

by Dan Walters 

While it deals with the stubborn COVID-19 pandemic, California is also contending with a smorgasbord of equally resilient social pathologies, including chronic illness, homelessness, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness and street crime.

State and local governments have created programs to ameliorate the effects of these maladies, but they generally operate in silos, each aimed at a particular condition without overt coordination with others, even though the persons they serve very often have multiple issues. For example, a homeless person not only lacks shelter, but is poor and likely to have medical problems and suffer from mental illnesses, alcoholism and/or drug addiction that involves the criminal justice system.

Moreover, official approaches have largely been passive, offering sufferers opportunities to improve their lot, but, except in rare circumstances, not requiring them to cooperate. The 2022-23 state budget that Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed last week signals that the state will begin approaching chronic social problems differently, integrating services with the goal of “whole person care,” intervening more aggressively and, in some cases, taking charge of those whose lives are out of control.

The centerpiece of this new approach is called “California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal” or CalAIM for short, which Newsom celebrated it as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to completely transform the (Medi-Cal) system in California” when he signed enabling legislation. Medi-Cal, California’s medical care system for the poor, has 14-plus million enrollees, more than a third of the state’s residents.

CalAIM is described in the budget as “a framework that encompasses a broad-based delivery system, program, and payment reform across the Medi-Cal program (that) recognizes the opportunity to move the whole person care approach that integrates health care and other social determinants of health, to a statewide level with a clear focus on improving health and reducing health disparities and inequities, including improving and expanding behavioral health care.”

“Past research indicates that the highest-cost (Medi-Cal) enrollees typically are being treated for multiple chronic conditions (such as diabetes or heart failure) and often have mental health or substance use disorders,” the Legislature’s budget advisor, Gabe Petek, says in one analysis of CalAIM. “Costs for this population often are driven by frequent hospitalizations and high prescription drug costs. In some cases, social factors like homelessness play a role in the high utilization of these enrollees.”

With Medi-Cal serving such a huge chunk of the state’s population, CalAIM could have massive societal effect — especially since it envisions a much-expanded role. For example, insurance companies and other Medi-Cal providers will assign personal care managers for their clients, not only to monitor their medical care, but to improve other aspects of their lives, such as housing and income support.

The state’s new approach will also affect California’s criminal justice system, which has been evolving away from punishment and toward rehabilitation for the past decade. Newsom is also proposing that before being released from prison, inmates be enrolled in Medi-Cal and thus have a broader array of supportive services.

That automatic enrollment is emblematic of the more activist, or intrusive, attitude Newsom is advocating and another example could be a huge change in mental health. During his budget press conference, he hinted again that he wants to subject those with severe mental illnesses to a “conservatorship” process that could compel them to be housed and treated, rather than allow them to roam the streets.

These are huge changes of direction in medical and social services by a state that doesn’t have a positive track record of managing high-concept policies. We can only wait to see whether it works.

* * *

Butterflies and Poppies, oil on canvas by Vincent van Gogh, 1890

* * *

BACK TO NORMAL ISN'T ENOUGH 

by Kelsey McKinney 

Yesterday, I went to the local pharmacy in my neighborhood to pick up my monthly prescriptions. The pharmacy is small and narrow, and was crowded at 5 p.m. A few children were waiting in line to receive booster shots, their tired-eyed parents trying to corral them. The rest of us stood in another line waiting for the pharmacists, who raced back and forth trying desperately to keep the parents calm and the vaccine line moving and the prescriptions going into their bags and over the counter and out of the store. They were overwhelmed. The line kept growing.

One of the parents kept waving the clipboard with the form for his child every time the pharmacist had a minute to breathe. Around the fifth time he did this, two men waiting patiently near me in the line turned and snapped at him. “Shut the fuck up,” the guy in front of me said. “Can’t you see he’s trying his best?” There was no evident coordination between the two. They just each seemed to reach the end of their respective tethers at the same moment.

The pharmacist ignored this exchange, but the tension lingered. The annoying parent, to his credit, stopped waving the clipboard, stopped asking when it would be his child’s turn. Standing there for 20 minutes, waiting, I felt a dread that has appeared regularly and without warning for months. All of us were at, or near, our breaking points: the people in the line, the pharmacists, the children, the parents. Everyone is exhausted and frustrated.

All around the pharmacy these signs were hung, printed on regular paper with the words “NO RAPID TESTS” in giant blue font, highlighted yellow. They have been up for weeks. It all feels like some terribly boring nightmare, this gentle constant frustration in the space where hope used to be.

Two weeks ago, in the same pharmacy, I helped a woman who only spoke Spanish find the city webpage about rapid tests on her phone. We are lucky in Washington, D.C. Our city government has decided to do something, and done it. They have made rapid tests free to pick up at one library in each ward, two rapid test boxes per person per day with proof you live in the district. There are no flyers anywhere about this, though, and unlike the many times our mayor has instituted curfews, the city sent no push-alerts telling people about it. I knew because I read local news and follow my city representative on Instagram. When I told the woman in the pharmacy, she had no idea.

Standing in the line this week, I could not stop thinking about her, about the signs that only said NO, about the fact that the president of the country where all this has been and still is happening, tweeted last week that American people should try Google to find rapid tests instead of doing what many other wealthy countries have easily managed, which is mailing those tests to people’s houses for free. I have been thinking about how it feels and what it means to have been left so thoroughly alone.

Get a vaccine, the CDC says, because you can’t afford to get sick. Pay $30 for a rapid test, the drugstore says. Get to work, employers say, it’s important. Quitting your job, the papers add, will upset your boss, whose feelings matter. You shouldn’t have used that space heater to keep your family warm since the landlord refuses to fix the heat, a mayor tells the survivors and the dead of a building fire; you should have closed the door, which was built to close by itself but does not, as you fled your burning apartment. All of this, finally, is your problem. It’s your fault. It’s you.

It’s not, though. That’s what has been keeping me awake long after I’ve climbed into bed. It’s not us. We are not the ones who have failed. The country has always worked this way. You just tend to notice it more when all that absence comes barrelling down on you at once. 

* * *

Early in the pandemic, I felt a dangerous kind of hope even when things were very bad. Lots of people were dying; everyone on the street seemed terrified. There was very little toilet paper to be found in my neighborhood. Everything was dire. In April 2020, 14 percent of Americans were unemployed. But it also seemed like the government might actually do something to help, and they did. They passed a bill to fund vaccine research and development worth $8.3 billion. They passed the CARES act, which actually sent people some money to help them survive. Student loan payments were suspended, as were evictions. Maybe, I let myself dream, this could open up some kind of possibility down the line—that watching our society crack might inspire us to patch those weak points up, maybe even through some sort of New Deal. Maybe this massive universal trauma could be redeemed, and future ones prevented, by creating a society that worked better for everyone.

And we got the CARES Act, and we got the miraculous vaccine. Scientists were stunned that, less than a year after the global outbreak of the virus, vaccines were being put into people’s arms. It had never been done before! But that initial burst of optimism has long since left behind a country bitter, and scared, and broken. Today, 10 months after my first dose and two months after my booster, I realize that my hope and my optimism was unfounded. The points of weakness are now points of leverage—you can still lose everything just from getting sick, the state says, so get vaccinated. And good luck. We have been rewarded for all of our suffering and all of our patience and all of our frustration with not just the same broken country we’ve always had, but a concerted effort to make sure that Returning To Normal does not mean improving upon the pre-COVID status quo in any meaningful way.

The United States does not become the kind of country that threatens its citizens with onerous hospital bills as part of a vaccine promotion campaign by accident. This is how the country was built, and how the system has grown to work; it is how it was designed. Even miraculous innovation on the order of MRNA vaccines is not used to make everyone’s lives better. It was only marketed that way, for a little while.

This might explain, as I’ve tried to figure out this blog, why I have not been able to stop thinking about the cotton gin. Most Americans were taught in school that the cotton gin was an American invention, the creation of a man named Eli Whitney. But until a couple of years ago, I didn’t realize why the cotton gin is really important.

I learned through reading The Half Has Never Been Told by Edward Baptist that before Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793, the profits of crops like indigo, tobacco, and rice—all of which were farmed by enslaved people—were dropping dramatically, leaving the U.S. economy in trouble. Cotton, a potential cash crop, was thwarted by a very narrow bottleneck in its production. Seeds had to be removed from the cotton by hand, which dramatically limited the amount of cotton that could be picked every day. That work is what the cotton gin did. It allowed enslavers to clean as much cotton for market as they could grow and harvest, and broke that bottleneck. This, we have been taught, was a world-h historic innovation. But there was more to it than that, Baptist explains:

“Once the gin shattered the processing bottleneck, other limits on production and expansion were cast into new relief. For instance, one constraint was the amount of cheap, fertile land. Another was the lack of labor on the frontier. So enslaver-generals took land from Indians, enslaver-politicians convinced Congress to let slavery expand, and enslaver-entrepreneurs created new ways to finance and transport and codify ‘hands.’ And given a finite number of captives in their own control, entrepreneurs created a complex of labor control practices that enslaved people called ‘the pushing system.’ […] Innovation in violence, in fact, was the foundation of the widely shared pushing system.”

 The cotton industry, bolstered by this invention, was later used by economists as an example of “perfect competition.” The market was so large that no one could control more than one percent of the total. Innovations were shared among these competitors, including innovations in violence. The cotton industry of the 19th century was the archetype upon which Alfred Marshall grounded the famous supply-and-demand curves we were all taught in school. An industry based entirely on the inhumane and atrocious business of slavery meant enough to the people profiting from it that they seceded from the union and started a civil war.

Ever since I learned this, I haven’t been able to hear the word “innovation” without cringing. Who is the innovation for? Whose lives will it ruin, and what exactly will it make better in the world? This, I am coming to realize, is the fundamental flaw with capitalism as we live it. If it does breed innovation, that innovation has no inherent ethics; left alone, it could ruin more people’s lives than it helps.

A system that funnels rapid antigen tests through various companies trying to make money off them, for instance, isn’t one that cares about us at all, although it is the one in which we must participate in pursuit of that care. Sure, we have the miracle of the vaccine, but as I am being promised that we will be “returning to normal” soon and that the country is “reopening,” I don’t feel optimistic. The normal we had before was bad for most people. After two years of misery, going back to it just does not feel like enough. The vaccines are miraculous, but they cannot and will not fix what actually ails us.

The minimum wage is still atrociously low. Cops are still shooting black people in the streets. School shootings are only down because the students are learning virtually. Everything is more expensive and not any nicer.

Our experiences of buying things are also bad.

The government’s relationship with the people is that of a disapproving and forgetful grandparent with a very young and very naughty child. The country is in shambles, and everyone can feel it.

Here is the trauma of this generation, the moment in which the present became so oppressive and deadly and bad that there was no choice but to envision a better future. How silly of me to assume that what had held true for the generations now in power would extend to us. How ridiculous to dream that we might get our own Works Progress Administration, or a livable minimum wage, or some student loan debt relief. How impossibly naive to believe that something might get better as a response to how much worse everything had become.

* * *

The people in charge, it seems clear, never wanted things to get better. Since the earliest days of the pandemic they have given us vague instructions, asked us to sacrifice our lives and our happiness for the faint promise of Getting Back To Normal. If we suffered gamely enough, for long enough, we might win back the same country we had before.

It’s the same threat the Democratic party makes every election cycle now. “We’ve got to vote like the future of our democracy depends on it,” a letter from Michelle Obama published this week read. The Republican party is making a very real effort to restrict voting rights and make future frauds easier to perpetuate, but the opposition’s promise isn’t a better future or a better life. The Democrats are now the party of only trying to stop things from getting worse; they currently control the House, the Senate, and the Presidency and yet they have accomplished very little, either because they are so corrupt or so self-defeating or so uninterested as to have accepted the idea that Accomplishing Very Little is what they are there to do. Because there is no link between “saving democracy” and the policies this so-called democracy might pass to make our lives better, it once again feels like we are being threatened. *That’s a nice brutal and untenable status quo you’ve got there*, it leers, *be a shame if you did something that let it get somehow even worse*. We have now endured almost two full years of all this hardship, and stand to get nothing but its (contingent) end in return.

Time does not run backwards. The virus exists now and will continue to exist. But in order to continue underserving the people they represent, elected officials need us to believe that the past was an idyllic time to which we should want to return. They need us to look at the cotton gin and praise American innovation, instead of seeing an instrument of violence. They need us to idealize the past because the system blithely fails most people in the present. They need us to feel like it is our fault that the things schoolchildren are told make the United States different, and great, quite obviously no longer work at all.

Standing in the pharmacy this week, I remembered how early in the pandemic there was a small hope that maybe, because everyone was sick, insurance companies would somehow go bankrupt. Maybe, we would finally get some kind of healthcare to rival every other democracy in the world. I remembered this because for months I have been fighting with my insurance. I need to take 450 mg of a drug. My initial prescription was for three 150 mg pills, but the insurance I pay so much fucking money for argues with the pharmacist every single month because they want me to take one 300 mg pill and one 150 mg pill. The prescription has been fixed to this inane, ridiculous requirement for months now, but still the insurance flags it and creates some kind of problem that the overworked but very kind pharmacist then has to solve for me. Every single person in the line in front of me had an issue like this.

The pharmacy wasn’t chaotic because the people behind the counter weren’t doing their jobs. The pharmacy is chaotic because the system in which it exists pushes it towards that chaos. The chaos was caused by a poor vaccine rollout program that forced extra work onto pharmacists without extra staffing or resources. It was caused by a terrible healthcare system that makes it difficult for them just to fill prescriptions in the first place. It was caused by poor, lazy information distribution, which made it unclear when children could be boosted and how. It was not caused by people who, after being ground down for two years, just didn’t have the bandwidth to think about other people. You have to put your own oxygen mask on first so that you can help the people around you.

That, then, was what hung in the air in the pharmacy after some tired men told another tired man to calm down—the sense that all of us just had to try to get what we could. I see people all around me helping each other even more than before. Everyone is frustrated, and their patience is thin, but no one is defeated yet. In the pharmacy, people yelled at the clipboard man, sure, but it was to help the pharmacist. They held open the doors for a parent with a stroller. They pointed when someone dropped a glove. The desire to support each other is unflagging even when people are exhausted.

We pay taxes, theoretically, so that the oxygen masks will (at a bare minimum) drop from the ceiling before the plane crashes. But the masks are not dropping and we are rapidly losing altitude. The option of paying $40 for a mask that should be handed to us is dangled in our faces while a $2.1 billion fighter jet lands safely beneath us. The government, whose only purpose is to help us work better than we work alone, is fundamentally failing us. Of course it is infuriating.

The problem is no longer just the pandemic. It is, more precisely, that our government is blaming the pandemic for problems that it created. We do not deserve to go back to a normal that is so terribly bad for most people. We do not deserve to pay more for worse things. We do not deserve to be sold the lie that it is just more important for companies to make money than it is for us to live. Certainly no one would choose that, if they felt they had a choice.

We deserve a country that uses our tax dollars to make our lives richer, and better, and easier. We deserve a country that can promise a future that improves upon some glorified, false version of our past. We deserve, simply, a country that makes it easier to be alive. That is what a society is supposed to be—people working together to help each other and make the places they live better. It is what we wait for, what keeps the lines orderly. It is supposed to get better.

(Defector.com)

* * *

* * *

HUFFMAN, GRAVES INTRODUCE SAVE AMERICA’S RURAL HOSPITALS ACT

JANUARY 13, 2022

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) Congressman Sam Graves (MO-06) introduced the bipartisan Save America’s Rural Hospitals Act to rescue rural hospitals on the brink of bankruptcy and help put these critical care providers back on solid ground.

“For years, rural hospitals have faced seemingly insurmountable odds: a raging pandemic, provider consolidation, and ever-increasing costs have piled challenge after challenge at their doors. And now, they’re facing added pressures brought on by the Omicron variant—leaving many hanging on by a thread,” said Rep. Huffman. “Rural hospitals and health centers, like the many in my district that have stepped up to care for our community, need legislative action and they need it now. My bill with Rep. Graves takes the steps necessary to help keep rural hospitals afloat and protect access to high-quality care, regardless of where folks live. By offering greater Medicare reimbursement, we can provide a much-needed lifeline to facilities on the edge of collapse—and save lives in the process.”

“This isn’t a new problem. Our rural hospitals have been struggling to keep their doors open to patients for years,” said Graves. “But, the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly made this crisis worse, as many critical access hospitals are facing severe workforce shortages and skyrocketing expenses while reimbursement rates fall behind. This legislation reverses disastrous Medicare cuts that have hamstrung our rural hospitals for years and will help many of them get back on track. There’s no better time to get this done.”

The Save America’s Rural Hospitals Act comes at a time when rural hospitals and health centers are facing unprecedented challenges. Since 2005, more than 170 rural hospitals across the country have closed their doors—forcing patients to travel further to get the care they need and leaving others to put off necessary healthcare. This problem has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and today 453 rural hospitals are currently operating at levels similar to those that have shut down over the last decade.

The Save America’s Rural Hospitals Act will reverse this dangerous trend by:

  • Eliminating Medicare sequestration for rural hospitals
  • Making Medicare telehealth service enhancements permanent for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs)
  • Extending increased Medicare payments for rural ground ambulance services currently set to expire December 31, 2022

The bill was applauded by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health and the National Rural Health Association.

“The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) applauds Rep. Graves and Rep. Huffman for introducing this comprehensive rural health bill. This comes at a critical time for rural communities and rural health providers as our nation continues to deal with the Public Health Emergency. We call on House members from both sides of the aisle to support and advance this important piece of legislation in 2022.” - Teryl Eisinger, Executive Director of National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH)

"The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) applauds Representatives Graves and Huffman for introducing the Save America's Rural Hospitals Act. Since 2010, 137 rural hospitals have closed their doors, leaving the majority of those communities without access to a health care provider. The provisions in this important legislation will ensure that the more-than-60 million Americans who reside in rural America will maintain access to the care they need. NRHA believes passing the Save America's Rural Hospitals Act will improve and expand access to health care in rural America." - Alan Morgan, Chief Executive Officer of the National Rural Health Association.

You can read the bill here.

You can read highlights of the bill here: huffman.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/huffman-graves-introduce-save-americas-rural-hospitals-act

(Huffman/Graves presser)

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OLD LEFT, NEW LEFT

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MENDOCINO COUNTY STUDENT POETRY Published in Anthology

With funding from the Mendocino Office of Education (MCOE), the California Arts Council, Get Arts In the Schools Program (GASP), and California Poets In the Schools, an anthology of work from Mendocino County student poets was published in I Am Everything: Mendocino County Youth Poetry Anthology 2020-2021.

MCOE’s financial support enables local students to benefit from the Poets in the Schools program, a program that has served California students since 1964. The Poets in the Schools curriculum is offered to all Mendocino County high schools, and the program has provided opportunities for youth to perform their work publicly as well as to see their poems published and broadcast over the airwaves.

I Am Everything is the latest anthology of poetry written by K-12 students in Mendocino County. The poetry contained therein was generated during classroom poetry workshops taught by Mendocino poets working through California Poets in the Schools during the 2020-21 school year. In the anthology, poets as young as five years old express their feelings and describe their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Poet Blake More administers the program locally. She said, “Many of the poems inside this anthology express this longing for what was, yet also a call to try and turn our collective experience of ‘lockdowns’ into the creation of an even better world.”

Fifth-grade student Priscilla Fuentes wrote in her poem, Negativity and Positivity, “ I breathe in stress, I breathe out love, I breathe in being furious at not being able to leave my home, I breathe out happiness for having a home to live in.”

COVID-19 has prevented students from enjoying everyday experiences like riding the bus, socializing with friends, and learning from peers. Through its support of the California Poets in the Schools program, MCOE has provided students with an outlet to express how they cope with the stress and the frustrations of living in a quarantined world.

MCOE Superintendent of Schools Michele Hutchins interviewed More, who was recently named Mendocino County Arts Educator of the Year, on her KZYX radio show, Inside Education. The show features a discussion of the value of arts in the schools and a collection of poems written and read by students all over the county. The interview can be found on the MCOE website (www.mcoe.us) under Superintendent Blog and Radio Show.

I Am Everything was published on November 22, 2021 and is available to purchase on Amazon.

Hutchins noted that this program, and many others, help the Mendocino County Office of Education fulfill its purpose of providing leadership, resources, services, and programs to improve the educational experience and outcomes for Mendocino County students.

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10 Comments

  1. Harvey Reading January 19, 2022

    A MORATORIUM IN JACKSON! OR SO THEY THINK.

    Watch out. The scumbag tree murderers are cunning, and greedy. They basically carry state guvamint, with all its platitudes, around in their hip pockets.

    “…could bend like a willow.”

    Sounds like lyin’ Biden and the demofascist party.

  2. Jim Armstrong January 19, 2022

    I don’t get to Fort Bragg much anymore, but I spent a lot of time there in years past.
    So even though I don’t have a dog in the Skunk fight (an interesting concept), I have to think that Mr. Pinoli is well judged by the two lawyers he has trotted out recently.
    They both need their mouths washed out.
    First was Todd Bontemps a few weeks ago;
    https://www.potomaclaw.com/professionals-todd-bontemps
    And yesterday was Torgny Nilsson.

    Who says attorneys get an undeserved bad rap?

  3. Chuck Wilcher January 19, 2022

    McFadden writes: “It was an amazing time and a wonderful place to grow up. I don’t suppose that you could do what we did along the Stillwater today,”

    I grew up between the dams built on the Miami and Stillwater rivers. The great Dayton flood of 1913 made these dams and 3 others important component in preventing a repeat of that disaster. We fished and swam in both rivers mainly around the Taylorsville and Englewood dams. Life was good having the freedom to ride our bikes to those spots and parents who wanted us out of the house.

    I spent a lot of my early driving years roaming the rural parts of Montgomery, Miami, Darke, and all other counties north to Indian Lake.

    Attending my dad’s funeral in 2018 I took a long drive revisiting some of those areas. Ambling up US 48 starting around Ludlow Falls through Covington out of nostalgia. The rivers haven’t changed much from what I remember, but a lot of those rural areas have succumbed to the mega warehouses of Amazon and Walmart mainly within the sphere of the Dayton airport.

    Gone are a lot of the farms that spawned a few generations of tough farm boys that made high school football what it was from the 50’s to the late 70’s in Ohio.

  4. chuck dunbar January 19, 2022

    WHEN I GREW UP IN OHIO by Tom McFadden

    What a sweet, touching story. I loved the role the river played in his life and in his main friendship. And the gas can story was a good one–“let’s see what will happen…” It all reminded me of the several years I spent as a young boy in Chapman, Kansas in the early 50’s. It was a small town of perhaps 1,000 folks, also near a river, and with a train track and Hwy 40 running through it. Chapman was an idyllic place for a young boy with a bike, and I still remember it as one of the most important homes of my childhood (my dad was in the army so we moved every 3 years or so, in this country and also abroad). I wish in some ways I could have stayed there for all my childhood.

    Thank you, Tom Mcfadden for this beautiful remembrance. And thank you also, Chuck Wilcher, for your associated comments.

  5. Craig Stehr January 19, 2022

    That’s all, y’all! Following my sending out an email/Facebook message on Saturday, informing everybody I know that I have concluded my two month participation with the Earth First! digitization project, and also making it clear that I need to move on from Garberville, CA…I received no offers whatsoever to go anywhere nor do anything. Obviously, it is time for me to move on from activism in general. Henceforth, my full focus will be on mysticism. Thank you for 50 years of frontline peace & justice and radical environmental association on the planet earth. Good luck to all.
    Craig Louis Stehr
    Email: craiglouisstehr@gmail.com
    Telephone Messages: (213) 842-3082
    PayPal.me/craiglouisstehr
    Blog: http://craiglstehr.blogspot.com
    Snail Mail: P.O. Box 938, Redwood Valley, CA 95470
    January 19th, 2022

  6. George Hollister January 19, 2022

    I liked it too. My hats off to Tom, and his childhood friend. And it made me think of my own experience growing up. Almost, every time I hung out with a friend, without parental supervision, it meant getting into trouble, even when we went fishing. Two years ago I was discussing this with my stepbrother, and he said, “You know we were sort of juvenile delinquents”.

    My immediate response was, “There was no sort of about it, we were juvenile delinquents.” This is one of the reasons when someone asks me how I am doing, I respond, “Better than I deserve to be.”

  7. Marmon January 19, 2022

    Home Sweet Home

    “Seventeen miles from 26
    Through the woods, out in the sticks
    We all travel that winding road
    To find our hidden pot of gold

    A post stamp valley amongst the trees
    An hour from the ocean breeze
    This treasured place that we call home
    Where we rest, from where we’ve roamed

    Built by pioneers, brave and strong
    Generations ago, they came along
    They cut the trees and built a mill
    Train tracks were laid over the hill

    A town sprung up, seemed overnight
    That lumber mill was an awesome sight
    A bustling place, a town of means
    The answer to a young man’s dreams

    Time moved on like it always does
    The big mill closed, left to rust
    A proud logging history widely shared
    By small town dwellers here and there

    Who appreciate their woodland scene
    Where deer and elk walk beside the stream
    Rivers and creeks that traverse through
    Miles of trees, the forest renewed

    A forester’s work, growing tall
    A future harvest for us all
    A lake was made from the old mill pond
    Though quieter now, life goes on

    A cherished remnant from its heyday
    17 miles from that city highway
    I know in this, I’m not alone
    This will always be my home sweet home.”

    -Kala Cota

    Marmon

  8. Doug Mosel January 19, 2022

    Thanks for your story, Tom!

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