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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, July 30, 2022

Cooling | Heeser Rocketcar | AVUSD Update | Mendo Gridders | Narcan Dispenser | Picnic Train | AVCSD Meeting | Water Reckoning | Feldmans | Bandwidth Advocates | Cart Collecting | Roe Rage | Zachariah Crises | Monkeypox Advice | Willits Courthouse | 1928 Vista | Gopher Management | Child Labor | County Notes | Mendo Bluff | Fair Time | FB Fairway | TSR Listserve | Yesterday's Catch | Ukraine | Time Cover | Royal Copeland | Homeless Boomers | Don Kichote | Monarch Sanctuary | Wildpretti | Vet Bill | Red Lines | Crumb Room | Hunter Lapdance | Front Rows | Moyer Interview | Next War | Marco Radio | Sisyphrog

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TEMPERATURES WILL START TO COOL today with interior valleys dropping back to around 100 degrees. A risk of isolated thunderstorms continues for the the northern interior through Sunday. A deep marine layer will keep the coast cool and mostly cloudy all day. Cooling is expected to continue into next week. (NWS)

YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Redding 111°, Covelo 108°, Ukiah 106°, Yorkville 101°, Boonville 89°, Fort Bragg 61°

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Mendocino Racetrack on the Heeser Ranch, 1922

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Weekly Update

Dear Anderson Valley Community,

There's been a great deal of work going on at both sites. The elementary school pump systems are being repaired. Routine cleaning and grounds maintenance is also on-going as is repair to the ball wall. The significant crowning achievement at the elementary this summer has been the reimagining of the Library space into an engaging and inviting learning and meeting environment. Well done to the Elementary staff on this arduous task. We are also looking forward to updating the reading material that is offered to students as part of the refresh. The elementary site will be holding an orientation the Friday before school. More information will come from the site about the specifics.

At the high school site, extensive preparation work for the HVAC replacement is underway. This includes roof and curbing work that needs to occur as well as a full panel replacement for electrical. Simultaneously, the painters have been on site for a real refresh of some of our most highly trafficked areas. I am all excited about how we look over here.

On a sad note, I want to share the picture below which was some graffiti that occurred behind our adult school on the elementary site. 

I am ashamed of this graffiti. I am ashamed that someone would take an environment that we are working so hard to transform, and damage it. It’s personal to me. I know this was the result of some of our students. I am working on the specifics. I ask you as my parents and community partners, to do YOUR PART. Do you know where your kids are when they're not at home? Do you know what they are doing and who they are hanging out with? Can you ask them who was involved in this? This is unacceptable. I have a staff that is committed to renewing these environments and in just one short evening several students have damaged and defaced our image. It’s not okay. Please ask your kids about it and talk to them about this stupid activity. There is a glamorization about gangs in our culture. Please take the time to really talk to your kids about the cost of vandalism and how it takes away something from their school environment. And once again, I urge you as a parent/guardian to please know what your kids are doing. Know where they are going. Have you looked at their phone? Have you checked their backpack? We have an alcohol and drug problem with our youth in this Valley. We'll be talking more about that extensively at the high school. A drug educator will be holding sessions with all middle/high school students multiple times throughout the first months of school.

On a happy note, please see the enclosed article about the AV Unified bond that was published in EdCAL, a statewide educational magazine.What this community did is truly remarkable and I celebrate you all.

On an even happier note, Coach Toohey is planning a clean-up day for Saturday, August 9 from 9-1. They will be focusing on the areas near the athletic fields and he can USE ALL HANDS ON DECK, adults and students! Please bring your weed whackers too! Refreshments will be provided. Please email the coach at to RSVP. GOOD STUFF!

Also, mark your calendar for Thursday August 18th at 5 p.m. for our required Athletics dinner. Any parent or guardian of a student participating in athletics at the high school is required to attend this dinner event. This is a Parent/Guardian event only, not for students. Dinner will be provided. Coach Toohey will outline some of the changes to eligibility as well as some information from me and from Mark Fierro about some of the drug activity that parents/guardians can be aware of. We are looking forward to a great sports start and reinvigorating our parent support as well.

We did receive our Statewide testing scores. We will be sending those home to you in the new year. This is a snapshot in time after two years of not testing. However, we have much work to do, and we'll be bringing in some strong intervention strategies to support our students. I believe parents/guardians are my partners in raising achievement. We are looking forward to a great year ahead.

In preparation for school start we will also provide free Covid testing kits. We will no longer be doing the pool testing, but all families are encouraged to take free test kits home and test the day that school starts.

Please reach out with any questions or suggestions!

Sincerely yours,

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

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Mendo Gridders, 1898

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Several weeks ago I posted about doing something to combat the Fentanyl/opioid problem that has now reached our valley. Since that time I have met with representatives from the Mendocino County Behavioral Health and Recovery Service. They are now allied with the AVUSD and will be providing drug education to our school children. I have made an attempt to chaperone a group of local students who wish to place Narcan, a life-saving opioid receptor blocker, at local businesses. Due to miscommunication, we had to reschedule our outing to speak with business owners.

I further spoke with a member of the CDC Harm Reduction Program, and was able to identify a program that has been working well in metropolitan areas; it involves placement of free-of-charge Narcan vending machines in conspicuous locations. I am exploring a number of options to obtain funding for at least one of these machines. I’ve been in communication with Ted Williams, our representative to the Board of Supervisors, asking for assistance with the purchase of the machine itself. Funding is still pending.

The initial thought was to place a machine at the post office, given that it is always open. After speaking with the post master, it is clear that this is not an option. The AV Health Center was considered, but it is gated and locked at night.

There are two available models of the machine, one of which is designed for outdoor placement. It does, however, require electrical power.

The AV Fire Department is an option, and I’ve spoken with Chief Avilla. He will need a wealth of information to present to a number of committees if this is to happen.

Should anyone have a location in mind, please call me directly at (707) 489-2915.

It shouldn’t be this hard to save a life, particularly if that life belongs to your child or loved one.

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Picnic Train, Albion, 1905

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REGULAR MEETING of the Water Projects Committee


To be held via teleconference Phone # 669 900 6833 Zoom Meeting ID 845 5084 3330 Password 048078

Public comments must be submitted by 10:00am on June 2nd, 2022 electronically to

Thursday August 4th, 2022 at 10:30am

  • Call To Order And Roll Call:
  • Recognition Of Guests And Hearing Of Public:
  • Consent Calendar: Minutes From July 7th, 2022
  • Changes Or Modification To This Agenda: 
  • Report On Drinking Water Project:
  • Report On Wastewater Project:
  • Public Outreach:
  • Concerns Of Members:
  • Adjournment:

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There is a day of reckoning coming up for the people who run the city of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County. The major water sources for the area are Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino. Both are about half full without much relief in sight. We are going to be rationing soon — that is for sure.

At the present time in Santa Rosa, several projects are under construction, mostly prefabricated multistory apartment buildings with hundreds of units. Planned projects will add thousands of new apartments and houses. These are not low-income units. Each apartment will have five or six people and three cars, minimum. Clean up after work, and that’s 10 showers a day per unit. That is dishes and clothes for five. Where will the water come from? Where will all of the cars park?

Student Government Day isn’t going to pass for success when the water is all gone. The Board of Supervisors and city don’t care what we think. Supervisor Chris Coursey wanted to build a Taj Mahal so they could have nicer offices. If you want to see how it should be done, drive down to Marin County and look around.

David Haynes

Santa Rosa

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The Feldmans of Comptche

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Just wanted to give you all an update on our Advice Letter Response campaign. Next Thursday August 4th at 11am is a quorum meeting of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). We’re coordinating a series of public comments to be made before the Commissioners. We call our commenters the Public Comment Seven, each who have volunteered to deliver a one minute public comment saying why the Advice Letter should be ratified.

If this quorum meeting doesn’t swing our way, there are two more coming up. Sure hope we don’t run out of volunteers!

All will be able to view the proceedings. This link here details on how to connect up:

If you want to talk all about it, join me at the Rancho Navarro Picnic at noon Saturday. I’ll be there riling up the locals about broadband.


Jim Gagnon, Comptche Broadband Committee,

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SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: “Waste Management hired a third party (Container Pros) to collect their carts. Issues have been seen throughout the county with carts not being picked up or new C&S Waste carts being picked up by mistake, even into the City of Ukiah.”

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Below is an amazing example of how the Crisis Response Team is using their funds to provide services accompanied by care and compassion. This individual has resulted in nearly fifty calls for service in the last six months. This is the same individual that the Crisis Response Team spent nearly three hours on the phone with Florida to obtain his first replacement ID in 5 years. (Last name changed for confidentiality.) 

Log from 07/26/2022: “Field visit with Zachariah Smith. Transported Zachariah to FBPD to complete homeward bound paperwork. FBPD purchaced bus tickets to Billings, Montana through homeward bound program to reconnect Zachariah with family. Transported Zachariah to Tacobell for a meal. Crisis Response Unit bought Zachariah a set of new clothes for his travels from the local thrift store (2 sets of shirts a pair of pants a pair of underwear and a wallet). E-mail sent to department staff seeking replacement jacket due to unavailability at thrift store. Crisis Response Unit coordinating with Zachariah to shower at Hospitality House before traveling and setting up sack lunch meals for travels. Zachariah is set to depart Friday at 11 out of Willits. Crisis Response Unit will transport Zachariah to bus stop in Willits, help him check in on the bus, and return replacment ID upon departure. Follow-up to be conducted with family to ensure arrival.”

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Monkeypox is a viral disease related to smallpox that has been endemic in animals in Central and East Africa and rarely has jumped to humans or out of Africa. Since early May 2022, cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in places where it is not usually seen, including the USA. In California, 434 cases have been confirmed. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) currently reports the risk from monkeypox to the general population as very low.

However, we do want to identify any case early and begin control with home isolation. Monkeypox might start with symptoms like the flu, with fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes, and general body aches. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the person can develop a rash or sores (see attached image). The sores will go through several stages, including fluid or pus-filled sores, and then scabs, before healing. People with monkeypox should isolate in their home until the rash has fully resolved, the scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The lesions usually persist for 3 weeks.

Images of monkeypox, from the CDC Health Alert Network

Although anyone can be infected by monkeypox, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, or community affiliation, there have been infections diagnosed in gay and bisexual men, transgender men and women, and non-binary and other queer people across the US. Monkeypox spreads primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids, including during sex, as well as activities like kissing, hugging, massaging, and cuddling.

The virus can also spread through soiled bed linens or towels and respiratory secretions during prolonged, close, face-to-face contact. Do not share potentially contaminated items, such as bed linens, clothing, towels, wash clothes, drinking glasses, or eating utensils. The monkeypox incubation period is about 12 days.

There are vaccines available to help to protect against monkeypox when given before or shortly after an exposure. JYNNEOS and ACAM2000 are two vaccines currently available in the United States. At this time, the federal government has allocated a limited number of JYNNEOS vaccine doses to Californians. Those considered at high risk are eligible for a vaccine and should not delay vaccination (pre-exposure prophylaxis). Those directly exposed to a lab-confirmed case can also receive a vaccine if given shortly after exposure (post-exposure prophylaxis).

If you have a new or an unexplained rash or other symptoms, seek medical care for further testing and evaluation. Wear a mask and tell your healthcare provider of your current symptoms for possible monkeypox or visit a local health clinic.

For more information, please see the CDPH Monkeypox webpage

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GEORGE DORNER COMMENTS on the Willits Courthouse:

The tale behind the Willits Courthouse is interesting. It was built to take advantage of a federal block grant, which otherwise “might have gone to waste”. (Does this sound familiar?) The excuse given was that the two jail cells within the justice center would serve as holding cells so prisoners didn’t have to be immediately transported to Ukiah. The courthouse was built to mimic the City Hall next door. The jail cells remained unused, the prisoners taken down over the hill to Ukiah, and the court followed suit.

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View from Russian Gulch, 1928

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Cecilia Townsend: Any remedies for eradicating invasive gophers, etc. would be appreciated.

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Sakina Bush:

I totally understand your frustration with gophers. May I gently suggest that the idea of “eradicating” any native species can also be approached as “management” or “learning to live together”?

After killing gophers for ten years in traps and seeing them mangled and dying or thirst, or learning that people use gopher poisons that kill all sorts of animals in addition to gophers. I found that that building a gopher proof box, gardening in containers, getting a cat, or growing native plants that are resistant to gophers were all way easier. Also just letting them be sometimes!

I don't know about those electronics thingys. They make an annoying sound that repels me so maybe they work on gophers too.

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nottyb: I use those noisy devices, and they do have some impact, but I have also found that planting daffodils - or any alliums, for that matter - have a greater effect. Gophers, moles and voles HATE every part of allium plants, roots to flowers, and combined with the noisemakers has dramatically reduced the numbers here. I also do use molemax, which doesn't kill them but drives them off due to the by-product as the granules break down - they HATE that smell, and then run to the neighbors (so sorry).

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COUNTY NOTES by Mark Scaramella


Last week we noted that a senior employee was on the Board’s closed session agenda for discipline or dismissal. Turns out it was the Ag Commissioner, Jim Donnelly. After closed session Supervisor Ted Williams announced that Mr. Donnelly had been terminated without explanation. 

That makes seven ag commissioners since 2009 when long-serving Ag Commissioner Dave Bengston retired. 

Let’s see if we remember them all: 

Tony Linegar, a good guy who quit to take a bigger job in Sonoma County.

Chuck Morse whose departure after a few years we don’t know anything about. He apparently resigned, returned for another short period, and then resigned again. Mr. Morse also had a hand in the pot permit program for a while. He lasted several years in total.

Joe Moreo, brought in for five days with great fanfare, then quit after seeing whatever he saw, or vice-versa.

Harinder Grewal lasted a little over a year, currently suing the County for wrongful termination.

Diane Curry, who had the temerity to tell the Board the truth about the problems with the Cannabis Permit program in the early days of the program while it was temporarily assigned to the Ag Department. A few days later CEO Angelo asked for her resignation (i.e., fired her on the spot without notice) and had her marched out of her office by security.

And now Jim Donnelly who was terminated on Tuesday. “A personnel matter,” said Supervisor/Board Chair Ted Williams.

For the last couple of years Mr. Aaron Hult has been Assistant Agriculture Commissioner. There has been no announcement as yet as to what his role will be with the departure of Mr. Donnelly.

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OUR PRELIMINARY REVIEW of the Auditor-Controller’s newly released funded vacancy list shows two seemingly contradictory trends. First, the Auditor-Controller’s numbers indicate that there’s not much salary savings to be derived from vacant funded positions because most General Fund departments are running close to budget. But when one looks at the details of, say, law enforcement (Sheriff-Jail, Sheriff-Patrol, Probation and District Attorney) one sees substantial funded vacancies but without the corresponding budget savings projections. In the case of the Sheriff, some of this is because overtime must be used to cover for vacancies. But even so, it’s not clear why the vacancies don’t result in substantial reduced expenses. 

For example, as shown above, there are almost $6 million in funded vacancies in the Sheriff’s department (including the jail), and we know that maybe $1.5 million or so was spent on overtime last year. So theoretically, there should be around $4.5 million worth of budget underrun. 

But in this chart the Auditor-Controller reports that for the recently completed fiscal year (July 2021-June 2022) the Sheriff/Jail was over budget by about $1.2 million (which could be overtime).

Also, we have no idea why the Jail budget went down from 21/22 (last year) to 22-23 (this year) by almost $2.5 million.

Presumably, some of this will be cleared up when the departments present their numbers at next Tuesday’s board meeting. Because if the vacancies are not producing salary savings, then the money is being spent elsewhere and that needs to be explained.

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MENDOCINO COUNTY’S Behavioral Health webpage has a section called “Recent Events” under which there’s the following paragraph with a link:

“Be the Healing Presentation by Dr. Joy Degruy. Dr. DeGruy is a nationally and internationally renowned researcher and educator, whose research focuses on the intersection of racism, trauma, violence and American chattel slavery. Click the link to listen to her ‘Be the Healing’ presentation from May 21, 2020.”

Dr. DeGruy has her own website too:

Dr. DeGruy, a resident of Portland, Oregon, sounds like an overeducated crackpot to us, but even if she’s legit, we have no idea what the relevance of her presentation is to Mendocino County or why it deserves any local government imprimatur. We are not aware of anyone in Mendocino County ever claiming to suffer from “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.”

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Mendocino Bluff, 1971

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This year’s Redwood Empire Fair is celebrating “86 years of Cows and Quilts.”

Running from August 4th through August 7th, the Fair promises all the classic entertainment, competition, thrills and family fun the community enjoys, according to CEO Jennifer Seward. 

The Fair and Carnival opens to the public at 3:00 PM on August 4th. Pre-sale carnival wristbands are available until Thursday, August 4th at 2:00 PM. The discounted wristbands are $30 each and are available at Mendo Mill Ukiah, Ukiah Taco Bell, Raley’s, Super Chavez Market, Creative Workshop and JD Redhouse in Willits. 

On opening day, kids 6-12 and seniors 65 and over receive free admission until 6:00 pm.

The Fair continues to be one of California’s most successful auctions. This year, Sheep Showmanship and the Market and Breeding Sheep Show will take place on August 4th at 8:00 AM. Beef Showmanship, Market and Breeding Beef take place on August 4th at 5:00 PM. 

Swine Showmanship takes place Friday, August 5th at 8:00 AM. The Dairy Cattle Show is scheduled for Friday at 1:00 PM, with the Beef Ultrasound Carcass Contest taking place at 1:15. The Goat Primary Exhibit and Pygmy Goat Show will be held at 1:30 and 2:00 pm. The Round Robin Large Animal Showmanship event also takes place on Friday at 4:00 pm, and the Small Animal Round Robin Showmanship event is scheduled for 7:00 PM. 

The Junior Livestock Auction begins at 10:00 am at the Racine Pavilion. The Livestock Awards Ceremony will be held held Sunday, August 7th at 10:00 am. 

Once again, the Speedway will be the place to be for racing excitement. All Speedway events are included with Fair admission. On Thursday, watch motorcycles, side-by-sides, quads and monster trucks beginning at 6:00 pm. Friday night will be a down and dirty Mudd Bogg and Monster Truck fest starting at 6:00. The always popular Truck and Tractor Pulls begin at 6:00 pm on Saturday evening. To close out the weekend, enjoy the wild Boat Races, Junior Mudd Boggs and Jalopies on Sunday evening beginning at 6:00 pm.

Bring your dancing shoes and prepare a few songs to perform. On Thursday evening, join DJ Ken Steely for Karaoke at 6:00 and again at 9:00 pm. On Friday evening, hear the “real” Fake News at 6:00 and 9:00. Saturday night enjoy Warehouse 21 at 6:00 and 9:00 pm. And on Sunday, dance to Banda Pacifica, beginning at 7:00 pm.

Ukiah Idol’s long-standing competition continues on, and the Grand Finals will be announced on Sunday at 4:30 PM. “Little and Junior” Idol contestants will compete on Friday at 5:00 pm. Mirrored after the successful television broadcast, Ukiah Idol judges evaluate the performances of dozens of the region’s talented children, teens and adults. Prepared to be amazed at the high level of talent right here in Mendocino County.

Along with free admission to kids ages 6-12 on Thursday, seniors 65 and older are also admitted free until 6:00 pm. Children under 5 are always admitted free. Grandstand shows are always included with fair admission. The Fair opens at 3:00 on Thursday and Friday and at noon on Saturday and Sunday. For more information phone (707) 462-3884, visit the Redwood Empire Fair’s Facebook page or

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Golf Course, Fort Bragg, 1933

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MEMBERS OF THE SEA RANCH LISTSERV Defended Their Rights Last Week.

One member said that they pay federal taxes and, therefore, it was their right to have mail delivered directly to their home. Other members said that was impossible, since we live in a rural area and nobody around here has a mailbox. Another member suggested that it was possible that some people in Gualala might have mail delivered directly to their home, but others were unsure.

A long thread regarding fire prevention practices emerged early in the week, based on a San Francisco Chronicle article about the wildfire in Big Basin Redwood State Park several years ago. According to Listserv members, there is a big difference between the Big Basin Fire and a hypothetical fire at The Sea Ranch. The Sea Ranch is much better prepared for forest fires, because of:

  • The “moistness” of The Sea Ranch
  • The sizable volume of researchers and scientists residing at The Sea Ranch who can contribute to further investigations regarding the dangers that wildfires present to The Sea Ranch
  • The ability of Listserv members to conduct research vs. rely on anecdotal evidence from The San Francisco Chronicle
  • The lack of “pine” trees at The Sea Ranch
  • Our ability to hold forums on the forest fires and forest management at Del Mar or Knipp-Stengel Barn

Forest fire risk factors at The Sea Ranch included:

  • The monetary interests of those The Sea Ranchers who want to log The Sea Ranch forests for profit
  • How slowly the TSRA website loads

No fewer than 7 individuals asked, “where are the sheep, right now?”

Someone with the email address “dirtman1999” asked one member if their spouse still drives a silver Mercedes.

An email address that looked a lot like a TSR Listserv members’ email address sent a note to everyone asking, “Do you order from Amazon?” Several Listserv members replied, “Yes, it is a fine service.” Another member said that it was a phishing attempt, where the look-a-like email address would request some sort of personal information or a purchase to be made on their behalf. One member believed that the mere presence of the look-a-like email address was cause for serious alarm, and that everyone on the Listserv should delete all of their emails and change their passwords “IMMEDIATELY.” A conversation about the differences between a phishing scam and a hack ensued.

One Listserv member heard a mysterious, loud and “penetrating” high-pitched noise. And, no, it was not their imagination.

Listserv members told the story of someone who recently purchased a property at The Sea Ranch and created an informal “gallery” in their unfurnished home. The theme of the home’s first show was, artistic “balance… in art, life and themselves.” One Listserv member used the following evaluative adjectives, within a single email, to describe this new homeowner (in order of appearance): “delightful”, “gracious”, “wonderful”, “wonderful” (again), “charming”, “great”, and “incredible”.

On July 25, in the year 2022, a 30+ email-long thread about the pros and cons of online streaming services vs. Direct TV (Ed note: sp?) took place on the Listserv. TSR Listserv members favorite streaming service? YouTube TV.

One member said that “wealthy” second home owners are “rich snobs” who leave a huge carbon footprint by driving up to The Sea Ranch. 

TSR Infoalerts are, according to one member, something you “read or weep.”


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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 29, 2022

Agrawal, Anderson, Gomez, Gower

AMAN AGRAWAL, Richmond/Ukiah. DUI.

AUSTIN ANDERSON, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, tear gas, parole violation, probation revocation.

SALVADOR GOMEZ, Elk. Shoplifting, failure to appear, probation revocation.

JASON GOWER, Eureka/Willits. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

Guyette, Ibarra, Magdaleno

ADRIAN GUYETTE, Covelo. Failure to appear.

DIEGO IBARRA, Woodland/Ukiah. DUI.

LUNA MAGDALENO, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Montano, Nutt, Petersen

MICHAEL MONTANO, Ukiah. Felon-addict with firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, loaded firearm.

ROBERT NUTT, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

KYLEE PETERSEN, Ukiah. Shoplifting, probation revocation.

Rangel, Silk, Stone, Yadon

ALEXI RANGEL, Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.

ERIC SILK-HOAGLIN JR., Ukiah. Stolen property, controlled substance, conspiracy.

SCOTT STONE, Conway, South Carolina/Ukiah. Grand theft.

DAVID YADON, Willits. Controlled substance. 

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Russian and Ukrainian authorities are trading accusations over a purported strike on a prison in separatist-held eastern Ukraine, which Russia said resulted in deaths.

The United Nations is expected to announce an agreed-upon route for grain shipments via the Black Sea on Friday, according to Ukraine.

Ukraine says a Russian ammunition depot in the southern Kherson region has been destroyed, while a Russian strike near a bus stop in Mykolaiv killed five people. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke on the phone Friday for the first time since the war began. Blinken said he pressed Lavrov on a potential prisoner swap.

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THE EMPTYING OF WASHINGTON in late summer has a long and weirdly deadly backstory. The capital is notorious for stifling heat, and officials spent the 1800s trying and failing to improve ventilation in the Capitol through various harebrained schemes. The Senate, whose stained glass ceiling produced a hothouse effect that all but roasted the stout cigar-smoking men who packed the chamber, soon earned a rep as a “death trap,” with 34 Senators going to their graves between 1916 and 1928 alone. When a doctor named Royal Copeland took office in 1923, he chided colleagues for working too hard, blamed Capitol air for deaths, and drew up reforms leading to the introduction of “manufactured weather,” a.k.a. air conditioning. Copeland went on in 1938 to collapse and die from overwork just after leaving a session, prompting the Associated Press to run the following cold-blooded headline:

Instead of dying en masse, legislators now go away every August, which annoys some but gives journalists a chance to catch up on divorce hearings and work on failed novels.

— Matt Taibbi

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I saw a piece on the news last night about the largest growth in homelessness was the baby boomer generation. They interviewed a woman who is living in her car with her daughter & grandchild. She said her apartment rent went up 30% and she was evicted. A sane country was what we used to be — sort of. At the very least, people could live on minimum wage in the 1970s and provide the basics for themselves and have a roof over their heads. You could see a GP and pay a reasonable fee without health insurance. A university education meant you could pass freshman English and write a research paper.

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Don Kichote (artist: Wilkon Jozef)

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THE KING AND THE QUEEN of the Endangered Monarch Butterfly: A Story of Proactive Environmentalism

by Jonah Raskin

Call them the king and the queen of the endangered monarch butterflies. Ole Schell and Elizabeth Weber, both of whom grew up in a world of privilege, have put their own privilege to work for the environment. They are leading the charge in the San Francisco Bay Area to save the beloved monarchs from extinction. This summer they mounted a stunning exhibit in the tiny town of Bolinas in western Marin County to inform and educate citizens about the plight of the butterflies (Danaus plexippus) and about efforts to create habitat for them and bring them back to former nesting grounds where they have not been seen for years. If and when change comes, it often comes from places like Bolinas on the margins, not at the centers.

There were an estimated ten million monarchs in the 1980s. In July 2022, the International Union for Conservation of Nature issued a report that said the population has declined by an estimated 99.9 percent. The species was originally described by Carl Linnaeus in his Systema Naturae in 1758.

Black, orange and white, as though painted by an artist, and with a wingspan of about three-and-a-half inches by four inches, the monarchs are easily recognizable, even by those who aren’t lepidopterists and don’t study butterflies and moths. ”I’m not sure I deserve the title of monarch queen,” Weber tells me. “But Ole definitely deserves the title of monarch king.”

On his family’s ranch in Bolinas, filmmaker Ole Schell has created the West Marin Monarch Sanctuary with hard physical labor, including his own, and by cultivating nectar plants and milkweed, where the famed butterflies like to lay their eggs. It’s milkweed or die. The son of the German-born photographer and political activist, Ilka Hartmann, and Orville Schell, a scholar, teacher, author and a China expert, Ole remembers his childhood when there were millions of monarchs in and around Bolinas. “They seemed endless,” he says. Recently, he has not caught even a glimpse of a monarch on his family’s land and none on neighboring parcels. Schell cleared poison oak, chaparral and coyote bush, brought in hungry sheep to keep down the weeds, and received abundant help from Mia Monroe at the National Park Service and also from the folks at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “We wanted a cohesive system,” Ole says. He’s got it. The team planted milkweed, fruit trees and berry bushes not only for their nectar, but also for food, plus lemon verbena for Chez Panisse, the flagship Berkeley restaurant.

Ole recruited an Iraqi War veteran and former sniper to build a fence to keep out deer and rabbits and enclose the monarch corridor. “It’s magical,” he says. Along with James Lefkowitz, Ole made and screened a seven-minute documentary about the ambitious environmental project. “There has been an uptick in the number of honey bees and bumblebees,” Ole says. But so far no uptick in the number of western monarchs, as opposed to eastern monarchs. The western monarchs migrate thousands of miles, from west to east, stopping at the Rocky Mountains and then flying back to California where they arrive from October to February. Their eastern cousins usually winter in Mexico.

Elizabeth Weber, who grew up in Bolinas — her parents were organic vegetable farmers at Star Route Farm — tells me that it takes four generations of monarchs to travel from California to the Rockies, and only one generation to return to California. Their journey is surely as epic as the journey that salmon make from fresh water to salt water and back to fresh water. “In my head I have images of monarchs from my childhood,” Weber says. She also has what she calls “sensorial memories.”

Born in Berkeley in 1970 and with a BA from Naropa in early childhood education and experience with “foster youth,” she has written and illustrated a book for children titled Where Will Your Legs Take You? A Mother’s Wishes for You. The mother of three children, Weber has followed her own legs to environmental hot spots in Guatemala, Mexico, Tanzania, India, Chile and the South Pacific. Her career as a photographer began in Sasolburg in South Africa, in a community of Blacks situated downwind from factories that polluted the air. “I met inspiring activists there,” she says. “They’re very well organized and determined to make changes in their own lives and in their environment.”

Weber says that the dramatic drop in the number of monarchs is a clear sign that our whole ecosystem is stressed. “When one species is in decline, other species are also in decline,” she says. “That’s how I think of it.” She adds that the “monarchs are drawing our attention to climate change, the loss of milkweed and native nectar-producing plants. In California, the drought, heat, wildfires and the use of toxic pesticides have led to the present crisis where the monarchs have been declared an endangered species.”

Hundreds of people have seen Ole’s film and Weber’s stark yet beautiful photos that document the loss of habitat. “We used art to bring people together to talk about what we can and need to do,” she says. “Ole and I want to do similar work in other places.” She adds, “A world without monarchs would be disheartening and unacceptable. We can’t allow that to happen.”

* * *

Echium wildpretii is a species of flowering plant in the family Boraginaceae. It is an herbaceous biennial plant that grows up to 3 m in height. The species is endemic to the Canary Islands, and is found mainly on Mount Teide in Tenerife. The subspecies E. wildpretii subsp. [Wikipedia]

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Once in awhile something really rotten happens in the US Senate. Yesterday forty-one US senators, led by Pat Toomey, R, PA and Ted Cruz, R,TX, blocked a veterans’ healthcare bill. Many are outraged that veterans of wars dating back to the Vietnam War, including Iraq and Afghanistan, are now dying from lack of care. The carefully crafted bill which had taken years to craft was blocked on the one foot line by a retiring senator, Toomey, who will never have to face the public again after this current term. 

On top of this disgraceful act of cowardice and dishonor to our “bravest and best”, CSPAN filmed the “gutless wonders,” apparently miffed by Pres. Biden’s and the Democrats’ passage of a climate bill, fist-bumping in glee like schoolboys in a schoolyard celebrating an act of hazing some poor fellow student. While brave vets continue dying of cancer and other service connected ailments. Many vets were exposed to toxic chemicals serving beside burning garbage pits. 

Frank H. Baumgardner, III

Santa Rosa

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Russia: Don't cross our red lines in Ukraine or we'll take action.

US politicians: They're bluffing. Cross those red lines.

[Russia invades.]

China: Don't cross our red lines in Taiwan or we'll take action.

US politicians: They're bluffing. Cross those red lines.

* * *

COUNTER-CULTURE ARTIST R. CRUMB and Eden Brower of East River String Band in Crumb's Record Room.

* * *


by James Kunstler

Who is surprised that the US government’s war on the American people is not going any better than its sponsored war in Ukraine? The only thing the government is really good at is covering up its crimes, which mainly requires them to do nothing — don’t investigate anything, don’t furnish documents to anyone, don’t answer official letters, slow-walk every required action, and otherwise dodge, duck, deny, deflect, and dissemble.

Now, even that game-plan is falling apart. Some senior officials in the FBI turned whistleblower this week, perhaps desperate to preserve their self-respect, and finally cleared up one of the great mystifications of our time, namely: How is it that the Hunter Biden laptop, stuffed with incriminating memoranda of bribery, treason, and diverse felonies, and in the FBI’s possession for two-and-a-half years now, just sat gathering dust in some sub-sub-basement cubby-hole — while “Joe Biden,” the putative president (or, more likely, the enigmatic claque behind him) was allowed to carry out a demolition of America’s economy and culture?

The answer is one Brian Auten, FBI Senior Analyst, who engineered a scheme to label Hunter’s laptop “Russian disinformation,” which allowed FBI Director Christopher Wray to throw a switch that turned off any further inquiry in the matter beginning in August before the 2020 presidential election. In turn, other senior FBI officials had all the documents pertaining to the decision process on that matter locked up in a special file that would never see the light of day. Auten’s action led to the release of a letter signed by “fifty former intelligence officials” labeling the laptop as a Russian disinfo op — which became the basis for social media to conspire to censor any discussion of the laptop and its contents. And so it was that a political puppet deeply in the pay of foreign interests got shoehorned into the White House. Well, that and widespread election fraud.

Turns out that Agent Brian Auten was also involved in favorably vetting the Steele Dossier when it was used to justify FISA court warrants against figures in Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, part of the RussiaGate operation that disordered and disabled President Trump’s entire four-year term. Well now you know. Perhaps Special Counsel John Durham knows this, too. (If he didn’t before, he must now.) Eventually, Mr. Auten will have to answer for all this, maybe after the mid-term elections. We must imagine that he will implicate many other familiar figures in the process who were on-the-scene at the time, including Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe, and James Comey, comfortably sitting on the sidelines lo these many years enjoying their book royalties and cable news salaries.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, says he will hold hearings about this. When? The Senate is scheduled to be in recess August 6 to September 6 for politicking back home. Maybe after that Senator Grassley will actually produce his whistleblowers in open session — unlike the 2019 first impeachment of Donald Trump, in which chief whistleblower CIA agent Eric Ciaramella, amazingly, never made an appearance. That will be refreshing.

It would also be nice to hear from FBI Director Wray. Did he approve of the decision to label Hunter’s laptop “disnformation?” Was he familiar with the contents of the laptop, the emails between Hunter and his business associates and agents of the CCP? Did Mr. Wray happen to examine any of the pornographic videos of orgies with Hunter’s stable of Russian whores plus the crack-smoking? Did Mr. Wray wonder whether equally bad or worse material was in the hands of Uncle Xi’s regime? Did it occur to Mr. Wray that all this might compromise “the Big Guy” in the Oval Office?

It also would be edifying to hear from Mr. Wray’s boss, Attorney General Merrick Garland. During his 20 months on-the-job, has he ever inquired of his FBI what’s up with that Hunter Biden laptop? Was he acquainted with the contents? Half the country has seen the videos of Hunter cavorting naked in hotel rooms and lighting up the crystal meth, but not Mr. Garland? There’s rumored-to-be more depraved material on the laptop involving minors that even conscientious auditors outside of government have seen and deemed too atrocious to release. (Copies of Hunter’s hard-drive are in possession of many people outside government.)

I hope Senator Grassley also calls Lisa Monaco, the Deputy Attorney General, now at Mr. Garland’s right hand, who was formerly President Barack Obama’s White House Homeland Security Advisor — a fancy way of describing her role in weaponizing the apparatus of the security state against the Democratic Party’s political opponents. Lisa Monaco’s current role is the DOJ Fixer — the person who makes sure that federal law enforcement does nothing about the crimes carried out by Mr. Obama, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and many other now well-known names in the RussiaGate cosmos, as well as continuing to squelch any inquiry on the Biden family’s criminal operations.

All of this is going to blow open, of course, and all at the same time that two other big things blow up: 1) the realization that the government lied about everything in the Covid-19 story, including especially covering-up the harmful effects of their vaunted mRNA shots, and 2) deepening US economic chaos, including the implosion of markets, derivatives, banks, and the US dollar.

Some observers say that “Joe Biden” has nothing left except to shove the USA into a hot war. Kind of looks like he’s trying — sending US Special Forces to Ukraine’s border, and all. I don’t think he’ll dare cross that line, though. To me, it’s more likely that our government will summon, shall we say, a special sort of doctor from the Intel Community to administer a permanent sleeping med to the Big Guy. Did you see how bug-eyed he was on video the other day? Didn’t even blink for the longest time. Looks like he badly needs sleep… a big sleep… the biggest sleep there is. Wait for it.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

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* * *

“I’M JUST GOING TO GO TO THE HEART OF THE INFERNO”: Interviewing Alex Moyer, Director of “Alex's War.”

The director of the controversial new movie about Alex Jones on media blindness, misleading labels, and America's mental health crisis

by Matt Taibbi

Alex Moyer has now made two movies in a row, TFW No GF and Alex’s War, that sound too much like journalism for today’s media. Even though most reviewers seemed to know exactly what they thought about both subjects before they even saw the films, Moyer was criticized for not planting enough signs telling them — and audiences — what to think about disaffected loner men, or InfoWars villain Alex Jones. The Guardian review of TFW No GF was typical, saying the film:

Pretends 4chan and other gathering places for this particular subculture are mostly harmless, perhaps populated with a few bad eggs. (By “bad egg,” I of course mean mass murderers.)

The movie does nothing of the sort, instead capturing a story of alienation that’s been running through our culture for ages. Moyer’s version merely shows the phenomenon worsening and expanding. She takes characters reduced in panicked media treatments to two-dimensional monsters and renders a nonjudgmental, tautly edited Herzogian treatment of who they are and how they came to be that way.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been enough to prevent her from being called an apologist for everything from right wing violence to misogyny. Even without reviews, she’s taking in interest, with Alex’s War topping Apple pre-order charts as of this writing. I asked her about the genesis of both movies and how she’s handled the schizoid public response:

Matt Taibbi: Can I ask when you got the idea, and what your thought process was about making TFW No GF?

Alex Moyer: Sure. This was back in 2018 that I started making that movie. And at that time, I don’t think I even knew what an incel was. I had done research for another film that I had worked on dealing with adjacent subject matter, so I was going online on Twitter and I was doing research and investigating at that time, elements of the dark web, IDW, all that stuff. What I was most drawn to, that I hadn’t seen anybody paying any attention to yet, were the amount of tweets and huge accounts that dealt almost exclusively with talking about being depressed and poor. It reminded me a little bit — It had a goth element to it, but it was much more genuine than that. But they weren’t really referring to themselves as incel. The etymology of that word is it’s a derogatory term… Much later on, even maybe well into when I was filming the movie, then I think there were some late adopters who co-opted it and decided that they wanted to identify as themselves, but certainly none of the people in my film identified as incels in a sincere way. 

I thought I was making a movie about irony culture, but really the underpinnings were a mental health crisis, linked to socioeconomic factors in this country. 

MT: This was completely on your own initiative?

Moyer: No one put me up to it. I shot the whole movie myself up until the very latter part of the movie. It was just me with a camcorder going out and meeting accounts that I thought were interesting and interviewing them. And it didn’t have any backing. I was paying for it with the paychecks that I made in my day job being an editor. And I didn’t really know what I was doing. I thought it was just going to be an art project.

MT: As I was watching this movie, it felt to me like if this had been 30 or 40 years ago, that these kids would’ve been punks, or going far further back, mods or rockers or something like that. They are left behind, alienated youth, which is kind of an old theme. What’s different?

Moyer: I was a punk rocker all through high school. Although at the same time, even though I was a punk rocker, I still am an outsider from these people, because they have actual real life challenges that I didn’t have to deal with. Also I’m not a boy.

So there’s that element of it too. There’s part of it that’s just about subculture and about a trend, and that these people are gravitating to this group because it gives them a sense of identity, but it’s in a time where their fundamental identity as being men and predominantly white in this case, is looked down upon. And they’re a little bit — I don’t want to say demonized because I just feel like there’s a stronger word. There’s like a better, more nuanced word than that…

MT: Vilified?

Moyer: Vilified or just brushed aside, like castoffs. Especially these kids growing up in the environments that they grew up with, they shared a lot of similar facets. I didn’t know that going to meet them. I met them totally anonymously, not knowing anything about them until I got to go there and meet them. And it was amazing, the things that they really did have in common with each other, but I didn’t think then that I was making a movie about incels. To me, it was just an interesting way to spend a weekend in a way to get to know more about something that I was interested in. And then I would just sort out the details later on.

MT: So to clarify, you didn’t set out to make a movie about ‘incels.”

Moyer: No. Still, it’s not efficient for me in my career to always correct people and be like, “It’s not about incels.” 4Chan, irony culture, and theory bros. It’s not utilitarian for me to continue to nitpick with journalists. So I’ve just let it go. I’ve let people go ahead and call it the incel movie. And of course there are references to incel stuff in the movie, so, it’s not a totally off base observation for people to make. But for me, the people that I spoke to in the movie, I very sincerely considered to be my friends.

And again, I wasn’t approaching it from this like ‘I had studio backing’ or it’s ultra professional. These were people that I just honestly thought were cool and wanted to meet. And so for me to just call them incels, to me, felt demeaning and reductive. So I’ve never really leaned out heavily into that. And I definitely never wanted to be the pundit that talks on the subject. I didn’t want to go on Bill Maher or something and talk about incels. 

MT: A lot of what you show is that these men were responding to an overwhelming flood of disapproval and dislike by popular media culture. Do you think that if this were the early 2000s, when Republicanism was dominant and the press was militaristic, that they might have had a completely different orientation? In other words, they seem to be very motivated just to do the thing that is the most shocking, and most enraging, to current audiences. 

Moyer: Definitely. The other thing about it, is that a lot the right wing stuff is projected— I think maybe one of them considers himself to be right wing. And even then it’s in a very modern, Trumpy kind of way. I don’t think any of those people now, if you ask them how they identify, would say that they were right wing.

MT: The reviews suggest something totally different.

Moyer: I haven’t spoken to all of them on a regular basis, but to them again and again, especially with people like Kyle, it wasn’t really about politics. They just think that they’re goofing off… And with Charels I think it’s the same way. I think he was just having fun, goofing off, getting attention where he could get it.

MT: Getting a rise out of people?

Moyer: And Kantbot I think went from being right wing to deciding that it was lame and played out to be right wing. And now I think he’s still gravitated in the other way. Again, just like you said, I think he goes where it feels like the most provocative place to be. And I think that’s more of what the story is with those guys than it is about them having like these really genuine, heartfelt political leanings because, frankly, they don’t really have the intense life experience to have really deep convictions about politics like that.

MT: Right, except for the fact that they live in a vast American decline where things don’t work and opportunity is scarce. Is that a thing that unifies all of them?

Moyer: That’s something that I discovered and it was really interesting, and that really came together when I was editing. I saw it taking shape, but it really took shape in the edit room. I thought, wow. This really does work as a motif. And it really is something to be said about these places that are just overlooked, and about the people that are overlooked. 

MT: The absent parents feel like a character in the movie.

Moyer: A hundred percent. Yeah. And it’s hard, because I want to protect people’s privacy. It’s important for me to protect my subject’s privacy. But they don’t have stable parental figures and they have sort of unconventional family lives. It’s not the same all the way across the board where it’s a single mother, but there were certainly people in the film that had a single mother. There were people in the film that had alcoholic parents. There were people in the film that had absentee parents. There were people in the film that had parents that were too old to connect with them. In almost all the cases, they were left on their own to be completely feral.

They didn’t seem to have models or a sense of needing to abide by a set of rules or something like what I had when I was growing up.

MT: Over the weekend, I saw Paul Krugman tweeting, more about MAGA followers. He was saying they are a whole political movement based on nothing. It made me think of that scene in the film where Viddy was talking about Charlottesville and he was saying, “Do people really think this happens for no reason?”

Was that another motif, this idea of a gap in people’s understanding of why these people are the way they are?

Moyer: Obviously, I’m not going to play coy like I don’t know that these are the people that fit the profile of being people who commit violence, school shootings and stuff like that. I was interested in touching on that in the film, but… knowing everything that I knew, and in seeing the legacy media talk about them in such absurd terms, about what the causes are, or what’s to be done — they were always ignoring what’s right in front of them, which is that there’s an entire generation of people who are being lost in the shuffle of this paradigm shift between the information age and the old world and the industrialized society.

That’s a big idea for most people to wrap their minds around. But there’s a mental health crisis in this country. There are a lot of people who get left to the sidelines, and then we wonder how, “Oh my God, how could this happen?”

It happens in countries all over the world, by the way. It happens also when it comes to gang violence or terrorism. We’re talking about people between the ages of 16 and 30 years old that are dudes. Those are the people that commit most of the crime in the world. And if those people don’t have any guidance in their lives or any constructive path or opportunity, they’re going to get into shit probably.

MT: In the response to the film, it felt like there were two groups of critics. One was saying that you glossed over the uglier parts. Another was essentially saying that it was illegitimate to even look at things like the root causes of the behavior of such people, or try to understand what was going on there. What’s your response to either of those criticisms?

Moyer: That’s the thing. The movie itself is a response to those things that are being glossed over. So those things are implied. And also, I do think that I touched upon all of those things, but I make it clear in the film that yes, we know that’s what people think, but that’s not what this movie is about. This movie is about individuals. 

Later on, when I was able to start putting together a cut of the film, investors started coming to me, and nobody would invest any money because that was their same argument. They were like, “We need to have somebody who’s suffered at the hands of school shooters or women that have been harassed by a misogynist.” 

I just said, “Well, no, this isn’t that kind of movie. This is an observational film about individuals. This isn’t a talking heads movie. This is a cinema verité observational film. It’s an immersive film.” 

This is what I’m going to do with all of the documentaries that I make, by the way, including the one I just made about Alex Jones. It’s not meant to confirm your biases. It’s meant to actually show you what these people are actually like and then you can make an informed decision based off of watching the film. It used to be called journalism.

So that’s what I was setting out to do. And no, I didn’t have talking heads pounding home that they were school shooters the whole time. But if that had been the case, nobody would ask me about this movie or be talking about this movie because it would just be another forgettable piece of cable TV.

MT: Basically, people wanted you to make a scare doc like Reefer Madness, but not the camp version, the earnest original. 

Moyer: Well, that’s what they’re doing. And people do that all the time now. I’m supposed to believe that that’s a liberal value or something. And I just don’t believe that. I’m the child of two journalists and when I was growing up, I heard all the time about how everybody has the right to express themselves and how we need opposing forces in the world to arrive at the best outcome, and how you don’t twist the truth for your own convenience and all of this. And my parents are lifelong Democrats who were telling me that. So, I know that it’s a brand new development and I know that it’s just a knee jerk reaction to Trump, or something. And that’s just not good enough for me.

MT: Absent the context with Trump and George Floyd, this feels like a very timeless American theme. Did it to you?

Moyer: I personally think it’s a really wholesome movie. I mean, I was thinking of The Catcher in the Rye when I was editing. These people who fall between the cracks and society not paying enough attention and they don’t just go away, they’re there.

MT: How much did the media reception bother you?

Moyer:At first the film was pretty well received and people actually thought that it was really interesting. And then the thermometer got turned up on all the culture stuff… There were really adversarial interviews. Rolling Stone called me and did an interview with me and the reporter was audibly pissed off that I even made the movie.

It wasn’t something I was prepared for. I was like, “Oh yeah, this is so great. My movie’s getting attention.” And then everybody decided it was a Nazi movie about incels or whatever. But I mean, it’s just so far from where my heart was when I was trying to make the movie. So it was really, really, really disappointing.

MT: If I were in your position (and I have been a little bit in your position before), I’d be mad. Did any of that play into the decision to do the Alex Jones movie?

Moyer: Yes. Because it pissed me off. I was like, okay, fine. If I’m going to be this person, then I’m at least going to not beat around the bush. And I’m just going to go to the heart of the inferno here and see if I can solve this Rubik’s cube of making people actually watch an authentic telling of Alex Jones’ story.

And it’s not a puff piece. Everyone’s going to say it is. I mean, so far everyone loves the movie, but they’re going to have to say that it’s bad. And then some people are going to change their minds. It’s done well so far, but yeah, it’s in that same spirit and I’m not going to pretend like it’s not provocative or that I don’t know what I’m doing. But it did make me pretty jaded coming out of that last movie. I was like, Wow, so people, no matter how careful I am and no matter how much integrity I try to execute this with, people are still just going to react like little babies. So I might as well make a movie about something that’s a huge challenge for me that I think is fascinating because I don’t have anything to lose.

MT: Right. Also that instinct to say that the subject matter itself is illegitimate has actually advanced since you made the other movie. So to do Alex Jones, people perhaps won’t even get to the point of watching the movie. It’ll be that forbidden.

Moyer: Oh no, they’ll watch it, they just won’t admit it. They’ll watch it secretly.

MT: You’re probably right. Thank you!

Moyer: Thank you.

* * *

Ready for the Next War, 1946 (artist: Boris Artzybasheff)

* * *

MEMO OF THE AIR: Good Night Radio live from Franklin St. all night Friday night!

Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is about 5:30pm. Or send it whenever it's done and I'll read it on the radio next week.

Plus you can phone during the show and read your work in your own voice. I'll be in the clean, well-lighted back room of KNYO's storefront studio at 325 N. Franklin, where the number is 1-(707) 962-3022. If you can't control yourself from swearing, wait until after 10pm, so not to agitate the weasels.

Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via (That's the regular link to listen to KNYO in real time.) (Or just go to KNYO.organd click /Listen/. And the schedule is there for KNYO's many other terrific shows.)

Any day or night you can go to and hear last week's MOTA show. By Saturday night the recording of tonight's show will also be there.

Besides all that, there you'll find a mysterious metal biscuit-box behind the bathroom tile, full of educational treasures to lie in bed and fantasize about returning to their real owner someday, until showtime, or anytime, such as:

Jean Didicot (say DID-koh), footballer and fingers-assisted siffleuse, on Blue Peter.

I like all of Roy Zimmerman's songs, but this one is my favorite, about traditional marriage, like they had in the Bible. Here's an article about it from 2013, including video. The wit, the vocal range, the stamina, what a feat!

And tilt-shifted scenes from a new video game where you're a stray cat just trying to a lovely dreamlike city of strange people and robots, all curiously gesticulating at someone just out of the picture.

— Marco McClean,,

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  1. Patrick Hickey July 30, 2022

    In response to Mark Scaramella’s query about where the money is going from all of the budgeted vacant positions, I suspect what is going on is something that is common in government. Department Heads make sure they spend their entire budgets so they don’ get trimmed in the following fiscal year. They’ll stock up on supplies or use other budget tricks to make it appear that they need every penny. Departments should be rewarded for running efficient operations, but instead they are punished with budget cuts, so they have learned to spend every dime they are given.

    • Whyte Owen July 30, 2022

      Not just government. University departments are notorious for it. Admin comes around and points out underspending. Also captures overhead reimbursement.

      Been there done that.

    • Mark Scaramella July 30, 2022

      Very possible. It’s also possible that money is spent on “extra help” which is typically not union members with few benefits, but which show up on employment rolls as vacancies. Either way, the Board should be demanding explanations where the vacancy money is being spent and why. I’m not holding my breath.

  2. Marmon July 30, 2022


    James Kunstler’s growth over the last couple of years has been a joy to witness.


    • Harvey Reading July 30, 2022

      Where is the growth located and what sort of growth is it? He should see a doctor to determine whether it is cancerous, or communicable.

    • Chuck Dunbar July 30, 2022

      Here’s a quote, James, from the far past that fits just right for your blessings to Kunstler the nutcase:

      Wally (Tony Dow R.I.P.) to The Beaver:
      “Just watch what you’re sayin’ Beaver, or i’m liable to clop you one!”

  3. Michael Koepf July 30, 2022


    Nope, a sad day for truth. Frank H. Baumgardner, III has left out the essential part of the Republican turn down of the bill. Republicans in the main where and are for Veteran compensation for exposures to toxic burn pits. What they objected to what Senator Schumer, at the last minute, adding billions to the bill that had nothing to do with benefits of any kind for Veterans.

    Signed: Veteran and former toxic burn pit shit disturber.

    • Marmon July 30, 2022

      Yeah, in 1970 I was making $2.50 an hour pulling chain at Cloverdale Lumber at Preston. The minimun wage at that time was $1.25. Had a wife and child and could barely scrape by making twice the minimum wage. Those were not good days.


  4. Judy July 30, 2022

    Crisis Response Team
    Great job by all who brought this Team together to help those who otherwise would be lost in the maze of waiting lists, head counts and free meals then back out onto the street.
    In the past years many people (who happen to have homes and the luxuries of life) were the first ones to show up at meetings to yell and declare that programs such as this are only to get rid of those living houseless on the streets and having to search for meals each day. I can’t count the number of times I have heard “their families don’t want them” from the same group who usually know absolutely nothing about the person in need.
    How do you know what the individual’s situation is unless you reach out to them and their family? I’m sure there are many cases that families feel they have done all they can and have separated themselves from the situation. On the other hand there are families who desperately want their family member home so they can help care for them and hopefully get them on track to being a healthy and a productive individual. For those who don’t wish to reconnect with family the Team is there to help guide them through services available but most of all being a familiar face and getting to know and listen to the individual. I think this is a huge win for all involved.
    Thank you Mayor Norvell for bringing this to our attention.

  5. Chuck Wilcher July 30, 2022

    Ed note: “Joe Moreo, brought in for five days with great fanfare, then quit after seeing whatever he saw, or vice-versa.”

    I had the opportunity to spend some time with Joe on a recent trip back east. We had some reminiscing moments of our days playing little league baseball for Plastico at the old Edgewater Park surrounded by a corn field and cheap housing.

    These days he’s serving as Trinity County pot czar and couldn’t be happier. When he was interviewing for the Mendo job he was also showing interest in the Trinity county job. When Mendo fell through he landed the job with Trinity.

    • Marmon July 30, 2022

      One county’s trash is another county’s treasure.


    • Rye N Flint July 30, 2022

      “Low hanging fruit” should be the theme for the Nor Cal County revenue models…

  6. Rye N Flint July 30, 2022

    Call me Mr. Flintstone, because, baby, I can make your Bed Rock…

    Caution! Explicit lyrics!!!

  7. Stephen Rosenthal July 30, 2022

    Memo to Bruce A, et al:
    The nuthouse in Talmadge, long assumed to be closed, was simply and surreptitiously moved to The Sea Ranch.

    P.S. love

  8. Bruce McEwen July 30, 2022

    Moyer: “0h, no, they’ll watch it, they just won’t admit it. They’ll watch it secretly.”

    Sounds like all the people who say they don’t read the AVA!

    • Rye N Flint July 30, 2022

      (Quietly Raises hand)

      • Bruce McEwen July 30, 2022

        We have an openly gay theology professor at St. Mary’s College in our apt complex who professes to be a liberal Democrat and says he’s all for a woman’s right to choose but he bought a new American flag when the high court gutted Roe v. Wade and has proudly flown it ever since even though it is customary in our community to take Old Glory down after the specified holidays have past. When confronted he lies as glibly as Lucifer about how he’s just being patriotic and well within his rights. Most Democrats I know are equally false and nasty.

        • Bruce McEwen July 30, 2022

          The One True Church has always encouraged procreation as have kings to provide more cannon fodder. The eldest son would inherit, the others were marked for the military or the church (which has always been in need of children to molest, and therein we may find the reason the church is so adamant about the right to life). But we find this elsewhere, as well, in Protestant churches, for instance, and also the high-placed Muslims in Afghanistan kept a boy- toy handcuffed to their beds. US soldiers were told not to interfere with this practice as it was “their custom.” They could interfere with the custom of forcing women to wear burkas, however, and it was one of the main reasons for making war on them in the first place.

          • Bruce McEwen July 30, 2022

            Now, with the all-volunteer military and the churches going the way of other obsolete religions, we have this surplus of male bodies — the ones Moyer’s movie is about — and the George Hollisters of the world blame the schools for not turning this surplus to account, in that the guys in question haven’t been adequately trained as wage slaves available for penny ante “contract” work; that is to say, “cheap labor” with no strings like social security deductions and workman’s compensation attached, just a little trickle of nickels and dimes under the table and “go away kid you waste my time.”

            • Bruce McEwen July 30, 2022

              Chief Justice Alito summoned to Rome after having leaked his own opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, and today his Holiness says he will be stepping down… Pope Alito?

              • Bruce McEwen July 30, 2022

                Pop quiz: who was the portrait of— the one stored in the back of the gallery that Picasso defaced with Dali’s mustache?

                Mr. Sparks, any idea?

  9. Rye N Flint July 30, 2022

    RE: “Woken Life”

    I miss this Alex Jones:

  10. Marmon July 30, 2022

    JUST IN – Biden tests positive for COVID again. Not bad for a guy who has had 4 jabs.


    • Harvey Reading July 30, 2022

      He should take a good, large dose of worm medication, perhaps with a cup of bleach to wash it down. Should do the trick, and free us from his stupidity, caused by brain deadedness.

  11. John Sakowicz July 30, 2022

    Three cheers for former Ag Commissioner Diane Curry.

    Hip hip hooray!

    Hip hip hooray!

    Hip hip hooray!

    • Rye N Flint July 31, 2022

      Here Here! I second that Hooray!

  12. jetfuel July 31, 2022

    Frank H. Baumgardner, III

    “The PACT Act as written includes a budget gimmick that would allow $400 billion of current law spending to be moved from the discretionary to the mandatory spending category. This provision is completely unnecessary to achieve the PACT Act’s stated goal of expanding health care and other benefits for veterans. However, it would enable an additional $400 billion in future discretionary spending completely unrelated to veterans. By failing to remove this gimmick, Congress would effectively be using an important veterans care bill to hide a massive, unrelated spending binge.”

    It will be voted on again.
    1)Contact your congressional representative with your concern…
    2) Vote for a new representative in the next election…

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