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THE HUMBOLDT AND DEL NORTE COAST will see mostly cloudy skies today with morning fog extending up the river valleys into Trinity County. Some patches of fog may linger into Friday morning, otherwise expect increasing sunshine with warmer afternoon temperatures through the weekend accompanying offshore flow. (NWS)
48 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
PUBLIC NOTICE (from Mendocino County Public Health):
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days.
The tests available for order:
- Are rapid antigen at-home tests, not PCR
- Are also referred to as self-tests or over-the-counter (OTC) tests
- Give results within 30 minutes (no lab drop-off required)
To order the tests, please visit: covidtests.gov
If you test positive, it is important to isolate for 10 days from the day of the test or the day of your first symptom. You may end isolation after 5 days if you test negative and have no symptoms on the 5th day of isolation. Call Public Health with any questions or support needed for COVID isolation, at 707-472-2759. Visit mendocinocounty.org/covid19 for more info.
AV VILLAGE GATHERINGS are open to everyone, but COVID Vaccinations are now REQUIRED - please bring your vaccination card (one time) as proof. Masks are required inside - thank you in advance for your understanding.
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE VOLUNTEER TRAINING, this Friday, January 21st, 10 to 11 am at Mosswood Market
Join us for a short volunteer training and we’ll treat you to a coffee or tea - learn more about the Anderson Valley Village and how you can give back to the elders of our community. The work of volunteers is vital to our mission of supporting seniors as they age in place, providing all manner of help, from basic chores, transportation, tech support and errands to check-in calls and visits to skilled services. It’s up to you how, and how often, to volunteer. Because we are working with a vulnerable population, we require our volunteers to have the COVID vaccine, thank you (please bring your card). And if you would like to be a volunteer driver, please bring your Driver’s License and proof of insurance card. Volunteer applications are available at the training, Senior Center, Health Center and/or our website: andersonvalleyvillage.org
Please RSVP with the coordinator - Hope to see you there, thank you!
And: ANDERSON VALLEY SENIOR CENTER’S DRIVE-THRU CRAB FEED!
This Saturday, January 22 — pick up between 4:30 and 6:30 PM — Tickets available at AV Senior Center, Lemons Philo Market, AV Market & AVSC board members. Call 707-895-3609 for more info
BETH SWEHLA: Jr. High Ag students had a little competition today. They formed two teams, “Los Chivos” and “The Rabbit Enthusiasts”. The race was on! Both teams worked quickly and efficiently to pick up all the orchard prunings. Who had the tallest pruning pile? It was a tie! Awesome job today!
ART IS MY MEGAPHONE: Rodney Toy’s Vibrant Response to Anti-Asian Racism
by Jonah Raskin
The Chinese New Year and the arrival of the Year of the Tiger is just around the corner. Festivities begin on January 25, 2022. They last until February 7, 2022, with food, fireworks and gifts. Rodney Toy, 53, a Chinese American artist, plans to celebrate with his family. Toy has a lot to be thankful for: surviving the pandemic, and the opening of his art exhibit in San Francisco, about an hour north of his home in San Jose, where he worked for Apple, Palm, and Forescout Technologies. Toy doesn’t know a lot of family history, but he knows that when his grandparents arrived in California their last name was changed from Choy to Toy. My mother’s family name was Kvitkow in Russia. It was changed to Quitkin when my grandparents, Aaron and Ida, arrived in Ellis Island more than 100 years ago. Like Toy I’m the descendant of immigrants. Like him I’m an artist and like him I’ve been the target of hate; in my case against Jews.
Two years ago, in the wake of the pandemic, which often kept him confined in his studio — and in the midst of the rising tide of “Asian Hate” — Toy decided no more Mr. Nice Guy. No more “Model Minority,” a stereotype he lampoons in several of his art works which are at the Canessa Gallery on Montgomery Street in the Financial District, not far from Chinatown, where he was born and where he spent significant time in his childhood.
“Rising Son” is the name of the exhibit which brings together 31 individual pieces, many of them mixed media collages, with wordplay, some with overt messages and others abstract and inspired by artists such as Jackson Pollock.
“In 2020, the escalating anti-Asian rhetoric forced me to take a critical look at myself and how I should respond,” Toy told me on a Sunday when Canessa was packed with friends and family members who paid thousands of dollars to acquire his work. Toy added, “I decided to use my art as my megaphone.”
The work in the exhibit is playful, provocative and colorful and with a mix of the two cultures, Chinese and American, to which he belongs. “Son” is the key word in the title and an intentional play on the phrase “Rising Sun,” often associated with Asia. Toy calls the piece “an ode” to his parents.
“Choy,” a 30’ x 40’ canvas made with both acrylic and spray paint, was inspired by traditional Chinese calligraphy. “Perfect Pitch” offers a photo of his mother, once a talented performance pianist, along with the hands of Stevie Wonder on a keyboard. His father, who was a school principal, was, he says, his first real hero. He died over 35 years ago but left a lasting impression on his son.
“Caution: Do Not Work” features a strip of yellow tape with the word “CAUTION, in capital letters used to block off a section of seats at the SAP Center, often referred to as the “Shark Tank,” where he often watched ice hockey, not far from his home in San Jose.
“FTP-Z” incorporates photos of his sons, Cameron and Brendan, and was inspired, Toy explains by, “modern street wear, surf & skateboard graphics.” “Season Pass” includes an image of the artist's own Audi R8 convertible, and another of the Golden Gate Bridge viewed from Marin.
In the spirit of the writers and artists of the Beat Generation, Toy allows for spontaneity and improvisation. To make the piece, “Pink, Pink Used Ink,” he flicked off the bright lights in his studio and turned it into a dark room where he could use a light-sensitive emulsion. The resulting color scheme — pink, yellow and orange — is psychedelic.
The piece that attracts the most attention and that also holds it, is called “Immigration Sensation.” There's a mirror at the center of a wood panel and a text that reads “This is What American Looks like” with the letter “A” in the word “What” upside down and the letter R in the word “American” also upside down.
Another work that attracts attention offers white letters on a black background with the word "Believe" broken in two so that it reads “Beli” on one line and “eve” on another. “I made this piece with stereotypes in mind,” Toy says. “I am also looking to shatter my own biases that generally lead me to avoid sensitive and politically charged topics that might upset others and instead push myself to speak freely regardless of what others might think.”
For art lovers who don’t want messages, Toy has plenty to offer, especially in a series called “Geode” and in a 48” x 60”piece titled “Re-Entry” that he made by adding paint to an ordinary dustpan and pouring the mixture on the canvas.
“I’ve always been an optimist,” Toy tells me. He’s also a sentimentalist who’d like to go back to his boyhood when the whole family gathered every Sunday at his grandmother’s house in Oakland and ate real Chinese food. Happy Year of the Tiger, Rodney.
COMMENTS ON TOM McFADDEN'S STORY (in yesterday's MCT):
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.Chuck Wilcher
RE: 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.Chuck Dunbar
THE SKUNK, AN ON-LINE COMMENT:
This issue is much bigger than a garbage dump. It's 270 acres acquired through a phony eminent domain claim which was really a hand shake deal between Tweedle Dee Dee and Tweedle Dee Dum, what you might call a back door deal, one which, because Sierra Railroad is a "utility" (which the Skunk by definition is not), sets it up so that remediation of toxic dioxin may not happen. Not only that, any development remotely connected to the "railroad", which the Skunk is not, will not be liable to state or local zoning or virtually any kind of local control.
Oh, and did I say that this claiming of land by Sierra Railroad and the sale by the Koch Bros. did an end run around the City of Fort Bragg, which had its own plans for the mill site. One which must have been more local friendly and was in the making for many years.
Oh, and where is the water coming from for hundreds of new housing units, condos, restaurants, hotels, etc? Now if they were proposing a water desalinization plant, I might be a little more receptive to a corporate take over of Fort Bragg. How is the traffic going to handled? Police, fire protection? Will local schools be large enough to accommodate the influx of students? Will our already stressed medical system be able to handle the influx of residents and tourists? Will the City of Fort Bragg have to put in services to these 270 acres? How will that be paid for?
This plan Stinks!
Yes, the Mendocino coast is being railroaded.
ANDY HILKEY REPLIES TO MARILYN DAVIN (regarding Davin’s question of who’s responsible if the pine tree with the bald eagle isn’t cut down): PG&E missed the window of opportunity to remove the tree. However I believe there may be more to the story. As in, the residents may have intentionally delayed cooperating with PG&E’s access requests. Which may have delayed PG&E’s access to the property for several months. Hopefully PG&E will gain access come November after the next has been abandoned and successfully remove the tree.
Help getting Covid tests, please
Kate Sarfaty wrote (Coast ChatLine): I get my mail at Coast Pack n Ship and the test-ordering site won’t ship to a “business” address. There is no mail delivery to my residence. Any ideas, listers?
Marco here. When you apply for them to mail you the tests, give just your real name and the correct address for the place you want the mail to go. You don't have to mention the business. And instead of giving them the box number, put Apt. No. 143 (or whatever number it is). They'll put it in the correct apartment (box), and you can get on with testing for disease and saving people's lives the way the program intends.
OVER THE HILL to Ukiah Wednesday morning, a town that went over its own hill in 1960 or so and never found its way back, not that it seems to have looked very hard.
MY THEORY of our county seat's decay? (I thought you'd never ask.)
UKIAH is one of thousands of similarly-sized small towns whose money people, the people who used to run towns and cared what they looked like, withdrew or, as in Ukiah, cashed in on defiling what had once been the graceful little civitas of their grandfathers, a place its residents could be proud of.
NOW? The Mannons, the Eversoles, the McCowens sit on their money while silly, irresponsible people sit on their city council and overpay their managers who, from their attractive, comfortable quarters west of State Street, collect their fat pay while their town crumbles. Those graceful civic headquarters that Ukiah boasts, not so incidentally, reside in a re-tooled, pre-WWII elementary school built in a time when Americans still cared what their public areas looked like. Today's public bureaucrats spare no expense. On themselves.
DRIVING UP State Street today at 9:30am, I counted four persons sleeping on the sidewalk as a platoon of ambulatory lost souls shuffled up and down Ukiah's main street, the town's face to the world. Between the Whispering Winds Nursery on deep South State and DFM Garage opposite the Ukiah Theater, both highly recommended by Boonville's beloved weekly, you might think Ukiah had also just been hit by the Tongan tsunami or an equivalent disaster.
AN ON-LINE COMMENT neatly sums up the prevalent contemporary opinion: “Many of the homeless need to be put some place, NOT prison but someplace. Many do not have the ability to ever take care of themselves. Don't tell me someone standing on a corner screaming at imaginary people is not gravely disabled. Many times they do not have the capacity to stay on their meds, they are after all mentally ill and it is part of the disease process they can not keep on it.”
EARLY in the 20th century when dependent populations were much smaller, Mendocino County sponsored a County Farm out on Low Gap Road where the ever-expanding County Jail now sits. Habitual drunks and general incompetents were court-ordered to the County Farm, which was partially self-supporting because it was a functioning little farm, raising as much of its own food as it could given the limited nature of its workforce.
AMERICA was a much more serene country prior to WW Two, and of course our population is now much larger and dope-soaked and pornified and medicated, and… Well, how many totally sane people do you know?
WHERE does all the money go that's supposedly devoted to caring for people unable or unwilling to care for themselves? The salaries of ineffective “helping professionals” led by more-of-the-same politicians, that's where. That money amounts to more than $30 million a year in Mendocino County as the county's floating population of permanent cripples grows by the day.
THE SOLUTION? Renew and expand the state hospital system, just for starters. And bring back the county farm strategy as an extension of County Jails. Which is where that wandering felon who wandered into the up-market furniture store in LA and murdered the young woman working there. This guy's an extreme case, but given his violent history why was he out of custody in the first place?
AS BRIANNA KUPFER'S devastated father, Todd Kupfer, put it, “We have a lot of politicians that somehow forgot about people and think the key to getting elected is to support the lowest rung of our society and to give them rights and somehow that's the answer to getting votes.” Kupfer's 24-year-old daughter, Brianna, was murdered last Thursday when a deranged black man, who is believed to be homeless, walked into the Croft House around 1:50 p.m. and stabbed her to death. He then fled through the back door before calming down and walking down an alley. Police say it was a random attack, that the crazy man did not know the victim. The murder comes amid a huge crime surge in Los Angeles, with homicides in Los Angeles rising 52 per cent last year from 2019, and shooting incidents were up 59 per cent, according to LAPD data.
Mike Geniella: The Press Democrat, the North Coast's venerable newspaper, remains a light in the darkness that is enveloping newspaper companies big and small. The PD's online presence is growing. Yet the print side of things seems to be sliding into oblivion. The printing plant that the PD is closing is only 35 years old. It cost the then-owner The New York Times $40 million to construct if I recall correctly. The new Rohnert Park facility was so sophisticated that 'robots' were used to load newsprint onto the shiny new presses. Eventually, the New York Times sold the PD as financial troubles engulfed its own operation. Now 40 employees will lose their job at The Press Democrat, the paper will be printed in the East Bay, and the Rohnert Park facility shuttered. A local ownership took over, which stabilized the PD. But even it had to sell the printing plant building and property in 2016 for $9.5 million to help keep the PD going. Until now, the newspaper leased back the printing plant. If I interpret this story's stats correctly, the actual daily paid circulation of the PD has fallen to around 25,000. In its heyday, when I was still a working reporter, the circulation bounced around 100,000 daily, and was delivered to Humboldt and Lake counties as well as Sonoma County. Hard to believe the current state. I am so grateful I experienced the newspaper's golden era. It provided challenging professional opportunities, a means to support my family and friendships that have spanned decades.
Eric Grunder: A lot of that going around, Mike. Some years back, after the equity company strip miners moved in, The Record's relatively new press plant was shuttered, and printing shifted to the Sac Bee until it closed its print plant. Now what's left of The Record's print circulation is handled out of an East Bay plant. And, the paper's building, downtown home to the paper for more than 100 years, has been sold. What's left of the operation is being moved to the Waterfront Warehouse, a building that also houses the city's chamber of commerce. Gone is day-to-day coverage of major government entities, including the Stockton City Council and Stockton Unified, both of which have a history that might charitably be described as checkered.
Geniella: The newspaper industry as we knew it is in a freefall. I get the dollars and cents issues given the world of online. Yet, how do our communities get reliable information about what is going on in their own backyards? How do lawmakers local, state, and national act responsibly without feedback from their own communities? Newspapers served as that vehicle, and as a watchdog on behalf of the public. Where does it go from here?
Here's what a former Mendo high student (who is now an M.D.) had to say “I was just speaking with two very tired young nurses last night during my current college visit trip to Orange County / LAC. My figurative hat is off to every single one of you still showing up for work as health care practitioners. I Will continue to do my utmost to take reasonable precautions (given that yes, I’m currently in travel status) NOT to show up at your work
PLEASE consider our beleaguered coastal medical staff. MASK UP, wash your hands, and avoid large gatherings right now - at LEAST until we get through this current surge which is expected to peak in the next few weeks.
WE KNOW THE REAL CAUSE OF THE CRISIS IN OUR HOSPITALS. IT’S GREED.
We’re entering our third year of Covid, and America’s nurses — who we celebrated as heroes during the early days of lockdown — are now leaving the bedside. The pandemic arrived with many people having great hope for reform on many fronts, including the nursing industry, but much of that optimism seems to have faded....
The housing conversation in Mendocino County is ongoing. I attended the Inland HAT meeting and among the topics discussed were the Infrastructure barriers to developing housing, the recreation of a County water agency will help with this but sewage is also an issue. We need to survey other areas and seek solutions, at the end of the day there needs to be a lot more communication. Additionally a very important topic of the “Missing middle” as some people call it or “workforce housing” meaning people that work and earn to much to receive subsidies but don’t have executive level jobs that the current market seems to favor. Again this is something being discussed not only in Mendocino County but across California. I’m wondering if you’ve heard of any innovative solutions elsewhere?
I worked at the County Public Health Vaccine clinic at the fairgrounds on Friday. It was MUCH slower than last week. If you have a friend that hasn’t gotten a booster or is ready to get the vaccine please have them visit MyTurn.Ca.Gov to schedule an appointment.
Over the weekend I donated some couches to to the residents of the housing program at Building Bridges. They’ve been working hard to get individuals in to stable housing and sometimes a bed or a couch is really helpful. I’d like to encourage you to reach out to them if you are able and see if they have needs for furniture or other household donations. Here is the website: https://redwoodcommunityservices.org/homelessservices
Oh my goodness when I went to Lucky for the grocery pick up I was surprised by 10 huge boxes of hand sanitizer to distribute. I took some to the Ukiah Senior Center, Hope Ministries, Building Bridges and the Ukiah Food Bank.
I started to roll out the Homeless trash program. I found someone to assist me with the map. I created a couple of care packages with some snacks and bags and brought them to a couple of camp sites and I did get one bag of trash on my first day. Next steps are to figure out a funding source for the transfer station fees, get volunteers and do out reach to the homeless service providers to get the word out to the streets.
I took a walk in the beautiful sunshine with my granddaughter while listening to the COC Meeting.
They discussed the update to the Homeless Strategic Plan, Coordinated entry and the Point in Time Count as well as whether or not a safe parking proposal should be brought forward. You can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/xN_tt_3pTeE
I like to end these posts by reminding you that I meet on Zoom every Thursday morning at 7:15a. The Meeting ID is 7079548230 and the password is LOCAL707, that is a great place to come and have me ask your questions. I am of course also happy to have coffee or a phone call. My number is 707-391-3664 feel free to text me to schedule an appointment.
Teagan and I took a walk today while I listened to the latest COC meeting (Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/xN_tt_3pTeE). They were discussing the Point in time Count, an update to the Homeless Strategic Plan and whether or not a safe camping proposal should be brought forward. Also I dropped off some garbage bags and snacks to some folks camping along the creek and asked if they could stage the bags for me and I had one bag full by the end of the day. I have a couple of meetings next week to discuss the opportunities to get trash picked up on a regular basis for those without homes. It was a beautiful day to remember that you can be of service anywhere.
INTRODUCTORY ED NOTE: Hmmmm. A former Northeast congressman somehow winds up owning the only viable part of the old Northwestern Pacific Railroad, present state senator Mike McGuire runs interference for him at the state level while SMART gets stiffed along with all the saps who voted for it thinking it would by now be running all the way to Cloverdale. The Mendo outfit referred to is based in Willits. They specialize in railroad electronics. This whole deal stinks. Small wonder former congressman Bosco wants it to remain a “proprietary” secret.
SMART TRAIN HIRES OPERATOR TO RUN FREIGHT OPERATIONS FOR THREE MONTHS, AT COST OF $395,000
by Andrew Graham
As the North Bay’s passenger rail agency prepares to enter the freight business, it has hired a private company to serve as an interim operator.
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit officials say they’ll need time to develop an in-house freight operation after the agency completes its state-funded $4 million buyout of Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co. on Feb. 28.
On Wednesday, the board voted to approve a three-month, $395,000 contract with Summit Signal, a Mendocino County company, to run interim freight operations. The deal includes an option for an extension.
Summit Signal will begin running freight cars March 1.
Northwestern Pacific Railroad currently has four freight customers in Petaluma, mostly for grain and feed shipments. The company also stores tanker cars for oil refineries and other customers.
SMART’s contract with Summit Signal directs the company to run twice weekly nighttime deliveries to the Petaluma customers and to any new ones the agency signs.
“It’s an exciting time. It’s all uncharted right now,” SMART board Vice Chair Barbara Pahre said during Wednesday’s meeting.
SMART Taking On Freight Rail, Abandoning Gas Tankers, At A Loss
With the urging of state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, SMART has embarked into freight rail despite questions about sustainability and a lack of insight into Northwest Pacific’s financial information.
Private companies are not subject to the state’s public records law, and the company’s co-owner, former North Coast Rep. Doug Bosco, has resisted calls to open his books.
Bosco, an investor in Sonoma Media Investments, owner of The Press Democrat, told the newspaper last week he believes his company’s records should not be subject to California’s public record laws for proprietary reasons.
Even without that financial information, SMART officials calculate that freight operations will run at roughly a $200,000 annual loss until they can drum up new customers — something those familiar with North Bay freight rail say will be a challenge. The loss comes principally because of the board’s decision to ditch the politically unpopular but, according to Bosco, highly lucrative oil tanker storage business.
Neighbors in the Sonoma Valley, where as many as 80 gas tankers at a time are stored, fear the gas tankers could explode or be pushed adrift during flooding, given that the section of track outside Schellville where they are kept is toward the edge of low-lying wetlands.
The board has directed SMART to eliminate the gas tanker storage by the end of June. The move is estimated to cost around $500,000 in annual revenue, but SMART Chief Financial Officer Heather McKillo said she found about $300,000 in savings on NWP’s operating costs to cushion the blow.
Along with the $4 million to buy out Northwest Pacific, the California Legislature, with McGuire’s guidance, has allotted SMART $6 million over two bills, including the fiscal year 2022 state budget, for track maintenance and operations. SMART officials predict around $487,000 in annual revenues from the existing freight customers.
Some SMART critics have said the passenger rail agency is taking on too much, without having completed its promise to Sonoma and Marin county voters that trains would run from Larkspur to Cloverdale. A disclosure by SMART staff that as many as nine private firms had expressed an interest in operating the freight shipments inflamed those questions for the only member of the public to speak Wednesday.
David Schonbrunn, president of Bay Area public transit watchdog organization the Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund, called it “outrageous” that SMART directors had not discussed or seemingly been aware of the interest of nine private companies in running freight when they chose to launch an in-house operation.
SMART directors have said they are confident the agency can find customers to make freight rail pay, and have argued consolidated control over the North Bay’s rail lines will be a public benefit.
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
 4 million to buy it, $395,000 to operate it and an annual loss projected to be $200,000 a year until they can drum up new business on a line that runs from almost Windsor to what, Larkspur? I'm sure there's all kinds of freight customers dying to hop on that train. All this by an agency that already can't pay for itself.
 Don't forget that they bought this part of the rail from good ol' Doug Bosco! Real Smart indeed.
 What a surprise. Mcguire gets money for SMART that gets to Dougie. His donations are going to soar.
DREAM AS NIGHTMARE
Every year Martin Luther King Day comes and goes, we see the same points and material regurgitated. Every year this day is used to absolve white guilt, and his message is absconded by moderates attracted to his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
But in interviews years later he said that dream had become a nightmare, and that his optimism had to be tempered with realism. Yet we get the same milquetoast message about race relations and the same simplified view of his legacy every year.
He mirrored many of the messages of Malcolm X in those later interviews, warning of those who would offer you lukewarm acceptance with strings attached.
He also began protesting socio-economic ills, saying in a letter to Coretta Scott King that “capitalism has outlived its usefulness.” He also began speaking out in opposition to the Vietnam War, furthering the public’s disdain for him. Two-thirds of Americans held an unfavorable view at the time.
We must be more aware of what King actually fought for in his time, and we need to redouble our commitments to fulfilling his dream and goals he added in the years following that speech.
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 19, 2022
TATIANA FRANCO-CORTEZ, Garberville/Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, concealed dirk-dagger.
CODY MENDEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
CHAD TURLEY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The Sears catalogue was a staple in our house.
Some weeks before Christmas my parents went through the catalogue to find the items we children needed—socks, etc. We knew that they were choosing our Christmas presents. When the Sears cartons arrived my mother emptied them and wrapped the items and put them under the tree.
Santa Claus did not exist.
As the third girl I rarely got anything new, but at Christmas I would get a few new things.
The Sears catalogue—about an inch and a half thick—also was the source of quite a lot of entertainment and rainy-day activities. My sister and I would leaf through the pages, choosing our favorite item on the page. Some items were mysterious, of course. Another pastime was to guess the other person’s favorite item on the page . . .
I think some towns also had Sears stores, where you could go and look at the catalogue and place your orders. For decades the Sears catalogue was basically an umbilical cord for consumer goods’ flow to rural families.
"The U.S. has not sent troops to Ukraine to assist against a possible Russian attack," Kirby said, though more than 100 Florida National Guard troops are now in the country on an advise-and-assist deployment to help train Ukrainian troops.
“They remain at work alongside their Ukrainian counterparts … and we expect that that mission will continue,” he said. “We're going to continue to watch the situation on the ground and if we need to make decisions for force-protection purposes, we'll do that.”
For now, Kirby said there are no planned changes to the National Guard’s mission or number of U.S. troops in Ukraine.Stars and Stripes
The Florida National Guard in Ukraine? Isn't the assigned job of the National Guard to protect the US nation? This article is from Stars and Stripes and I have seen no mention of its presence in any other media.
If there is a word of concern or criticism from ANY member of Congress as the US continues on the path of a war or a cold war with Russia, which, along with preserving NATO, were the goals of the 2014 US orchestrated coup there, I am not aware of it.
LOCAL EQUITY ENTREPRENEUR PROGRAM PUBLIC MEETING REMINDER - January 19th
This is a friendly reminder that the County of Mendocino Cannabis Program, in partnership with Elevate Impact Mendocino, will be hosting a public meeting regarding the Local Equity Entrepreneur Program (LEEP) today, Wednesday, January 19, 2022 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. (PST). Registration is required and must be submitted prior to the start of the meeting (registration must be prior to 3:30 p.m. PST).
The agenda for today's webinar is as follows:
- LEEP Funding Sources
- LEEP Program Statistics
- LEEP Program Updates
- Questions and Answers
To register for this event please click for following link: www.mendocinocounty.org/cannabiswebinar
Mendocino Cannabis Program Staff
WILLIAM BUCKLEY IN HIS OWN WORDS
“The South does not want to deprive the Negro of a vote for the sake of depriving him of the vote,” he goes on. “In some parts of the South, the White community merely intends to prevail — that is all. It means to prevail on any issue on which there is corporate disagreement between Negro and White. The White community will take whatever measures are necessary to make certain that it has its way.”
Buckley goes on to weigh whether such a position is kosher from a sophisticated, conservative perspective. “The central question that emerges,” he writes, “is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically?” His answer is clear:
The sobering answer is Yes — the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the median cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists. The question, as far as the White community is concerned, is whether the claims of civilization supersede those of universal suffrage. The British believe they do, and acted accordingly, in Kenya, where the choice was dramatically one between civilization and barbarism, and elsewhere; the South, where the conflict is by no means dramatic, as in Kenya, nevertheless perceives important qualitative differences between its culture and the Negroes’, and intends to assert its own. National Review believes that the South’s premises are correct. If the majority wills what is socially atavistic, then to thwart the majority may be, though undemocratic, enlightened. It is more important for any community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority.
Having justified denying the vote to Black people in the South as “enlightened,” Buckley then grapples with the proper level of violence needed to sustain the “civilized standards” he is intent on upholding.
Sometimes it becomes impossible to assert the will of a minority, in which case it must give way, and the society will regress; sometimes the numerical minority cannot prevail except by violence: then it must determine whether the prevalence of its will is worth the terrible price of violence."
(via Carol Mattisich, MCN chatline)
PURELY PERSONAL by Herb Caen (1976)
One July Day in 1966 it dawned on me that I had become a San Franciscan exactly 30 years ago, to the dot. As George remarked in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, that's a lot of blood under the bridge. Soon I would be able to palm myself off as a native and forget that I spent my first 20 years as a Sacramento boy — although I doubt that the readers will let me forget it. During my break in period on the Chronicle when I committed even more gaffes than I do now, every other letter writer observed snidely that, "You can take the boy out of the country but you can't take the country out of the boy." A cleverly turned phrase, I thought upon first reading it, but it soon palled.
At the time I was summoned to bigger and better things, I was working for the Sacramento Union as a police reporter. The Union was the oldest daily west of the Rockies, and in those days it looked it. (Oddly enough it began flourishing shortly after I left.) It was such a small operation, in fact, that late one night, when the police chief of North Sacramento was shot to death, an old Chicago hand named H. Lee Watson and I put out an "extra" all by ourselves. We were so proud of our feat that we stayed up all night and got drunk — not an easy thing to do in Sacramento at the time — but the publisher almost fired us the next day for squandering money. "Who cares about North Sacramento?" he kept saying. Nevertheless, when the Chronicle offered me a job at $50 a week, he countered with an offer of $35, a $10 raise. I was touched, but not enough.
For my attack on the Big City, I bought my very first (and last) hat, which I wore brim turned up in front, like Front Page Farrell. On the ferry crossing the Bay I stood at the rail, shook my fist at the approaching frightening skyline, and vowed, "I will lick you, San Francisco!" at which point the Bay breeze, understandably offended, plucked the hat off my head and flung it into the water for the seagulls to peck at. A bad omen, at least for the hat makers. In those days I had about 18 pounds of hair and by the time I arrived at the Chronicle building it was standing out in all directions as though I had just been electrocuted. The then editor's secretary, a salty redhead named Dorothy McCarthy, took one look at me, slapped her forehead and croaked, "My God, now we're hiring people with fright wigs!" It's 30 years later and I still haven't thought of a riposte.
My first job on the Chronicle was as radio editor (there was no TV in those days, children, honest there wasn't) because to kill time on the police beat in Sacramento I had been writing a radio column — without, I should add, ever listening to the radio. I just made it up. And anyway, as it turned out, the only reason the Chronicle’s then editor hired me was because he wanted somebody on the staff younger than he (he was 27).
The man I was replacing was the eminent J.E. "Dinty" Doyle who was about to leave for what was then considered the pinnacle of journalism: New York. He was a hard drinking, wisecracking old time news man who hated me on sight because I preferred Jack Benny to his favorite, Fred Allen. Besides, he had wanted the job to go to a friend in Oakland. "The boss says I'm supposed to break you in," he said disgustedly, spitting into the wastebasket. "Well let me give you some advice. The important thing about being a columnist — even a lousy radio columnist — is not the column. The important thing is to be seen, to become a character. That's what I've done, that's why I made it. I go to the fights, I go to ball games, I go to opening nights and people say, ‘Look, there's Dinty Doyle — man, he gets around.’ That makes them want to read your column. No matter how rotten the column is, they're going to read it because you're a celebrity. See?"
I didn't see, but I nodded. He put on his coat and said, "Oh come on. I'm going to show you the town. We will have dinner at the Palace for starters. I will introduce you to head waiters and bandleaders and other celebrities. We'll go to every joint in town, see everything. I don't think you can cut the job, but at least you'll get a feel."
Night was falling over the enchanted city as we stood at the corner of Fifth and Mission. "Where first?" I asked excitedly. "Hanno's," said Dinty. At that time, Hanno’s was a lovely little bar on the opposite corner and a true hangout for newspaper men. A great chorus of "Hi, Dintys!" rang out as we walked in. I was impressed and cowed and sat in a corner, nursing a drink, as Doyle shook hands and began downing straight shots in a very businesslike manner.
Doyle was a great raconteur, and he was soon regaling the customers with long and sometimes funny tales. The hours went by and at 11 PM we still had not got any farther than Fifth and Mission. "Hey, Dinty," I kept asking, more and more feebly, "I thought you were going to show me the town." "Relax, kid," he advised, his eyes now as red as his face. At midnight he looked at his watch and said, "Holy cow, kid, I got a column to write! Come on, back to the office."
Once there he put his head in the wastebasket and made awful noises for a few minutes. Then he looked up miserably and said, "You write the column, kid." In a panic, I pounded out 1000 words about something and laid the copy before him. He reached for a pencil and scribbled at the top, "by J.E. (Dinty) Doyle" just before he passed out for keeps. The next morning everybody agreed it was certainly one of Doyle's worst columns and I had to agree. "Not that I could do any better," I added modestly and 30 years later that still goes.
NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FOR NPR
by Ralph Nader
The reasons Congress created NPR (National Public Radio) under the Nixon Administration was to fill the yawning gaps of commercial radio in local, national, and international news coverage and to give voice to the people, without ads. It was to be publicly funded by taxpayers. Almost 51 years later, NPR is now funded heavily by national corporations, with its local affiliates soliciting local business advertisements.
Resolution One: Apart from excellent features around the country and the world, NPR should give voice to what civic groups are doing to improve our country locally and nationally. NPR is heavy on entertainment and entertainers and needs to fill some of that airtime with news of the bedrock civic community in America. The imbalance is serious from the national to the local.
Resolution Two: NPR features many reports and interviews on Race, but needs far more focus on Class. Class exploitation by the rich and powerful corporate supremacists feeds into racial discrimination. The euphemism used is “inequality,” but corporate-bred crime, fraud, and abuse affects all people indiscriminately, which often disproportionately harms minorities. A result of the gross imbalance of time devoted to race and not to class is that indiscriminate injustice is mostly ignored.
Over sixty million very poor whites in our country, if they even bothered to listen to NPR, might ask: “What About Us?”
Focusing on racial plights, without going to its sources in commercial greed, redlining, exploited tenants, lower pay and poverty, substandard health care, rampant overcharging of the poor (recall the book, The Poor Pay More: Consumer Practices of Low-Income Families by David Caplovitz), greater difficulty getting loans, and discrimination against upward mobility to corporate executive ranks, are some examples of systemic commercialism fueling systemic racism.
NPR’s collateral benefit from this inattention is that business advertisers large and small love NPR and its affiliates. This is especially the case for corporations with bad records. NPR should reject ads from disreputable or criminal corporations.
Resolution Three: Stop mimicking commercial radio. NPR’s three-minute news segments on the hour often don’t even match the quality of CBS Radio’s choice of topics. For example, why is tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa problems in Australia at the top of NPR news day after day? As for commercials, NPR stretches the envelope, airing, with its affiliates, as many as 30 ads per hour! Imagine the audience irritation. How many times do we have to hear each hour “NPR is supported by this station…”? NPR gives abundant repetitive ad time to the same few advertisers—Progressive Insurance, C3.AI, etc., that one wonders whether they are assured of exclusivity vis-à-vis competitors. Moreover, NPR starts the evening program Marketplace with ads, which the commercial networks do not do.
Your listeners want you to decongest your ads and some may want to know why you have given up on reversing the relative decline of congressional appropriations. You give ample time to loud right-wingers and right-wing causes. Why aren’t you gaining bipartisan support for more congressional funding?
Resolution Four: Compress the weather forecasts. Back in 1970-1971, Congress knew that commercial radio stations gave plenty of time to weather, traffic, sports, and music. That is still true. So why does WAMC in Albany, an NPR local affiliate, have such lengthy forecasts, some starting with the west coast, with ludicrous repetition for adjacent areas? WAMC is above average in covering local and state governments and candidates for public office with full-time staff.
Resolution Five: NPR should re-evaluate its music policy. NPR takes its weekends seriously, so much so that they take off right at 6:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday evenings. “Let them hear music,” for the rest of the time, as if the world stops then. Also, musical intervals are often too long, inappropriate for their context, and foolishly interjected. NPR’s evening program Marketplace, anchored by jumping-jack Kai Ryssdal, illustrates these observations. Even while he is rapidly giving the stock market numbers, there is background music loud enough to be considered foreground.
Resolution Six: Reconsider the uniform formulaics shackling your reporters. They respond to the anchor’s inquiry with a zigzag between their sound bites and corroborating sound bites from consulting firms, think tanks, and academic commentators. This model has a tedious staccato ring to it, especially since the reporters often, by way of their introduction, repeat what the interviewees are going to say.
Resolution Seven: Correct or explain your major faux pas. NPR staff need tutorials on the constitutional authority of Congress. NPR needs to explain to its listeners why, with all that staff in Washington D.C., it took about 90 minutes (or until about 3:30 pm) to start telling its affiliates about the Jan. 6 violent assault on Congress. Commercial CNN and other commercial media started reporting no later than 2:00 pm that fateful day. “And that’s not the only time NPR has messed up,” said one reporter for WAMC (that annually pays NPR a million dollars for NPR programming).
Resolution Eight: Give your Public Editor, Kelly McBride, a regular public time slot to discuss her insights, presently communicated mostly internally, and to address serious feedback from your listeners about NPR’s broadcasting flaws. (Local affiliates invite political opinions, personal development, and ‘how to’ questions on related shows).
Ms. McBride could share the program with NPR’s CEO—a position more remote from the NPR public every decade. Hear ye John Lansing! Among other benefits, you’ll get good suggestions for important, little-told news stories. (See reportersalert.org)
Congress should hold long needed public hearings in both the Senate and the House of Representatives to ascertain whether the original missions accorded public radio and public broadcasting are being pursued both qualitatively and quantitatively, and whether these networks and their affiliates have steadily strayed from those missions, due in part to the absence of mechanisms for public evaluations and congressional oversight.
There is so much to learn about NPR and PBS about their relations with American Public Media, the BBC, and other connections, to make them better and raise the expectations of their listening audience.
It’s hard not to be complacent when you have so little competition from the commercial stations that for decades have debased our publicly owned airwaves, free of charge.
by Tom Stevenson
A spate of recent conflicts are said to have been decided by the use of drones. In November last year, Tigrayan forces were advancing on Addis Ababa. When Ethiopian security forces pushed them back, the Tigrayans credited the army’s use of drones with turning the tide. In Libya, drones were used by the forces of the UN-backed Government of National Accord against Khalifa Haftar’s ‘Libyan National Army’. In Nagorno-Karabakh in the autumn of 2020, the Armenian side lost around half of its artillery and air defense systems to drone strikes in the first hours of the war. Videos of low-cost drones operated by Azerbaijan’s armed forces destroying Armenian tanks and motorized infantry units impressed military analysts.
In 2018, a US Army major argued that the United States should use more small and expendable ‘tactical drones’ in its military operations. Something like this advice has been taken up by smaller states. Drones are popular because they offer air power on the cheap. Some armed drones can be bought for under $2 million. The American MQ-9 Reaper is much more expensive but still less than an F-16, even before you count the expense of training a pilot who might be killed.
This is just as well, since drones get shot down all the time. In 2011, Iranian forces downed an RQ-170 stealth drone operated by the CIA. In the Ukraine conflict between 2014 and 2016 so many OSCE reconnaissance drones were brought down over the Donbass that they were withdrawn entirely.
The US military has used reconnaissance drones in wars since the 1960s. The armed drone is a more recent development. The first drone to fire a missile in flight was a Predator (tailfin no. 3034) on a test range in California in early 2001. The Hellfire missiles it carried were designed as anti-tank weapons to be fired from helicopters. Predator 3034 was also used in the first attempt at a drone assassination. The target was the Taliban leader Mullah Omar in October 2001. The attempt failed, but it marked the beginning of a drone boom. By 2016, the US was killing four thousand people a year using drones, most of them away from traditional battlefields.
The combination of the unprecedented global surveillance system built by the NSA and remotely piloted aircraft produced the most widespread assassination campaign in human history. A drone operator sitting at a computer terminal in Creech Air Force base in Nevada can control a drone taking off from an airfield in Qatar or Djibouti that flies a thousand miles to assassinate someone in Yemen, Pakistan or Syria. The process is full of euphemism. Drones are ‘birds’. The people targeted for death are ‘objectives’. Missile attacks are ‘kinetic strikes’. They use the language of games: kills are ‘touchdowns’, target fact sheets are ‘baseball cards’, a successful assassination is a ‘jackpot’.
The US is not the only country to conduct drone assassinations. France has carried them out in Mali, the UK in Syria, and Israel has used drones to kill Palestinians in Gaza. But the US remains the only state to use drones in warfare at scale.
In December, a New York Times investigation based on a cache of Pentagon documents found that claims of precision in the US air war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are delusional. Drone operators and airstrike targeters do not know what they are hitting. Decisions are made on the basis of a few seconds of footage captured from above. Misidentification is rampant: a cotton gin, say, mistaken for an explosives factory. And when drone operators and pilots can correctly identify someone they want to shoot at, their targets are usually close to bystanders.
A straight line can be drawn between celebrations of ‘precision’ air weaponry and airstrikes in civilian areas. The inability of US drone operators and targeters to find and identify individuals accurately has led to a strategy based on volume. Drop a lot of bombs, accept that many civilians will die, and occasionally you will kill someone you meant to.
The spread of drone warfare to minor states is likely to mean an extension of the basic cruelty of air campaigns. Earlier this month, an Ethiopian drone strike hit a flour mill in Tselemti, north of the Simien mountains. Seventeen people were killed, most of them women.
(London Review of Books)
FROM NOW ON, I'M STRICTLY HARRY, HARRY KRISHNA!
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
CDC, CDPH & SCHOOL SAFETY
by Michelle Hutchins, County Superintendent of Schools
If you’re feeling confused about the current COVID safety guidelines, you’re not alone. Between late December and early January, the California Department of Public Health released four new sets of guidelines in 15 days in response to changing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as they scrambled to keep up with new threats posed by Omicron.
While public health organizations can (and do) respond quickly to changing health conditions, legislators are not as quick, leaving schools with the thankless job of complying with health safety guidelines while also following legislative education mandates. So, while schools must assure that students who test positive for COVID-19 stay home for five or more days, a school must simultaneously go through the laborious task of having parents sign a short-term independent study contract if it hopes to receive reimbursement for the cost of educating that student during isolation.
Until December, the term “fully vaccinated” referred to those who received the initial two-dose regimen of the mRNA vaccines or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson. Now, if staff are booster eligible but have not had a booster shot, they are not considered fully vaccinated, and thus, are lumped in with the unvaccinated, requiring staff to quarantine for at least five days if exposed to the coronavirus.
Mendocino County schools have spent countless hours keeping students as safe as possible, doing everything from providing personal protective equipment to offering almost constant testing for students and staff. Most districts have been able to keep the doors open, but when too many teachers who are no longer considered fully vaccinated are exposed, schools have no choice but to move students to short-term independent study. Why can’t we just go back to distance learning for a little while, you ask? Because well-meaning state legislators outlawed distance learning and replaced it with this burdensome short-term independent study in an effort to get students back in the classroom. They did not want distance learning to be a crutch for schools.
As we work our way through Omicron, schools are still doing a great job of keeping students and staff safe. For the time being, most schools have enough masks and test kits, though shortages are looming. Schools are adjusting schedules, even changing dates for spring break in some cases. They are combining classes so a single teacher can oversee students for a quarantining colleague. In secondary schools, teachers are giving up their prep time to cover classes for colleagues on quarantine. Sometimes, however, they must suspend certain services for lack of personnel, services such as transportation—forcing parents to adjust their routines.
Oftentimes, schools have little time to react to changing conditions. One recent change from CDPH came at 9:00 pm the night before the change went into effect. So, if you think schools are not keeping you in the loop, be aware they may be communicating just as fast as they can. They cannot share information they do not have. Locally, Mendocino County schools and Mendocino County Public Health, under the leadership of Dr. Andy Coren, are in constant communication. So that helps us all.
As you come into contact with teachers and other school staff, please remember that they are at least as emotionally exhausted as you are. Not only are teachers trying to educate students who are understandably disengaged after two years of pandemic learning, school officials are often pummeled with questions before they’ve had a chance to interpret how mandated changes will be implemented. No one likes to sit with unanswered questions, but that’s where we are. It’s no wonder everyone feels so anxious and frustrated.
Another group doing their best under tough circumstances are educational board members, both on the county board of education and on school district boards. These folks are doing their best to meet students’ educational needs while also providing resources for the physical and emotional health.
Please remember that educators of all kinds have students’ best interests at heart. Try not to take out your frustration on them when they are simply trying to comply with public health mandates and the laws governing public education, while they try to navigate a system in which they must be ready to educate all but are only funded for those who show up. Imagine trying to run a business where you are required to serve everyone but only paid for whoever decides to walk in the door that day—not a great design, and absenteeism has gone through the roof. Burnt-out students are not showing up as often as they used to.
As the pandemic weaves its way ever so slowly toward a new normal, let’s all do our best to be patient with each other and to focus on our common goals of helping students learn all they can under difficult circumstances.
by John Arteaga
The great Gore Vidal once wrote something to the effect of, "democracy was overthrown in a bloody coup the day that JFK was assassinated, and the military-industrial complex has, since then, spoonfed us all their preselected candidates”. People who will not meddle with their very profitable business model.
War, and the manufacture of the matériel involved in it, have clearly become the basis of our economy; the development, production and sales of the latest super-duper tools of mass slaughter, purveyed on the open market to all comers (with the exception of certain countries that I have fallen out of US/capitalism's favor), seem to now be the US's main exports.
I could hardly believe it, a few years ago, when President Idiot was up there bragging about how many billions of dollars of arms sales he had just negotiated with the Saudi's, a mad feudal-holdover society which has been engaged for years now (with US support) in the liquidation of scores or hundreds of thousands of their neighboring Yemenis, in one of the poorest nations on earth. Crowing about how, "we make the best equipment!", without the slightest thought about the mass slaughter and biblical-scale human misery experienced by those at the receiving end of our 'best equipment'.
Clearly, the completely out of control military-industrial complex now basically owns and runs our country. It doesn't matter which party is in charge, Pentagon budgets go nowhere but up year after year, regardless of the threats or lack thereof to our country. The military has become so bloated with our Nation's wealth that it basically consumes the entire discretionary budget, leaving us to borrow from the rich to actually run the rest of our national economy.
Those who are paying attention to the ‘defense’ budget will tell you that, while the Air Force may tell Congress that they already have too many giant C-130 transport planes, and are having trouble finding places to park them all, Congress, with so many influential members wedded to the ‘defense’ corporate colossus, will insist on producing many more every year, sometimes flown directly from the manufacturing plant to their boneyard.
And look at the Navy! For God's sake, how many aircraft carrier groups do we already have plying the seven seas, while no other nation on earth has a single one?! Not to mention the however many nuclear attack submarines, bristling with enough nuclear firepower to annihilate earth dozens of times over. But no! We need another one! and another trillion dollar aircraft carrier group. How pathetic is that that they are reduced to naming these purposeless floating pollution factories after a cull like Gerald Ford?!
And as if to add insult to injury, can you believe the absolute madness of former Pres. Antoinette creating an entirely new branch of the military octopus, the 'Space Force'?! Okay, even if you understand that the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard are largely modern day Maginot Lines, completely outdated relics designed to fight another World War II, a conflict which will never happen again, and that the war the world is facing today is strictly over transforming our entire human infrastructure, so that we did not perish in our own filth of CO2, methane, sea level rise and scorching temperatures? Reasonable people can argue over the utility of having some modicum of these military services. The 'Space Force', on the other hand, is nothing more than the 'give them bread and circuses' creation of a deranged reality TV carnival barker; a whole new branch of the military, with its attendant astronomical budget etc., which has NO conceivable mission whatsoever!
Anyone who knows the first thing about space launches, rockets and satellites knows that the worst enemy of this entire field of endeavor is space trash; that a tiny paint chip traveling at the kinds of speeds they do up there in outer space can destroy a multibillion-dollar satellite. Therefore, a military command (let us not forget that the military, by definition, is in the business of blowing up and destroying things), devoted to 'dominating space', is basically in the business of littering space with the extraterrestrial equivalent of landmines, just as destructive to our endeavors as anyone else's.
How insane is it that the Republican Party, along with their fellow travelers Manchin and Sinema, are so incredibly concerned with federal expenditures, insisting that we just can't afford things that all other first world countries take for granted, like national healthcare, free college education, etc.? Of course, when lifelong 'fiscal conservatives' like Rand Paul, who’s entire career rests on skinflinting his fellow citizens out of any kind of benefits, has a major tornado in his state, he's right at the front of the line, hat in hand, seeking federal largess, seemingly oblivious to his stunning hypocrisy!
Is there any hope for humanity? It all seems to hang in the balance right now; if the Republican Party, who should properly change their name to the Donald Trump anti-democracy party, prevails at the midterm elections, this observer must conclude that the chances will be slim to none.
The idea that people will vote Republican because gasoline has gone up a little (still a steal by the rest of the world’s prices), reminds me of the time that a New Jersey governor lost because of an unusual number of shark attacks that year. The president has about as much influence over the global price point of fossil fuels as the governor of New Jersey has over the local shark population’s gastronomic proclivities.
A successful democracy must be rooted in some kind of halfway educated populace. If only!