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ANOTHER HOT DAY is in store for interior areas. Some slight cooling can be expected as we head into next week as a disturbance moves into the Pacific Northwest. Cooler temperatures and periods of marine clouds and fog are expected for coastal areas. (NWS)
A FIRE WAS REPORTED IN YORKVILLE Friday afternoon. We asked Fire Chief Andres Avila about it.
“The fire was seen and reported by Yorkville Ranch residents who saw smoke in the hills south of Hibbard Valley, then promptly called it in. The fire was located in a PG&E easement for a distribution line where a tree strike caused down powerlines. Upon arrival units found a slow moving fire in the chips and sapling understory. Heavy fuels were adjacent and uphill but the fire was stopped prior to entering the dense fuels. Total acreage was less than half an acre. AVFD was dispatched to a medical aid in Philo at the same time. Both incidents had good response times and resources because of our dedicated volunteers.”
CLOVERDALE POWER OUTAGE, POWER OUT SINCE FRIDAY
The city of Cloverdale is experiencing a citywide power outage that began Friday evening, according to officials. It is not known when power will be restored. Approximately 2,642 customers of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. have been affected, per the utility’s website. A blown electrical transformer is to blame for the outage. Restoration efforts are underway.
REMEMBERING VERA TITUS
A celebration of life is planned for Vera Titus, Saturday, July 16th. 1-4pm. At the fairgrounds picnic area. Everyone welcome.
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
We’ve got puppies galore at the Ukiah Shelter! Head over to http://www.mendoanimalshelter.com/ to see all of our puppies (and adult dogs and cats.) If you can’t adopt right now, think about fostering. Our website has information about our Foster Program, how to begin the adoption process, and our on-going SUMMER DOG ADOPTION EVENT at the Ukiah and Ft. Bragg Shelters. Visit us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/. For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.
FIRE SERVICE SALES TAX PROPOSAL, An Exchange…
I have in my lifetime seen a number of sales tax proposals that are framed as an either/or proposition. This is another one. Either you raise the tax or there won't be emergency services.
It's a trick anyone can use. Here is how I would play it -- either the County helps out the fire districts or we give raises to executives and Supervisors. Which one, we can't do both.
I have two problems with this proposal. It drains the local economy of funds needed to recover from the last two years and to build a cushion against the ravages of inflation and the coming recession. The other is the wink, wink approach -- trust us, it will be used for fire districts. Recall that the CARES money that was intended to help businesses and individuals impacted by the lockdowns wound up in the General Fund.
County buying power has actually been flat for a very long time.
What drains the local economy more than a few pennies on purchases is the rapid decline in insurance availability. Insurance availability is based on local district fire capabilities, rate of loss, equipment, personnel and the like. The fallback is the California FAIR program, which often runs $5k/year. Lack of insurance eligibility means properties cannot be transacted with loans, lowering the value to cash-only. This lowers the assessment and therefore county revenue. Cities are responsible for fire protection, but counties are not.
You can run a campaign that the current board of supervisors, whoever they are, will blow the fire money on trips to Disneyland, but bottom line, without supporting fire and emergency medical response, a lot of people will suffer more than necessary.
To the best of my knowledge, (for those of you that don't know me I am an insurance agent in Mendo) Protection Class ratings have not been a factor with the insurance availability issue. All of my discussions with different carriers, underwriters and others in the industry point to perceived wildfire risk as the main issue. If you can ever rally our State representatives to address the lack of consideration for our level of moisture that could be a game changer. If you would like to discuss this further don't hesitate to reach out to me.
Jon Kennedy (former 1st District Supes Candidate):
Although I wholeheartedly support a more robust funding mechanism for local fire/EMS, a lack of funding is not the reason for the decline of insurance availability or absurd premium increases. That's sort of a false perceived benefit that would result from a tax increase.
PATRICK HICKEY (SEIU Local 1021 rep) clarifies:
The Library initiative that Mark Scaramella mentioned in County Musings will require a simple majority for passage since it is a citizens’ initiative. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman ruled in 2019, that measures which proposed tax increases for specific purposes, required a simple majority for approval because they were put on the ballot through a citizen signature petition. The ruling stated that the two-thirds supermajority vote requirement for local special taxes in California applies to tax measures referred to the ballot by lawmakers but not to citizen initiatives.
ANDERSON VALLEY EVENTS
The Anderson Valley Museum Open
Sun 06 / 26 / 2022 at 1:00 PM
Where: The Anderson Valley Museum, 12340 Highway 128, Boonville
Ashby Village: Caregiving: Challenges and Lessons Learned, A Conversation with Dave Iverson
Sun 06 / 26 / 2022 at 2:00 PM
Redwood Caregiver Resource Center: support groups for family caregivers
Mon 06 / 27 / 2022 at 10:00 AM
Where: Zoom or phone
List of Events: https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/index_list
MENDOCINO COUNTY consists of parallel societies, hispanic and, I guess you could say, anglo, without breaking down anglo into its many ethnicities, all of whom share English as their lingua franca. But the two are separate and unequal.
OUR COUNTRY, beyond the odd set aside of Mendo, consists of two warring sectors, right and left, although left has been successfully conflated with liberal by the rightwing and is not “left” in any historical sense of “left.” There isn't a left in America, but there is a latent democratic left represented by people like Bernie and AOC, but no left in the sense of a left hostile to capitalism, although there are millions of Americans waking up to the stark fact that the system, whatever you want to call it, is not working for them.
THE RIGHT is pretty much illiberal on social issues, potentially left, at least on the working person level, on economic issues, but both the right and the soft left as repped by Democrats, presently accept capitalism as the immutable basis for social organization, the irony being that many more millions of people on the right are more screwed by capitalism than liberals are screwed by capitalism. Many libs are quite prosperous. cf, the Westside of Ukiah, the entire Mendocino Coast inland through Comptche, the Anderson Valley, much of Hopland, and pockets of hill muffins west to Ukiah, immigrant Mexicans excepted without whom the non-government, free enterprise sectors of Mendocino County would collapse.
WHAT are you getting at here, old timer? Our corrupted political system, staffed by corrupt persons, many of them professional officeholders with no ideas about anything beyond staying in office — cf Woods, McGuire, Huffman — is beyond reform and increasingly unable to manage the chaos it and they have created, as the capitalism that funds them begins to collapse inside the much grander global eco-collapse, not to mention war in Europe and the Horn of Africa and “food insecurity” in many parts of the world, including Mendocino County where several hundred families depend on food banks in addition to food stamps.
BUT the Warriors have had a good draft, the Giants are looking stronger than many of us expected, and the 49ers are already fascinating even before their training camp begins. Odd, isn't it, that we don't feel much alarm, much anxiety as the myriad rolling catastrophes roll on towards the apocalypse.
NOT SURPRISED that the Supreme Court has unraveled what we all assumed was settled abortion law because the rightwing has been stuffing the courts with their bots wherever they take power, as Trump did with the Supreme Court in a mere four years in office. Abortion is suddenly a state’s rights issue, guns a federal issue.
IT'S OBJECTIVELY NUTS to put more guns in circulation in a population teeming with violently deranged people, and close to nuts to rollback abortion protections that have been court-certified legal for almost sixty years.
PAUSE HERE for a clarifying on-line comment: “A series of polls by YouGov found that Americans don’t know much about abortions in general, like when abortions are typically performed (in the first six weeks), who gets them (people with kids), and how prevalent they are (42 percent of unplanned pregnancies end in abortion). The number of abortions in the US jumped 8 percent from 2017 to 2020, after decades of decline.”
I CAN SEE the issue both ways, the pro choice way, which I agree with, and the mystic way as represented by religious people who basically argue that life being a miracle, especially in our obscure corner of the universe where we alone among life forms possess the consciousness to wonder at the staggering unlikelihood of our being, and are grateful for it, while simutaneously wanting to murder any other human-type being who disagrees with us.
MARY PAT PALMER: Many mornings I have sat at Mosswood Market in Boonville enjoying a latte and pastry. Today was the first day I noticed this magnificent oak across the street. Mea culpa
POINT ARENA City Council Meeting June 28, 2022
Main Item: Next year’s budget. Agenda: drive.google.com/file/d/1V2V8OJ_jsRLbJZmU-8uvHHlbj7V09ynk/view
City of Point Arena <email@example.com>
GREENWOOD RESTAURANT AT SACRED ROCK INN Soft Grand Opening
JUNE 30-JULY 2, 2022, 4PM-7PM, Appetizers, Desserts, Fruit-Cheese Board, Amuse Bouche of Dinner & Breakfast
Beer - Red Wine - White Wine - Infused Spirit, Lemonade - Iced Tea
Food - Drink Menu to View & Take
MENDO VACANCY MISCELLANY
by Mark Scaramella
INTERIM CEO DARCIE ANTLE’S June CEO report has a small section on Human Resources. Given Mendo’s tight, personnel dependent budget situation, its high vacancy rates, its relatively high turnover, etc., you might expect Human Resouces to discuss something seriously along those lines. Nope. Topics discussed are:
Employee Biometric Health Screenings Launch In June, Leadership Initiative: Summer 2022 High Performance Organization (HPOo) Trainings, Summer Leadership Book Club, and Workforce Development Program: Supervisor/Management Academy and Emerging Leaders Academy.
Much further down in the Antle Report we see the Social Services Vacancy Rates:
27% Department Overall
33% Family & Children's Services
25% Adults & Aging Services
24% Employment & Family Assistance Services
And Under “Filled Positions” (Presumably last month): “2 Family & Children's Services, 2 Adults & Aging Services”
The countywide vacancy list isn’t even included in the June CEO Report. But in May they reported about the same 27% social services vacancy rate. It lists 404 total Social Service positions, 27% of which (109) are “vacant.”
But that hasn’t stopped Social Services from dealing with a dramatic increase in Food Stamps (aka “CalFresh”) cases.
Current food stamp criteria in California people/households with a gross income of not more than about $18k/year for an individual, and not more than about $36k/year for a family of four (proportionaly for other family sizes, of course).
Also: You must have “a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001, or a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $3,001 and share your household with a person or persons age 60 and over or a person with a disability.”
This sent us off to the 2020 Census Info which we haven’t looked at lately.
Average gross household income in Mendocino (2020 census) is about $53k/year. Per capita income is about $30k/year.
(Supervisors make $84k per year plus benefits.)
Other census numbers:
Housing units: 41,552
Owner occupied housing units: 60%. (Probably meaning about 40% of housing units are rentals.)
Median monthly owner mortgage: $1,951/month.
Median gross rent: $1,134/month.
Building permits per year: 187.
Persons per household: 2.48
Households with broadband: 82.4%
High school graduates: 86.7%
Bachelor’s degree or higher: 24%.
Total Employers: 2,432
Total Employment: 23,335
Percent of persons over 16 in “civilian work force”: 57.8%
* * *
From a recent Press Democrat report on Sonoma County’s 2022-2023 budget:
“Across [Sonoma] county, vacancies exist in about 12% of the workforce, a much higher share than in any year in recent records, according to Christina Cramer, Sonoma County’s personnel chief. … Over the course of three days of budget hearings, department heads told the Board of Supervisors that the staffing woes were straining employees and driving up overtime. … In addition to an increase in voluntary resignations, county departments also are dealing with a 30% drop in applications, Cramer, the county’s head of human resources, said Wednesday. … Cramer estimated the county is facing about 500 vacant positions out of its approximately 4,000 person workforce [12.5%], meaning employees across departments are having to fill the gaps. She said her department is expected to recruit for about 450 positions this year.”
* * *
In related news from Mendo’s SEIU 1021 union:
“June 13, 2022 — Mendocino County Workers Rally at Board of Supervisors Meeting to Demand Action on Staffing Crisis
Overworked child protective service workers are unable to follow up on reports of abuse and neglect in a timely manner. Public works employees are unable to keep up with important infrastructural work like filling potholes. Eligibility workers are too short-staffed to keep pace with the volume of applications for food stamps and other safety-net services desperately needed in a county with a poverty rate of over 14%. These are the costs to the residents of Mendocino County of the County’s staffing crisis.
That’s why on Wednesday, June 8, dozens of county workers rallied outside the Board of Supervisors meeting. We demanded action to ameliorate this crisis after County administration proposed a zero percent cost-of-living adjustment for employees, despite the fact that the County is currently losing employees faster than it is hiring replacements.
“The most valuable asset the county has are its employees,” said Julie Beardsley, SEIU Local 1021 Mendocino County Chapter President and Senior Public Health Analyst for the County. “The past two and a half years have been especially stressful and difficult for our county workers, but they continued to provide services and work long hours, often causing personal hardship. SEIU wants to work with the County to find cost savings, and collaborate on ways to allocate resources to provide our employees with a fair wage for serving our community so that they will stay and continue their careers with the County.”
In a tight labor market like the one we are in now, the County must take concrete steps to make these jobs competitive, both to keep current employees from leaving and to recruit new employees from both within and outside the county. Wage cuts from years past have never been fully restored. They certainly have not kept pace with skyrocketing inflation and housing costs, which have impeded the County’s ability to recruit new employees from outside the county and retain staff. This is especially true for those employees who do not already own property in the county.”
* * *
Meanwhile in the NBA:
Golden State Warriors Guaranteed Annual Salaries
Stephen Curry ($48,070,014)
Klay Thompson ($40,600,080)
Andrew Wiggins ($33,616,770)
Draymond Green ($25,806,468)
James Wiseman ($9,603,360)
Jonathan Kuminga ($5,739,840)
Jordan Poole ($3,901,399)
Moses Moody ($3,740,160)
(Kevon Looney and others not listed under “guaranteed annual salaries”…)
THE SEA RANCH READER
It was a very long week.
You ran out of time and didn’t pick up produce at either Berkeley Bowl or Rainbow Grocery before driving to The Sea Ranch for the long weekend.
Or maybe traffic was really bad in Hayes Valley and you skipped the quick stop at the Fatted Calf for charcuterie. Or maybe you didn’t balance the burdens of remote office work and family life and forgot to place that order of ostrich tenderloin from Polarica Meats.
Or, heck, maybe you live in Marin County and know your grocery stores aren’t that special. So might as well “wing it” up on the Mendonoma coast.
More likely, you were finally able to pass that RV with Arizona plates just before Bodega Bay and decided not to stop for Dungeness crab. That stop would mean you’d fall behind the RV until the next, very far-off passing opportunity right before Jenner. It’s a complex calculus we all know well.
The editorial staff at The Sea Ranch Reader don’t know why you didn’t bring groceries to The Sea Ranch this weekend. We can only offer conjecture. But it’s a choice you made and now you’re living with it.
We have some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that you have options. At least 10 of them, based on our latest count.
The bad news is that our editors and the RCMS Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics ranked all 10 stores, based on the 8 most important factors for a healthy and delicious time at The Sea Ranch:
- Trinks soup selection
- Basil availability
- The Sea Ranch swag
- Model train presence
- Dry vermouth selection
- Proximity of cigarettes to cash register
So let’s get to it, in no particular order.…
RD BEACON: As many of us remember the good old days of abalone, it was great for the locals. The problem, too many people in the outside world, mainly Orientals, also like the underworld scales. Actually an abalone is like a sea snail living on the bottom of the ocean and clinging onto rocks, and kind of cleaning up the neighborhood living off of what little things there are in the bottom of the ocean. The French developed the escargot which is nothing more than snail like you have in your garden, they are both of the same family one is land bound and the other is ocean bound, the escargot is raised on grape leaves and lettuce, and get very large then they are harvested. Lightly boiled and cleaned, they clean the shells out and reuse them, passing them full of garlic butter with parsley, and then putting the body of the scale back into the shell and putting more butter and garlic parsley along the top, then throwing it into the broiler to get a good hot bubbly serve usually 6 to a plate with some special tools so you can pull them out to shell it is surprisingly good eating and you don't have to beat them to death with a mallet to make them tender, where our old friend the abalone you have to go through the process of getting them out of the shell. Appia dived out of the water to get up then, you have to slice them beat the daylights out of them tenderize, although you can cut them up like french fries like my father would fix them when I was a little kid, he would make up a batter with eggs and cornmeal and then throw the chunks into the deep fryer when they got to golden brown, he would serve them up in a plate with little ranch dressing. I wonder if we'll ever see local abalone being served again in anybody's home. You need no permit to get the snails out of your garden fattening them up like the French to cook them up. I guess there's other types of pollution snails that you can eat we just don't have them around here.
ALIGNING THE HEART, HEALTH AND HANDS WORKSHOP SERIES
Willits, CA. Earth Skills Workshop Series, July, August and September, featuring Rocket Stove and Natural Building, Permaculture Design, Everyday Herbalism, Plasters and Floors, and Ceremonial Arts.
More information at www.abuelagardens.com. Or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Abuela Gardens, a Mendocino County treasure for permaculture, natural building, forest stewardship, and fire tending, is hosting a series of workshops, Aligning the Heart, Health, and Hands.
Abuela Gardens' mission is actively doing and educating about watershed regeneration through forest fire prevention, natural building, and closed loop systems. The Abuela Gardens team is dedicated to helping the growth and healing of all beings through a continued dialogue with nature, water, fire, food, and medicine.
The workshop series, Aligning the Heart, Health and Hands consists of five workshops: Rocket Stoves and Natural Building (July 9th -13th), Everyday Herbalism (August 8th - 21st), a Permaculture Design Course (August 28th - September 10th), Earthen Plasters and Floors (September 12th-16th), and Ceremonial Arts and Stories of the DinÃ© (September 23rd and 24th).
The courses are led by teachers with decades of experience. Michael G. Smith, Penny Livingston, Blair Phillips and Sasha Rabin have been leaders in the natural building and permaculture movement with creation of and involvement in projects such as the Natural Building Colloquium, Regenerative Design Institute, Common Vision, and Quail Springs.
The courses include three organic vegetarian meals per day, and forest camping.
For more information, questions, and local deals, visit www.abuelagardens.com or email email@example.com
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 25, 2022
ISRAEL BAUTISTA, Redwood Valley. Domestic battery.
ANGELIO BETTEGA, Hopland. Felon-addict with firearm, loaded handgun-not registered owner, ammo possession by prohibited person, street gang member with loaded firearm.
AMBROSE FALLIS, Covelo. Criminal threats, under influence, resisting.
MIGUEL SANCHEZ SR., Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.
UKRAINE, SATURDAY, JUNE 25
Ukraine officials said troops in Severodonetsk have been ordered to withdraw as there is very little left to defend in the bombed-out eastern city, where hundreds of civilians remain trapped in a chemical plant.
Severodonetsk’s twin city of Lysychansk is set to become the next main focus of fighting. Pro-Russian leader says it would take another week and a half to secure full control of Lysychansk.
South of Severodonetsk, Ukrainian soldiers have retreated from the towns of Hirske and Zolote in the face of overwhelming Russian forces, said Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Ukraine’s foreign minister says retreating does not mean losing the war, notes Russia had wanted to occupy the eastern Donbas region by May 9.
Ukraine’s general staff said its troops had some success in the southern Kherson region, forcing the Russians back from defensive positions near the village of Olhine, the latest of several Ukrainian counterassaults.
Ukraine held a preliminary hearing in its first trial of a Russian soldier charged with raping a Ukrainian woman during Russia’s invasion, the first of what prosecutors say could be dozens of such cases.
European Union leaders formally accepted Ukraine as a candidate to join the bloc, a bold geopolitical move triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russia says the candidacy decision amounted to the EU “enslaving” neighbouring countries.
The G7 rich democracies will seek to show long-term support for Ukraine at a summit starting on Sunday, even as the war’s growing effect on the world economy tests their resolve.
THE 18 STATES WHICH IMMEDIATELY OUTLAWED ABORTION
Abortion was automatically outlawed in 18 US states as soon as Roe v. Wade was overturned, thanks to specially-devised 'trigger laws' and historic bans that were automatically reenacted after Friday's ruling. Thirteen states prepared trigger laws which would automatically outlaw terminations in the event of a ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, which was widely-anticipated. They are: Arkansas; Idaho; Kentucky; Louisiana; Mississippi; Missouri; North Dakota; Oklahoma; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah and Wyoming. Abortion bans in those states will now become law within 30 days. Five other states have also now banned terminations, after historic laws superseded by the 1973 Roe ruling automatically came back into place. Among those five are two Democrat-governed states - Michigan and Wisconsin. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers have both sought to overturn those bans in the court. But they remain in place for now. Other states with newly-re-enacted historic bans are Alabama, Arizona and West Virginia. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has announced the historic ban will be superseded by a recent law banning terminations after 15 weeks. But that edict hasn't been enshrined in state law, and pro-lifers could end up battling Ducey to keep the historic ban on all terminations, leaving abortion providers uncertain of whether they can operate in the meantime. Eight other states are also set to enact new anti-abortion laws. Georgia, Iowa and South Carolina all attempted to ban abortion after the six week mark.…
RIGHT TO LIFE
by Marge Piercy
A woman is not a pear tree
thrusting her fruit into mindless fecundity
into the world. Even pear trees bear
heavily one year and rest and grow the next.
An orchard gone wild drops few warm rotting
fruit in the grass but the trees stretch
high and wiry gifting the birds forty
feet up among inch long thorns
broken atavistically from the smooth wood.
A woman is not a basket you place
your buns in to keep them warm. Not a brood
hen you can slip duck eggs under.
Not the purse holding the coins of
your descendants till you spend them in wars.
Not a bank where your genes collect interest
and interesting mutations in the tainted
rain, anymore than you are.
You plant your corn and harvest
it to eat or sell. You put the lamb
in the pasture to fatten and haul it in
to butcher for chops. You slice
the mountain in two for a road and gouge
the high plains for coal and the waters
run muddy for miles and years.
Fish die but you do not call them yours
unless you wished to eat them.
Now you legislate mineral rights in a woman.
You lay claim to her pastures for grazing,
fields for growing babies like iceburg
lettuce. You value children so dearly
that none ever go hungry, none weep
with no one to tend them when mothers
work, none lack fresh fruit,
none chew lead or cough to death and your
orphanages are empty. Every noon the best
restaurants serve poor children steaks.
At this moment at nine o’clock a partera
is performing a table top abortion on an
unwed mother in Texas who can’t get Medicaid
any longer. In five days she will die
of tetanus and her little daughter will cry
and be taken away. Next door a husband
and wife are sticking pins in the son
they did not want. They will explain
for hours how wicked he is,
how he wants discipline.
We are all born of woman, in the rose
of the womb we suckled our mother’s blood
and every baby born has a right to love
like a seedling to the sun. Every baby born
unloved, unwanted, is a bill that will come
due in twenty years with interest, an anger
that must find a target, a pain that will
beget pain. A decade downstream a child
screams, a woman falls, a synagogue is torched,
a firing squad summoned, a button
is pushed and the world burns.
I will choose what enters me, what becomes,
flesh of my flesh. Without choice, no politics,
no ethics lives. I am not your cornfield,
not your uranium mine, not your calf
for fattening, not your cow for milking.
You may not use me as your factory.
Priests and legislators do not hold
shares in my womb or my mind.
This is my body. If I give it to you
I want it back. My life
is a non-negotiable demand.
A POINT OFTEN LOST....
Today, many of us have lost federal protection of a fundamental right to autonomy over our bodies -- over who uses our body for what.
As a philosopher of ethics, I have studied and taught the arguments from all sides of the debate over abortion. I think it is often more complicated than both sides admit, and I am sympathetic to the position that a developing fetus, at least at some point in the pregnancy, becomes developed enough to bear the label "person."
But, because it is so often absent from the political discourse, I feel it necessary to share a key point that is often lost in this debate, a debate which often proceeds as a question about whether a fetus has a right to life.
The point is this: Even if the fetus is a person, with a full right to life, it does not follow that the government should force those who are pregnant to remain pregnant.
This is because the right to life has not, and does not, include the right to use the body of another against that person's will to survive.
My right to life does not entitle me to steal your kidney if mine are failing, even if I will die if you do not donate your kidney to me. I am only entitled to your kidney if you consent to give it to me.
My right to life does not entitle me to steal your blood, even if I will die without the transfusion. I am only entitled to your blood if you consent to give it to me. This is true even though I have a right to life. Further, a government that forcibly takes your blood or kidneys as a means to save my life is a tyrannical government. I don't want to live under such a government.
In ethics, we call things like donating kidneys and donating blood supererogatory. They are actions we praise for their moral goodness, but that are not morally required of us. From a bodily autonomy perspective, an unwanted pregnancy can be just as dangerous as a kidney donation and is always much more invasive and prolonged than either a kidney donation or withdrawing blood. This is why I believe gestation falls into the category of supererogatory actions -- it is a tremendous and praiseworthy decision to allow your body to be used for this purpose, but it is not required.
Another way of putting this is, when a government forces a woman to remain pregnant against her will, they are granting the gestating human a right that none of us already-born humans have. It is an extraordinary right not just to life, but the right to secure its life by occupying & using the body of another against their will.
In my opinion, a government that forces us to gestate humans is at least as tyrannical as a government that, in order to save some of its citizens who need them, seizes our blood or our kidneys against our will.
Because this point is absent from most the public debate I hear on the matter, I felt it necessary to share this line of reasoning with you all.
Thanks for reading,
Dr. Alexa Farmer, Philosophy Department, Santa Rosa Junior College
by Arianne Shahvisi
“The idea really came to me the day I got my new false teeth,” George Orwell’s Coming Up for Air begins. Two paragraphs later, we learn that the narrator is 45 years old. In 1984, Winston is surprised at Julia’s advances: “I’m thirty-nine years old. I’ve got a wife that I can’t get rid of. I’ve got varicose veins. I’ve got false teeth.” And in Keep the Aspidistra Flying, an even younger Gordon Comstock glumly evaluates his life:
“…thirty years old, with twenty-six teeth left; with no money and no job; in borrowed pyjamas in a borrowed bed; with nothing before him except cadging and destitution, and nothing behind him except squalid fooleries.”
It’s not so much an oral fixation as a sign of the times. Teeth were hard to keep, especially if you were poor. In The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell reads the teeth of working-class people in the industrial north:
“The most obvious sign of under-nourishment is the badness of everybody’s teeth. In Lancashire you would have to look for a long time before you saw a working-class person with good natural teeth. Indeed, you see very few people with natural teeth at all, apart from the children; and even the children’s teeth have a frail bluish appearance which means, I suppose, calcium deficiency … In Wigan various people gave me their opinion that it is best to get shut of your teeth as early in life as possible. ‘Teeth is just a misery,’ one woman said to me.”
By 1948, three-quarters of British adults were edentulous. At the passage of the National Health Service Act in 1946, many held off seeking treatment, determined to grit their rotten, aching teeth for two more years and receive care without cost. In its first year, the NHS replaced more than 33 million teeth. Government funding was insufficient to meet this colossal demand, and in 1951 dentures were the first NHS service to become chargeable.
A one-pound fee for other dental treatments followed a year later, along with the introduction of charges for glasses and prescriptions. Aneurin Bevan argued against the costs, protesting that the initial surge evinced the inadequacies of the previous system, and would soon settle down. He was right, but apart from three years when Harold Wilson was prime minister, dentistry has been chargeable ever since.
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party pledged to do away with prescription charges in 2019, calling them a tax on illness, but there has been no serious policy proposal to abolish NHS dental charges. A historical contingency has become a largely unchallenged reality. Yet bodies defy the disciplinary divide between dentists and doctors. Poor oral health is a determinant of health more generally, and bad teeth can seed or reveal problems elsewhere. If bacteria from the gums get into the bloodstream, they can travel to the heart, forming potentially fatal plaques in heart valve tissues. Periodontitis in pregnancy is linked to low birth weight and premature birth, and rapid tooth decay can be a sign of autoimmune disease, diabetes or HIV/Aids.
Merely being seen by a dentist now costs £23.80 in England, and more complex work can set you back £282.80, which is a week’s earnings on minimum wage. That’s if you’re lucky enough to get on an NHS list; private fees are much higher. Only a third of UK adults are now NHS patients. More than two thousand dentists left the NHS last year, and large areas of the country are now “dental deserts” where people wait years for treatment.
The problem is the same as it was in 1948: the budget for NHS dentistry is inadequate to meet the population’s needs. Real terms government funding has fallen by more than £650 million since 2010, leaving patient contributions to rise by 40% to cover the shortfall. Dentists have criticized government contracts that carve up and remunerate their work in ways that disincentivize more time-consuming, complicated care.
Dentistry is supposed to be free for children, but more than half cannot access NHS care. Many poorer children never have the luxury of check-ups, and instead see a dentist only when the problem has become distractingly painful or unsightly. Those growing up in the most deprived households are five times more likely to need extractions than those from the wealthiest. The problem isn’t a minor one: tooth decay is the leading cause of hospitalization in children aged between five and nine.
In the absence of dentists and disposable income, many are resorting to DIY fixes. For less than ten pounds, you can buy an emergency kit from a supermarket or high street pharmacy which includes the cleaning agents, tools and cement to put in a “temporary” filling that can last for months if you chew carefully, while the tooth may continue to rot underneath. There has also been a rise in those who, deciding “teeth is just a misery,” perform their own extractions.
Simple measures could make a difference. Only one-tenth of the country has fluoridated tap water, though the Health Security Agency recommends universal fluoridation, which could cut cavities by 25% for the poorest children. More important still is ensuring that children have access to the nutrition needed to lay down strong bones and teeth. In Scotland, free lunches are now available to all primary school pupils, and Wales will launch a similar scheme in the new academic year. The Tories have opposed these interventions on the disingenuous grounds that it isn’t right that ‘the children of millionaires’ should benefit. There’s an easy response: to paraphrase the Beveridge Report, if the rich were taxed appropriately, we could have a functioning dental system and give their children a free jacket potato.
Part of our collective failure to demand a system that protects the poorest from the pain and shame of a sore, malodorous mouth may stem from a misplaced moralism: the idea that we end up with the teeth we deserve, that those who choose cariogenic diets cannot have their cake and eat it. It is true that the more deprived a person is, the more sugar they tend to eat, but solving that problem means offering something better than the consolations of sweetness.
Orwell wrote about cost-of-living debates in the 1930s, referring, in The Road to Wigan Pier, to “a disgusting public wrangle about the minimum weekly sum on which a human being could keep alive.” He cites a letter to the New Statesman, in which a reader claims it is possible to live on less than four shillings a week (the equivalent of about £7.70). The letter-writer – Orwell suggests they might be a troll – offers a list consisting largely of bread, drippings and vegetables, eaten raw to save on fuel. Last month Lee Anderson MP claimed that a person can live off 30p meals. Orwell understood what Tory ministers still don’t:
“The ordinary human being would sooner starve than live on brown bread and raw carrots… When you are underfed, harassed, bored and miserable, you don’t want to eat dull wholesome food. You want something a little bit “tasty”… White bread-and-marg and sugared tea don’t nourish you to any extent, but they are nicer.”
All this neglect and suffering is being quietly recorded. The dentine at the root of each of our teeth is coated in a calcified layer of cementum that is deposited incrementally, in layers whose thickness responds to stressors. Cementum strata can be read like tree rings. In death, our tooth bacteria perish with us, and whatever is left of a person’s teeth remains to tell the story of their life and health, including what they ate, the pain they felt, and whether or not they were cared for.
(Courtesy, the Orwell Foundation/London Review of Books)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I got a plan for when the nukes starting hitting. After the dust settles I’m going to set up a Gin Joint down on US 10, serve shots to the Zombies coming up out of NYC which is about 110 miles SW of here. At first it’ll be just a 2×10 across two saw horses with a crude sign: Midnight Rose’s Apocalyptic Tonsilloreum, Proprieter: Marlin Williams, Gin $10 per shot. After that we’ll see. I got the idea from my days wandering around the Caribbean years ago; I’d be walking thru the boondocks in the middle of nowhere and suddenly happen upon a makeshift, ramshackle little bar where I could get a shot of rum and maybe (if I was lucky) a frosty Red Stripe beer. No formalities, no liquor licences, no health expenses, just raw capitalism and small business in its purest form.
Like in the Ray Milland 1962 film ‘Panic in Year 0’, about nuclear war, and starting over from scratch.
CRAIG STEHR: please share this poem widely
The goal is
the Divine Absolute
the body-mind complex
(Ed note: Doesn't work as a poem, Craig. Sorry.)
FEELS LIKE FIVE MINUTES AGO we were being told the US needs to continue its occupation of Afghanistan in order to protect women's rights.
— Caitlin Johnstone
HANDLE WITH CARE
The Jan. 6 insurrection committee is doing a masterful job revealing the seven distinct ways (former President Donald) Trump and his allies broke laws and traditions to overturn the election so he’d remain president for a second term. Hopefully, criminal charges will ensue.
But I’m concerned that the committee isn’t shining a bright enough light on how Trump’s machinations could easily have succeeded. But for a few brave people in key election positions not buckling to his pressures, American democracy might very well have ended.
Trump’s ability to do that only happened because of our Byzantine presidential election system. The Constitution and our election laws have huge flaws — vaguely worded and archaic procedures and far too many standards left for individual states to decide as they wish.
What the committee must absolutely do is keep exposing how truly fragile our democracy is and how badly our election laws need complete revamping. Otherwise, this will surely happen again. Pointing out those flaws every chance they can will help get the public to demand the hard fixes too many Republican legislators are opposed to.
The committee would provide another great service exploring why 30% of our population clings to Trump’s lies and, more ominously, no longer trusts the integrity of our elections.
NATIONAL SECURITY STATE CENSORING OF ANTI-IMPERIALIST VOICES: the Latest Phase of its Long-Term Strategy to Divide and Control the Left
by Stansfield Smith
The US rulers use many tools to disrupt and disorganize the anti-war and anti-imperialist left. Three discussed here include: (1) corporate control of the news media gives them free reign to spread disinformation and fake news against foreign and domestic targets; (2) they use government and corporate foundation resources to fund and promote a compatible left to counter the anti-imperialist left; and (3) the rulers use their control of social media and internet to censor those voices.
Since 2016 their censorship of websites, Facebook pages, Twitter, and Paypal accounts has escalated alarmingly. They target those who counter the narratives the government and big business media feed us, whether it be US intervention and attempted overthrow of other governments, Covid, or stories of Russian interference.
With the Ukraine war, the US government and corporate media immense propaganda power has been directed against Russia and intensified on an overwhelming scale.…
AS LONG AS THE POWERFUL can make the public fight over issues which don't inconvenience power, public attention can be kept away from issues which do inconvenience power.
— Caitlin Johnstone
IT’S SUMMER IN SAN FRANCISCO, AND SPRING IN THE SIERRA
by Carl Nolte
We had a touch of a heat wave. The hills have been brown for weeks, the days are the longest of the year, and out the back window I notice how the sun sets well north of the Sutro Tower. It’s summer in the city. But in my daydreams I forget about the first days of summer. It’s almost springtime in the High Sierra.
By the High Sierra I mean the country beyond the roads, beyond the valleys, the country on the horizon. In his new book, “The High Sierra: A Love Story,” Kim Stanley Robinson has a map that shows the high country from Matterhorn Peak in Mono County to the Sierra Crest south of Mount Langley, above the Owens Valley, in Inyo County. It’s the spine of California, dotted with hundreds of alpine lakes, glacial basins and steep peaks.
And it’s springtime there in July. The snows of winter have pretty much melted away, the mountain streams are passable, the wildflowers are blooming in the meadows, the marmots are sunning themselves on the rocks, and there are fewer mosquitoes. My mountain hiker pals and I used to arrange it so we could spend at least one July week in the Sierra Nevada. We’d do brief spring trips and longer autumn jaunts, just ahead of the first snows.
But July was our springtime, and we’d spend April, May and June planning, plotting and dreaming of long trips, high passes and clear blue lakes. These dreams come to me now, as they do every year.
We’d make elaborate plans, read guidebooks, work out how much food to carry, divide up the cooking duties. We were always careful to bring along enough Irish whiskey for a single drink for each of us every evening for a week. We’d decided on Irish whiskey after several trips of what we called scientific research: Not everyone liked Scotch or bourbon; vodka seemed to be a drink favored by people who lived in plains country: Brandy and rum were a bit too too. So we drank Irish out of a steel Sierra Club cup, carefully, judiciously, to make the moment last.
When we were talking about a big hike or sitting around in camp after a long day, we’d forget how difficult it was getting to the High Sierra. There would be a long drive to a trailhead, a night at some car camp, an early start. Sling the pack with all your stuff on your back. It’s all uphill from here.
I found an old notebook I kept with an entry about a July Saturday years ago. There were four of us, making our way up a trail leading to a pass over the Sierra Crest near Humphreys Basin in the southern Sierra on the first day of a weeklong trip. “That was a steep sonofabitch,” I wrote at the end of the day. “I forget how steep and sweaty this stuff is with a 40-pound pack. It took us three hours & 15 minutes to go 3½ miles. Sore shoulders, aching legs.”
We stopped for the night at a high lake, right at timberline. Mostly granite, a few small trees. “It is chilly and almost dark. Moonrise at 8,” I wrote, “Just as the last alpenglow faded.”
Kim Stanley Robinson describes alpenglow in his “High Sierra” book, “Finally even the highest peaks lose the direct light of the sun. Then comes the alpenglow, and after that the Earth shadow. Alpenglow is intense and sometimes breathtaking: the granite to the east glows pink, shades to rose as it fades. … The colors infusing the snow and granite can take your breath away.”
After that, the dark. On moonless nights, a zillion stars. We would always hope for a clear night.
In the mountains, rain is always a problem, and snow can be serious. Sometimes thunderstorms would come up, usually in late afternoon. Thunder and lightning are rare on the coast, but in the Sierra sometimes you can feel the electricity in the air. The hair on the back of your head stands up. Not good. Nature can turn on you.
But we always remember the best parts, or else we would not have come back to the Sierra for over 50 years. It is the campsites I remember best.
Two come to mind. One was high in the Clark Range, on the southern border of Yosemite National Park. I’d gone solo that July and had come from the south over Isberg Pass, elevation 10,528 feet, into the upper canyon of the Merced River. I’d lost the trail and camped for a day in an out-of-the-way clump of foxtail pines near a spring that was one of the sources of the Merced River. I stayed there two nights and saw no one at all: alone in a national park famous for being overcrowded.
The second was a camp that never was, a place on Vogelsang Creek, again in the Yosemite backcountry. I was hiking with a group, trailing behind. It was all uphill, and I needed a break, so I followed an animal track off the main trail, the classic trail less traveled. In five minutes I found a little campsite on a sandy flat near the modest-size creek. It was ringed by trees but not so much as to close off the sky. There was dappled afternoon sunlight. It was clear someone had camped there, but not for a very long time.
I put down my pack, had a drink of the clear, cold water. This is the place, I thought, the perfect camp. But the others in my group must be waiting ahead at a tent camp. We’d all planned to stay there together. It was late afternoon, and they expected me. I had to leave my pretty little spot.
I was an hour behind the others. They were a bit annoyed when I finally straggled in. “Where have you been? We were worried,” the leader said. I said I was just slow, and that I’d found a nice small camp. A perfect place for the next time. But of course, the next time never came. I still dream about it.
THE CIDER HOUSE RULES. YODELED.
Here's the recording of last night's (2022-06-24) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA): https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0494
Thanks to Hank Sims for all kinds of tech help over the years, as well as for his fine news site: https://LostCoastOutpost.com
And thanks go to the Anderson Valley Advertiser, which provided well over an hour of the above 8-hour show's most locally relevant material, as usual, without asking for anything in return. Just $25 a year for full access to all articles and features. While you're feeling generous, go to KNYO.org, click on the big red heart and give what you can. And email me your writing and I'll read it on the very next Memo of the Air.
Also, it's getting time to be all anticipatory about attending the /massive/ KNYO Fourth of July outdoor musical party at Caspar Community Center, just like last year, but it's on Monday this time, which is special. http://knyo.org/images/knyo-event.jpg
Besides All That, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
A pyrex-shell jet engine in slow motion.
The J.C. Penney's hippies. There were way more J.C. Penney hippies than tie-dyed burlap poncho hippies. History glosses over this fact.
A time-traveler from the present could fit right in and really like it there. There was the war in Vietnam, of course, but there's always a war, and the looming threat of atomic destruction, but here that is again; it never went away. There was a great deal of tetraethyl lead in the air, impairing everyone, but besides that, you could buy a pretty nice house for the same as just a months' rent in any of those houses now. And look how clean everything is. Smooth roads. Sidewalks and walls free of schizophrenic spray paint and drug needles and human shit and blood and mountains of trashbags. On the other hand, you couldn't get a safe abortion unless your dad was rich, even if pregnancy resulted from rape or incest (or both) or ignorance of the birds and the bees, and even if you were only twelve and it was your first time, like Holy Mary, Mother of God. Oh, wait, they just put all that back and nailed it down wrong again. Never mind.
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
WHILE I YET AM LIFE
Life surrounds me as in those years
now lost, with the very splendor
of an entire world. The rose-colored slash
of the sea, the broken lights
of the orchards, the din of the doves
in the air, the life all around me,
when I yet am life:
With the same splendor, and aging eyes
And a weary love.
What is the hope? To keep living;
and loving, while the heart wears down,
a world that is faithful, although ephemeral.
To love the broken dream of life
and, although it could not be, to not curse
that ancient deception of the eternal.
And the heart consoles itself, because it knows
that the world might have been a beautiful truth.
— Francisco Brines (translation by Louis S. Bedrock, 24 June 2022)