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FREEZE WARNING remains in effect until 8 am PDT this morning...FROST ADVISORY in effect from 2 am to 8 am PDT Wednesday.
SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS with small hail are forecast in the interior this afternoon. Dry weather is expected for Wednesday. A front will bring light rain amounts mostly north of Cape Mendocino on Thursday. A warm front will bring considerable cloud cover and another chance for light rain north of Cape Mendocino Friday into Saturday. Cold temperatures today and Wednesday will moderate toward the end of the week. (NWS)
FRIENDS OF FAULKNER PARK:
Will a computer program decide the fate of the old growth redwoods at Faulkner Park?
That’s what we are being told! Hoping to receive assurances from PG&E that the old growth redwoods at Faulkner County Park near Boonville would not be cut, we were dismayed to be told on April 29 that, so far, no permanent reprieve was being offered by the company. Instead, PG&E is planning to use its new “analysis tool,” ie a computer program, to make a determination. The answer may not come for several months.
PG&E Regional Vice President Ron Richardson and his staff presented the news about the “analysis tool” to Friends of Faulkner Park (FOFP) and concerned community members at a meeting Friday, April 29, called to provide an update on current plans regarding the fate of the park’s old growth redwoods.
Undergrounding this quarter mile of line or installing hardened wires and circuit breakers is completely feasible and would eliminate any fire safety concern. But instead, PG&E managers are trying to save some money, defer to a computer algorithm, and let it take the blame for cutting the old redwoods that were here hundreds of years before the 12 KV local service electric line.
The 30-acre old growth redwood grove that is the core of Faulkner Park is a significant remnant of what is left in Mendocino County and the world after logging wiped out more than 95% of the original 2 million acres of Coast Redwoods. The Park has been protected since 1930.
Much of the discussion regarding Faulkner Park has been around fire resiliency. But just as important, we need to consider the preservation of these old growth redwoods as a central pillar to a complex ecosystem. In the face of climate change, we cannot let a devastating tragedy take place right before our eyes, in our community, literally in our backyard.
In late 2021, PG&E contractors had marked for cut at least 52 of the park’s old growth redwoods under its Enhanced Vegetation Management (EVM) program. The local community organized in opposition and gathered letters and petitions from folks ranging from neighbors to the current and retired Fire Chiefs of the Anderson Valley Volunteer Fire Department. This opposition, and informed analysis of how cutting these trees would increase local fire danger, was communicated to PG&E CEO Patty Poppe in January. An informal “pause” to potential implementation of the cut has been in effect since then.
We are not going to just accept a computer’s decision to cut these old trees. If a regional vice president has to defer to a computer algorithm for a decision here, who in PG&E does have the authority to save these ancient trees?
PG&E will only have itself to blame for whatever response the community launches if the company tries to cut any of these ancient redwoods. This is a grove made up of intertwining giants. There is no reason to cut a single one of these trees when the company can either harden the wires and use circuit breakers or put the line underground.
GLENTZER’S FALSE ACCUSATIONS
To the Editor:
Nicole Glentzer, challenger for Mendocino County superintendent of schools, recently sent a negative mass-mailed “personal” fundraising letter over the signatures of six retired Mendocino County Office of Education people. It accused County Superintendent Michelle Hutchins of not being prepared with support and direction to school leaders during the pandemic. They want to “make sure that voters know the truth.”
This is the truth: (as per The Willits News, October 16, 2021 edition) “On Friday, October 8, the Mendocino County Office of Education and Mendocino County Public Health Department hosted a meeting of local K-12 educators where Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren complimented educators, saying that schools have effectively “stopped COVID at the door.” Of the 33 student cases reported, all were traced to outside contacts and none to school.
Through this awful, unparalleled time, MCOE was a literal command center for ever-changing directives from the health officer, CDPH, SDOE, and the Governor’s Office, sometimes the night before they went into effect. They met sudden, immense staff/student needs for everything from PPE to computers and hot spots through a competitive and often broken supply chain.
From urban sites to tiny, remote schools and isolated homes, everyone gave 100% and they were universally exhausted. The retired MCOE people were never involved and couldn’t even imagine. Putting their names on such a letter does them a disservice, but displays the caliber of the challenger’s campaign. With limited qualifications, experience, and understanding of the office, she apparently can only attack.
Superintendent Hutchins won election to a vacated post filled by an interim. She has built a superior cabinet and initiated proven programs for continuous improvement in every facet of the services and responsibilities of MCOE, all while the pandemic raged in two of her three years in office.
Our schools need to have her continue. Her endorsement by the state Superintendent of Public Instruction shows the prominence MCOE has gained under her leadership. Go to her campaign website for her story, but better, go to the MCOE website and see her efforts in action.
Education is a noble profession and schools are sacred places. There’s no place for these tactics in a campaign for such a crucial position.
Charlene Ford, member, Mendocino County Board of Education (Area 3)
Editor’s Note: Charlene Ford signed this letter of support for Michelle Hutchins, which was drafted by Larry Olson, member, Mendocino County Board of Education (Area 2) and also signed by Don Cruser, member, Mendocino County Board of Education (Area 5).
I had the opportunity to be at a meeting of the Anderson Valley Community Services District on May 5th. I was accompanied by Vicki Williams who is a resident of the AV. The professional and thoughtful presentation made it crystal clear that the ambulance service is hanging by a thread. The presenter commented that they did not expect help from the County and did not believe the County valued the service the District provided to the community.
Ted Williams denied a funding request of $66,000 that would alleviate the problem until more permanent solutions can be found. Instead of helping to stave off a crisis, he apparently expressed the need for a County wide solution.
Apart from the fact that more talk won't help a dying patient, there is a solution. Here it is.
Start the stopwatch: 0:00 seconds
• Identify a number of benefits that the proposed funding would provide
• Assign a weighting factor to each one
• Score each proposal against those criteria
• Aggregate the weighted score and rank order each proposal
Stop at 0:30 seconds
Candidate for Board of Supervisors District 5
HUTCHINS PUTS STUDENTS FIRST
The most obvious indication that Michelle Hutchins is doing an excellent (bang up) job as Superintendent of Schools in Mendocino County is this: All those who are responsible for seeing the “bigger picture” for education in our county have endorsed Michelle for a second term. Not just one, or even a majority, but all 5 members of the County Board of Education support her serving another term. As does the State Superintendent of Schools, Tony Thurmond. As does State Senator, Mike McGuire. As does Assemblymember, Jim Wood. As do Mendocino Supervisors John Haschak and Glenn McGourty. No one to whom Ms Hutchins reports is supporting the opposition. Obviously, Michelle Hutchins has demonstrated her abilities to those who ultimately have to share responsibility for her words and her actions.
And her words and her actions are positive. Michelle puts student needs first. Equity and fiscal stewardship are priorities. She completed one 5-year plan even in the midst of Covid and is now ready to implement another focused on student excellence. (I can't wait.) She worked to increase disaster and emergency planning across the County, which can only stand us in good stead in the years to come. She even instigated a radio show to inform and connect the greater public with different aspects of education in the county.
From her opposition I see no positive plans--only general negativity--and no specific criticism. (Unless, for example, you're willing to ignore the 45 tons of Covid materials and equipment that Michelle dispensed to all schools in Mendocino County, MCOE support for 37 local educational entities, and accolades from local and State health departments, in spite of which her opponents maintain that she did nothing to allay the effects of Covid.) Moreover, Michelle has not been campaigning on paid time.
Michelle Hutchins does not seek out endorsements from those teachers and staff who might feel compromised by the fact that she signs the paychecks. As a former teacher and a former Anderson Valley Board of Education member who was fortunate enough to work with Michelle in both capacities, I heartily endorse Michelle Hutchins for reelection to Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools.
COAST HOSPITAL & HOUSING
Karen Knoebbler (Coast Chat Line):
I just had my hip replaced at Willits Adventist Hospital and found every aspect of their program five star. Well loved Dr Bowen is partially responsible for attracting and keeping the dedicated team of professionals who took such great care of me. I felt like I spent three days at a spa. They have an organic garden, and patients can order absolutely delicious healthy food off the menu anytime you want. People come from far and wide for surgery.
So, this excellent program exists within the Adventist Hospital system. Fort Bragg was close to going bankrupt and patient complaints were fast and furious when we voted to join Adventist.
Adventist just held a job fair in Fort Bragg, trying to recruit critically needed help. They are drastically understaffed, and Fort Bragg is not providing the help they need. When Adventist is successful in recruiting Doctors, nurses, etc from elsewhere.
* * *
I want to comment on Fort Bragg not able to produce, recruit or even keep the Health Care professionals we need. It seems to be our dire lack of housing for the professional class. My last two Nurse Practitioners have left because they couldn’t find housing. We keep building housing for seniors and low income, and vouchers aplenty. But nothing for the people we need to care for our medical needs.
* * *
Karen, you are correct to point out the failings of Fort Bragg in this regard. There doesn't seem to be an urgency about attacking the problem. Here are a few ideas that can help:
Ms. Geri Morisky (Grassroots Institute) is a strong proponent of Community Land Trusts.
Mr. Ron Hock has made the case for limiting Short Term Rentals
Mr. Paul Garza, chair of the West Group board, makes the case for Housing Trusts (when an owner moves, the house goes back to the Trust thereby preventing it from being sold at market level)
Ms. Jessica Grinberg is an advocate for Residential Care Facility for the Elderly
The long term solution has to be to grow our economy in a responsible way. Fighting new, responsible developments like the City is doing with the mill site (after approving it) is an act of community suicide.
* * *
Let us be clear that we do not need to pit one group against another. Building housing for seniors does not need to mean not enough housing for health care professionals. This is not and either/or situation. Housing seniors before they are homeless may be more of a priority, but housing for everyone is the goal. If every healthy person who is already housed and owns a second home that is sitting empty, or if every person who already has a home and has a second one they are using to make money as a vacation rental, all put aside their indulgences, we could house everyone. There is not a housing shortage. There is a making available housing unavailable to people who need homes problem. A housing hoarding problem. An other peoples problems are not my problem problem.
Lack of housing, especially the affordable kind, is why our communities are grinding to a halt. In addition to its impact on health care, it has an impact on law enforcement -- the Sheriff has 50% of the officers needed due housing shortages. In the same way, it impacts education, businesses, veterinarian care, everything. We have neglected our economy for too long. If we do not help existing businesses expand, or make it easier to recruit new businesses here, few developers will be willing to invest time and money into building new homes. Today, they look at Mendocino as a community in decline. We need to treat the lack of housing as an emergency, just as we treated covid as an emergency. There is no time to waste.
* * *
ADVENTIST, another irate customer:
I wrote last month about how Adventist double billed me. After a half hour on hold and an argument with the call center who claimed they had no record of payment, I sent in all verifying documents to their address as they requested.
Today, rather than acknowledging receipt of my records proving payment, they sent a THIRD bill, this time with a red banner announcing how allegedly overdue it was. All of my bills have already been paid by my insurers. There should be no bill to me. This is unacceptable.
HUTCHINS HAS THE SKILLS
Michelle Hutchins is a much needed advocate for the children of Mendocino, who will become the caretakers of our beautiful county. She is working on the development of programs in the schools to bring back skill training in ways that foster an interest in solving puzzles and enabling the development of skill sets. She values connecting students with appropriate teachers for new trades that will help transform current systems and trades to renewable types and planet-saving technologies. Vote for Michelle Hutchins for Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools on June 7.
Solar Otter, Inc.
AFTER OUR WEEK of winter in May, it's hard to imagine that the worst summer of drought ever is coming right up. Shasta Lake is currently at 55% of capacity, and it's the largest reservoir in the State Water Project, carrying water all the way to LA's lawns and swimming pools. The Colorado River is reaching a shortage so severe that larger water cuts are likely for Arizona, Nevada, California, and Mexico. The Sierra snow pack? Already dried up. Water officials reporting to the U.S. Drought Monitor say 2022-23 is shaping up as water-disastrous.
WILLITS SCHOOL DISTRICT Superintendent Joe Aldridge is taking the Super job at Fort Bragg, while the FB Super moves to a position with the Lake County Office of Education. The “deeply personal reasons” Aldridge cited in his letter for leaving Willits, seem to refer to the scarifying accident Mr. and Mrs. Aldridge suffered on the dependably scarifying Willits Grade back in April of 2016. The Aldriges vehicle burst into flame, adding pure terror to the minor injuries the couple suffered in a mutlple-vehicle pile-up. Mrs. Aldridge is understandably wary of that stretch of 101 and can avoid it by trading it for Highway One in and out of Fort Bragg.
DEPT of unintentional irony: Based on all the different sources, the latest best estimates of homelessness in San Francisco range from 8,000 to more than 19,000. “We all desperately need to have a much better way of systematically assessing whether people are experiencing homelessness,” said Dr. Margot Kushel, director of the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative. “Right now everything we do has its own inaccuracies.”
I'LL SAY. Up here behind The Green Curtain, the people doing the counting are the people who get money for “serving” the homeless. The more homeless counted, the more the money flows in from the state and the feds. So every two years, the doers of paid good fan out early in the morning to beat the bushes — well, not exactly; beating the bushes could be life-threatening so the counters do most of their enumerating via drive-bys. “That looks like one, Debbie!” “No, Tanya. That guy works the night shift at Safeway.” “Well, put him down as homeless. He sure looks like a bum, er needy person.”
MENDO paid a fellow named Marbut to evaluate our homeless situation in 2017, paying him about $60k for his assessment. Marbut's report put the number of homeless at between 200 and 250, mostly in the Ukiah Valley, many of whom were drop-fall drunks and hard drug people who resist any indoor program that interferes with their daily regimen of total oblivion. Marbut’s report recommended that homeless services be prioritized to place locals first, people with roots in Mendocino County. Everyone else of the able-bodied transient type should get a sandwich or two and be encouraged to keep on moving because the sandwich was all they'd get.
SOON AFTER the Marbut Report was accepted and discussed by the Supervisors, they shelved it. Permanently, especially when the locals working in the industrial homeless agencies assembled en masse in one of the caves in the Ukiah Convention Center to denounce Marbut and his report as “cruel.” And that was that, and ever since the homeless count by the homeless workers has been a funding-dependable 1200-1500, county-wide, a number that Marbut’s report described as “inflated,” adding that “There is very little useful (i.e., actionable) County-wide data regarding single adults experiencing homelessness. … The overall lack of meaningful data means decision making has often been made based on myths and one-off anecdotes rather than on hard data.”
AS A LITTLE KID, I saw a Coast League ballplayer named Carlos Bernier chase down a fan at Seals Stadium in San Francisco and beat him about the head and shoulders. It was the first time I'd witnessed an episode of ultra-vi but as shocking as the incident was to me as an 8-year-old I was with Bernier, who played with such flair he was a captivating figure. The paper said that the fan had called Bernier by an insulting term. But abusive fans are common. I've seen players climb into the stands to smack big mouths at Warriors games in Oakland (when tickets were still affordable for ordinary people), and obnoxious fans were so common at Candlestick that lots of families stopped bringing their kids to games. The left field bleachers at Candlestick were like an unlocked psycho ward with young guys from all over the Bay Area showing up not to watch the game but to get into fights. (Which old guard historian was it who held that wars were necessary to cool out every generation of young men? Wars are a rather extreme approach to testosterone overload, but young male energy has presented probs since time began.)
ANYWAY, these days you see middleaged fat guys, and plenty of leather-lunged women, howling the vile-est insults at pro basketball players, as famously occurred recently when a high school punk, a rich punk, certainly, since he had a nearly courtside seat at a Maverick's-Phoenix game in Dallas, shoved and insulted the family of Phoenix player Chris Paul whose Mother's Day family of spectators included his mom, his wife and several children.
ENTER Charles Barkley with a solution to “put an end to” inappropriate fan behavior. “We can just put an end to all of this stuff,” Barkley said on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” while discussing the situation. “Some of the stuff these fans say. Let’s take it right down to center court for five minutes. I’ve always said that. Just give me five minutes at center court with him,” Barkley said. “You ain’t gonna press no charges. Ain’t nobody gonna be sued civilly. Say what you just said to me right to my face for these five minutes. I’ma beat your ass. I’ma beat the hell out of you. I’m gonna take my time. I’m not gonna beat him up quickly. I’m gonna jab him a little bit, then I’ma lay the haymakers on they ass.”
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL laughed and said, “I hear you Foreman. Charles Foreman.”
BUT SPORTS, as George Orwell famously pointed out, tends to bring out the worst in ordinarily well-behaved people. The myth of sports, Orwell said, is that competitions, especially international competitions, bring people together, make us all more understanding, more tolerant. Not. International tensions are often exacerbated, and who hasn't had to witness Little League parents hurling abuse at the hapless high school kids who umpire games. It's all more evidence of the general crack-up, high and low.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 9, 2022
DUSTIN ALLEN, Willits. Domestic battery.
LEWIS BITNEY, Lompoc/Ukiah. DUI.
NILA CARLSEN, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, smuggling controlled substance into jail, failure to appear.
GABRIEL MENDOZA, Hopland. Failure to appear.
UKRAINE, MONDAY 9 MAY
The White House says Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered “a version of revisionist history” in Victory Day speech.
Democrats in the US Congress agree to a proposal to provide nearly $40bn in additional aid to Ukraine, according to two sources familiar with the plan.
US President Joe Biden urges lawmakers to “immediately” pass extra funding for Ukraine.
The UN Human Rights Council will hold a special session later this week on the “deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine.”
Russia marks WWII victory amid ongoing Ukraine war.
Fiji pauses US seizure of yacht linked to Russian oligarch.
‘Fascist murderer’: Russian envoy to Poland doused in red paint.
Japan announces new Moscow sanctions. Japan has announced new sanctions on Russia, Reuters reports. The sanctions include freezing the assets of more individuals and banning exports of cutting-edge goods to some Russian groups, including scientific research institutions.
Putin’s speech shows he won’t use nuclear weapons: Ukraine official.
An adviser to Zelenskyy has interpreted Putin’s Victory Day speech as indicating that Russia has no interest in escalating the war through the use of nuclear weapons or direct engagement with NATO, the Associated Press reports.
Oleksiy Arestovych pointed to Putin’s statement that Russia would honor the memory of those who fought in World War II by doing “everything so that the horror of a global war does not happen again.”
Translating from “Kremlin speak into Russian,” Arestovych said this means: “There will be no nuclear war. There will be no war with NATO. What will there be? There will be a sluggish attempt to solve three main problems,” which he identified as taking control of the entire Luhansk, Donetsk and Kherson regions. Arestovych said in an online interview that Russia would drag out the war while bleeding the Ukrainian economy with the aim of getting Ukraine to agree to give up these territories.
Russia is not planning to proactively close its embassies in Europe in response to sanctions and other unfriendly measures by the West, state news agency RIA has reported, citing Russia’s deputy foreign minister.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The earth is a closed system.
A lot of people don’t get that yet.
The basic problem is “load,” not population numbers per se.
When I look around at the humongous “pickup” trucks and SUVs, I don’t get the feeling that this is a society that understands the concept of FRUGALITY.
This used to be a virtue, even in the flush fifties.
No longer. People have no idea how to be frugal and need a special supplement in the paper or a special week at the cinema to be schooled in that virtue. Of course all the advertisers, presenters, lifestyle coaches etc. are sucking at the “save the planet” tit. A lot of these people have probably gotten grants of some kind to promote “responding to climate change.”
While still driving around in SUVs and using clothes driers (that last being my particular bete-noire; total waste of effing energy because people are too effing lazy and too embarrassed to hang up their laundry in the backyard).
by Anne Lamott
Here is my annual Mother’s Day post, ONLY for those of you who dread the holiday, dread having strangers, cashiers and waiters exclaim cheerfully, mindlessly, “Happy Mother’s Day!” when it is a day that, for whatever reason, makes you feel deeply sad. I told Neal last year that I didn’t think I’d run it, because I always get so much hate mail, and he said, “It’s never stopped you before.”
This is for those of you who may feel a kind of sheet metal loneliness on Sunday, who had an awful mother, or a mother who recently died, or wanted to be a mother but didn't get to have kids, or had kids who ended up breaking your hearts. I wrote about how I’m still getting over having had Nikki as a mother, and how I miss her, 20 years after her passing, in Dusk Night Dawn. If you love the day and have or had a great mom and happy, highly successful kids, maybe skip this:
I did not raise my son, Sam, to celebrate Mother’s Day. I didn’t want him to feel some obligation to buy me pricey lunches or flowers, some obligatory annual display of gratitude. Perhaps Mother’s Day will come to mean something to me as I grow even dottier in my dotage, and I will find myself bitter and distressed when Sam dutifully ignores the holiday. Then he will feel ambushed by my expectations, and he will retaliate by putting me away even sooner than he was planning to — which, come to think of it, would be even more reason for me to resist Mother’s Day.
But Mother’s Day celebrates a huge lie about the value of women: that mothers are superior beings, that they have done more with their lives and chosen a more difficult path. Ha! Every woman’s path is difficult, and many mothers were as equipped to raise children as wire monkey mothers. I say that without judgment: It is true. An unhealthy mother’s love is withering.
The illusion is that mothers are automatically more fulfilled and complete. But the craziest, grimmest people this Sunday will be many mothers themselves, stuck herding their own mothers and weeping or sullen children and husbands’ mothers into seats at restaurants or parkettes. These mothers do not want a box of chocolate. They may have announced for a month that they are trying not to eat sugar. Oh well, eat up.
I hate the way the holiday makes all non-mothers, and the daughters of dead mothers, and the mothers of dead or lost children, feel the deepest kind of grief and failure. The non-mothers must sit in their churches, temples, mosques, recovery rooms and pretend to feel good about the day while they are excluded from a holiday that benefits no one but Hallmark and See’s. There is no refuge — not at the horse races, movies, malls, museums. Even the turn-off-your-cellphone announcer is going to open by saying, “Happy Mother’s Day!”
You could always hide in a nice seedy bar, I suppose. Or an ER.
It should go without saying that I also hate Valentine’s Day, even those years when I’ve had a boyfriend or some random husband.
Mothering perpetuates the dangerous idea that all parents are somehow superior to non-parents. Meanwhile, we know that many of the most evil people in the country are politicians who have weaponized parenthood.
Don’t get me wrong: There were a million times I could have literally died of love for my son, and I’ve felt stoned on his rich, desperate love for me. I felt it yesterday when I was in despair. But I bristle at the whispered lie that you can know this level of love and self-sacrifice only if you are a parent. What a crock! We talk about “loving one’s child” as if a child were a mystical unicorn. A majority of American parents secretly feel that if you have not had and raised a child, your capacity for love is somehow diminished. They secretly believe that non-parents cannot possibly know what it is to love unconditionally, to be selfless, to put yourself at risk for the gravest loss. But in my experience, it’s parents who are prone to exhibit terrible self-satisfaction and selfishness, who can raise children as adjuncts, like rooms added on in a remodel. Often their children’s value and achievements in the world are reflected glory, necessary for these parents’ self-esteem, and sometimes for the family’s survival. This is how children’s souls are destroyed.
But my main gripe with Mother’s Day is that it feels incomplete and imprecise. The main thing that ever helped mothers was other people mothering them, including aunties and brothers; a chain of mothering that keeps the whole shebang afloat. I am the woman I grew to be partly in spite of my mother, who unconsciously raised me to self-destruct; and partly because of the extraordinary love of her best friends, my own best friends’ mothers, and from surrogates, many of whom were not women at all but gay men. I have loved them my entire life, including my mom, even after their passing.
No one is more sentimentalized in America than mothers on Mother’s Day, but no one is more often blamed for the culture’s bad people and behavior. You want to give me chocolate and flowers? Great. I love them both. I just don’t want them out of guilt, and I don’t want them if you’re not going to give them to all the people who helped mother children. But if you are going to include everyone, then make mine something like M&M’s, and maybe flowers you picked yourself, even from my own garden, the cut stems wrapped in wet paper towels, then tin foil and a waxed-paper bag from my kitchen drawer. I don’t want something special. I want something beautifully plain. Like everything else, it can fill me only if it is ordinary and available to all.
THIS GIFTED GUY WORKS OUTTA YREKA
WHAT THE MEDIA STILL ISN’T TELLING YOU ABOUT RUSSIAGATE
by Ray McGovern
Fasten your seatbelts: It was on December 5, 2017 that Shawn Henry gave sworn testimony to the House Intelligence Committee — see the official transcript. Henry testified that there was no technical evidence that Russia, or any other entity, hacked the DNC emails that were published by WikiLeaks just before the Democratic Convention in July 2016.…
Most of Americans have no idea how they’ve been had on Russia-gate. And the NYTimes, et al. have every reason to keep them in the dark about “Russian hacking.” Most people have little idea as to how the steady drumming on Russian perfidy has conditioned them not only to distrust “the Russians,” but to hate them. (What, after all, could be more hateful than for being responsible for giving us four years of Trump?) Did the NY Times, et al. get “The Memo” ordering all to avoid Henry’s testimony like the plague? Actually, in this particular case, corporate media had quite enough incentive of their own to hide from media consumers the fact that “Russian hacking,” the cornerstone of Russia-gate, was a crock, and that viewers and listeners had been had.
THOUGHTS ON SUPREME COURT, WATER
by Jim Shields
It’s beginning to look like the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn the nearly 50-years ago landmark abortion-rights decision Roe v. Wade.
This past Monday, May 2, Politico reported that Supreme Court justices has voted to strike down abortion protections provided under the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling.
Politico obtained what it called a draft ruling written by Justice Samuel Alito that says, in part, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”
“We hold that ‘Roe’ and ‘Casey’ must be overruled,” the document states. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Politico noted that the document is still in draft form, and Supreme Court decisions can change based on the drafts of rulings. Keep in mind, the ruling will not be final until it is published, most likely within the next two months. But the document states the ruling was supported by four other Republican-appointed justices — Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
If the decision does become final, it would strike down one of the most controversial Supreme Court rulings of the past century. Roe v. Wade guarantees abortion rights throughout the U.S. until the fetus is viable, typically between 22 and 24 weeks. Overturning the decision would strip away federal protection of abortion rights, and leave it up to individual states to set abortion policy.
You can bet that California won’t take any steps to ban or limit access to abortion, and Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday he will address recent attacks on choice across the country and California’s “commitment to safeguarding reproductive freedom.”
According to reports, Newsom is planning on “creating safe havens for women across the country to pursue reproductive health care in the state.”
It’s a shame that Barry Goldwater, is not around today to slap some sense into these Trump-clone Republicans who have declared an (un)holy war on a woman’s right to decide what’s best for her when pregnant.
Goldwater was an American politician, statesman, businessman, United States Air Force officer, and author who was a five-term Senator from Arizona (1953—1965, 1969—1987) and the Republican Party nominee for president in 1964.
Goldwater was himself pro-choice (also pro-gay and supported gays in the military), and his wife, Peggy, had helped to found an Arizona chapter of Planned Parenthood.
Goldwater was a classic conservative, a man of impeccable integrity, and an independent thinker. Were he alive today he’d probably kick Donald Trumps’s ass from his penthouse suite on top of Trump Towers, all the way down to the lobby and then out into the street’s gutter.
Here’s a few of the things Goldwater said over the years about about abortion.
• “A woman has a right to an abortion. That’s a decision that’s up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right.”
• “Abortion is not something the Republican Party should call for the abolition of, by legal means or by any other means.”
• “There is no way in the world that abortion is going to be abolished. It has been going on ever since man and woman lived together on this earth.”
• “Men (who are anti-abortion) should keep their asses out of doctor’s offices. That’s something between the pregnant woman and her doctor.”
As I said, Goldwater was a man of integrity and principle, and we have damn few around nowadays in these craven political times when we could benefit from someone like him the most.
Newsom Proposes Additional $2 Billion For Water Conservation
Governor Gavin Newsom is touting $5 billion in investments already committed to support drought response now and” build water resilience for the future,” and $22.5 million in additional funding for drought response, including $8.25 million to increase water conservation outreach and education.
He is proposing $2 billion to spur clean energy projects across the state and bolster grid reliability. The budget includes funding to secure and expand water supplies; bolster drought contingency planning and multi-benefit land repurposing projects; support drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on small and disadvantaged communities; advance Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation to improve water supply security and quality; and support wildlife and habitat restoration efforts, among other nature-based solutions.
“As this drought persists into a third year, we are experiencing drier and hotter weather than ever before,” said California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “These conditions diminish our water supplies but also threaten energy reliability. We are adapting to these unprecedented conditions and working to find flexibilities where possible to safeguard both water supplies and grid reliability.”
Newsom, through an executive order last month, called on local water utilities to move to, at a minimum, Level Two of their Water Shortage Contingency Plans, which require locally-appropriate actions that will conserve water across all sectors. The Executive Order also directed the State Water Resources Control Board to consider a ban on the watering of decorative grass at businesses and institutions.
As I’ve reported previously the Laytonville Water District has water conservation regulations that have been in effect for 7 years, so we already greatly exceed what’s called for in Newsom’s new order. In fact, our rule is more stringent than the state’s. Since 2015, our Water District’s rule prohibits outdoor watering from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7-days a week.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, firstname.lastname@example.org, the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District, and is also chairman of the Laytonville Area Municipal Advisory Council. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
GOT THE HEEBIE-JEEBIES?
by James Kunster
Everyone I know is walking around in a baseline state of nervous agitation. Are they beset by “disinformation” or is it rather the reality of a cratering nation run by idiots and maniacs? Everywhere you look, calamities gather speed while the klaxons of alarm blare from all compass points. Got money? Looks like soon it will be worthless. Wondering if Mr. Putin has had enough of “Joe Biden’s” brainless effrontery to lob some hypersonic Big Ones in our collective face? Relying on that retirement account you have no direct control over while the financial markets wobble? Need to fill up the gas tank of your pickup truck twice a week? Can’t find a new condenser to fix the failing fridge? Entertaining rumors of looming famine? Credit cards maxed out? Sheriff stapling an eviction notice on your door? Beloved younger brother declaring that henceforward they are your sister? Hearing that all those vaxxes and boosters you obediently submitted to might rearrange your DNA?
These are just a few of the concerns zinging through the zeitgeist these late days of the republic. You are correct to be anxious about them, so at least don’t worry about worrying. Just understand that the more events spool out in the direction of danger, the more you will be warned against “disinformation.” The good part is that now we know the identity of at least one person who is officially in charge of that: “disinformation expert” Nina Jankowicz (NiJank), new chief of Washington’s Disinformation Governance Board. Whose idea was that, by the way?
Homeland Security Sec’y Alejandro Mayorkas (AlMay) didn’t seem to know anything pertaining to disinformation last week when grilled in committee by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), including two of the most notorious cases in recent memory: Did the Steele Dossier include Russian disinformation? AlMay said he was “not equipped” to answer that question. Ditto the question — now definitively settled — as to whether Hunter Biden’s laptop stuffed with grifting memoranda was for-real. Of course, both of those matters were labeled previously as disinformation by his new expert hire, NiJank, who, it appears, is similarly unequipped to discuss the particulars at issue. But all this does raise the parallel issue: how much depraved insolence is the public supposed to tolerate from its public servants?
My guess: we’re nearing the end of America’s Christian patience for being snookered, gaslit, lied-to, bamboozled, and mind-fucked, especially as our nation gets gang-raped by the Party of Chaos. Perhaps the solution is to go a little further down the Roe v Wade path and make abortion fully retroactive, a new and innovative way to “cancel” lives whose obnoxious presence in the world is a menace to the human project. Declare the likes of AlMay and NiJank retroactively “unborn,” erasing their privilege to appointed office. The wire coat-hanger probably will not avail in this procedure. Of course, it’s all just a hypothetical at this point.
Meanwhile, several Supreme Court justices are under siege in direct contravention of 18 U.S. Code § 115 — influencing, impeding, or retaliating against a federal official by threatening or injuring a family member. The authorities are permitting angry mobs to moil freely outside the Justices’ houses, while many January Sixth “insurrectionists” rot in the DC jail into a second-year on misdemeanor charges that the authorities refuse to adjudicate — meaning that there is no authority in Washington, DC, only a nameless, lawless simulacrum of it as conceived, say, in the spirit of Franz Kafka.
Hope abides that the November elections might set up a correction to much of this madness. The release on Saturday of Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary 2000 Mules does not provide a whole lot of encouragement about that. The Party of Chaos still has its apparatus of ballot fraud in place all over the country and nobody seems to know what to do about it (though the remedy is pretty simple and straightforward: in-person voting with voter ID). The evidence of drop-box video and smart-phone tracking of the 2020 ballot-stuffers in several states is right there and nobody in American life appears to be equipped to do something about it. The necessary equipment consists of two plum-sized glands generally assigned at birth to persons of the male persuasion. Perhaps, along with refrigerator condensers, the supply line for that is broken.
But first, of course, before the scheduled midterm elections there are roughly six months of nice weather to get through, meaning conditions that are favorable for action in the street, starring the shock troops of Progressive Wokery. Depending on where you live, maybe that’s another reason to feel those old heebie-jeebies creeping in on little spiders’ feet.
(Support Kunster’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
THE HANDMAID’S COURT
by Steve Heilig
The fact that the United States Supreme Court is poised to reverse Roe v. Wade after fifty years should surprise nobody. But it should frighten and outrage everybody.
Decades ago, medical and public health students at UCLA were sometimes taken on a tour of an old hospital ward, previously dedicated to women suffering the aftereffects of illegal abortions. I believe there had been something like 70 beds then and the veteran professor who guided us on the visit said that the ward had always full of suffering and dying women. “We used to have to mop their blood from the floors here — it reminded me of serving in World War II,” said the old doctor.
After abortion was legalized, he told us, the ward quickly emptied out and was no longer needed.
That historical lesson stuck with me as no lecture could -- as the professor surely intended. And when I came to San Francisco to start my career, another physician named David Smith soon became one of my mentors. Smith, a Bakersfield boy, got into UC Berkeley after a stint working in the roasting farm fields taught him that wasn’t the life he wanted, then went to UC San Francisco’s School of Medicine, and promptly founded the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinics during the fabled 1967 ‘Summer of Love.” He later co-founded the much needed medical specialty of Addiction Medicine, and has received as many prestigious awards as anybody I’ve ever met. Recently I asked him to write about whatever patient case he felt most influenced his career and life, and, to my surprise, here is what he recalled:
“In June 1964, right after I graduated from UCSF, I was on duty as an intern in the San Francisco General Hospital emergency department.
A woman came in feeling “very sick.” She spoke Spanish, and the teenage daughter who accompanied her translated for me as I did the intake, took her vitals, and inserted an IV for fluids. She had shaking chills but no fever, which suggested she was in septic shock. I asked the daughter what had happened. Suspecting that I was seeing the aftermath of a botched abortion, I explained that this could kill her mother. The daughter her alcoholic father had left the mother raising three children alone. The mother became pregnant and, despite being a devout Catholic, had gone for an illegal abortion.
With that information, we rushed her to the operating room for an emergency hysterectomy. It was too late. She died on the table. She lost her life because the law forbade the prompt medical care she needed, and because her family felt they had to delay treatment as her condition worsened. And now a teenage girl would be responsible to raise two children without a mother or a father.
I have been pro-choice ever since. I can’t fathom how anyone who has had to care for a woman brutalized in this way could ever be against the right to choose. I wasn’t prepared for this: I watched a woman die because judgmental others stood between her and medicine’s ability to save her life”.
Such stories are stark reminders of what banning abortion really means to women. There are reasons mainstream medical and public health associations oppose banning abortion, for any “success” of such laws is purely political in both cause and effect -- they only make abortion harder and more expensive to attain, and also more dangerous to the pregnant women who desire and need them. That has already occurred in states such as Texas where severe restrictions have been enacted.
Forcing women to choose between illegal abortion or giving birth is not good for anyone. What does work? The numbers of abortions have been declining for some time in many places. There are multiple reasons for that, but researchers do know how to progress towards the ideal of abortion being “safe, legal, and rare.” The equation includes good fact-based sex education, readily accessible and affordable contraception, and access to full healthcare for all who need it. Real family planning is also cost-effective, saving at least triple the amount of funding spent on it by preventing the need for more expensive services later.
We also need to train more health professionals in how to provide safe abortions – not only physicians, but also nurse practitioners who have been shown to be able to do this well. It’s a controversial idea in some quarters, but we are entering a time of emergency and a broader scope of trained abortion providers is crucial.
Over half of abortions in the US are now completed using pills – “medical” abortion, as opposed to surgical – available in early pregnancy. These medications have long been shown to be safe and effective and it is time to loosen restrictions on them to make them more readily available via pharmacies, with access to clinicians as needed. It’s now thirty years since a small group of us staged a dramatic importation of these pills from Europe to break a political blockade on what had been called in France “the moral property of women.” We need to make that imperative a reality.
Here in California, reproductive choice has long been considered relatively safe, due in no small part to our elected leadership -- many of whom have happened to be women. Is that coincidence? I doubt it, for as renowned lawyer Florynce Kennedy once quipped, “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.” Our Governor Gavin Newsom is carrying on this pro-choice tradition by vowing to keep abortion accessible and funding the expansion of such services.
The majority of Americans believe that a pregnant women and her physicians should be the ones to decide what is best for them. So do our nation’s prestigious medical and public health associations, who do not consider an embryo or fetus a “baby.” But now, when we face a Supreme Court that seems to feel they know better than doctors and to favor making some version of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” a reality, I can't help but recall the bloody image of that closed women's ward, and vow to not let such a place of suffering and horror again become reality.
WHY STEPH CURRY’S GREATNESS COULD BE ENOUGH FOR WARRIORS TO WIN ANOTHER TITLE
by Connor Letourneau
At the end of the third quarter Monday night, guard Klay Thompson had a sense that the Golden State Warriors would win the game.
Never mind that Golden State had just given up a 32-footer to Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane to stare down a seven-point deficit. On a day that included personal tragedy and a pregame coaching change, the Warriors shot 35.6% from the field through 36 minutes, only to still be within several possessions.
Perhaps the biggest reason Thompson liked his team’s odds, though, was that Golden State has a player named Stephen Curry and Memphis does not. After totaling just 14 points through the first three quarters, he scored 18 in the fourth to lift the Warriors to a 101-98 win in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals at Chase Center.
Instead of flying to Memphis with the series tied 2-2, they have a commanding 3-1 lead and a chance to close the Grizzlies out Wednesday. The Warriors have bigger goals, however, than a date with the Suns or Mavericks in the West finals. And if Curry showed anything Monday, it’s that his presence alone should give Golden State a shot at the title.
“The great part about Steph is he’s got to be the easiest superstar to be around,” acting head coach Mike Brown said. “He always thinks that the next thing is going to happen in a positive manner for him, whether it’s a made shot, or the right pass for an assist, or him cutting back at the right time to score a bucket.”
This is not like recent years, when one or two teams were clearly better than the rest. All eight remaining clubs are flawed. The Warriors are far from an exception, but they boast a championship pedigree that gives them an edge against less proven teams.
Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green were the driving force behind five Finals appearances and three NBA titles. Meanwhile, the three other West teams left — Memphis, Phoenix and Dallas — are light on postseason experience.
In fact, this is the young Grizzlies core’s first time out of the first round. It hardly helps matters that their best player, Ja Morant, could miss the rest of the series with a knee injury he suffered in Game 3.
But there Memphis was, playing stingy defense, forcing the Warriors to miss their first 15 3-point attempts and leading for 47 minutes, 14 seconds. Then, with just 45.7 seconds left, Curry hit two free throws to put Golden State up 94-93.
Moments later, after Green blocked Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr.’s 3-point attempt at the top of the arc, Curry corralled the ball, took a few dribbles, drew a foul and raised his right fist in jubilation. As a capacity crowd roared, he sauntered toward the baseline, flexed his arms, nodded emphatically and screamed.
It was a cathartic sequence for a team that had endured so much over the previous 24 hours. Early Monday morning, news surfaced on Warriors players’ text thread that Adreian Payne — Green’s close friend and former college teammate — had been shot and killed at home in Orlando. Then, less than two hours before tipoff, Golden State learned that head coach Steve Kerr had entered health and safety protocols.
Brown, fresh off getting tabbed to lead the Kings after this season, would take Kerr’s spot on the bench. This all combined for what Thompson called a “weird day,” not the type of circumstances a team wants in the leadup to a high-stakes playoff game.
WHY THE PAST 10 YEARS OF AMERICAN LIFE HAVE BEEN UNIQUELY STUPID
by Jonathan Haidt
…Research by the political scientists Alexander Bor and Michael Bang Petersen found that a small subset of people on social-media platforms are highly concerned with gaining status and are willing to use aggression to do so. They admit that in their online discussions they often curse, make fun of their opponents, and get blocked by other users or reported for inappropriate comments. Across eight studies, Bor and Petersen found that being online did not make most people more aggressive or hostile; rather, it allowed a small number of aggressive people to attack a much larger set of victims. Even a small number of jerks were able to dominate discussion forums, Bor and Petersen found, because nonjerks are easily turned off from online discussions of politics.…