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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022

Another Scorcher | Loggers | Chilling Station | Glassish Beach | 112° | Prolific Vine | Mayor Brown | McKee Memorial | In Exile | Boont Benefit | Coast Hospital | Ed Notes | Fair Staff | Credit Rating | Anchor Fluke | Scholarship Fundraiser | How Stupid | Police Reports | Yesterday's Catch | Cancer Fundraising | Peace Fair | Dem Zoom | Shreiff Byrnes | PG&E Defeat | Fred Dodge | Fight Back | Bogus Therapist | Just Transition | Shipping Point | Ukraine | Good Spot | War Drag | Liberal Hawks | Small Train | Redneck Army | Burn Exodus | Putin's Failure | Death Listens

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VERY STRONG HIGH PRESSURE ALOFT continues to bring some of the hottest daytime temperatures in recent history to NW California. Although temperatures will cool only slightly today another hot day is on tap over most interior valleys. A more robust cooling trend will begin on Friday and continue into the weekend. (NWS)

YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Death Valley 125°, Ukiah 117°, Boonville 116°, Yorkville 116°, Covelo 113°, Fort Bragg 76°

NOTE: Yesterday's high of 117° surpassed Ukiah's previous all-time record high of 115° (set back on September 3, 1955).

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RENEE LEE: "Hello Anderson Valley! Too hot? AV Senior Center has A/C and will be open this afternoon to provide a cooling station with iced tea and lemonade for all. Bring a board game and chill out! Given our usual, vulnerable clientele, we do ask you to please mask up. 707-895-3609 if you have questions."

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LIZ HAAPANEN AT GLASS BEACH where, she reports, there's very little glass.

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NICK WILSON: It's 112 degrees hot in E Little River!

It's 112 degrees F on my wireless weather station just past the 3 mi. Y on LR Airport Rd. at 3:45 PM.

The temperature graph peaked earlier at 110.1 at 12:59 PM, then gradually dropped to 104.0 at 3:14 PM, then climbed rapidly to 111.9 at 3:39 PM, now is varying a few tenths of a degree down and headed back up to 112. Keep cool everybody.

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CAN ANYONE TELL ME what this is? Found outside of Boonville. In some places it is extremely prolific....with vines on top of vines on top of vines creating a bush. In others it is a lone vine or two snaking its way up through an oak or buckthorn.

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NOTHING TO DISAGREE WITH in Trent James recent video about the Kevin Murray case. But it was interesting that he chose to highlight this comment that was posted on mendofever by Jim Brown. 

“I applaud Judge Moorman’s sentencing on disgraced ex cop Murray. Two years supervised probation with all the terms and conditions attached will be much tougher than jail. One year of sex offender treatment, search and seizure clause, chemical testing and regular check ins is no cake walk. I am confident Probation will stay on top of this offender. There are a lot of criminal offenders who would have taken the six remaining months in jail and walked. Hopefully the treatment and accountability will have a greater impact than three hots and a cot. Remember jail time still hanging on successful completion of probation.”

Response on Mendofever from “Poe”:

Shame on you Mayor Jim O Brown for commending this mockery of a sentence that proves to the public how inept the justice system is. Shame on you Mayor Jim O Brown for dismissing the victims and praising a judge who had close ties to the rapist Murray’s attorneys. Shame on you Mayor Jim O Brown for allowing the disgraceful UPD to continue to cost the taxpayer of Ukiah millions of dollars in payout to victims who suffered at the hands of the officers at UPD. Shame on you Mayor Jim O Brown for your ignorant statements about this sentence. You are so removed from the game you have no idea what this sentence does to every victim of sexual violence. Shame on you Mayor Jim O Brown for continuously supporting abusers and sexual predators, supporting promotions of these scum who have proven themselves to be worthless good ol boys. Shame on you Mayor Jim O Brown for not holding anyone within your sphere accountable including your fellow council member. The sheer ineptitude to keep an agency functioning to ‘Protect and Serve’. Instead, promotions, retirements, and quiet payouts are all at the cost of the people who you charm at your local hangout spilling lies and ‘misunderstandings’. Isn’t enough, enough? When do you face yourself in the mirror and realize you are the problem? Do not be fooled people, the way probation is today, which will likely be moved to his county of residence, will be nothing in comparison to the jail sentence. Shame on you Mayor Jim O Brown, this is not leadership this is the problem. I hope the people in the community wake up and vote you, your council members, the District Attorney, and his liege as well as the Bench who has lost all sense of justice out at their next opportunity. Shame on you Mayor Jim O Brown, you knew what was happening and you held no one accountable.

Was it you or your predecessor that knew one of your officers was being assaulted by a cop and did nothing to show support, instead you dismissed her claims and supported her abuser? Nice narrative.

Shame on every cop that supports this sentence or Mayor Jim O Brown. This behavior shows people that there is no accountability even if the victim is one of your own in your agency or another. There are amazing law enforcement officers in this county, and those of you that are, you deserve better and should demand better.

Shame to you Mayor Jim O Brown, you are a disgrace.

Trent James then says that Mr. Brown “obviously doesn’t know anything about probation,” because, as James notes, very few people actually go to prison for violating probation these days. James also says he suspects that Mr. Brown is a fake/made-up name by an insider on the case rather than a rather transparent attempt to justify what is obviously a sweetheart deal for Murray.

Surprisingly, former deputy and former probation officer James wasn’t aware that Jim Brown is a retired Chief Probation Officer for Mendocino County who currently sits on the Ukiah City Council. So James missed a chance to compound his complaints by observing that a sitting Ukiah City Councilman who ought to know about probation defends the Murray deal — a deal that the Ukiah City Council on which he sits undermined by approving a $250k payout ot one of Murray’s victims before charges were even filed. 

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Bob McKee

A celebration of the life of Bob McKee will be held Sunday, September 18th at Whitethorn Construction (545 Shelter Cove Road) from 3:00-8:30 p.m. 

The event will begin at 3:00 p.m. with a program of selected speakers and songs from 3:30 to 5:00. Dinner will be 5:30 to 7:00 followed by The Funnicators and dancing. If you plan to stay for dinner please bring your favorite appetizer, salad or dessert to contribute to the potluck, BBQ and drinks will be provided. We respectfully ask that all attendees test for Covid before the event. An oral history of Bob McKee’s life, “I Like It Here”, compiled and edited by Ray Raphael, will be available for purchase. We look forward to seeing friends from far and wide who want to join us in celebrating the life of this remarkable man.

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Here’s my renewal. It’s a bit late because of the ever-increasing onslaught of the race of time. The relentless pace of daily demands demonstrates what a slave I have become, free only in my mind. “Another day older and deeper in debt,” sang Tennessee Ernie Ford.

The AVA is my connection to the world I lost when I moved from California for law school and Missouri put its hooks into me. It is also my connection to my late brother Jim of Little River. Reading about the things and people he knew keeps him in my heart and help me cope with his loss. 

Please keep up your good work. For the sake of all of us who need to hear the voice of reason and to know we are not alone.

In exile in Troy, Missouri

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COAST HOSPITAL: “I want to publicly say that the surgical staff is exceptional, professional, with great bedside manners. The skill level of the nurses was off the chart. I never even felt the IV going in. Everyone was so nice and also willing to help with anything. Doc Phil gave me exactly the right amount anesthesia. Doctor James is the very best! The safety procedures were in place and they confirmed what I was there for and who I was several times. Very comforting approach. Thank you to everyone who was on the staff last Friday. Excellent of all of them to keep a great attitude after all they have been and are going through with the covid complications. The front desk people were fast and efficient also. Many Thanks.” 

— Sam Gitchel

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THOSE ELONGATED WHITE vans you see at the crack of dawn are carrying vineyard workers from over the hill. And back over the hill about 4pm, a daily reminder whose shoulders the wine industry rests on.

WHEN IT'S 105 in Boonville at 2pm the only thing you can do is drive to Ukiah where it's 114 to see if you can tell the diff. I couldn't. 

A DOZEN CROWS spent the afternoon lingering by our birdbath, which I freshened several times on the probably vain and wacky anthropomorphic notion that they, like us, prefer cold, fresh water on hot days. No other flying thing dares intrude while the crows hog the bath.

A FEW FEET AWAY, an industrious squirrel spent the afternoon digging a hole. Why? According to google they're either looking for seeds or burying food for later consumption. There's no sign this squirrel was thus engaged, but the wild things know what they're about, so I'm probably also wrong about them.

BACK to the National Affairs desk. The Brits new Conservative Party prime minister, Liz Truss, says she models herself on Margaret Thatcher, and that her first order of business is to lower taxes, this in a country where ordinary citizens are facing an 80 percent increase in their energy bills. In fairness to Daughter of Thatcher, she said she is contemplating a price freeze, while millions of Europeans contemplate simply freezing as Putin puts the literal screws to their winter fuel. 

LT. GEN XAVIER BRUNSON said Tuesday that young people are too fat, weak or criminally disposed to qualify for the Army. Recruitment numbers are way down as only 23 percent meet basic cannon fodder standards. The general revealed that the 2022 recruit goal of 485,000 was short by 20,000.

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Boonville Fair Staff, circa 1980s: Cecelia Pardini, Jim Clow, Jim Wellington, Bill West.

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Mendocino County Receives A Credit Rating Increase From “Aa-” To “Aa” From S&P Global Ratings (“S&P”)

The County of Mendocino recently received a credit rating upgrade from S&P Global Ratings (“S&P”). The County’s Issuer Credit Rating, which reflects the County’s overall creditworthiness, was increased from “AA-” to “AA”. In addition, S&P assigned a rating of “AA-” to the County’s upcoming $19.975 million County of Mendocino Certificates of Participation (“COPs”), Series 2022 and raised its rating on the County’s other outstanding COPs. S&P cited several key factors in the upgrade, including the County’s “improved financial position, supported by enhanced financial management policies and practices that (S&P) consider strong.”

Mendocino County Board of Supervisors Chairman, Ted Williams stated, “Leveraging a newfound drive to bolster professionalism, staff and the Board were able to convey the state and trajectory of County finances with inordinate transparency. When people asked for the County’s good news, I answer without hesitation: our hard-working staff. Their diligence is reflected in our new, upgraded credit rating, which will benefit bottom-line county finances for many years to come.”

The 2022 COPs will be issued to refinance the County’s existing 2012 COPs for cash flow savings and fund $10 million of new capital projects, including the expansion of County jail facilities and various roofing and HVAC projects at essential County facilities. The 2022 COPs are expected to price as early as the week of September 12th and close approximately 30 days later.

Mark Scaramella Notes: Supervisor Williams neglected to mention that $8 million of the $10 million in “new capital projects” money is for an overrun of the jail expansion project, not a “new capital project.”

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(photo from Loren M. Rex, Sonoma-Mendocino Coast District)

Sonoma-Mendocino Coast District Dive Team member/Lifeguard Ean Miller surveys the fluke of an historic anchor discovered during a department Dive Team training and scientific survey dive and partially buried in the sand in 44 feet of water at Caspar Landing. The area, also known as Caspar Anchorage, was an active maritime doghole port from 1864 until the 1930s and served the lumber mill and other north coast commerce activity. This Admiralty-style anchor was likely a mooring anchor used by lumber schooners and other 19th century sailing ships. The discovery provides important information that the district's Cultural Resources team and the Cultural Resources Division's Maritime Heritage Program uses to help preserve and protect California's unique submerged cultural landscapes.

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ENJOY AN EVENING under a canopy of twinkling lights for a paella dinner prepared by Ellery Clark Catering, flamenco music, and libations. Saturday, October 1st from 5pm to 8pm. Speakers will include dignitaries and local leaders. A portion of School Street in downtown Ukiah will be blocked off to create this community experience. Gather with others to raise funds for local scholarships granted by the Greater Ukiah Foundation for Commerce and Education. (Ed query: Dignitaries? Names!)

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Just sittin' here in the common room at Building Bridges homeless shelter in Ukiah, California, during the heat wave.  Tomorrow is the appointment with the optometrist who takes the insurance.  Beyond this, nothing except awaiting a subsidized apartment, having made the list.

1. Advaita Vedanta teaches that "the real you is not affected by anything at all".  

2. Contact me if you want to do anything of any importance on the planet earth.  

3. Rating postmodern Americanism from one to ten. you tell me: HOW STUPID IS THIS?  

Craig Louis Stehr,

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On Thursday, September 1, 2022 at 10:41 PM, a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for a vehicle code violation. The vehicle stopped on Meadowbrook Drive near Della Avenue in Willits.

The driver was contacted and identified as William Young, 34, of Willits. The Deputy conducted a records check on Young and was advised his driver's license was suspended and he was on formal probation with a term "obey all laws".

William Young

The Deputy further noticed Young was displaying signs and symptoms of being under the influence of a controlled substance. After some field testing, it was determined Young was under the influence.

Young was arrested for violation of his probation terms (1203.2 PC), driving while his license was suspended and being under the influence.

Young was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on a No Bail status due to the probation violation.



On Friday, September 2, 2022 at 12:35 AM the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a call of a physical assault in the 24000 block of Riffe Road in Covelo.

About an hour prior, the Sheriff's Office had received a call of a loud party in the same area possibly involving juveniles.

Deputies responded and contacted an adult female who was reportedly assaulted, Juan Davilla-Esquivel, 24, of Covelo, and a 17-year-old female.

Juan Davilla-Esquivel

Deputies learned Davilla-Esquivel and the adult female lived at the location and had children in common. Deputies learned Davilla-Esquivel had “pushed” the adult female in the face causing visible injury.

Deputies were advised Davilla-Esquivel was on Mendocno County Probation for a prior Domestic Violence related assault. Davilla-Esquivel was arrested for domestic violence battery and violation of probation.

While investigating the above incident, Deputies contacted an intoxicated 17-year-old female at the location. The 17-year-old female provided the Deputies with a false name, but when confronted she provided her correct name and date of birth.

Deputies learned Davilla-Esquivel was at the location; drinking and using controlled substance(s) with the 17-year-old female. The charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor was added to his arrest charges.

The juvenile female was arrested for providing a false name and was transported to the Mendocino County Juvenile Detention Facility.

Davilla-Esquivel was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $35,000 bail.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 6, 2022

Bean, Blanton, Bright

JASON BEAN, Gualala. Probation revocation.

FLASH BLANTON, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

KRISTIE BRIGHT, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

Cruz, Delgado, Garcia

JOSE CRUZ, Pittsberg (CA)/Ukiah. DUI, child endangerment.

CHRISTINA DELGADO, Fort Bragg. Elder abuse resulting in great bodily injury or death, battery with serious injury, resisting.

ERIC GARCIA, Redwood Valley. Under influence.

Hernandez, McElroy, Thompkins


TONY MCELROY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

GREGORY THOMPKINS, Ukiah. Battery, paraphernalia. (Frequent flyer.)

Vargas, Williams, Zarate

ROBERT VARGAS JR., Fort Bragg. Parole violation.

LEWIS WILLIAMS, Albion. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

MARIA ZARATE, Ukiah. Battery.

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DONORS MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME Pledging a Record $162,000 at Pure Mendocino

Mendocino County, CA — On August 27, 2022, after a two-year hiatus because of the COVID pandemic, generous donors made up for lost time by raising a record $162,000 at Pure Mendocino, the annual fundraising event for the Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County (CRCMC).

CRCMC is dedicated to assuring that no one in Mendocino County faces cancer alone. The non-profit organization provides cancer support services to patients and their families free of charge, including assistance with deciding which treatment is right for them, help for English speakers and Spanish speakers in navigating our complicated medical system, access to a lending library full of excellent resources, support groups, and more. CRCMC patient navigators help clients facing cancer prepare for medical appointments and if desired, will attend appointments to record information so clients can review it later. Every year, CRCMC supports more than 500 people facing cancer, often in partnership with local healthcare providers such as Adventist Health, as well as tertiary care centers such as UCSF.

At Pure Mendocino, guests celebrate health and a sense of community with a farm-to-table dinner prepared by Chef Olan Cox at Paul Dolan’s biodynamic Dark Horse Ranch on Old River Road. This year, as in years past, while guests shared a family-style meal of locally grown, organic food and wine, California senator (and avid CRCMC supporter) Mike McGuire passionately encouraged everyone to donate as much as they possibly could to support CRCMC’s mission. “If you’re not donating, you’re clapping,” he said as he ran around the dinner tables calling out donor paddle numbers. To the surprise and delight of many guests, a nationally recognized leader in regenerative winegrowing, Paul Dolan, kicked off the evening with a $20,000 donation. The whole place erupted in applause every time another guest raised their paddle to donate, whether the amount was big or small.

Given that Pure Mendocino proceeds account for 25 percent of the organization’s operating funds, CRCMC employees and their community partners were thrilled and grateful that CRCMC’s work will continue to be funded in a way that allows them to serve so many people.

CRCMC Executive Director Karen Oslund said, “I am incredibly grateful to all who attended, volunteered, and worked in so many ways to make this event possible. The funds we raise at Pure Mendocino literally keep the doors open and the lights on. Any grant funding we receive can only be used for specific purposes, but the funds we raise at Pure Mendocino can be used for essential operations, like making sure we have staff available to answer the phone when someone newly diagnosed with cancer gives us a call.”

This year’s event marked the end of an era in a couple of ways. Since 2005, the Dolan family has donated the venue for Pure Mendocino, a peaceful redwood grove on their beautiful ranch. Next year, the event will be held at another wonderful venue, Campovida in Hopland donated by Anna Beuselinck and Gary Breen.

The other big announcement was that Oslund will be retiring soon. She said, “It has been an honor to serve as executive director for the past six years. Every single day on this job, I am amazed this level of service exists in our rural county for anyone facing cancer, absolutely free of charge. I am ready for a quieter time in my life to pursue some creative projects and spend more time with friends and family. I know that the board will choose a wonderful successor who will carry on this work in the spirit of CRC’s rich history and deep community roots.”

CRCMC is accepting applications for its next executive director through September 15, 2022. For details, visit

CRCMC would like to recognize and thank its major sponsors and donors: Paul Dolan/Dark Horse Farming Co., Heath and Robin Dolan, Adventist Health, Dr. Don and Lynda Coursey, Dr. Jim Flaherty, Frey Vineyards, Glen Green/GlenMark Storage, LACO Associates, Mary Anne Landis and Howie Hawkes, MCHC Health Centers, North Coast Resource Management, Solid Waste of Willits, the Westport Hotel, Campovida, Emerald Sun, Fetzer Vineyards, and Savings Bank of Mendocino County.

If you missed the event, you can still donate by visiting or calling (707) 937-3833.

Learn more about the Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County at

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1966 Peace Fair

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Local Election Endorsements, Thursday, September 8, 2022 Club Meeting, 5:30 — 7:30 via Zoom - link is below

Welcome And Club Business

Candidate Presentations/ Q & A

5:45 — 6:45

Leadership Team (LT) has Recommended for Club Endorsement:

Healthcare District Board Candidates

4 Year Terms - Lee Finney, Susan Savage, Jade Tippett


2 year term -Paul Katzeff

Club members in good standing will vote on LT endorsement recommendations for HealthCare District Board

6:45 — 7:15

Democratic Club Members Running For City Council

2 year term —Lindy Peters

4 year terms — Jason Godeke, Mary Rose Kaczorowski,, Michelle Roberts, write-in Tess Albin-Smith

7:15 — 7:30

Hold the House Through California — postcard project - Lee Finney

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 820 1650 3047 – Passcode: 1mZFEz

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THE DEFEAT SB 396 COALITION, announced today that they defeated a PG&E-sponsored bill, SB 396, in the just-completed California State Legislative Session. SB 396 would have stripped property owners’ rights and worsened the devastation from PG&E’s excess vegetation removal, that County Boards of Supervisors and others have been complaining about for years.

PG&E is spending millions of dollars a year taking down trees outside of its Right of Way, purportedly to stop fires. But in the past five years SoCal Edison has been replacing bare wires with triple insulated wires, plus automatic circuit interrupters that can cut the power to a broken wire even before it hits the ground.

Nancy Macy, Chair of the Utility Wildfire Prevention Task Force, said, “All homeowners should realize their rights, since the PG&E bill lost, they now have a better chance to stop PG&E contractors from unnecessary tree falling outside the PG&E powerline right of way (usually ranges from 10 to 30 feet.) For more information: Everyone is urged to contact us at”

A growing number of counties are now protesting the damage. The counties’ concerns, such as those of Mendocino County, include the questionable removal of hundreds of thousands of trees (including healthy old-growth redwoods), the denuding of steep hillsides, impacts on streams and rivers, and the impacts on individual homeowners as well as on local and State Parks.

“I would suggest that PG&E do what SoCal Edison is doing, and protect us by replacing bare wires with triple insulated wires to drastically reduce wildfires and blackouts” said Jennifer Tanner of the Indivisible CA Green Team, a key leader of the coalition.

A key factor spelling doom for SB 396 was on August 16, 2022, when a PG&E representative told the Senate Energy Committee that the Forest Practice Rules (which are enforced by CalFire) do not apply to PG&E operations, meaning there would have been no oversight, no protection of the public, had SB 396 passed.

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Head Blacksmith Fred Dodge, Camp One, Big River, 1924

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THE US HAS A RULING CLASS — and Americans Must Stand Up to It

by Bernie Sanders

In the year 2022, three multibillionaires own more wealth than the bottom half of American society — 160 million Americans. This is unsustainable

Let’s be clear. The most important economic and political issues facing this country are the extraordinary levels of income and wealth inequality, the rapidly growing concentration of ownership, the long-term decline of the American middle class and the evolution of this country into oligarchy.

We know how important these issues are because our ruling class works overtime to prevent them from being seriously discussed. They are barely mentioned in the halls of Congress, where most members are dependent on the campaign contributions of the wealthy and their Super Pacs. They are not much discussed in the corporate media, in which a handful of conglomerates determine what we see, hear and discuss.

So what’s going on?

We now have more income and wealth inequality than at any time in the last hundred years. In the year 2022, three multibillionaires own more wealth than the bottom half of American society — 160 million Americans. Today, 45% of all new income goes to the top 1%, and CEOs of large corporations make a record-breaking 350 times what their workers earn.

Meanwhile, as the very rich become much richer, working families continue to struggle. Unbelievably, despite huge increases in worker productivity, wages (accounting for real inflation) are lower today than they were almost 50 years ago. When I was a kid growing up, most families were able to be supported by one breadwinner. Now an overwhelming majority of households need two paychecks to survive.

Today, half of our people live paycheck to paycheck and millions struggle on starvation wages. Despite a lifetime of work, half of older Americans have no savings and no idea how they will ever be able to retire with dignity, while 55% of seniors are trying to survive on an income of less than $25,000 a year.

Since 1975, there has been a massive redistribution of wealth in America that has gone in exactly the wrong direction. Over the past 47 years, according to the Rand Corporation, $50tn in wealth has been redistributed from the bottom 90% of American society to the top 1%, primarily because a growing percentage of corporate profits has been flowing into the stock portfolios of the wealthy and the powerful.

During this terrible pandemic, when thousands of essential workers died doing their jobs, some 700 billionaires in America became nearly $2tn richer. Today, while the working class falls further behind, multibillionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson are off taking joyrides on rocket ships to outer space, buying $500m super-yachts and living in mansions with 25 bathrooms.

Disgracefully, we now have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any developed nation on Earth and millions of kids, disproportionately Black and brown, face food insecurity. While psychologists tell us that the first four years are the most important for human development, our childcare system is largely dysfunctional — with an inadequate number of slots, outrageously high costs and pathetically low wages for staff. We remain the only major country without paid family and medical leave.

In terms of higher education, we should remember that 50 years ago tuition was free or virtually free in major public universities throughout the country. Today, higher education is unaffordable for millions of young people. There are now some 45 million Americans struggling with student debt.

Today over 70 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured and millions more are finding it hard to pay for the rising cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, which are more expensive here than anywhere else in the world. The cost of housing is also soaring. Not only are some 600,000 Americans homeless, but nearly 18m households are spending 50% or more of their limited incomes on housing.

It’s not just income and wealth inequality that is plaguing our nation. It is the maldistribution of economic and political power.

Today we have more concentration of ownership than at any time in the modern history of this country. In sector after sector a handful of giant corporations control what is produced and how much we pay for it. Unbelievably, just three Wall Street firms (Blackrock, Vanguard and State Street) control assets of over $20tn and are the major stockholders in 96% of S&P 500 companies. In terms of media, some eight multinational media conglomerates control what we see, hear and read.

In terms of political power, the situation is the same. A small number of billionaires and CEOs, through their Super Pacs, dark money and campaign contributions, play a huge role in determining who gets elected and who gets defeated. There are now an increasing number of campaigns in which Super Pacs actually spend more money on campaigns than the candidates, who become the puppets to their big money puppeteers. In the 2022 Democratic primaries, billionaires spent tens of millions trying to defeat progressive candidates who were standing up for working families.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was right when he said: “We must recognize that we can’t solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power” in America. That statement is even more true today.

Let us have the courage to stand together and fight back against corporate greed. Let us fight back against massive income and wealth inequality. Let us fight back against a corrupt political system.

Let us stand together and finally create an economy and a government that works for all, not just the 1%.

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Environmental and labor organizers reflect on hard-won lessons…

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Mendocino Shipping Point, 1948

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The United Nations' nuclear watchdog is calling for a safety zone around the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine to prevent a nuclear disaster, saying in a report released Tuesday that it remained "gravely concerned" about the situation following its mission to the site last week. 

A powerful explosion in the Ukrainian city of Enerhodar — which is adjacent to the Zaporizhzhia plant — has cut water and electricity supplies, according to the city's mayor. 

Ukraine's military claimed it repelledseveral Russian offensives in the eastern Donetsk region, according to a Tuesday update, while also destroying targets in that region and along the southern front.

Russia is in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use on the battlefield in Ukraine, a US official told CNN.


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In Ukraine, several important developments (it seems to me)

No more electricity is flowing from the Z nuclear plant, the largest in Europe. Apparently all 6 reactors have been shut down … due to what? It’s hard to tell, there are so many conflicting stories. Artillery shells are falling around the facility and it only a matter of time before one strikes a reactor with a direct hit, which would be catastrophic.

Also, it appears Nordstream 1, the main pipeline bringing natgas from northwest Russia into central Europe, has been disabled by Russia, “until sanctions are lifted” IOW, for a long time, maybe forever.

None of this news bodes well for central & western Europe, specially as winter approaches. Wars get nastier the longer they continue, which is what happened in the American Civil War and both World Wars. The gloves come off. For example, I can see in Ukraine … all of the pipeline infrastructure demolished, and the Z nuclear power plant leveled.

The German army uses a human shield. The inscription on the back of the picture: “Russian women are ahead to detect mines. Partisan hunting. Vitebsk, in June 1942."

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by Caitlin Johnstone

Neocon erotica publication The Atlantic has a new article out titled "The Rise of the Liberal Hawks" which is infuriating as much for its sycophantic empire apologia as it is for the fact that much in it is entirely correct.

"Progressives typically see war as inherently murderous and dehumanizing — sapping progress, curtailing free expression, and channeling resources into the 'military-industrial complex,'” sneers the article's author, Dominic Tierney. "The left led the opposition to the Vietnam War and the Iraq War and condemned American war crimes from the My Lai massacre to Abu Ghraib. Historically, progressive critics have charged the military with a litany of sins, including discrimination against LGBTQ soldiers and a reliance on recruiting in poor communities."

"Then came Russia's invasion of Ukraine," writes Tierney. "No foreign conflict since the Spanish Civil War has so captured the imagination of the left."

"Russian President Vladimir Putin is the antithesis of everything the left stands for," Tierney adds. "Not only did he launch an unprovoked attack on a sovereign democratic nation, but he has also disparaged LGBTQ rights, multiculturalism, and immigration, and claimed that 'the liberal idea' has 'outlived its purpose.' Zelensky, in contrast, has built bridges with the global left. He addressed the Glastonbury music festival, in the U.K., where the revelers chanted his name to the tune of The White Stripes’ 'Seven Nation Army.' In Germany, the Green Party led the charge to supply weapons to Kyiv, overturning decades of German wariness about intervening in foreign wars. LGBTQ protesters in Berlin also demanded that Germany step up arms shipments to Ukraine, so that a Pride parade can, one day, be held in the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol. Ukrainian liberals—artists, translators, teachers, filmmakers—have joined the struggle. As one writer put it: 'All our hipsters in Ukraine fight.'"

Tierney concedes that "there’s a leftist fringe in the United States that still considers America the world’s evil empire and remains deeply hostile to its military power," but says "the bulk of the left has shown remarkable solidarity with the Ukrainian cause."

"Liberals who once protested the Iraq War now urge Washington to dispatch more rocket launchers to defeat Russian imperialism," Tierney says. "Representative Jamaal Bowman of New York, a member of the progressive caucus, tweeted: 'We unequivocally stand with the global Ukrainian community in the wake of Putin’s attack.'"

Again, what makes Tierney's triumphant militarist smut so annoying isn't how he's wrong, it's how he's right. You can take issue all you like with his use of the word "left" to describe liberal supporters of capitalism and empire who just want the empire to be a bit less embarrassing and maybe forgive their student loans, but that's the fault of the generations of psyops that have gone into sabotaging the left and destroying its memory, not Tierney's. What he is saying about liberals who once protested the Iraq invasion now supporting US proxy warfare in Ukraine is broadly true, including throughout the Bernie Sanders/AOC "progressive" wing of the Democratic Party.

It's just a fact that in 2022, liberals are gaga for US interventionism. Because this war can be (falsely) marketed as an "unprovoked" invasion by evil Bad Guys fighting against the virtuous Good Guys of the US/NATO/Ukraine partnership, and because it's not our sons and daughters getting thrown into the gears of war, people who would normally be more skeptical of militarism and interventionism have indeed jumped aboard the proxy war train.

This war has in that sense become the Gulf War of the 2020s: a "good war" that rehabilitates the image of US interventionism for a war-weary public. Just as the 1990 Gulf War was used to get Americans over what warmongers called "Vietnam syndrome" — a healthy aversion to interventionism following the horrific disaster of the Vietnam War — the war in Ukraine is being used to wear down the public's collective immune response to interventionism built up after the 2003 Iraq invasion.

"It's a proud day for America, and by God, we've kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all," the elder President Bush said after winning his war/propaganda operation in the Middle East.

Of course, we all remember what happened after that, don't we? A decade later came 9/11, and a public now re-warmed to the idea of beneficent military interventionism overwhelmingly consented to two full-scale ground invasions of two separate nations on the promise of swift victory where the troops will be greeted as liberators. What followed was some six million deaths — roughly two thousand times the number killed on 9/11 — while trillions of dollars were siphoned from the American public to the war industry amid an unprecedented new era of military expansionism.

The public has again been won back over to the idea of military interventionism, using an unprecedented narrative management push which saw coverage of the foreign war in Ukraine eclipse even wars the US has directly participated in. They used different tactics and different narratives, as they always do, but the end result in the 2020s is the same as it was in the 1990s.

And now the public is enthused about foreign interventionism once again, and we get to just wait and see what happens after the empire architects give us our next 9/11.


* * *

Loggers with Small Train, 1901

* * *

MEMBERS OF THE RED NECK ARMY of West Virginia coal miners and their supporters surrendered their weapons to the U.S. Army in September 1921 after the largest armed labor uprising in American history. While the battle stayed alive in miners’ families, the stories being “passed down around kitchen tables and on front porches,” it has largely been forgotten in collective memory, writes Kenzie New Walker. 

Photo Provided by the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, Collection of Kenneth King

For most people, the memory of the largest armed labor uprising in American history is unknown, buried beneath the dirt of West Virginia’s Blair Mountain. In coal miners’ families, the stories stayed alive, passed down around kitchen tables and on front porches. But until the 21st century, there were no monuments, museums or markers of the West Virginia mine wars, a seminal American story of how labor unions came to be.

In late August 1921, some 15,000 mine workers and allies banded together across racial, gender, religious and ethnic lines and marched south from the town of Marmet, W.Va. They were determined to free jailed miners who, for decades, had been trying to unionize the southern West Virginia coalfields. Some marchers dressed in military uniforms — many were World War I veterans — while others wore blue-jean overalls. All tied red bandanas around their necks. Known as the “Red Neck Army,” they were highly organized and armed to the teeth.

* * *

Leaving Burning Man

* * *


by Patrick Cockburn

President Vladimir Putin made a carefully calculated response to the death of Mikhail Gorbachev. He went to the hospital where the former Soviet leader died, placed red roses beside his coffin, and stood for a few minutes in silence before departing. His office explained that “regrettably, the president’s working schedule would not allow him” to attend Gorbachev’s funeral in Moscow on Saturday.

Instead, Putin traveled to the isolated Russian territory of Kaliningrad on the Baltic to reiterate his determination to wage a successful war in Ukraine. He described it as “an anti-Russian enclave” created by foreign powers that “is threatening our country.”

In other words, Putin is doubling down on winning a war that is proving as risky for the Russian state as the radical changes introduced by Gorbachev during his years in power between 1985 and 1991. Unsurprisingly, Putin wants to avoid any close association with a man who presided over the dissolution of the USSR and failed utterly in his ambition to modernise the Communist party and the Soviet state.

A long war he cannot win or end

But Putin’s failure may be as momentous as Gorbachev’s because he appears to have locked himself into fighting a long war which he can neither win nor end. Caution is essential here because the outcome of any war depends on numerous wild cards of uncertain value that have yet to be played.

Putin is not alone in his inability to know what to do next: Liz Truss, the likely next prime minister of the UK, has had nothing much to contribute – except a bit of jingoistic bombast – about the greatest military conflict of our age that has helped provoke a devastating cost of living crisis. But her fellow EU foreign ministers have not done much better, deciding this week to end partially a deal with Russia on visas for Russian holiday makers and shoppers.

But the great loser in this war so far is Russia. Putin thought he could win it in a few days because the Ukrainians would not fight. His wishful thinking was bolstered by an opinion poll shown to him by the FSB intelligence showing that only a minority of Ukrainians – though a large one – were prepared to resist a Russian attack. He accepted this wishful thinking because it was in tune with his own over-optimistic views. Invading with far too few ground troops, Putin has never since been able to build up the superior forces that military handbooks assert are essential to invade and occupy a country successfully.

Inflated reputations

Like Gorbachev, Putin has always had something of an inflated reputation. Gorbachev was lauded abroad mainly because he admitted defeat in the Cold War, but he was never hugely popular at home. But Putin’s claim to be a tough authoritarian leader who had ended the chaos of post-Soviet Russia under Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s was largely accepted by Russians and foreigners alike, even if the latter made disapproving noises about the suppression of free speech and periodic state gangsterism.

In reality, Gorbachev and Putin both owed their rise to supreme power through their skill in bureaucratic maneuvering within the ruling elite. This is less condemnatory than it sounds because there was no other ladder available for an ambitious official to climb. It would not be fair to put Gorbachev, a decent man with strong democratic instincts, on the same level as an arrogant secret policeman like Putin, but both men were considerably less able and experienced than was widely believed.

Once in the Kremlin – inheriting the dictatorial traditions of Tsardom and Communism – Gorbachev and Putin saw the world as they wanted it to be. Gorbachev persuaded himself that a militarised Communist party holding a monopoly of power and built to wage a ferocious class struggle, could be converted to democratic socialism with free elections and freedom of expression. This belief was naïve, but Gorbachev was not alone in holding it since several “Eurocommunist” parties in Western Europe in the 1970s and 1980s held similar self-deceiving beliefs. But Communist parties, as designed by Lenin, were organised and commanded like a war machine, and could not operate on any other basis.

Putin brought order to licensed criminality

Putin has always aped what he sees as Communist ruthless determination to achieve their ends regardless of costs. But he himself is very much the product of the predatory years of Boris Yeltsin, when oligarchs and former members of the Soviet elite were founding great fortunes by plundering state assets. Putin brought order to this licensed criminality, but he did not end or reverse it – and is now paying a price for this institutional dysfunctionality in Ukraine.

One reason for this failure is chronic corruption within the military machine, rotting its capacity to fight. This is something that Putin should know a lot about, according to Farida Rustamova in an article in her Faridaily newsletter, entitled “How Putin pumped money into Russia’s army for two decades, and what became of it”. This explains much about the Russian military machine’s incompetent performance at the beginning of the Ukraine war.

Putin himself was put in charge by Yeltsin of an attempt in 1997 to stop corruption in the Defence Ministry, according to Rustamova. She quotes him as telling a journalist at the time that “The corrupt generalship itself is not capable of fighting corruption. Therefore, it is clear that the Defense Ministry itself cannot be reformed.” This turns out to be all too true.

A liking for expensive high tech weapons

Putin’s association with the Russian military left him with a liking for expensive high tech weapons and an exaggerated idea of their military usefulness. On becoming president in 2000, much effort went into burnishing the new leader’s militarised image and keeping him a safe distance from responsibility for the decay of the Russian armed forces. I was in Moscow in the summer of 2000 when the nuclear submarine Kursk sank to the bottom of the Barents Sea, killing its entire 118-strong crew. Foreign specialists had to be brought in to deal with the wreck. Putin stayed on holiday in Sochi on the Black Sea and, when asked on television what had happened to the submarine, he simply said: “it sank.”

Two decades later, nothing much had changed for the better when Putin gave the order for his army to invade Ukraine on 24 February. For all the money it had received under his rule, Russian forces behaved like an ill-officered rabble. They not only failed to achieve their objectives, such as capturing Kyiv and Kharkiv, but their failure ended myths about Russian military might that stretched back to the defeat of Hitler in 1945.

Like any dictator, Putin is dealing with defeat of his aims in Ukraine by denying it has taken place and by telling the Russian public that he is rescuing Russian speaking Ukrainians from neo-Nazi genocide. As for his claim to have rebuilt Russia as a powerful modern state, it has sunk like the Kursk with no hope of re-floating it.

Further Thoughts

Economic sanctions on Russia are turning out to be the mother of all boomerangs for Western Europe. Economically, they are proving counter-productive because they raise the price of oil, gas and other commodities, thereby contributing to the rise in the cost of living worldwide. The Russian economy will be damaged, but this does not pose an existential danger to the regime, nor is it likely modify its behaviour.

Financial and economic sanctions now being deployed against Russia are in the nature of a collective punishment of all Russians, be they pro or anti-Putin. Members of the ruling elite may not be able to holiday or shop in New York, London or Paris, but these are petty inconveniences, their very pettiness projecting weakness rather than strength.

In the latest instalment of sanctions, EU foreign ministers have agreed to suspend a deal with Moscow on visas for Russian holiday makers and shoppers, but who is this going to hurt? It will certainly make it easier for the Kremlin to persuade ordinary Russians that they are the victims of Western Russophobia.

The problem with sanctions – economic warfare – is that it is like military warfare: you never know about the existence or direction of the boomerang effect until it is too late. This point is well made in an interview with Stephen Kotkin, professor of Russian history, with Bloomberg. Speaking just before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he says that “what happens for the most part with economic sanctions is that the local people, the civilians, pay the price. The regime doesn’t pay the price…the sanctions make you feel better that you are doing something.”

Beneath the Radar

It’s gratifying to see President Trump at risk of becoming the target of the same Espionage Act of 1917 used by his administration against Julian Assange in order to deport him from the UK to US, as highlighted by The Intercept.

* * *

Death Listens (1897) by Hugo Simberg


  1. peter boudoures September 7, 2022

    California honeysuckle

  2. Alethea Patton September 7, 2022

    The vine in the photo is California Hairy Honeysuckle – Lonicera hispidula.

  3. George Hollister September 7, 2022

    Patrick Cockburn is right about Russian corruption, but Soviet Russia was corrupt as well, as all large, and some not so large, central government oriented world powers are. And, yes, Putin is making a big mistake in Ukraine. He is demonstrating Russia’s weakness to China, at a time when all that Russia has is all that China needs, Russian resources. Putin is changing the geopolitical map in an unpredictable way, as war has a tendency to do, and not necessarily in Russia’s long term interest, but in the long term interest of China.

      • George Hollister September 7, 2022

        I didn’t know that either. Honeysuckle can be a problem with young conifer saplings when they grow, and wind up the main stem of the young tree. The result often is that as the tree grows, the honeysuckle gets embedded in its trunk causing permanent scars, and deformities. Honeysuckle vines are incredibly strong, and well rooted.

      • Elaine Kalantarian September 7, 2022

        Nice native plant resource — didn’t know there were so many native varieties either, plus I see the trumpet honeysuckle is listed here as a native to California.

  4. Kathy Janes September 7, 2022

    The photo of the Burning Man exodus reminded me of the lemming cartoon from the other day. No sign of flotation devices but one vehicle seems to be trying to switch lanes.

  5. Bruce McEwen September 7, 2022

    Taking the hint from Patrick Cockburn’s favorite novels, and having seen that all the CounterPunchers listed theirs, I decided to list mine and encourage others to do so too.

    Gulliver’s Teavels by Jonathan Swift
    Reynard The Fox by Johann Wolfgang von Gothe
    Quinten Durwood by Sir Walter Scott
    H.M.S. Surprise by Patrick O’Brien
    Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
    Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault
    Grendel by John Gardner
    Heavy Weather by P.G. Wodehouse
    The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck
    Siddartha by Herman Hesse

  6. John Sakowicz September 7, 2022

    TEN OF MY TOP 100
    The Tin Drum by Günter Grass
    The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth
    The Lime Twig by John Hawkes
    Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
    Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle by Vladimir Nabokov
    V. by Thomas Pynchon
    The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
    Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
    The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
    Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins

    • Randy September 7, 2022

      Lord alfred Tennyson s crossing the bar as sung by rani arbo. YouTube it.

  7. Bob A. September 7, 2022

    In no particular order:

    Tom Jones, The History of a Foundling, Henry Fielding
    A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Tool
    The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
    Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
    Dahlgren, Samuel R. Delany
    A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
    The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Yukio Mishima
    The Glass Bead Game, Hermann Hesse
    The Trial, Franz Kafka
    Roughing It, Mark Twain

  8. Marmon September 7, 2022

    “I decided to list mine and encourage others to do so too.”


    Oh Jesus H Christ, first Honeysuckles and now this! Come on you guys, come alive!


    • Marmon September 8, 2022

      Here’s mine

      Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
      Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
      The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
      The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
      The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson
      Charlie And The Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
      Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
      Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
      The BFG – Roald Dahl
      The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe – CS Lewis


  9. Stephen Rosenthal September 7, 2022

    Some are more non-fiction than fiction, but nevertheless great stories. Not in any order.

    Travels with Charley – John Steinbeck
    The Innocents Abroad – Mark Twain
    Desert Solitaire – Edward Abbey
    Der Richter und Sein Henker (The Judge and His Hangman)/Der Verdacht (The Quarry) – Friedrich Durrenmatt
    Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
    Deep Water – Patricia Highsmith
    Main Street – Sinclair Lewis
    Beautiful Joe – Marshall Saunders
    The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test – Tom Wolfe
    Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail – Hunter S. Thompson

    Special non-fiction mention (A terrific book): The Soul of a Tree: A Woodworker’s Reflection – George Nakashima

  10. Mike Kalantarian September 7, 2022

    Many books have deeply impressed me over the years, but sometimes when I go back and reread them I realize I’ve changed and what worked for me back then doesn’t always work for me now…so here’s my list of favorite recent reads:

    Silent Spring, Rachel Carson
    The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
    Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass
    Typee, Herman Melville
    Magicians of the Gods, Graham Hancock
    Learn to Timber Frame, Will Beemer
    Walking with the Comrades, Arundhati Roy
    The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X and Alex Haley
    America: The Farewell Tour, Chris Hedges
    The Happy Isles of Oceania, Paul Theroux
    The Master and His Emissary, Iain McGilchrist

  11. Elaine Kalantarian September 7, 2022

    These books all struck a deep chord, some also blew my mind as well, reading them changed me.

    Howard’s End – E.M. Forster
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson
    A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
    Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
    Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
    Song of Solomon – Toni Morrison
    A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
    Four Quartets – T.S. Eliot
    The Accidental Tourist – Anne Tyler
    War Talk – Arundhati Roy
    The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra
    The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World – Iain McGilchrist

  12. Debra Keipp September 7, 2022

    This is the “Child Protective Services” link to report your concerns that Sargent Murray will be allowed to live in the same home as four minor children, upon skating on charges of:
    possession of meth, thievery, serial rape of several women, battery of a homeless/mentally ill man (case already settled for oodles of $). Source: Anderson Valley Advertiser.

    • Bruce Anderson September 8, 2022

      The assault vic was not mentally ill and not homeless.

  13. John Sakowicz September 7, 2022

    “The reader! You, dogged, uninsultable, print-oriented bastard, it’s you I’m addressing, who else, from inside this monstrous fiction. You’ve read me this far, then? Even this far? For what discreditable motive? How is it you don’t go to a movie, watch TV, stare at a wall, play tennis with a friend, make amorous advances to the person who comes to your mind when I speak of amorous advances? Can nothing surfeit, saturate you, turn you off? Where’s your shame?”
    ― John Barth, Lost in the Funhouse

  14. Alethea Patton September 8, 2022

    Some of my favorites:

    East of Eden John Steinbeck
    Orlando Virginia Woolf
    Big Rock Candy Mountain Wallace Stegner
    Angle of Repose Wallace Stegner
    The God of Small Things Arundhati Roy
    The Parable of the Sower Octavia Butler
    Native Son Richard Wright
    Shalimar the Clown Salman Rushdie
    The Enchantress of Florence Salman Rushdie
    Tess of the D’Ubervilles Thomas Hardy (Actually all of Hardy’s books)
    The Lost Girl DH Lawrence
    Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad

    • Alethea Patton September 8, 2022

      Crime & Punishment by Fiodor Dostoyevski
      Empire City Paul Goodman
      Olive Kitteridge Elizabeth Strout

  15. Chuck Wilcher September 8, 2022

    A few of my favorites:

    Life on the Mississippi, Twain
    American Notes for General Circulation, Dickens
    The Domestic Manners of the Americans, Trollope,
    That Dark and Bloody River, Eckert
    Dancing Wuli Masters, Zukav
    The Letters of Wanda Tinasky, Factor 😀
    The Lost Continent, Bryson,
    Letters From the Earth, Twain
    The End of Faith, Harris
    The Hobbit, Tolkien
    Snowcrash, Stephenson

  16. Debra Keipp September 8, 2022

    Remember Hoyle?
    Hoyle was harvesting pot in a canyon off Ornbaun Rd. in Boonville about 7-10 years ago. He had such a weighted load on the helicopter line, that part of it fell off in my horse pasture, freaking out my horses, who broke through the fence to get away from stuff falling from the sky! Then his crew took all the pot and put it in a grinder at the airport, right next door to the tennis courts at the High School. As the crew tried to deposit the chipped pot in a wagon attached to chipper, the wind blew all the chipped pot over to the High School. Hardly any of the pot made it into the wagon. Hoyle, the Leslie Nielsen of law enforcement.

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