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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, May 7, 2022

Between Fronts | Apfel Picnic | Burgled | Wrong House | Fishing Clinic | Political Signs | Vigilante Call | Orr Springs | Mail Ballots | Daily Walk | Fire/EMS Spending | Job Fair | Pilates | Tahjas | Haiku Festival | Wildflower Show | Giusti Report | Catfish Cabin | Apology Time | Police Reports | Murray Settlement | Yesterday's Catch | Planning Agenda | Ukraine | 1937 | Duplicitous | Liberal Slacks | Unwanted Children | Fu-Go | Maniacal | Klinefelter | This Too | Libertarian | Treehouse | Bostrodamus | Please Hold | Dope Lawyer | Fish Save | Musicians | Nukes | Neanderthal | Nausea | Meadow | Marco Radio | Bluffs | Darwinians | Kuwait | Megadrought | Loggers | HST Derby | Embiid

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THE CHANCE FOR SHOWERS will diminish today as high pressure builds in the wake of a cold front. Another front will follow on Sunday bringing a new bout of unsettled weather with colder temperatures through Monday. Drier weather is expected around Wednesday followed by a chance for rain on Thursday. (NWS)

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HOUSE RAID IN BROAD DAYLIGHT

Hello everyone, 

On Wednesday they raided my house in broad daylight and there was nobody there, they stole things and among those things there were gold chains, gold bracelets, gold ring, iPhone 11, new Air tennis Max 270, two Dior perfumes new, cash, new DKNY bag and gold watch. I ask for your help if someone offers you these things, please let me know, if you are relatives or friends of these people who came to steal and you know or see that they bring things that I mentioned, do not be an accomplice of them because they are people who are among us , those people know the times we leave and arrive at our house or even when we are not, if someone could give me information I would greatly appreciate it.

Because today it's my turn, maybe it can happen to you too, maybe it's material things but I make it public so that these things don't continue to happen and they can catch those people. Thank you 

Martha Olmeda

Yorkville

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MICHAEL SLAUGHTER (Fort Bragg):

Lock your doors! Even when you are home!!!’ I came home early today, I was in back of the house when my dog came running by going crazy towards the front of the house! I went to see what was up and heard my front door slam, I opened my door to see a man leaving, he claimed he “ thought it was a friends house”. My ring camera showed he was in my house for about 40 seconds.

He denied entering and headed north, I called the police, who were fast and stopped him, at this point not much I can do as he apparently did not take anything. But I did review on my ring camera and he was not telling the truth as he said he just knocked on the door. The only thing I can do is a civil trespass which is basically a ticket. I think after seeing me and the dog he won’t be back. But what if it were you home alone. Fort Bragg is about as safe as it comes, use your head lock your doors.

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WENDY EMAL WONDERS:

"What has happened to all the political signs? Most all the signs in front of houses and at the end of Nash Mill have been taken. Pretty sure that it is against the law to deface or remove a political signs."

Ed note: Yup, a misdemeanor.

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ROBBIE LANE:

So, it looks as if I’m being heard. Thank you all for verifying this for me.

Although my daughter is no longer a resident of Anderson Valley, I’ve come to feel that all of the kids here are, “ours”, as a community. I’ve spent 15 years coaching them, chaperoning their field trips, mentoring their Senior Projects, buying their fundraiser products, and just generally enjoying all of them. Which is why my heart breaks when I see that the scourge that is the opioid crisis is now deeply rooted within our community, and it’s killing our kids. 

Well, I’ve had enough. Given that we have no law enforcement presence here, it’s like the Wild West. Having stated that, I’m going to make it my business to save our children. By any means necessary.

Anyone interested in becoming involved can reach me at (707) 489-2915. Let’s stand together for the lives of the kids of Anderson Valley.

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Orr Hot Springs, 1920

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MAIL BALLOT AVAILABILITY

Mail Ballots (aka Vote By Mail or Absentee Ballots) will be mailed to all active registered voters in Mendocino County, Monday, MAY 9, 2022 and will be available in the County Clerk's Office, for the STATEWIDE PRIMARY Election, to be held on JUNE 7, 2022, according to Katrina Bartolomie, Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder. The County Clerk's Office is located in Room 1020 of the County Administration Building located at 501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah. The normal delivery is five to seven days, if you do not receive your ballot within one week, please call our office at (707) 234-6819 for a replacement ballot. If you have moved since the last election, please reregister at https://registertovote.ca.gov/

Sample Ballots (local voter information booklets) were mailed by our vendor and should be arriving in your homes within the next few days, if you do not receive your Sample Ballot by the end of the week, please call our office so we can send you one. Voters in Mendocino County have began receiving their State Voter Information Guides (VIG) that include information on the statewide candidates. If you would like to view the VIG online, please visit: https://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/

Katrina Bartolomie would like to remind voters who wish to vote in the JUNE 7, 2022 election, that THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE IS MAY 23, 2022 to receive a regular ballot in the mail. Please call our office for a Voter Registration card or go to: https://registertovote.ca.gov/ to register to vote online.

For additional information please contact the Election / County Clerk’s Office by calling 707 234-6819. 

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A READER WRITES: Lately I have taken to floating into City Lights bookshop in San Francisco to pick up a few back copies of the Anderson Valley Advertiser. I am told they are not allowed to charge for the paper! Therefore, I have decided to re-up my subscription. These are strange days in San Francisco! (Aren't they always?) I am pondering an article about my daily walk down to my "orifice" from home which skirts the fentanyl drug scene which is probably the worst thing I've seen in my 40 years here as a "downtowner." Maybe I will make a contribution to your hallowed pages.

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SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: I have Fire/EMS items coming before board in the next month or so and was charting in preparation.

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MENDOCINO COLLEGE COAST CAMPUS CAREER DAY, LUCKY FRIDAY, MAY 13

Whether hoping to find a fresh start, a better job, or a new career direction, job seekers will find a wealth of exciting opportunities at the Mendocino College Coast Center Job Fair and Registration Fiesta on May 13.

During the job fair, a variety of employers from both the public and private sectors will be eager to hire for immediate openings in a wide range of fields. Representing employers and agencies from the community include Fort Bragg Unified, Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation, and Mendocino College and many many more!

For those seeking a new career direction, representatives from Mendocino College career education programs will also be on site to answer questions about what classes are needed to enter vocational fields such as business, culinary arts, health sciences, sustainable construction, automotive mechanics, and more.

The event will be an open format job fair and will take place from 2 to 6 pm on Friday, May 13 at the Mendocino College Coast Center located at 1211 Del Mar Drive in Fort Bragg. Job seekers are encouraged to bring plenty of resumes and be prepared to interview on site.

The Registration Fiesta will take place at the same location, on the same day from 5 to 7 pm. There will be free food, raffles, and carnival games for children (bring the whole family!). Bilingual staff will be on site to provide support and information on educational programs, financial aid, support services, and registration for the summer and fall semesters.

For more information, please contact the Mendocino College Coast Center at 707-961-2200.

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PILATES CLASS?

As the summer season begins and people’s schedules change, I thought I’d reach out to see if enough interest from AV Village members [and beyond] for an in person group “Pilates for Posture + Balance” class at The Studio SoBo.

There is studio availability weekdays 1-4:30pm and Wednesdays 5:30-6:30pm. I would need at least 8 people to be able to hold the class. The price could depend on attendance. $5-$10.

If you are interested please contact: Elizabeth M. Jensen, (415) 713-3833, elizabeth.martha.jensen@gmail.com 

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Tahja Family, Comptche, Left to right: Matti (father), visitor, Arnold, Andrew, Liisa (mother). Between cars: Elma, Martha, Anne.

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THE ANNUAL ukiaHaiku festival - A celebration and competition devoted to the haiku form of poetry!

A Special 20th Annual Retrospective ukiaHaiku Festival (in person) * May 15th 2022 - at the Grace Hudson Museum in the Wild Gardens from 2-4pm in celebration of Ukiah’s palindrome—haiku.

For this special retrospective iteration of the ukiaHaiku Festival (UHF), we are thrilled to present a selection of Poets Laureate of Ukiah and members of the ukiaHaiku Committee to read haiku from past winners of the festival. This time around, instead of a competition, we are taking stock, looking back at past accomplishments and extending our heartfelt appreciation for this twenty year legacy initiated by Ukiah librarian, Dori Anderson.

Our current poet laureate Melissa Eleftherion Carr and past poet laureate Michael Riedell will host the festival. Following the selected poets, we will invite the public to sign up on the day of the event between 2–2:15pm to read one haiku each in a round-robin fashion. We ask that participants read no more than three haiku.

We encourage children and young adults to participate and welcome both Spanish and English poems. We’ll have a booth with children’s and adults’ activities, wares for sale by Annette Makino, a performance by dancers from SPACE and Higher Ground, songs performed by the Haikukuleles and a performance of koto and shakuhachi music by Ron Nadeau.

This event is free.

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SUNDAY AFTERNOON AT THE WILDFLOWER SHOW

by Andrew Scully

Blanche Brown

You could hear the call of the whippoorwill echoing across the large open fields at the Fairgrounds in Boonville last Sunday afternoon. I imagine it was a sound very familiar to Blanche Brown as she rode on horseback every weekday morning more than three miles over steep and rugged terrain from her home on the Anderson Valley floor to the top of High Peak Ridge, near Peachland. Every day, more than 100 years ago, Ms. Brown would dismount her horse and then take up the podium and desk in the one-room Peachland schoolhouse where she taught her five students, children of workers at a nearby mill. 

It was there, in the schoolroom that her students heard her rhapsodize about the flowers. The wildflowers of the Anderson Valley were a particular sweet spot for Ms. Brown, one which she enhanced with considerable study over many decades both in the field and in the library. Blanche Brown imparted her love of flowers to her students in the classroom and in her frequent field trips and forage with the children through Anderson Valley trails and byways now long forgotten.

The many varied specimens gathered were displayed in her classroom, and in 1926 an exhibit of the flowers was staged for the community and became an annual event. Then in 1949 Blanche Brown retired from the Anderson Valley Schools after almost 40 years of service. When she left the schools, the wildflower exhibits stopped. 

And they might have just passed into memory, but for a day in 1958 when the AV Campfire Girls group asked her to help put an exhibit together. Happily for everyone, Ms. Brown agreed, the show was a great success, and the next year The AV Unity Club assumed sponsorship of the Annual Wildflower Show, which continues to this day.

If the women of the AV Unity Club have anything to say about it, Blanche Brown and her legacy of service over several decades will never be forgotten. Her spirit lives on in people passing though the Valley as well as locals who have benefited from her imprint. Generations of Valley children, including many who would become teachers themselves, have been inspired by Ms. Brown. And they in turn are in service to the Anderson Valley. 

The Unity Club is a women's volunteer organization, now over 100 years old, dedicated to fostering community and supporting the children and people of the Valley. Incoming Club President Mary Ann Grzenda provided a comprehensive tour of the Show to a your intrepid correspondent, and helpfully explained along the way that the Unity Club goals are supported through staging two major events each year: the Wildflower Show in late spring and the Christmas Bazaar in the Fall, which features local crafts and goods. Money raised during these and other events staged goes to fund provision of mentors and classroom volunteers to support teachers in the AV public schools, Anderson Valley Teen Center operations, and to provide college scholarships for AV high school seniors.

The venerable Wildflower Show is a tangible legacy of Ms. Brown and her passions for learning, for people and for the wild things that make the Valley a special place. The Unity Club Garden Section women are responsible for producing the show each year, and President Grzenda explained that planning and staging for the event is a year-round process. 

In addition to the more than 200 specimens gathered for display prior to each show, there is a live native plant sale, and these plants are propagated entirely by Unity Club volunteers using donated materials from local businesses. Two other major outreach initiatives of the Wildflower Show are to allied exhibitors such as the California Native Plant Society (Sanhedrin Section), and the through the public schools Wildflower Art unit that is incorporated into AV Junior and Senior High Art curriculum. The artwork created by these students is truly a highlight of the show.

As for the flowers and other plants, Well they were bobby-dazzlers, to be sure! Impressive indeed, they were, beautifully arranged, and presented in Pioneer-days apothecary brown glass vases. More than 200 wildflowers were on display, along with outstanding examples of paintings created by the artists at Anderson Valley Jr and Senior High.

The many lovely and interesting flower cultivars gathered for display in the Floral Hall at the Fairgrounds all grow wild in the Valley – that is without intervention by humans. However the definition of “wildflower” was a matter of some friendly but spirited conversation among the Garden Section members in response to a reporter’s inquiry. As it happens “wildflower” in the context of the Unity Club may be defined as native and introduced cultivars that have been naturalized and now grow on their own every year with sufficient rain. Thus we have familiar local favorites such as rhododendron, California Poppies, penstemon and Indian paintbrush (all native to these areas) as well as flowers and grasses from all over the world that have naturalized to conditions in the Valley.

However defined, the sheer number of blooms on offer was impressive, as were the delicate and thoughtful presentations. Walking among the flowers was sublime. Even the fairgrounds themselves seemed peaceful. 

In the quiet among the outbuildings, where the wind and the whippoorwill were the only sounds.

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THE GIUSTI REPORT

Editor,

"Speedy trial"? After two years I found out what a "speedy trial" really means. My trial lasted three days and the jury deliberated no longer than one hour! They had to decide on two felony charges, two misdemeanor charges and one allegation. Another Ukiah lynch mob jury. I had requested a court trial in front of just one judge. This constitutional right was denied me by my old nemesis Judge Faulder! He also denied three times my motion to change lawyers. He denied my Ferretta waivers two times which is our sixth amendment right to be my own lawyer. The lawyer I was stranded with (Eyster's choice?), Andrea Sullivan, dragged out her paycheck from Mendocino County taxpayers for one and a half years. She called no witnesses for me and in that period never ever asked if I had any witnesses! On our second meeting she basically told me I was guilty due to trial photos and my past record. She tried to get me to take DA Eyster's 23-year plea bargain or go the insanity plea bargain route. My fellow AVA readers, you be the judge: Do my letters to the Editor sound like the ramblings of a crazy man? Does this sound to you like a fair trial?

I would rather write "happy articles," mostly about history and sports, but I thought I would share the injustice of the Ukiah justice system. District Attorney Eyster is a very clever "Oyster." Or has he hoodwinked taxpayers all along as he hoodwinked my "alleged lawyer" and this lynch mob jury. Of course I surmise it was more like a rigged jury. I think for those three days I sat looking at 12 of Eyster's pals. Sad to say they found me guilty on all counts.

What is wrong and sinister about most Ukiah juries? Here is one assumption: in the 1890s to the early 1900s there was a huge "vigilante movement" in the city of Ukiah. After much "social destruction" they were finally exposed and put into historical record. I don't know much more, because vigilantism has always sounded like too depressing a subject to me.

Before I moved to Montana I heard a lot about Montana vigilantes. I met a few up there and they are overrated. These current "undercover Ukiah vigilantes" are more vicious. I surmise most Ukiah jurors are descendents (grand kids) of these turn-of-the-century Ukiah vigilantes. They are all a bunch of greedy cowards. All my jury admitted being on a jury before and in three days they all walked by me to and from the jury box and not once did any of them look me in the eye! They have had about 150 years of family practice at this, and David Eyster has 35 years of practice weeding them out. I even think in one of his many articles he basically hinted he had vigilante ancestors from Missouri!

You can see these vigilante sickos hang out around the courthouse every day waiting for jury duty. They even rush to court to convict their own relatives and neighbors! This is the intelligence of these people: In the late 1800s these people settled in Ukiah as "ranchers." My family had a good friend and neighbor from Greenwood Yorkville area who became a multimillionaire by growing hay and hauling it over the hill to these "vigilante quasi-ranchers." They were too stupid to learn how to grow their own hay. Hell, it even grows wild in parts of Ukiah. I have slept in it!

Well folks, I'm working on my appeal. The appellate court and Supreme Court have been given a play-by-play record of these proceedings against me. At one point I even believe the appellate court ordered Mendocino Superior Court to get me a new lawyer nearly a year ago. Judge Faulder blatantly ignored the court. The vigilantes ain't going to get the last say in where I end my life. But hey, at my age and experience, prison might be a better place than some musty old rest home filled with senile old ex-Ukiah vigilantes! Go Giants.

Sincerely,

David Detective Young Cault Crow anti-vigilante task force Giusti.

Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah

PS. It might be repetitive here, but I need to stress some pertinent facts of my case. Judge Faulder denied all my motions (most of them my constitutional rights) for the entire two years and never really gave me a normal bail hearing. Never lowering my bail from $300,000. Quite a bit for a native Mendocino County homeless person and retiree. As for District Attorney Eyster's manipulations, he should get the "shyster prize" of the year. Evidently with Faulder's help they basically had a shoo-ain getting me the Lakeport lawyer Andrea Sullivan who never really argued for me and refused to call my witnesses. It should also be noted the alleged victim was not at the trial nor were any eyewitnesses against me! Just four Ukiah policemen.

As for this victim, his statement to the Ukiah police that he was "out to get Giusti" was never revealed. Also his whereabouts, physical condition, nor character were ever addressed. All that was established is that he had no life-threatening injuries! So how or even why would I attempt to murder this dude in my own camp and then be seen just walking slowly by pushing a shopping cart when the police arrived?

Obviously smartass Eyster has no knowledge as to where this "phantom victim" is residing now. This dude is clever too. He left Ukiah and quit while he was ahead. So like deducted in a past article, the last suspected serial killer has hopefully left Mendoland. Does this all sound a bit kangaroo-ish? That's what one cop even stated: "I'm not going to that kangaroo court trial." Praise the Lord Jesus for trials and tribulations!

PSS. I was convicted on two counts (basically the same crime similar to double jeopardy) all on circumstantial evidence. How can someone be convicted of attempted murder on just circumstantial evidence? In order to prove murder beyond a reasonable doubt there are three elements to prove this crime: motive, intent, and malice aforethought. None of these were proven at trial and I doubt if they even can be circumstantially! That lynch mob jury doesn't know what that means.

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GO OUT LIKE A MAN

To The Editor,

Dear AVA Readers, I've been a long time fan and reader of your paper for many years. I have never written to your Letters to the Editor section before. But now I feel compelled to do so in light of having read the many letters submitted by Mr. David Giusti.

His letters are nauseating and repulsive! The victim in this case was a kind harmless homeless man. An elderly man who was my friend and loved by all the homeless people in Ukiah who knew him. He certainly did not deserve to be beaten half to death while he was intoxicated and defenseless.

David Giusti did the same thing to his elderly father in Fort Bragg in 1982. There are many in the homeless community who are happy to see David Giusti go away forever. But sad to see him go away at the expense of Mr. Barry who to this day remains in a care facility due to the severe injuries inflicted by Mr. Giusti.

David Giusti's position of course is that he was framed by the judge, the district attorney, the police, and the hospital staff who saved Mr. Barry. The latest person he claims he is in on this huge multiagency conspiracy to frame him includes his own public defender.

Now of course here come all the letters to the Advertiser from David Giusti claiming the most absurd theories imaginable regarding his conviction. The default position for him and others who are disillusioned regarding their convictions: his attorney was incompetent! Really?

David Giusti spent his life in prison and roaming the streets of Ukiah pushing a shopping cart. He has never stood up and acted like a man.

So I say to you David Giusti: A 12 person jury convicted you. You will never have any basis for appeal. You are going away forever.

Let this be the one time in your life when you stand up and be a man. Apologize to Mr. Barry's family and admit to the world that he did not deserve to be beaten with a wooden ax handle until comatose. No one believes for one minute that you were "framed." So please, sir, go out like a man rather than a sniveling ass weirdo subjecting us all to your crazy letters.

Travis Humphrey

Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah

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AND FERNANDO BUZZED PAST

On Sunday, May 1, 2022 at 10:47 P.M. Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were on routine patrol when they observed a vehicle traveling eastbound on Highway 20 in the area of Marina Drive near Potter Valley.

The Deputies observed the vehicle was traveling in excess of the posted speed limit. The Deputies performed a traffic stop on the vehicle and contacted the driver, who was identified as Fernando Solorio, 26, of Clearlake.

Fernando Solorio

Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Dispatch advised there was an active felony warrant for Solorio's arrest out of Mendocino County.

The Deputies arrested Solorio for the warrant and he was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.

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NO BAIL FOR EDUARDO

On Sunday, May 1, 2022 at 6:48 P.M. Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a reported assault in the 1500 block of Adams Street in Ukiah.

Upon arrival the Deputies contacted an adult female and learned Eduardo Alvarez, 26, of Ukiah, had physically assaulted her. The Deputies observed visible injuries on the adult female's body.

Eduardo Alvarez

Deputies also learned Alvarez reportedly made threats to harm her and her home, which caused the adult female to fear for her safety and the safety of her personal property. Alvarez had left the scene prior to the Deputy's arrival. The Deputies searched the surrounding area for Alvarez, with negative results.

The Deputies collected evidence, obtained statements and continued their investigation. The Deputies learned Alvarez was on active parole. Avlarez's Parole Officer was contacted and briefed of the incident., resulting in an issued parole hold.

On Monday, May 2, 2022 at 8:40 P.M. Deputies responded to the 1500 block of Adams Street where they contacted Alvarez.

The Deputies arrested Alvarez without incident for Felony Criminal Threats, Felony Violation Parole and Misdemeanor Battery .

Alvarez was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on a No Bail status.

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CITY OF UKIAH WILL PAY $250K TO THE WOMAN ALLEGEDLY SEXUALLY ASSAULTED BY FORMER POLICE SERGEANT KEVIN MURRAY

by Matt LeFever

Former Ukiah Police Sergeant Kevin Murray was accused of a litany of crimes spanning over eight years including burglary, sexual assault, possession of methamphetamine, forced oral copulation, and more. Murray was terminated by the City of Ukiah in January 2021 after the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint accusing Murray of burglary, sexual battery, possession of methamphetamine, and a violation of civil rights. These charges stem from his interactions with a woman at Ukiah’s Super 8 motel in late November 2020. Now, over a year after these accusations emerged, the City of Ukiah has agreed to pay a $250,000 settlement to Kevin Murray’s victim, identified only as “S.Y.” in court documents. …

mendofever.com/2022/05/06/city-of-ukiah-will-pay-250k-to-the-woman-allegedly-sexually-assaulted-by-former-police-sergeant-kevin-murray/

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CATCH OF THE DAY, May 6, 2022

Beachham, Brothers, Cruz

PARIS BEACHAM-VANDERPOOL, Ukiah. Under influence, controlled substance, paraphernalia.

KAPRICE BROTHERS, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, protective order violation.

LYNN CRUZ, Lakeport/Ukiah. DUI.

Galindo, Guevara, Heaney, Hoffman

THOMAS GALINDO JR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, petty theft, failure to appear.

MANUEL GUEVARA, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI, criminal threats, resisting.

CHRISTOPHER HEANEY, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

NEAL HOFFMAN, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear. 

McOsker, Naranjo, Rojas

JEREMIAH MCOSKER, Ukiah. County parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

JUAN NARANJO-RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. DUI, controlled substance, bringing controlled substance into jail.

JASMINE ROJAS, Philo. DUI, child endangerment, no license.

Shirley, Silva Trujillo

LAURA SHIRLEY, Fort Bragg. DUI.

CHANDRA SILVA, Willits. Domestic battery.

FEDERICO TRUJILLO, Clearlake/Ukiah. Vehicle tampering, paraphernalia, county parole violation.

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THE PLANNING COMMISSION AGENDA and Reports have been posted to the department website at: mendocinocounty.org/government/planning-building-services/meeting-agendas/planning-commission

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UKRAINE, Friday, May 6

Viatoslav Palamar, a deputy commander of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment, has posted a video online purporting to be shot in Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks saying, “Heavy, bloody fighting is going on.”

The Kremlin has denied a Ukrainian claim that its forces were storming the plant and said humanitarian corridors are currently operating there. Russian President Vladimir Putin later said Kyiv should order fighters to put down their weapons.

Nearly 500 civilians have been evacuated from Mariupol and other areas in southern Ukraine as part of a joint UN-International Red Cross operation, the Ukrainian president’s office said.

Russia has claimed its artillery struck multiple Ukrainian positions and strongholds overnight, killing 600 fighters.

A Ukrainian presidential adviser has said he did not expect Russia’s offensive to produce “significant results” before it holds the annual May 9 Victory Day in Moscow to mark the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s triumph over Nazi Germany.

The Kremlin has accused the United States and other NATO countries of “constantly” feeding intelligence to Ukraine, but says this would not stop Russia from achieving its military goals there.

The US Defense Department has denied providing information on the whereabouts of Russian generals so Ukrainian forces could kill them. “We do not provide intelligence on the location of senior military leaders on the battlefield or participate in the targeting decisions of the Ukrainian military,” Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby said, responding to a New York Times report.

Separately, US media have reported Washington shared intelligence that helped Ukraine sink the Russian warship Moskva last month.

(Al Jazeera)

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"Broke, baby sick, and car trouble!" - Dorothea Lange's 1937 photo of a Missouri family in the vicinity of Tracy, California. (courtesy of the Library of Congress)

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HOW MANY TIMES have you heard a Democratic politician say, “I’m personally opposed to abortion, but…” You never hear a Republican say, “I’m personally in favor of abortion, but…” This duplicitous construction applies to a range of issues. From climate change to student loans to single-payer, Democrats habitually distance themselves from the animating issues of their base, while the Republicans embrace the agenda of their most militant wing. Which is one big reason why we are where we are.

— Jeff St. Clair

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(1969)

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“HOW DID WE GET TO THIS POINT? How much more are we going to take? How much more of this bullshit that some hillbilly in South Dakota gets a more important vote cause he lives in South Dakota. Let me tell you something. Here’s what I say. All the unwanted children should be allowed to live at the Supreme Court building with those Justices and they should raise every one of those babies. That crackpot Clarence Thomas and that wife and all of them. They can raise those babies that they want.”

— Howard Stern

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ON THIS DAY - May 5, 1945 – In Lakeview, Oregon, Mrs. Elsie Mitchell and five neighborhood children are killed while attempting to drag a Japanese balloon out the woods. Unbeknownst to Mitchell and the children, the balloon was armed, and it exploded soon after they began tampering with it. They were the first and only known American civilians to be killed in the continental United States during World War II. 

"Project Fu-Go,” also referred to as “The Windship Weapon” by the Japanese military, began in November of 1944 and continued until the end of April 1945. Created by the Imperial Japanese Army's Ninth Army's Number Nine Research Laboratory, under Major General Sueyoshi Kusaba, the weapons – conceived initially to gather weather data - measured some thirty feet in diameter with a volume of 19,000 cubic feet. The 150-pound balloon assembly was made of panels of laminated tissue paper made from kōzo bush bark. Workers, often school-age children pressed into industrial work – transformed the bark into small panels that were glued together in three or four laminations using edible konnyaku (devil's tongue) paste, and waterproofed with lacquer.

The balloons were launched from three beaches on the eastern coast of the Japanese “home island” of Honshu. Once the balloons were filled with hydrogen gas and launched, they rose to around 30,000 feet to float in the jet stream – a fast-flowing, narrow, meandering air current encircling the Earth. Gas pressure relief valves and a series of paper sandbags were attached to the balloon’s rigging, designed to maintain the proper altitude and flight duration needed to reach the United States. Released by small explosive charges, bags containing high explosives or incendiary thermite were dropped - set off by barometric switches and long-delay fuses. Once over the North American continent, the remaining ballast sandbags would fall to reduce the balloon’s altitude, and the final charges released two 12-kilogram incendiary bombs and a single 15-kg anti-personnel explosive.

In comparison, three years earlier, on April 18, 1942, the first squadron of U.S. bombers dropped bombs on the Japanese cities of Tokyo, Kobe, and Nagoyo, surprising the Japanese military command, who believed their home islands to be out of reach of Allied air attacks. When the war ended in August 1945, some 160,000 tons of conventional explosives and two atomic bombs had been dropped on Japan by the United States. Approximately 500,000 Japanese civilians were killed as a result of these bombing attacks.

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THE CRACKPOT PARTY GOES ALL THE WAY 5150

Editors; 

Republicans are frightened of what their party has turned into.

I seldom quote Republicans but can’t pass on this one’s acute analysis of his party. From 1995 to 2001, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was a Republican representative from Florida. Yesterday he said: 

“We need to look at what’s before us and how extreme these MAGA Washington freaks are. This is the party that brought you Jewish space lasers. This is the party that talked about that dude from Italy who they say stole the election with a satellite. Remember those bamboo particles that Republicans claimed were in Arizona ballots? And those ninja freaks that went in and were going to show that Biden stole the election except it ended up that they get even more votes for Joe Biden. 

They’ve told one lie after another. This is what America wants? Scarborough continued: 

“There’s always been one funny controversy after another churned up by Republicans so they can govern by gesture and proclaim their need to be radical so they could own the libs. But lately those politics of gesture morphed into actual policies that are hurting you and your family. That are hurting Americans in Trump states. The Texas governor attacks truckers in his own state because he thinks that’s how he owns the libs, but he ended up costing Texans $4 billion.” 

“There’s the Florida governor’s crazed attack on Florida taxpayers, going to cost them about a billion dollars, via his war on the Magic Kingdom again to own the libs. And yesterday a harshly written Supreme Court draft will end a 50-year constitutional right that only 19% of Americans support being stripped away. Only 19% of Americans want to ban abortion.” 

Yes, even Republicans are frightened of what their party has turned into. We all should be. And do something to stop their maniacal march to ever more power and resulting damage to our nation. 

Tom Wodetzki

Albion

* * *

HERE IS A VERY EARLY PHOTO of the "Klinefelter Camp," Klinefelter, California on old Route 66. This could have been taken when the road was still the National Old Trails Road (NOTR). This was a welcome sight to see for the early drivers along the road in the blazing heat of the Mojave Desert with no air conditioning and engines that overheated easily. Thanks to the orderly planners of the Santa Fe Railroad, which first blazed this route across the desert in 1883, many of the place names on this old Route 66 loop come in alphabetical order: from west to east, you have Amboy, Bristol, Cadiz, Danby, Essex, Fenner, Goffs, Home, Ibis, Java, and Klinefelter. It is near the intersection of US 95 and Interstate 40. (courtesy of 66postcards.com)

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

The world is so crazy, all you can do is sit back and enjoy the show while everything implodes (or explodes if Putin has his way). In times like these it is good to remember that all things are temporary and transitory, and this too shall pass.

* * *

ARTIST WANTED

Someone please draw me a painting titled "The Confused Libertarian"

It's an image of an older white man with lots of guns telling a pregnant woman that it's his god-given right to have as many guns as he wants, zero vaccinations and a gubmint that he can drown in the bathtub, but, missy, you are not allowed to decide the fate of that thing in yer belly.

Kirk Vodopals

Navarro

* * *

ONCE THERE WAS AN OLD MAN who lived in a tree. No rent no bill and content as could be.

* * *

A REVERSE REVOLUTION

Editor,

I had plenty of empathy a couple of months ago. But I've used it all up. It doesn't do any good. It does not solve any problems. Emphany (a word that's not in my dictionary) Is 2 feet deep in some parts of Vermont and on the upper West Side. The fact is that nobody knows the answer, but millions are complaining. Look at Dennis Kucinich. He thought he had answers. He is back where he started, running for mayor. It looks like the answer will come, if it does, from inside Russia. (It would be interesting to hear what Mr. G. has to say. He is still alive but can't talk openly for fear of getting arrested. What we have is quiet reverse revolution. It's waiting for details. I will get a sheet of white paper, 8.5 x 11, write a letter to the people of St. Petersburg and spritz it over there by drone. I will advise holding a continuous party, fiesta, picnic, banquet, complete with the best entertainment (a few bimbos wouldn't hurt), plenty of country music. There is a saying in Russia, "If it ain't country it ain't a music." And plenty of cheeseburgers. Russians are crazy about cheeseburgers. Thousands of cheeseburgers, bowls of ice cream available 24 hours gratis with big spoons. We will invite Russians from all over the country to the party because we want everyone to understand how this reverse revolution is going to work. Without saying anything (you won't be arrested for what you're thinking) we will no longer recognize the present system of Government, elections, rules and regulations, etc. and we will not participate. A new constitution based on those of Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway will be follow as well as the electoral procedures. Pretty soon the whole country will be acting as if the Kremlin didn't exist. Pretty soon people will be singing Norse songs (my name is Yon Yonson, I come from Visconsin) and eating canned fish cakes. Millions of Russians will be trudging to the polls on a sunny day and the Kremlin won't even know who the candidates are. (Hint, some are from occupied Ukraine.) All of the TV and radio stations have gone out of business because no one was listening to them. No one has said anything or made any announcements. The Kremlin is up a stump, not knowing what to do. Twelve European countries have recognized the new government already, even though they have no real estate and are meeting down the Volga. (With baskets of cheeseburgers.) When the Kremlin tallied up their supporters they found only one, Donald Trump — who had been hiding in a spider hole.

Here is your Q&A: Name a significant achievement Mr. B. Anderson has made during the past three years: enter: A: He discovered Annie Proulx. I am one of those people who flipped back and forth between CNN and MSNBC to try to avoid the advertising, but there must be a snitch in Willits because now they have a program to run ads at the same time. 

Who is that woman who always sits close to Morning Joe? Is that his squeeze? Both NPR and the Press Democrat are looking for big new profits. The list of "You're not welcome here" grows at NPR. Too controversial. We have to protect our funding sources! That's exactly what the white clergy way down south said about Martin Luther King. 

NPR has an announcer on Sunday morning with an unpleasant voice. NPR knows that. Why do they do it? Because they can. They want to demonstrate who is in charge. This attitude is turning their listeners into softheaded people of no particular value. 

Now at the Press Democrat, a Mr. Falk, a right wing Republican, has hired this guy Green for one reason: to increase profits. Gannet moved Green around to straighten out several other papers previously. Green, Falk and Anderson think the best way to bring more money in is to attract conservative readers. Green brought in a stable of new reporters who know how he wants the news presented. They think they are so subtle. But actually very transparent. They doubled the conservative columnists and cut the liberal columnists in half. The Sunday paper always had five liberal syndicated columnists. Now they have two or three with George Will in a prime spot. 

Will sex replace night baseball? It might. The Press Democrat made a dumb decision by accepting an eight o'clock deadline at their new printing plant. (The Times has an 11 o'clock deadline.) So now we have a morning paper with no news after 5 PM.

Ralph Nader had E.J. Dionne on his program on Saturday. They spent the hour complementing and grooming each other. It turns out that E.J. Dionne is a jumping up and down lefty. Who knew? Ralph Nader, 88 years of age, still has never eaten a hot dog. Why did The Donald win in 2016? I hated those pantsuits the first time I saw them. Nancy P. wears them. A lot of voters in swing states didn't particularly like Hillary, but when they saw her in that pantsuit, that tipped them over the edge. No on Hillary. 

When the beautiful new courthouse is completed in Ukiah the AVA editor will climb up to the roof once a week and hurl a bundle of AVAs off the roof to remind folks of the AVA's objection to the new building. 

May Day, once celebrated by millions, is now being marked by a handful of Mexican workers looking for work. 

Senator Mitch McConnell is not an asshole, but McCarthy is. Ted Cruz is the best example of a full-blooded asshole. 

Climate change: Ten years ago only one person out of 100 was concerned about climate change. Today ten out of 100 are willing to write a check for $5 with a fund-raising drive for a specific problem in the neighborhood. Checks are usually sent to a bank account number. The bank puts the list of donors out for bid. Wal-Mart was the highest bidder at $5 per donor. It's worth five dollars to get a new customer. The bank, ahem, put the money from Wal-Mart in their pocket.

A few days later all donors received a nice looking card from Wal-Mart which says "Present this card at checkout and receive a five dollar rebate for each $20 worth of groceries you purchase at Wal-Mart." So everybody came out of this whole business smelling good. One donor took his money to Trader Joe's and bought a bottle of Two Buck Chuck. 

Your Assemblyman, Mr. Wood, asks, "What's in it for me?" before spending any time on an issue. He is great at photo ops alongside Senator McGuire while McGuire never misses an opportunity to make one proclamation or another. 

The Negro: NPR spent a good chunk of their program time interviewing Negro teachers aides in rural Tennessee. Negroes make up what? 11% of the population? They appear in 65% of TV advertising. Negroes are forbidden to appear in certain television ads. Who makes the determination where Negroes may or may not act? A 22-year-old white Swarthmore graduate? Al Sharpton? 

The November elections: virtually all of the experts predict the Democrats will be beaten, the Wall Street Journal says they will be beaten badly. If so, that will be the beginning of the campaign for president which is what the Republicans, determined to win the presidency, will concentrate on as well as stopping any "socialist" legislation by Democrats. They will stop at nothing. They will say that young girls are "molested" in blue congressional districts and the third graders are shown the difference between the missionary position and the "Pancho Villa." Finding that G-spot will be done in the lab. You cannot win. 

The best thing to do to is present the Democrats' entire platform: A one six-year presidential term. A change in the presidential succession to the executive branch. The president chooses the second and third in line. Eliminate the Electoral College. Everyone who is registered to vote may vote in federal elections. Outcome will be decided by candidate with the most votes. All congressional districts will have an overseer. In California there will be one overseer for each three congressional districts. For instance, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties. How are they elected? They are not. Who appoints them? Nobody. They appoint themselves. 

Give an example of what an overseer does. Okay, Jared Huffman, you are not responding to your constituents letters. Henceforth you will obtain a supply of children's lined tablets, print your name and "This acknowledges the receipt of your letter," and send back the tablets to the address on the letter you received. You don't have to pay for postage. You have a full page of wide ruled lines in case you have a reply. Congressman, you have missed three morning committee meetings but you were seen at one of your watering holes at 3 AM with a bimbo on your arm, a pack of condoms falling out of your shirt pocket. Write or call your overseer anytime. 

Suppose the Willits City Council voted 5-0 to prohibit all firearms within the city limits? What would happen? Support the bullet train project. Money thrown away on foolish homeless projects may be spent on trains as well.

Ralph Bostrom

Willits

* * *

* * *

LIFE IN THE CITY: He looked like just any other shaggy-haired nondescript hitchhiker, standing there on Van Ness Avenue, except that he was carrying an expensive Mark Cross attache case and inside the case was $55,000 in cash, mainly one hundred dollar bills.

How would anybody notice? Well, a few minutes earlier he had gone to a nearby bank to change three of the hundred dollar bills into smaller denominations, carelessly allowing the teller to see what the case contained. Bug-eyed, the teller immediately called the police. The police called in the Feds. The kid was detained on a vague charge: "Under investigation for possible possession of counterfeit money."

The $55,000 may have originated in narcotics sales because the young man immediately summoned Attorney Michael Stepanian, one of San Francisco's famous "dope lawyers." "There is no way you can hold the boy or the money," argued Stepanian and shortly after the young man was released. A few minutes later he was back on Van Ness again hitchhiking — but this time the load in his Mark Cross attache was considerably lighter.

The feds had taken out $16,000 for income tax. And of course there was Stepanian's fee.

Later, the lawyer met the young man's father, the vice president of a large corporation, and asked, "How do you feel about all this?" "Well," replied the father dryly, "he began smoking pot when he was 15 and now he's 23. I hardly expected that he might become a claims adjuster."

— Herb Caen, 1976

* * *

AT CALIFORNIA’S SECOND BIGGEST LAKE, THE LATEST FALLOUT OF DROUGHT IS GRUESOME

by Kurtis Alexander

At California’s second biggest freshwater lake, the latest fallout of drought is gruesome: dead fish in nearby stream beds that have run dry.

Some of the foot-long, silvery Clear Lake hitch have been decapitated by raccoons and other varmints, which have had easy pickings of the beached minnow.

The grim sightings by Lake County and tribal crews surveying the lake have prompted a rescue effort over the past week to save hitch, a threatened species found only in this region. Many are still stranded in what little water remains in the channels amid larger questions about the fate of the fish and the state of drought-diminished Clear Lake.

“We’re called Lake County, right?” said Marina Deligiannis, deputy water resources director for the county’s Water Resources Department. “We rely on this lake for a lot of things. ... Low water levels impact everything, whether it’s the hitch, the (recreation) economy or agriculture.”

About 100 miles north of San Francisco, Clear Lake, like other big lakes in the West, has suffered from too little inflow amid three years of drought. Heading into the warm, dry summer months, water officials expect the nearly 70-square-mile lake to drop to levels not seen since the punishing dry spell of the late 1970s.

About 60% of county residents get their water from the lake. Boating and bass fishing, which have become synonymous with Lake County, also depend on the lake and its bounty of water as does a budding wine industry.

And then there’s the hitch.

A crew with the county Water Resources Department last week spotted more than two dozen of the fish lying dead in dried-up sections of Adobe Creek. The creek, which normally runs to Clear Lake’s southern shore, is one of the most important of a handful of waterways that the hitch swim up each spring to spawn.

Fortunately, some stretches of Adobe Creek still contained water as well as fish, though the fish were essentially trapped in the landlocked pools.

Aware of the of the limited population of the hitch - maybe a few thousand spawning each year - county officials coordinated with state and tribal experts to launch a rescue.

“It’s incredible how many fish were left up there,” said Ryan Carey, a water resources technician for the Lake County. “We just happened to be in Adobe Creek at the right time.”

The quickly assembled team of rescuers used backpack electrofishers, an instrument that sends a current through the water and shocks the fish without harming them, to stun the hitch into submission and then collect them in nets.

One day last week, the team netted about 250 hitch in the pools. On Wednesday of this week, another 60 were netted.

The fish were moved by truck back to Clear Lake.

“We’re just trying to help a fish that’s already in dire straits,” said Ben Ewing, district fisheries biologist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, one of the architects of the rescue. “Thankfully we got (most of) them in time.”

The team expects to continue monitoring the creek as well as other tributaries of the lake in coming weeks to make sure there are no more strandings.

The problem, according to Ewing, is not only that streams have too little water because of the drought but that late-season rains led to flash flows that prompted some fish to respond as they would have earlier in the wet season and head upstream, where they got stuck.

“If we get another pulse flow, we might run into another issue,” Ewing said.

The Clear Lake hitch is one of many subspecies of the native California hitch, part of a broader scientific family of minnows and carps. Hitch are generally found in lakes, sloughs and other slow-moving waterways, often in the Central Valley.

In Lake County, the subspecies has experienced a dramatic decline due to many factors, including development eroding fish habitat along the shores of Clear Lake, the introduction of predator fish to the region and increasing water draws and pumping by vineyards and farms. Droughts make matters worse.

“There’s a lot of challenges for them to stay alive,” said Sarah Ryan, environmental and emergency management director for the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians. “If there aren’t some big changes very soon, the hitch could be completely extinct within five years.”

For many Native Americans, including the Pomo Indians, the hitch was long a dietary staple held in high regard because of the sustenance it provided.

The Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians has been working with other tribes to help the imperiled fish by restoring wetlands in Clear Lake and advocating for sufficient flows in the feeder creeks.

Still, the numbers of hitch have continued to drop as too few young are being born and surviving to sustain the population. The spawning problems this year, which were similar to what happened in 2014 during last decade’s drought, haven’t helped. On top of fish die-offs, the lack of stream water is ruinous for countless eggs.

Last decade, the Clear Lake hitch was designated as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act and granted special protections. The federal government, however, declined to provide protections for the fish after a review in 2020, despite pleas by tribes and environmental groups to do so.

The Center for Biological Diversity last year sued the federal government for not listing the hitch under the federal Endangered Species Act. The organization said this week that a settlement is pending with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the agency has agreed to revisit the status of the hitch by 2025.

“It’s great news,” said Meg Townsend, a staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. “But the timeline is a little long. We need to do more done sooner. Otherwise, we’ll lose this fish forever.”

(SF Chronicle)

* * *

Gathering of Musicians, Mendocino, 1896

* * *

NUKES THEN, NUKES NOW

by Dominic Sandbrook

On the morning of July 16, 1945, in the heart of the New Mexico desert, the world entered the nuclear age.

For months, the scientists of the Manhattan Project had been working on a weapon of unparalleled capability, harnessing the power of the atom to unleash a colossal explosion. Now, at exactly 5.29am, they saw the results.

As a ball of blazing fire rose above the desert, wrote the project's director, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the mood was 'entirely solemn. We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent'.

As the fireball became a mushroom cloud, Oppenheimer thought of a line from the Hindu scriptures: 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.'

That was almost 80 years ago, and since then only two nuclear weapons have been used in anger. One was Little Boy, the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, which killed at least 100,000 people. The other was Fat Man, dropped on Nagasaki three days later, which killed about another 80,000.

These stark facts don't remotely convey the reality of those two terrible days. Even if you believe, as I do, that the atomic bombings hastened the end of the war and saved untold thousands of Allied lives, it's impossible to read about the incinerated bodies, the raging firestorms, the hideous burns, the long-term cancers and birth defects, without a shudder.

No wonder, then, that for decades the world was haunted by the fear of nuclear annihilation. And no wonder that at the height of the Cold War, when West and East stockpiled thousands of missiles of unprecedented explosive power, many people wondered if humanity was building its own funeral pyre.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, most of us hoped those days were over. We put aside our fears of Armageddon and convinced ourselves we lived in a world of peace.

We know better now. Today, thanks to the escalating bloodshed in Ukraine, the planet is probably closer to nuclear conflict than at any time since the darkest days of the Cold War.

And it may not be an exaggeration to say that our future depends on a single, volatile, unpredictable and — if the rumours are to believed — increasingly sick man.

Since the first days of his attack on Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has repeatedly raised the spectre of nuclear war. He began his campaign by putting Russia's nuclear forces on 'special alert' against Western intervention, and in recent days his rhetoric has reached ever more paranoid heights.

Last Wednesday, after the test of the massive new Sarmat nuclear missile, which can carry 15 warheads and reportedly wipe out an area the size of Britain, he told Russian politicians that he would be 'lightning-fast' to use it if the West dared to meddle in Ukraine.

Other signs are equally worrying. In recent days there has been a marked change in the Kremlin's rhetoric, casting its operation as an existential struggle against Nato and the West rather than a 'special operation' against Ukrainian nationalists.

Russian state television, too, has become positively hysterical. Putin's chief propagandist, Vladimir Solovyov, told millions of viewers this week that 'one Sarmat means minus one Great Britain'.

And in a truly deranged segment on Sunday evening, Channel One anchor Dmitry Kiselyov said on his prime-time news show that Moscow could wipe out Britain with a nuclear tsunami in a strike by Russia's Poseidon underwater drone: 'Having passed over the British Isles, it will turn whatever might be left of them into a radioactive wasteland.'

Can they be serious? Are these war-crazed puppets genuinely preparing public opinion for a Russian nuclear strike? Or is this merely empty bluster, a desperate attempt to intimidate the West as Russia's tanks stall in the spring mud? The chilling answer is that nobody really knows.

And while a surprise nuclear attack on Britain — or any major Western country — strikes me as very unlikely, many military analysts believe the Russians could be closer to breaking the nuclear taboo than at any time since the 1940s.

That taboo exists for a very good reason. After the horrific images from Hiroshima and Nagasaki — the shattered buildings, charred corpses and indiscriminate destruction of human life, let alone the radioactive fallout — generations of Cold War politicians were desperate to avoid a repeat performance.

The paradox is that at the same time, they were investing in colossal nuclear arsenals with infinitely greater destructive power. Yet it was that balance of terror which prevented the ideological clash between capitalism and communism escalating into World War III.

Several times the world came close to the brink, most famously during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. Having discovered a secret Soviet missile build-up in the Caribbean, some U.S. generals urged President John F. Kennedy to launch a pre-emptive attack, arguing that the alternative would be a catastrophic loss of face.

Had Kennedy been as hot-headed as his generals, I might not be here to write these words, and you might not be here to read them.

But he wasn't. 'If we listen to them and do what they want us to do,' he said wryly to one of his aides, 'none of us will be alive later to tell them that they were wrong.'

Thankfully, he stayed his hand, the Kremlin backed down, and the world breathed an almighty sigh of relief.

But what if he hadn't? What if a nuclear war had broken out in the early 1960s, or perhaps 20 years later, when the tensions between Ronald Reagan's America and a declining Soviet Union had again reached an almost unbearable peak? Most estimates suggest that the potential death toll — let alone the environmental damage — would have been so great the human mind could barely comprehend it.

As early as 1954, when nuclear weapons were infinitely less destructive than they are today, the Ministry of Defence estimated that a single hydrogen bomb dropped on London would probably kill four million people.

A full-scale Soviet attack on Britain would kill nine million people straight away, and a further three million from short-term fallout. Four million more would be severely injured or disabled.

As the technology improved, the potential death toll rose. By 1983, a study by the British Medical Association suggested that a nuclear attack on Britain would kill about 33 million people. And they would be the lucky ones, since the survivors would be left to die slowly of starvation or radiation sickness in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

As horrifying as this sounds, all these scenarios came with a twist that even now, few people appreciate. Contrary to what we often think, almost all Cold War exercises envisaged that we in the West would use nuclear weapons first because our conventional forces in Europe were so heavily outnumbered.

So when you read the National Archives' declassified accounts of government war games from the early 1980s, it's striking that they often end with the Red Army surging towards the Rhine and the British Cabinet authorising a strike on a communist satellite such as Poland or Bulgaria, in order to bring the Kremlin to the negotiating table.

That tells you something. Nuclear weapons are weapons of weakness.

The price for using them is so high — not least in risking massive retaliation and the potential destruction of your own civilisation — that no vaguely sane leader would consider it unless his country was facing utter disaster.

And that, of course, brings us to Vladimir Putin. For this is precisely where he finds himself.

Two months ago, he staked his personal credibility, the future of his regime and Russia's place in the world on the success of his Ukrainian invasion, a gamble he may well be losing.

One plausible scenario is that if the Ukrainians mount a counterattack in the Donbas — and especially if they threaten his grip on Crimea — Mr Putin might authorise a 'tactical' nuclear strike, using short-range weapons devised for use on the battlefield.

Estimates of the likely death toll vary widely. Some of Russia's 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons have ten-kiloton yields — about two-thirds that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima — which means a single weapon might kill tens of thousands of people. Others, though, are far smaller.

Yet as the journal Scientific American concluded a few weeks ago: 'A thermonuclear explosion of any size possesses overwhelming destructive power . . . It would cause all the horrors of Hiroshima, albeit on a smaller scale.

'A tactical nuclear weapon would produce a fireball, shockwaves and deadly radiation that would cause long-term health damage in survivors. Radioactive fallout would contaminate air, soil, water and the food supply.'

And once the taboo was broken, where would you stop? If Putin used more nuclear weapons, would U.S. President Joe Biden issue an ultimatum? Would he authorise a strike against Russia?

And if so, where would it end? With the stakes so high, how could such a war be contained?

The other possibility, which is even more frightening, is that an angry, ailing Putin might lash out against Nato itself. In recent days he and his puppets have issued furious denunciations against countries backing Ukraine.

So what if, staring defeat in the face, he authorised a strike against a military base in the Baltic, or a Polish transport depot handling supplies to Kyiv?

Would the West cave in and impose a negotiated peace? Would our leaders do nothing? Or would they feel the need to retaliate, as our Eastern European allies would surely demand?

The truth, I suspect, is that even a 'limited' battlefield strike might set the world on a path towards total catastrophe, leaving hundreds of millions dead and the planet ravaged beyond recovery.

'I do not think there is any such thing as a tactical nuclear weapon,' the former U.S. Defense Secretary, General James Mattis, remarked four years ago.

'Any nuclear weapon used any time is a strategic game-changer.'

Dreadful as it may be to admit it, Mattis is right. If Vladimir Putin were to approve a nuclear strike — however limited in theory — that moment could easily be the beginning of the end.

Few of us in the West would countenance appeasement, but that might leave escalation as the only alternative.

Who knows how Joe Biden would react? And who among us can confidently say how we would react in such a terrible scenario?

Of course, it may not happen. Perhaps, in the face of the Ukrainians' heroic resistance, Putin will find a way to pull back without resorting to a doomsday weapon.

But it strikes me that ever since that first test in the New Mexico desert, mankind has been enormously, and perhaps undeservedly, lucky. As a species, we have been arrogant and reckless enough to build weapons that can destroy us many times over.

We have survived several near-misses, and every time we have congratulated ourselves on our good sense. And we have forgotten that it takes only one vicious, bitter, unpredictable man to set the world on a path to utter destruction.

I repeat: it may not happen. So far, to his credit, Mr Biden has handled the Ukrainian crisis with an admirable combination of firmness and restraint.

And even somebody as drunk on his own nationalist resentments as Vladimir Putin must realise that a nuclear war would mean the end of Russian civilisation — the end of Moscow, St Petersburg and everything he and his cronies claim to revere.

Yet, like all those people who lay awake during the Cuban Missile Crisis, wondering if they would ever see tomorrow, I can't banish a sense of dread.

And I can't help thinking of J. Robert Oppenheimer that morning in the New Mexico desert, and those words from the Hindu scriptures: 'I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds . . .'

* * *

RECONSTRUCTION of a 3 year old Neanderthal Child, based on the remains found at Roc de Marsal in 1961 (sculptor, Elisabeth Daynes).

* * *

NAUSEA RULES

by James Kunstler

The way financial markets puked this week, they must have started reading the news. Let’s face it, the headlines are a little short of reassuring. The $6.49 price on a gallon of diesel is enough alone to tell you that the nation can’t do business the way it’s set up to do, and there isn’t a new model for running things ready to launch — not even Klaus Schwab’s utopia of robots and eunuchs.

What’s out there, rather, is a model of breakdown and collapse which the Woked-up, globalist neo-Jacobins are doing everything possible to hasten. US-inspired sanctions on Russia have quickly blown-up in America’s face. How’s that ban on Russian oil working? Do you understand that US shale oil — the bulk of our production — is exceptionally light in composition, meaning it contains not much of the heavier distillates like diesel and aviation fuel? ‘Tis so, alas. Truckers just won’t truck at $6.49-a-gallon, and before long they’ll be out of business altogether, especially the independents who have whopping mortgages on their rigs that won’t be paid. The equation is tearfully simple: no trucks = no US economy.

Europe, the old original homeland of Western Civ, isn’t just losing face, it’s blowing its head clean off going along with “Joe Biden’s” economic war. Are Germany, France, and the rest of that bunch really so dead-set on jamming Ukraine into NATO that they’re willing to go full medieval for it? By which I mean sitting in the cold and dark with empty plates. That’s a hard way to go just to prove somebody else’s point.

The war in Ukraine itself was apparently losing its sex appeal for the click-hungry news media. No matter which way The New York Times and friends tried to spin it, they failed to grok both Russia’s determination to neutralize Ukraine and its ability to get the job done, even if it takes a longer-than-expected grind to finish. That’s how important it was to Russia that Ukraine not become a forward missile base and bio-weapons lab for its adversaries. When that operation concludes, the West will be left economically crippled and humiliated — which are conditions that historically portend regime change. Will America cough up “Joe Biden” like a hairball to get those trucks running again? Might the Dems themselves resort to releasing the kraken known as Hunter’s laptop just to send the old grifter packing?

In the meantime, the leaked Roe v Wade cancellation ruling shoved the Ukraine fiasco offstage so as to provoke more useful histrionics for the dreaded midterm elections upcoming. The poorly-understood truth is that said ruling will only send the abortion question back to the individual states. But let’s get real: places like New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, and California are not going to enact any new anti-abortion laws, and that’s where most of the people having hebephrenic breakdowns over the issue live. Which is to say there’s little danger that the shrieking denizens of these Blue states will lack abortions. So, how much has the party only been pretending that Roe v Wade is its primal touchstone?

Altogether, the scene looks like a multi-dimensional nightmare. Broken economy… sinking Western Civ… police state tyranny… vaccine death and injury… starvation…. So, there it is. Oh, look, those markets… they’re puking again!

* * *

Portrait in a Meadow with Fence

* * *

MEMO OF THE AIR: GOOD NIGHT RADIO ALL NIGHT FRIDAY NIGHT!

Hi! Marco here. Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is around 6 or 7pm. After that, send it whenever it's ready and I'll read it on the radio /next/ week.

Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via the regular link to listen to KNYO in real time: http://airtime.knyo.org:8040/128

Any day or night you can go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and hear last week's MOTA show. By Saturday night the recording of tonight's show will also be there. Also there you'll find enough wonder and delight to keep your impatient little fingers from going crazy until showtime, or any time, such as:

The Kites. (13 min.)

https://nagonthelake.blogspot.com/2022/05/the-kites.html

Subtle mastery of dog-playing technique. You might have to turn the volume up to get the full benefit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJyMbfGxux8

It's not the literal blood of Jesus yet. It's still just regular grape juice waiting for a witch doctor to say the magic spell over it, to /become/ Jesus' blood, for the cultists to drink with their eyes closed while the witch doctor says another magic spell over them. Anyway, here's how to use the machine so everyone gets the exact shot of eventual blood, so the magic works right and you don't get chaotic undesirable results, like demons, or divorce, or a dybbuk. Or lightning.

https://www.bitsandpieces.us/2022/04/30/multi-juice-filler/

And, doctors having been mentioned, a full hour of medieval Dr. Dre.

https://boingboing.net/2022/04/30/dr-dre-medieval-style.html

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

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Bluffs, Elk, 1956

* * *

DARWIN AWARDS

Here Is The Glorious Winner:

1. When his .38 caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.

Honorable Mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat cutting machine and after a little shopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company, expecting negligence, sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and he also lost a finger. The chef's claim was approved.

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided.The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer... $15. [If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes, officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from."

9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The frustrated gunman walked away. 

STUPIDITY AWARD WINNER

10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street by sucking on a hose, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline, but he plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had and the perpetrator had been punished enough! In the interest of bettering mankind, please share these with friends and family, unless of course one of these individuals by chance is a distant relative or long lost friend. In that 
 case, be glad they are distant and hope they remain lost.

More info: snopes.com/fact-check/2005-darwin-awards/

* * *

KUWAIT, 1991

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ARIZONA OFFICIALS WARN OF RISKS ON COLORADO RIVER THAT COULD EVENTUALLY HIT CALIFORNIA

In another sign of trouble for California’s scarce water supplies, Arizona’s top water officials said the worsening depletion of the Colorado River’s reservoirs will require serious action to combat the effects of a 22-year megadrought that shows no sign of letting up.

Federal projections show Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the country’s two largest reservoirs, will keep on declining in the coming months, reaching a shortage level likely to trigger larger water cuts in 2023 for Arizona, Nevada and Mexico — and which could also eventually force similar reductions in California.

“The gravity of the immediate situation is serious,” said Tom Buschatzke, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources. “We expect further significant actions to reduce water use will be required.”

The Colorado River supplies water to nearly 40 million people, flowing to cities, farmlands and tribal nations from the Rocky Mountains to Southern California. The river has for decades been chronically overused. So much water is diverted that the river’s delta in Mexico largely dried up decades ago, leaving only scattered natural wetlands in an otherwise dry river channel that runs through farmland.

State and federal officials spoke at a meeting in Phoenix on Friday, three days after the federal Bureau of Reclamation announced plans to reduce the amount of water released from Lake Powell this year to reduce risks of the reservoir’s water level falling too low at Glen Canyon Dam. Last year, the dam generated enough power to meet the needs of more than 300,000 homes — something it would not be able to do if the water levels plummet so badly that it can no longer generate electricity.

Buschatzke added that more needs to be done to protect water levels in Lake Mead, which releases water that flows to Arizona, Nevada, California and Mexico.

Lake Powell, which straddles the Arizona-Utah state line, has declined to just 24% of full capacity, the lowest point since it was filled in the 1960s following the construction of Glen Canyon Dam. …

latimes.com/california/story/2022-05-06/colorado-rivers-california-arizona-powell-mead-risks

* * *

Loggers in Mendocino Woods, 1935

* * *

THE TELEPHONE RANG at Warren Hinckle’s San Francisco home at about 3:30 in the morning on Wednesday, April 29, 1970. When Hinckle picked up the receiver, he heard the unmistakable voice of Hunter S. Thompson, calling from Aspen, proclaiming, “Goddammit, Scanlan’s has to cover the Derby. It’s important.”

The pitch, even at the late hour and the late date (barely 72 hours before the race itself), was fairly irresistible. Send Thompson, still finding his distinctive voice in countercultural journalism, to his hometown of Louisville to cover the drunken, debauched scene at Churchill Downs for Scanlan‘s, the anti-establishment (some would say subversive) monthly magazine for which Hinckle was co-editor.

Hinckle agreed on the spot, booked Thompson a ticket, wired him expense money, and then set about finding an artist to provide illustrations for the story. Originally, he had hoped to send a photographer to shoot the event, but after haggling with Thompson, he instead hired the English illustrator Ralph Steadman.

It would prove to be a memorable, historic weekend. And it began, as so many of Thompson’s adventures would, with drinks at a bar.

Warren Hinckle’s memory of the aftermath of the trip to Louisville is that within a couple of days (“as soon as he could walk”), Thompson flew to Manhattan, “where we locked him down for five days in a room in the Royalton Hotel, just up 44th Street from the Scanlan’s office in an abandoned ballroom above an Irish bar a block from Times Square.”

The story didn’t come easily. “I would lie in the bathtub at this weird hotel,” said Thompson. “I had a suite with everything I wanted — except I couldn’t leave. After three days of not writing more than two pages, this kind of anxiety/depression syndrome builds up, and it really locks you up. They were sending copy boys and copy girls and people down every hour to see what I had done, and the pressure began to silently build like a dog whistle kind of scream. You couldn’t hear it but it was everywhere.”

The messenger between the Scanlan’s office and Thompson’s hotel room was Harvey Cohen, the magazine’s copyboy, who, in Hinckle’s words, kept Thompson “supplied with cigarettes, Heinekens and Chivas. When production slowed, Harvey would seize the time and rip pages out of Hunter’s notebook” and relay them to the Scanlan’s office, where they were read by managing editor Donald Goddard, and then sent by fax to Hinckle in San Francisco.

The final edit was the responsibility of Hinckle, who recalls that he sat in one of the red booths in the venerable Tosca Cafe on Columbus Street in San Francisco, and “assembled and then reassembled the text, more Lego than Scrabble. Editing Hunter was like picking up the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that had been dropped on the floor and trying to put them back together to make sense without having the benefit of the picture on the cover of the puzzle box.” After the deadline-whipped Thompson finally surrendered the balance of his notes at the Royalton, he was miserable, convinced that “when it comes out I’m going to take a tremendous beating from a lot of people.”

Instead, the piece, accompanied by Steadman’s beautifully grotesque drawings (and with a byline that read “Written under duress by Hunter S. Thompson”), prompted a rapturous response. Bill Cardoso, the editor of the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, wrote Thompson and told him, “Forget all this shit you’ve been writing, this is it; this is pure Gonzo. If this is a start, keep rolling.” It was the first use of the word “Gonzo” to describe Thompson’s writing, but the name stuck — in large part because Thompson himself loved the description.

One Thompson biographer, William McKeen, noted that because of the story’s legendary status and Scanlan’s small circulation, the story was “one of the most famous and least read articles in Thompson’s career.” (The magazine, which featured an illustration of President Nixon being punched in the face on the cover, wasn’t long for the world, shutting down the following March.)

In his upcoming book Who Killed Hunter S. Thompson? Hinckle argues that the true departure, setting Thompson apart from early efforts in “New Journalism” as practiced by Wolfe and Terry Southern, was “Hunter’s hallucinatory stimulant-fueled novelistic attention given, on a sporting assignment, not to the horses but to the outdoor loony bin of boozed-up burgher spectators. It was the first look through the other end of the binoculars usually trained on the four-footed beasts.” The story also offered an early instance of people questioning the literal veracity of Thompson’s writing. His friend William Kennedy said the piece marked “a moment where he used all his fictional talent to describe and anatomize those characters and just make it all up. I’m sure some of it was real.”

“I was sure it was the last article I was ever going to do for anybody,” Thompson said in a 1974 interview with Playboy. “Then when it came out, there were massive numbers of letters, phone calls, congratulations, people calling it a ‘great breakthrough in journalism.’ And I thought, ‘Holy shit, if I can write like this and get away with it, why should I keep trying to write like the New York Times?’ It was like falling down an elevator shaft and landing in a pool full of mermaids.”

— Michael MacCambridge, "Director’s Cut: ‘The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,’ by Hunter S. Thompson"

* * *

Kyle Lowry of the Miami Heat fouls Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers during Game Three of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 6, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

3 Comments

  1. Chuck Wilcher May 7, 2022

    “Harvey would seize the time and rip pages out of Hunter’s notebook” and relay them to the Scanlan’s office, where they were read by managing editor Donald Goddard, and then sent by fax to Hinckle in San Francisco.”

    Fax machines in 1970? Who knew?

  2. Cotdbigun May 7, 2022

    After reading some of today’s contributions and getting glimpses of these people’s realities, I was convinced that I’m reading the Babylon Bee. Then again, it’s Mendocino County. Thankfully the honorable mentions section cleared it up and restored my faith in humanity. I’m not sure how they managed it,but I now know where the original passengers of that Zimbabwean bus ended up and who they voted for? Another day in paradise.

  3. Marmon May 7, 2022

    Everytime I see a picture of the coastal bluffs it gives me hope for our future.

    Marmon

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