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Mendocino County Today: Friday, Sept. 9, 2022

Another Hot | Mendo Moon | Cooling Centers | Food Distribution | Pond Remediation | Coast Hub | 1900 Graduates | Waste Management | Afterglow | Logging Blocked | William McCornack | Infant Death | Bankers Row | Murray Suspected | Geysers | County Workers | Miss Merna | Tire Disposal | Mill Flat | Weed Mapping | F&G Meeting | Thomas Dollard | Ed Notes | Percolator | More Books | Lauren Dennen | Fire Towers | Maggie MacBeth | Healthcare Racket | Having Twins | Hot Grapes | Feldmans | Undergrounding PG&E | Yesterday's Catch | Neologisms | Malaysia Thunderstorm | Delta Tunnel | Do Not Touch | Stop Trump | Elizabeth Windsor | Ukraine | Foreign Influence | Leonard Interview | Various Feet | Look Closer | Benched

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COASTAL AREAS will continue to see fair weather and near normal temperatures. Inland areas will see one more unseasonably hot afternoon...but a significant cooling trend will occur this weekend with below normal temperatures likely next week. (NWS)

YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Ukiah 109°, Yorkville 107°, Covelo 106°, Boonville 106°, Fort Bragg 66°

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Mendocino Moon (photo by Morgan Somebody)

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PUBLIC HEALTH HAS ISSUED AN EXTREME HEAT ALERT for interior Mendocino County due to extremely high forecasted daytime temperatures. The heat alert is expected to end at 8 PM on Friday, Sept. 9.

Partners across the county have opened cooling centers where people can escape the heat this week. Hours will be extended if rolling power outages occur:

  • Ukiah Civic Center: Open Mon-Fri from 8 AM – 8 PM (300 Seminary Ave)
  • Willits City Hall: Open Tues-Thurs from 9 AM - 5:30 PM (111 E Commercial St)
  • Potter Valley Community Center: Open Tues-Wed from 12 PM – 6 PM (10175 Main St)
  • Yuki Trails (Covelo): Open Tues-Thurs from 11 AM – 7 PM (23000 Henderson Rd)
  • Round Valley Family Resource Center: Open Tues-Thurs from 9 AM – 5 PM (76471 Henderson Rd)
  • Round Valley Indian Health Center: Open Tues & Thurs from 1 PM – 7 PM (24065 Biggar Ln)

Excessive heat poses a real health risk, particularly to those who work outdoors, the elderly, young children, pregnant women and those with chronic diseases. Mendocino County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Charlie Evans is urging residents to make a plan to stay cool and look out for friends and neighbors:

“Keep in close contact with family, friends and neighbors, especially those who have preexisting medical conditions or work outdoors. It’s important to remind one another to seek shade, drink water and get medical assistance if signs of heat fatigue become visible.”

To protect yourself and your family when the weather is very hot, follow the tips below:

  • Never leave anyone including children or pets in a parked car, even briefly.
  • Don’t work outdoors alone.
  • Consider working a flex schedule to avoid the hottest time of day, 12-6 PM.
  • Use air-conditioning to cool down or go to an air-conditioned building.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid alcohol and caffeine.

Public Health will continue to monitor the situation and give updates as needed. You can also reach the Public Health Call Center at 707-472-2759, Mon - Fri, 8:30 AM - 5 PM.

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FORT BRAGG City Council to Discuss Mill Pond Remediation on 9/12/2022

Environmental Review of Mill Pond Remediation Project

The Fort Bragg City Council will consider approval of a Request for Proposals to conduct environmental review of the Mill Pond Remediation Project at its meeting of September 12, 2022. To review the staff report and attachments, please click on the following link and scroll to Item 8A: City Council Agenda 9/12/2022

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JUDY VALADAO comments on the Major’s remark yesterday about the interminable delays likely to be encountered with anything proposed for Fort Bragg’s old GP mill site:

“Fort Bragg is the hub for most services on the coast from Gualala to Rockport. How is it possible to supply services/grocery shopping/medical without growth? Next time the power is out or there is an emergency such as fires take a look around at the empty shelves in the grocery stores, the long lines (that actually are blocks long) no rooms available at motels and Parks are filled up. Add on top of that a little person slithering around trying to shut down one of very attractions that bring income into our businesses. Ukiah has grown over the years in order to serve all those depending on services from the outlying areas. Fort Bragg will have to do the same in order to serve everyone. Without growth Fort Bragg will continue on a downhill slide. New businesses, jobs and housing are badly needed in Fort Bragg and if the Mill property/Train can supply that. More power to them.”

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Mendocino High School Graduation Photo, 1900

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WASTE MANAGEMENT TO RESUME COLLECTION OF CONTAINERS

Waste Management resumed collection of containers from previous customers who they no longer served on September 7, 2022, and will continue through Wednesday, September 14, 2022. Residents of County Solid Waste Collection Area No. 2 (which includes unincorporated areas of Ukiah, Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, Hopland, Yorkville, Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Little River, Albion, Comptche and surrounding areas), who were previously served by Waste Management but are now served by Redwood Waste Solutions, may place their old Waste Management containers out for collection according to the following schedule: Inland areas will be collected between September 7th and September 11th. Coastal areas will be collected between September 10th and September 14th. Please leave your containers out for collection during those days.

During this time, please do not drop off containers at Waste Management locations. The best way to ensure pickup of the containers is to place them in a visible and accessible location near the road or previous service location. Please do not impede traffic with containers or leave them on private property; Waste Management and their contractor will not be able to enter private property to collect containers. Residents may call the Department of Transportation this week at (707) 463-4363 to report locations of uncollected containers to ensure they are not missed. Also, if collection of your containers will require special access, please call to discuss arrangements for access. 

This news release only applies to select areas or addresses where Waste Management containers remain uncollected. Most containers were already collected during July and August. 

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Afterglow (photo by “KB”)

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ACTIVISTS BLOCK LOGGING ACTIVITIES in Jackson State Forest Call on Board of Forestry to Reinstate Pause

At dawn today forest protectors nonviolently blocked loggers from entering the highly contested timber harvest plan (THP) known as Red Tail, halting logging activities in Jackson State Demonstration Forest (JDSF) 6 miles east of Ft. Bragg near the popular Camp One campground. Activists said they are issuing an “Earth First! Stop Work Order” to replace the “pause” CalFire had agreed to during recent on-going talks but appears to have abruptly jettisoned.…

mendofever.com/2022/09/08/activists-block-logging-activities-in-jackson-state-forest-call-on-board-of-forestry-to-reinstate-pause/

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Dr. William McCornack, 1881

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PUBLIC NOTICE: AN INFANT IN MENDOCINO COUNTY RECENTLY PASSED AWAY with COVID-19. Our heartfelt condolences are with the family.

Death #135: Infant not eligible for vaccination.

Mendocino County Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren stated: “COVID-19 has become one of the top 3 leading causes of death in California over the last year. It affects people of all ages as we see with this tragedy and there has been an increase in children testing positive over the summer. “

“We do have the tools to decrease the risk of a bad infection. Getting a free vaccine/booster, as well as masking and social distancing in crowded areas, are still the best ways to prevent infections. As an Emergency Dept. doctor, I treat people with COVID every day. As soon as the updated booster is available, I’ll be first in line,” explained Dr. Charlie Evans, longtime ED doctor and Deputy Public Health Officer. “We want to protect as many people as possible.”

If you have questions about vaccines or boosters, speak with your doctor, or call Public Health at 707-472-2759. Vaccines are available in most pharmacies, primary health care offices and Public Health. To find the nearest vaccine clinic in your area, please visit the Public Health website at: www.mendocinocounty.org/covidvaccine

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Bankers Row, Mendocino, 1900

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MURRAY

Report of suspected abuse of children living in the home of disgraced Ukiah Police Sargent Murray.

To: "ChildSupport@lakecountyca.gov" 

I would like to report suspected child abuse of four minor children living in the home of Kevin Murray, disgraced Ukiah Police Sargent guilty of violent crimes inflicted on multiple levels while working behind his badge. It is a crime that Murray is allowed to return to his home where four minor children live, when two of his children are female, and Murray is guilty of multiple violent crimes against women: serial rapes of women, possession of meth at work, thievery of a woman's billfold in a store in Lake County, violent attack of a mentally ill homeless man who was paid thousands of dollars in a lawsuit against Murray. Reportedly, Kevin Murray has gone to therapy for being a sex addict, and it didn't work. He's been released to return to his home where his minor children live. The public is outraged and not going to let this travesty of justice persist. Kevin Murray is guilty of all the crimes mentioned and it is therefore not healthy for Murray to live in the home with his minor children. Currently, this case botched by the Mendocino County District Attorney's office is being turned over to the U.S. Attny General's office for investigation in this regard. The public is outraged. The public will not let this bogus decision by Judge Moorman, D.A.'s office (Eyster and Heidi), prosecution and defense attorneys sit in this violent case of a public official's offenses against women. 

— Debra Keipp <debrakeipp@yahoo.com>

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(via Betsy Cawn)

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DON CRUSER downsizes his umbrage at TWK'S broad-brush swipe at County employees, of which TWK was once one: 

I admit that I did over react and felt a little bad about it. On the other hand, even if he is trying to be funny when he is putting down county employees during a labor action he is taking sides and that is an opinion. You might have noticed that he failed to make any jokes about Carmel and her $360,000/yr salary. I have had many interactions with county employees and have always found them to be capable and conscientious about doing their job and meeting my needs. One thing that is happening in the county is in order to save money they are not filling vacant positions which means the employees left have to do more for less. My brother-in-law has just retired from the County Road Crew. He has been in charge of the Point Arena area and hasn’t had a full crew for years. Right now the point Arena yard is being shut down and the Boonville yard will cover the south coast. More for less. For what it is worth my brother-in-law was nearly killed on the job on two occasions. Once when he was called out in the middle of the night to monitor the roads during one of those big windy storms. A big cypress tree blew over, clipping the back of his truck. A half a second difference in position and the truck would have been crushed. Another time he was flagging for road work here on my own Little River Airport Road. While standing behind his truck with its flashing light and holding a stop sign some old guy comes up the road about 40 mph, sees nothing, and smashes into the back of the truck. My brother-in-law dove to get out of the way and his foot was clipped by the oncoming vehicle. The closeness of getting crushed between the two vehicles haunted him for several months. These county workers deserve a living wage and don’t need some crackpot from Cleveland making fun of them when they ask for it. Thanks for allowing me to expand on the situation.

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Miss Merna with a Stick, 1921

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FREE TIRE DISPOSAL EVENT SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 22, 2022 

Got unwanted or scrapped tires laying around? The City of Fort Bragg has teamed up once again with Conservation Corps North Bay to hold a FREE one-day tire disposal event! This event will be held in the City Hall parking lot at 416 N. Franklin Street on Saturday, October 22, 2022 from 9:00 am until 3:30 pm. Be advised, this event may close sooner if the tire storage trailer reaches capacity. 

Acceptable tires include: up to 48” diameter size limit, rims okay, residential tires only, no bicycle tires, and no insect-infested tires will be accepted. Please remove any excess dirt or debris from tires. There is a limit of up to nine (9) tires per vehicle, and only the items listed above will be accepted. 

This event is provided through a grant from CalRecycle and managed by Conservation Corps North Bay. 

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The Mendocino Lumber Mill on Big River Flat

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MENDOCINO COUNTY SHOULD KNOW WHERE ILLEGAL CANNABIS GROWS ARE, that are buying water. The LA Times knows.

By 2013, illegal cannabis grows were such a destructive environmental force in California that state water regulators decided it time to go beyond their complaint-driven, piecemeal approach at enforcement.…

news.yahoo.com/nobody-knows-widespread-illegal-cannabis-120040029.html

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MENDOCINO COUNTY FISH & GAME COMMISSION

Regular Meeting

Date & Time: Tuesday, September 13, 2022 at 6:00pm

Location: Ag Commissioners Conference Room and Via Zoom

860 North Bush Street, Ukiah, CA 95482

mendocinocounty.org/government/planning-building-services/fish-game

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Shot and Killed by Outlaws, Big River Woods, 1879

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ED NOTES

I'VE ENJOYED the lists of memorable books submitted by AVA readers who, as we will all agree, are highly literate and muy sophistico. From the submissions, it's clear us Americanos are pretty much on the same page, although there were quite a few authors and books I hadn't heard of, and a couple I regret leaving off my list — Norman Mailer's Executioner's Song and John Updike's Rabbit books, listed by Matt Lafever as among his faves. Mine, too. Mailer's The Armies of the Night and Oswald's Tale are especially memorable, as are his essays like The White Negro which, in these fervidly censorious times would be certain to be condemned by the illiberal liberals. (cf BIPOC, Fort Bragg branch) 

AND I WAS SURPRISED and delighted at reader Nathan Duffy's inclusion of the book by the great prison reformer and long-time warden at San Quentin, Clinton Duffy. As a native of Marin, I remember when Duffy was warden and remember two neighbors, Joe Weiss, who worked at the prison and eventually rose in the state's prison bureaucracy, and another neighbor, a man named Barker, a rather frightening, angry figure, who was a guard at Alcatraz. In the late forties and early fifties, when a prisoner was missing, San Quentin emitted a blood-curdling siren that could be heard for miles, and when there was an execution — Duffy was opposed to capital punishment — puffs of the smoke from the presumed lethal chemicals used to kill the condemned — could be seen rising from the prison's building where the gas chamber was located.

MY SECOND SURPRISE was the omission of anything by Phillip Roth, my fave being American Pastoral, and all you Hunter Thompson fans who haven't read his Rum Diaries you're missing his best book. One more recommendation, the truly great Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (which was on The Major’s list).

ELEANOR COONEY suggested a list of books we hated. I once read all the way through Ayn Rand's Fountainhead on the recommendation of a guy named Jim Perkins, brother of the actress Millie Perkins in an odd coincidence, who said it was not only a must read but the greatest book ever written. He was so excited about it, and so insistent every time I saw him, I read it all the way through, mentally kicking myself the whole way, “Why the hell am I reading this stupid, crude, fascist tract disguised in the see-through worst prose since Harold Robbins.” I still kick myself for that one. 

THE GOOD NEWS: Little Mike McGuire, believed to be a state senator representing this area — I've never seen anybody in his alleged office in the eerie, subterranean gloom of the Ukiah Convention Center — has introduced a bill to bury power lines. Atta boy, Mike. 

IF PG&E hadn't owned the state legislature since its inception, power lines throughout the state would have been buried years ago. Boonville, btw, has been on the powerline burial list for years while, uh, less deserving communities like Ackerville (Elk), Hopland and, of all places, Gualala, have had their power lines safely buried and outta sight for years.

BOONVILLE, eyes only: JJ Thomasson told me today her family's purchase of the former Pic 'N Pay site (which, along with the Boonville Lodge and Lizzby’s Restaurant, burned to the ground in December of 2019) is complete. Which is good news for them as the third-generation owners of the adjacent Anderson Valley Market, and good news for the community because the Thomassons can be depended on to build something nice and useful in the center of our town. 

JJ did say the T's are still wrestling with the authorities over fuel contamination beneath that lot, a subject that hadn't come up for years since the old Standard station there was abandoned in the middle 1970s. Then, tested fairly recently as evidenced by the testing barrels stored on-site for a year or so.

NOT TO BE too skeptical about these ancient clean-ups, but there's never been a single case of anyone being harmed by the ancient dino juice deep beneath central Boonville other than the owners of the properties repeatedly forced to pay for what seems like endless testing. The fuel contamination at the Elementary School went on for years and cost several million dollars. (The old joke around town was that AV grads, having downed allegedly contaminated water at our primary school could get part-time work as fire breathers.)

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EVERETT LILJEBERG wonders if anyone remembers these?

Remember them? I still use one occasionally.

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MORE AVA READERS LIST THEIR FAVORITE BOOKS

Alethea Patton

Some of my favorites:

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

Lee Edmundson

Some titles I recommend as required reading:

  • A Brief History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson.
  • Pilgrim At Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard
  • Myth and Sexuality, by Jamake Highwater
  • The Jungle Grows Back, by Robert Kagan
  • Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
  • Stolen Focus, by Johann Hari

If you want a delicious journey into historical fiction: Joan of Arc, by Mark Twain.

Nathan Duffy

Sorry only the first 4 are fiction….

  • Demian – Hermann Hesse
  • The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  • Juice! – Ishmael Reed
  • The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God – Etgar Keret
  • Life After Death – Damien Echols
  • Shah of Shahs – Kapuscinski
  • American Prison – Shane Bauer
  • The Occupation – Patrick Cockburn
  • You Can’t Win – Jack Black
  • In The Land of Israel – Amos Oz
  • The San Quentin Story – Warden Clinton Duffy
  • The Earth Is the Lord’s – Abraham Heschel
  • The Jewish Prison – Jean Daniel
  • Alcatraz – William Baker
  • The First Rasta – Helene Lee
  • The Non-Jewish Jew – Isaac Duetscher
  • Nothing Sacred – Douglass Rushkoff

KH: 

  • Desert Solitaire/Monkey Wrench Gang – Edward Abbey
  • Why Did I Ever – Mary Robison
  • Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • Pilgrim At Tinker Creek – Annie Dillard
  • Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich – William Shirer
  • Lost Continent – Bill Bryson
  • The Discomfort Zone – Jonathan Franzen
  • Blue Highways – William Least Heat Moon
  • What Am I Doing Here? – Bruce Chatwin
  • Lonesome Dove/Texasville – Larry McMurtry
  • Cadillac Desert – Mark Reisner
  • White Album – Joan Didion
  • A Chill In The Air/War in Val D’Orcia – Iris Origo
  • Travels With Myself And Another – Martha Gellhorn
  • Nobody’s Fool – Richard Russo
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
  • Love Medicine – Louise Erdrich
  • Walden – HD Thoreau

Big fan of Kapuscinski, but not his books per se. Almost all the early writers for Granta made a big impact on me, of which he was one.

Chuck Dunbar

Some of my favorites, a mix of fiction and non-fiction:

  • A Bright Shining Lie– Neal Sheehan
  • The Best and the Brightest– David Halberstam
  • How We Die — Sherwin Nuland
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance– Robert Pirsig
  • Dreamland– Sam Quinones
  • The Snow Leopard– Peter Matthiessen
  • Catch 22– Joseph Heller
  • The Forgiven– Lawrence Osborne
  • Just Mercy– Bryan Stephenson
  • The Grapes of Wrath– John Steinbeck

Craig Stehr

This is in response to an email just received from the editor of the venerable Boontling Greeley Sheet, requesting my sending in a list of my all time favorite books. Aside from the fact that I started early on reading everything obtainable, while composing poems on the dining room table in the fifth grade, and later, had Peter Knopf of the NYC Knopf publishing family, followed the next year by Peter Straub (very recently deceased), as my advanced placement English teachers at the private high school in Milwaukee, and then, Professor Arthur Kay guided me forward to continue my specializing in the study of Saul Bellow at the University of Arizona, while earning a B.A. in 20th century American literature, and then following graduation, went all over the proverbial road for the next 50 years and have not stopped yet, my absolutely positively favorite piece of writing is Jack Kerouac’s “The Railroad Earth, Part One”.

James Marmon

  • 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

Chuck Wilcher

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

Doug Loranger 

Here are a few that don’t seem to have made it onto anyone else’s list thus far:

  • Jaroslav Hasek, The Good Soldier Svejk
  • Josef Skvorecky, The Engineer of Human Souls
  • Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
  • Richard Yates, Young Hearts Crying
  • Evelyn Waugh, Vile Bodies
  • Feodor Dostoyevsky, The Possessed
  • Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Of those that have, my top two:

  • Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
  • Gustave Flaubert, The Sentimental Education

Norm Thurston

  • Chesapeake, James Michener
  • Centennial, James Michener
  • Hemingway, Kenneth S. Lynn
  • Zodiac, Robert Graysmith
  • Undaunted Courage, Stephen Ambrose
  • Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis, Howell Raines
  • Winning Everyday, Lou Holtz
  • Jack London – An American Life, Earle Labor

Mark Scaramella, Supplemental

  • Genocide & Vendetta by Lynwood Carranco and & Estle Beard
  • Quanah Parker and the Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne
  • Cadillac Dessert by Mark Reisner
  • The River Stops Here, by Ted Simon
  • The Coldest Winter by David Halberstam
  • The Dark Side of Camelot by Seymour Hersh
  • Nothing Like It In the World, Stephen Ambrose

LIT CHAT A WELCOME CHANGE....

Bruce McEwen: This project has proven insightful. I had vague inklings as to each of the people who participated, by which I mean were they my kind of people, were they of my tribe, that sort of thing, and by reading the kinds of books I love and admire myself, I see we have certain affinities, that our innermost predilections have been touched by the profound tidings of the same books and authors. I listed only novels, and only ten, but I left out Ian McEwan’s Sweettooth which, like Balzac’s A Passion in the Desert, makes the reader’s head swim with magical feats of POV; nor did I have room for Hemmingway’s Old Man and the Sea; or Saramago’s Blindness and Seeing; nor yet the many fascinating short stories, like Voltaire’s Micromegas, or Faulkner’s The Bear; then the genre of biographies and well, on and on and I would like to see more people participate — is there anybody who hasn’t read at least ten great books? C’mon everybody, jot down your lists: show us what you’re made of —- unless you’re ashamed of it, that is, you know, if all you read is porn, then never mind.

k h: I agree! It’s a very fascinating looking glass. I only listed the books that were most essential to my own way of thinking and seeing, not necessarily favorites, or the most visionary. The one negative thing that jumped out at me was how few female writers were represented on many of the lists. I think that’s (mostly) about age differences in the readership. Also this project is such a nice diversion from the predictable daily political posturing.

Bruce McEwen: To answer the charge of sexism in the lists allow for the predominately male participation and recall that before postmodern deconstruction his/her (again, male prominence) he/she pronouns were as uncommon as unicorns in English lit. Excuses aside, you are right and I would like to put Peg Kingman’s Not Yet Drowned at the top of my list and go tug my forelock in penance but I’ve always thought Patrick O’Brian was Jane Austen for boys, my favorite being Persuasion.

k h: I’ve not read Kingman but I will give it a go. I’ve heard good things about her from so many readers.

Bruce McEwen: She used to ride the bus from the coast to Ukiah, which is where I met her. She signed my copy on the bus and went on to finish a trilogy for Norton. She finished the last one and Covid struck, I hope she’s well and safe. A footnote: We both covered the Americas Cup race when Dennis Connor’s Spirit of America lost to the Aussies. I was with Ranch & Coast, and we were allowed aboard the tender. Peg was with the hefty San Diego Magazine, and she was invited aboard the Spirit for cocktails on the quarterdeck with the Capt.

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Young Lauren Dennen, 1911

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FIRE TOWERS PURCHASED WITH PG&E MONEY PROVIDE VALUABLE NEW TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES FOR LOCAL FIRE AGENCIES

Settlement funds received from Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) are being put to good use in Mendocino County. Money provided to local fire agencies by the County of Mendocino has been used to purchase and install training towers in Hopland, Manchester and Laytonville.

The towers, built and installed by Affordable Drill Towers out of Austin Texas, are 13ft by 18ft, 5 stories high with a top floor at 32ft. These towers provide several anchor points to allowing firefighters to practice high angle rescue. Additionally, the towers can be used to conduct ladder drills, fire hose usage through a 2 ½ inch standpipe that provides water to three levels of the structure, and training with fire suppression systems like fire sprinkler heads. Training with fire sprinkler heads and high angle rescue are particularly valuable, as there are limited opportunities to train without access to these types of specialty towers.

These facilities will be available regionally for various fire agencies throughout the County. Two additional large towers, also partially funded by the County of Mendocino’s PG&E fund allocation, should be installed within the next 8 to 9 months. The County Training Officers Association is developing best practices for use of the towers to ensure participants safety and maximize training opportunities.

When asked about the towers, Greg Smith, Assistant Fire Chief wanted to give special thanks to the team at Affordable Drill Towers and the County of Mendocino. He further stressed how important these towers will be for future training of local fire agencies during this period of high wildfire danger.

For further information, please contact the Executive Office at 707-463-4441 or ceo@mendocinocounty.org.

Darcie Antle, Chief Executive Officer

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Maggie MacBeth, 1990

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SAM KIRCHER: A few years back, I was laid up in a hospital in Uruapan, Michoacán, for what turned out to be a kidney stone. This was a private, for profit hospital, not the Cruz Verde, ISSSTE, IMSS, nor any other single-payer centro de salud.

Their prices were posted at the reception area. I spent a night in decent, if dated accommodations, replete with fluids, food, labs, ultrasound, radiology, and medication. Out the door the next morning for $600. Everyone from the doctor to the shower scrubber made their daily bread.

Back home, my “Cadillac” health plan ($1700 per month for a family of four) shares cryptic “explanations of benefits” where they would lead me to believe that my wife’s routine outpatient procedure was whittled down from $40,000 to $12,000 by the saving grace of the insurer.

It’s a racket for sure, and the patient is relegated to doesn’t need to know status. Some fraudulent price gouging sausage is surely being made when providers and insurers stain the sheets together. Even if we saw it up front, the sticker price would only serve to have us kneel at the altar of Blue Cross/Shield and be grateful to take our medicine.

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CHRIS SKYHAWK: Truth Be Told about exactly 14 years ago, True Story, about 3 months into the pregnancy Sam and I went to Santa Rosa to have ultrasound to check up on “the baby,” suddenly the tech springs to her feet and exclaims “OH! You have 2 in there.” No one told me, and she walks out of the room, she’s gone for several minutes while Samantha, nearly hyperventilating, is saying, “Oh no” over and over while I try to calm her down, eventually the tech returns. She has gone out to reception to tell them she would need more time; she thought we knew!! When she comes back in I take charge saying, “Excuse me, did you say there were two in there?” And she says “yes” and I say “show me” and then she does!!!!! I see one, then 2! There are no words that can explain how I felt! I managed to keep my composure, but when we got outside the building I let out a yell that probably shook the Richter scale! I am certain that I am the most blessed man on earth.

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WINEMAKING IN A CALIFORNIA HEAT WAVE: ‘IT'S A ROLL OF THE DICE’

At this point, California winemakers have come to expect a heat spike around Labor Day weekend every year. Like clockwork, it seems, scorching temperatures descend on the state just as the wine harvest is getting underway, threatening to sear the grapes.

But this year’s temperature surge has proven even more challenging than usual. It's been hotter, and lasted longer.

“It’s cooler in Phoenix right now than Sonoma County,” said William Allen, winemaker at Two Shepherds in Windsor, on Tuesday afternoon.

What resulted, during the last week, was a race through the vineyards, as many Bay Area winemakers rushed to get grapes off the vines before they baked. Some wineries harvested so much fruit all at once that they risked running out of space for it all in their wineries. Many had to contend with the possibility of rolling blackouts, forcing them to rush to finish all their work before the late afternoon, lest the power go out while a press is full of grapes.

“I think everybody is now frantically trying to get everything off (the vine),” said Bruce Devlin, winemaker at Ballentine Vineyards in St. Helena.

Virtually all California vineyards already harvest their fruit at night or in the very early morning, never during the heat of the day. The primary reason for this is worker safety. It also happens to be better for wine quality: Ideally, grapes should be cool to the touch when they arrive at a winery’s door.

When sudden weather events like this happen during the harvest season, winemakers must make a difficult decision. Because the precise moment of harvesting — and, consequently, the precise level of ripeness in the grapes — determines the quality of the resulting wine, this choice is possibly the most important one a winemaker makes all year.

The first option is to pick the grapes before the heat spike, when they may not be quite as ripe as a winemaker would like; maybe they still taste “green,” with flavors reminiscent of a bell pepper. The second option is to wait, letting the grapes mature and develop deeper flavors — but this is a risk, since the grapes could shrivel.

“It's a roll of the dice,” said Anthony Beckman, winemaker at Balletto Vineyards in Santa Rosa.

Beckman chose option no. 1, harvesting most of his Pinot Noir grapes last week before the heat wave. “In an ideal world, if I could have waited four more days, I would have,” he said. Beckman might have regretted his choice if the heat had abated sooner. But it didn’t, and he's confident he made the better decision, he said.

Laura Barrett of Clif Family Winery in St. Helena chose option no. 2. Though most of her white grapes have been picked by now, she hasn’t felt like her red grapes are fully ripe yet. That’s especially true of her Cabernet Sauvignon on Howell Mountain, where grapes are prone to huge, astringent tannins — and the best way to get them into balance is to let the grapes hang on a little longer.

“There’s a little bit of raisining on the sun-exposed sides of the clusters,” she said, “but nothing that's alarming to us yet.” She’s hoping to wait until next week to start picking reds, but there’s always the option to call a last-minute pick if the grapes begin showing signs of distress. The weather station at her vineyard in Napa’s Oak Knoll District topped out at 114 degrees over the weekend.

Extreme bursts of heat can adversely affect wine grapes in several ways. The heat can literally turn the grapes into wrinkled, dehydrated raisins. White grapes can get sunburned, turning from a greenish color to a purplish-gray. At a certain temperature threshold, vines actually shut down entirely, going into survival mode and ceasing photosynthesis.

In certain volumes, these heat-stress effects are manageable. “Small enough quantities of raisining won't affect the wine that much,” said Devlin, who picked all the grapes for his Ballentine wines before the heat wave. Winemakers will simply discard the raisinated clusters.

But the chaos of a heat wave like this one ultimately makes it more difficult for a winemaker to have total control over their production, said Allen of Two Shepherds. He counts himself as a natural winemaker, so if grapes arrive at his winery too ripe or underripe, he won’t adjust their color, acidity or sugar levels — he just lives with whatever he's got. 

“It's going to be a tough year for natural winemaking,” he said.

Still, there's one tool available to every winemaker, natural or otherwise, that may come in handy for this year's wines: blending. Combine a slightly underripe wine with a slightly overripe wine, and maybe, Allen said, you'll end up with something that tastes perfectly balanced. 

* * *

The Feldmans of Comptche

* * *

SEN. MIKE MCGUIRE’S BILL TO PUSH PG&E ON POWER LINE BURYING PROJECT AWAITS GOVERNOR’S SIGNATURE 

by Andrew Graham

Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s goal of burying 10,000 power lines in 10 years could soon become an obligation under state law, barring a veto from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

A bill that would require the state to more closely monitor the utility’s line-burying timelines and accelerate them through expedited permitting passed the Legislature with bipartisan support. It was introduced by Healdsburg Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire.

The bill is designed to hold the giant electrical utility accountable to the plan it promised Californians with two goals in mind: stopping the company’s aging infrastructure from sparking catastrophic wildfires, and maintaining reliable power distribution, McGuire said.

“Talk is cheap and I want to see action,” he said. “Let’s just be blunt about it. Californians don’t trust PG&E.”

The law also ties the state to a wildfire mitigation strategy that has been controversial for some. Critics say burying that many power lines carries considerable costs that will hurt ratepayers in the short term while generating a hefty return for PG&E shareholders in the long run.

Utility officials, including CEO Patti Poppe, counter that in the long run the project will pay off as it reduces electrical line upkeep and vegetation management needs.

 But PG&E’s watchdogs say the utility has not proven that burying lines is the most-cost effective way to reduce wildfires. Though McGuire said he seeks to hold PG&E accountable, his bill gives utility shareholders what they want, Mark Toney, president of The Utility Reform Network, said.

“It is giving PG&E a blank check when it comes to ‘undergrounding,’” Toney said, “at enormous cost to ratepayers and at enormous profits pocketed by shareholders.”

 Toney’s group Wednesday sent the governor a letter calling on him to veto the bill. Both McGuire and Toney said they did not know Newsom’s disposition toward the bill. The governor has until Sept. 30 to act. A Newsom spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

McGuire said he believes burying power lines would “save lives” in his sprawling district.

“This legislation will make the North Bay and North Coast safer in perpetuity,” he said. “We’ve got to get these lines underground.”

McGuire’s measure would expedite permitting for PG&E and other utilities to bury electrical lines in high risk fire areas by as much as two years, he said. It also carries new reporting requirements for utilities, and it grants regulators the ability to fine utilities that don’t bury power lines quickly enough.

Utilities that enroll in the expedited permitting program must prioritize electrical lines in the highest risk fire zones. Critics have questioned whether PG&E’s plan sufficiently does so.

The statute also creates an independent monitor to oversee the timelines and budgets utilities submit. It also requires utilities to seek federal and state infrastructure funding in an effort to lessen the eventual burden on ratepayers.

Reform advocates and utility officials tend to disagree on how much the plan to bury power lines will cost ratepayers. The Utility Reform Network, in its letter to the governor, argued the utility’s plan will cost $70 billion over “several decades” and could raise Californians’ electrical bills by $400 a year by 2032.

Poppe, the PG&E executive, said such estimates don’t incorporate cost savings from reductions in other safety expenses — managing plant and tree growth around the lines — for example.

“We will spend $1.7 billion this year trimming and removing trees,” she said in a recent interview with The Press Democrat. “And that's only a fraction of the high (fire) threat miles. That is an annual expense that will continue until we can underground the line. I can't cut down every tree in California.”

PG&E has estimated it will spend $11 billion burying power lines by 2026.

Toney argued the utility will not bury enough lines to bring vegetation management costs down sufficiently. And he worried the Legislature would lock Californians into a wildfire mitigation strategy before other cheaper alternatives can be developed.

Electrical bills are rising because of utilities efforts to harden the electric grid against wildfire and other climate change-related threats. PG&E customers saw a roughly $6 a month increase to their electrical bills this year to account for wildfire mitigation work, according to previous company announcements.

Power companies fought McGuire’s bill initially, the senator said, but switched to a neutral stance toward it over the last two weeks of the Legislative session.

“What I’m hoping is utilities have seen the light,” McGuire said. “They have seen the light that number one they should’ve been doing this work years ago, and number two, this is a common-sense bill.”

Poppe said she welcomed the measure.

Poppe took the helm of the utility as it emerged from a bankruptcy driven by its liability for billions of dollars in wildlife damage.

Over the last 12 years, PG&E’s electrical equipment started fires that burned nearly 1.5 million acres, destroyed 23,956 structures and killed 113 Californians, according to a federal judge’s January estimate.

Poppe has promised to lead a transition to a safer electrical grid as climate change and a legacy of poor forestry management, including by PG&E, drives the risks of fire starts higher. This year, technology that cuts power to lines where sensors detect a tree or branch strike reduced ignitions along power lines by 73%, Poppe said.

But central to Poppe’s promise to halt the company’s role in starting wildfires is burying the lines, she said, which virtually eliminates the risk of sparks while also avoiding the energy blackouts of safety shut-offs on high fire risk days. She cast the goal to bury 10,000 miles of lines within 10 years as a monumental infrastructure project for both the state and the utility.

Audit: California utilities aren’t doing enough to reduce wildfire threats

“I want people to imagine it like we imagined building the Golden Gate Bridge,” she said.

Having the 10-year goal enshrined in statute will provide certainty to electrical worker labor unions and contractors that supply equipment and expertise to what is still a developing engineering feat, she said, and would enable PG&E to lower construction costs.

McGuire’s bill also “keeps us on the hook, frankly, holds us accountable to make sure we (complete) our lofty ambition.”

The utility was on pace to bury 175 miles of power lines in high risk fire zones this year, Poppe said. That target included around 70 miles in the North Bay, according to previous company proposals. By 2026, PG&E engineers hope to be burying as much as 1,200 miles a year to meet its goal.

Company officials say they believe speeds will accelerate as workers and engineers become more practiced at trenching and burying the lines.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, September 8, 2022

Adams, Freeman, Hernandez

KELIE ADAMS-PENROD, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

MICHAEL FREEMAN JR., Covelo. Under influence, protective order violation.

LUIS HERNANDEZ, Ukiah. Narcotics for sale, paraphernalia, parole violation.

Hoaglen, Hopkins, Lovell

SYLVIA HOAGLEN, Covelo. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent.

RAY HOPKINS, Willits. Assault, disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.

MICHAEL LOVELL II, Willits. Domestic abuse, damaging communications device.

McElroy, Milberger, Sallis

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

STEPHANIE MILBERGER, Ukiah. Shoplifting, conspiracy.

KAYLA SALLIS, Ukiah. Controlled substance, shoplifting, conspiracy.

Serna, Small, Wilson

ABIMAEL SERNA-CASTILLO, Ukiah. Protective order violation, failure to appear.

KURTIS SMALL, Fort Bragg. Resisting.

ASHLEE WILSON, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

* * *

ANNUAL NEOLOGISM CONTEST

Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words. The winners are:

1. Coffee (N.), the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

3. Abdicate (V.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade (V.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly (Adj.), impotent.

6. Negligent (Adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

7. Lymph (V.), to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (N.), olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (N.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (N.), a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (N.), a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (N.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (N), a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (N.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (N.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent (N.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.


The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are this year's winners:

1. Bozone (N.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

2. Foreploy (V): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

3. Cashtration (N.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

4. Giraffiti (N): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

5. Sarchasm (N): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

6. Inoculatte (V): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

7. Hipatitis (N): Terminal coolness.

8. Osteopornosis (N): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

9. Karmageddon (N): It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

10. Decafalon (N.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

11. Glibido (V): All talk and no action.

12. Dopeler effect (N): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

13. Arachnoleptic fit (N.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

14. Beelzebug (N.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

15. Caterpallor (N.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

And the pick of the literature:

16. Ignoranus (N): A person who's both stupid and an asshole

* * *

This photo of thunderstorms over Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during a lightning storm is a stack of 32 shots taken over the course of 40 minutes (photographer Fendy Gan).

* * *

DWR TO HOLD VIRTUAL HEARINGS ON EMBATTLED DELTA TUNNEL PROJECT ON SEPTEMBER 13, 22 AND 28

by Dan Bacher

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released the Draft Environmental Impact Report <https://water.us10.list-manage.com/track/click?u=5e371813b4f6783ed8cdddcab&id=fc2682dc8d&e=86102be8bc> (Draft EIR) for the Delta Conveyance Project (AKA Delta Tunnel) for public review and comment by the California Department of Water Resources on July 27, 2022. The public comment period will end on October 27, 2022.

There are several ways to submit public comment on the Draft EIR, including by email, comment form, regular mail or at a virtual pub lic hearing, according to DWR.

DWR will be hosting three virtual public hearings to receive comments on the Delta Tunnel Draft EIR. Dates, times, access information and other meeting details are below.

According to project opponents, different versions of this same gigantic and wasteful public works project — the Peripheral Canal, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, the California Water Fix and now the single Delta Conveyance — have cast a dark, toxic shadow over California water policy since it was first decisively rejected by California voters in November 1982 as the Peripheral Canal.

While tunnel advocates claim the tunnel will protect the reliability of water transport infrastructure, address the impacts of sea level rise, and improve the Delta”s aquatic conditions, critics say the project will do none of these things, instead hastening the extinction of Sacramento River winter and spring-run Chinook salmon, the Central Valley steelhead, the Delta and longfin smelt, and the green sturgeon. It”s feared these fish species will die off as the multi-billion tunnel keeps indebting Californians for generations to come.

Those fighting the tunnel, including indigenous tribes, environmental justice advocates, anglers and Delta farmers, have also expressed little faith that the Draft EIR will address any of the questions and concerns they raised repeatedly during their work with the Stakeholder Engagement Committee for the Design Construction Authority during that two-year tunnel planning process. 

You can also read Doug Obegi”s piece, “DWR's Tunnel Vision: Ignoring Science Won't Make It Go Away at on.nrdc.org/ <https://on.nrdc.org/3wMPzG>

Obegi asks the critical question of DWR: “Why does the Department of Water Resources” draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed Delta tunnel project refuse to consider any operational alternatives that increase flows into and through the Delta to protect salmon and the environment? 

Here is all of the information on the upcoming hearings:

*Delta Conveyance Project Draft EIR Hearing Schedule and Access Information*

Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.*

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84565411493?pwd=71GcFtWM8B03yiklXsME32nQ9Ux8vl.1

English Call-in Information: 1-877-853-5247 (Toll Free)

Webinar ID: 845 6541 1493

Passcode: 083471

* * *

* * *

A TRUMP CANDIDACY 

Editor,

“Indict Trump,” Mitch Stogner’s letter of 9/8/22 repeats the main point of a letter I sent you last week which you have held. I agree with everything Mr. Stogner said about the current case being investigated by the Justice Department about the many classified documents which Trump illegally absconded with on January 6, 2021 as he exited Washington, DC. My opinions are simply my own, so I realize the Press Democrat has no obligation to include any in your column. It is not my responsibility alone to decide Mr. Trump’s guilt or innocence.

However, since I, as well as millions of my fellow citizens, watched the January 6 attack on our US Capital, including Mr. Trump’s inciting speech before it took place, it seems obvious, at least to me, that he should not again be permitted to run for the high office of President of the United States. In fact, to hold any public office, as he attempted to subvert the will of the public in a free and fair national election, and then meant to carry out a coup which would have negated the Constitution of the United States. It is my public duty to oppose this from happening,

Frank Baumgardner

Santa Rosa

* * *

THE QUEEN

Queen Elizabeth II has died. She was born in 1926 – the same year as Marilyn Monroe and Fidel Castro – and reigned for seventy years, fewer than Louis XIV but more than any of her predecessors. She appointed fifteen British prime ministers and six archbishops of Canterbury, and opened Parliament 67 times. She’d already celebrated her silver jubilee when the London Review of Books was founded in 1979. You can read the many pieces we’ve published on her, by William Empson, Hilary Mantel and others, as well as on her successor, her wider family and the institution she inhabited, in the LRB archive.

(London Review of Books)

Elizabeth in 1943, wearing a Girl Guides uniform, the UK version of Girl Scouts.

* * *

UKRAINE, THURSDAY, AUGUST 8TH

Ukraine counterattack takes Russia – and everyone else – by surprise

by Dan Sabbagh

Ukrainian forces recapture about 154 sq miles of Russian-held territory, changing analysis of Kyiv’s military strategy

A sudden, unexpected Ukrainian military success south-east of Kharkivchanges the analysis of Kyiv’s counterattack strategy. What had been expected to be a well-telegraphed effort to isolate the city of Kherson in the south has been turned on its head by the sudden pushback against Russian forces at the northern edge of the front.

The effort started on Tuesday, and by Wednesday the US Institute for the Study of War estimated that Ukraine’s forces had, in a surprise attack, advanced “at least 20km into Russian-held territory” recapturing approximately 400 sq km (154 sq miles) in an area scarcely focused on by military analysts until now.

According to one Russian military blogger, as highlighted by Rob Lee, a former US marine and military analyst, Ukrainian forces massed a “powerful tank fist” with 15 tanks to break through the occupiers lines. Cleverly, Kyiv had brought up its air defences in support, preventing Russian jets from immediately striking back to eradicate the gains, a sign of more sophisticated battlefield tactics.

The fighting is concentrated around the village of Balakliia, roughly 45 miles south-east of Kharkiv – which appears to still be held by the Russians, but which Ukraine hopes to surround – and in the vicinity of Shevchenkovo on the way to the Russian staging post of Kupiansk. The military aim is to increase pressure on Izium, a strategic city captured by the invaders at the end of April, a gateway to the western Donbas.

What will happen in the ensuing days is, as ever, hard to predict. But the assumption is that Ukraine has taken advantage of redeployments by Russia away from the north and east of the vast frontline to launch its surprise attack, making clear that it is willing to be flexible and opportunistic – and that anybody who is sure of Kyiv’s strategy should instead be willing to be surprised.

Contrast this to the Russian approach. Kremlin-directed forces are not used to thinking flexibly. When they have announced an offensive, as happened in spring, Moscow stuck to it, and for several months made slow but real gains in the eastern Donbas using the simple and grimly effective tactic of concentrating its artillery on a succession of cities, now Bakhmut.

In the past few weeks, though, the initiative has passed from Russia to Ukraine – a point clearly demonstrated by this week’s events south-east of Kharkiv. The medium-term strategic prize for Ukraine remains recapturing Kherson, because of its exposed position across the Dnieper River and because Russian-held bridges and river crossings resupplying the city appear easy to target.

(The Guardian)

* * *

* * *

INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTOPHER LEONARD, Author of ‘The Lords of Easy Money’

The Fed has “wrenched this gap between the very rich and everybody else, which is the defining economic dysfunction of our time."

There’s an illuminating scene in Christopher Leonard’s The Lords of Easy Money that talks about the difficulty of trying to communicate the intricacies of Fed policy to mass audiences. Fox News host Glenn Beck, a trusted voice of the Tea Party movement and therefore someone who would have been expected to take an interest in the Fed’s plans for a massive intervention in the economy via the quantitative easing program, took on the subject in a free-flowing broadcast. Leonard describes what ensued:

“Beck scrawled a long numeral on a chalkboard: 600,000,000,000. This represented the value of bonds the Fed just announced it would buy. “This is what they call quantitative easing,” Beck said. Then he walked to a new chalkboard with a confusing flowchart written across it that included a series of large, cartoonish arrows that seemed to signify the flow of money, or influence, or something like that, behind the Fed’s new program. Confusingly, the whole thing began with organized labor, depicted by a union boss wearing a bowler’s cap and with a cigar dangling from his mouth. It got weirder and increasingly inaccurate from there. The final cartoon on the flowchart showed a group of top-hat-wearing bankers…”

Leonard described Beck’s understanding of the Fed as “like that of a very high drug user who had sat in a motel room, trying to eavesdrop through the wall while people talked about central banking.” I remember the broadcast – though I wasn’t a fan of Beck’s and occasionally wondered if his chalkboard theories about Obama as both Hitler and Stalin were really a brilliant parody I was too thick to grasp, I thought he was at least trying to say something critical about a truly dangerous Fed policy.

As Leonard notes, Beck got one important thing right, that the flood of cheap money punished ordinary savers, but the rest his presentation was so far-out, and over-focused on the idea that QE risked Weimar-style hyperinflation, that his audience probably ended up with a net minus from a knowledge perspective.

This was too bad, because the media treatments on the other, more “respectable” side, at 60 Minutes, CNBC, CNN, and the like, were either completely credulous in repeating the assertions of Fed officials that its policies were needed to “jumpstart the sluggish economy” or, if they were critical at all, focused only on the narrow question of price inflation. The much more serious question of the impact of Fed policies on asset prices simply didn’t fit well in our increasingly bifurcated media landscape, which didn’t know whether to identify the concerns of a figure like Leonard’s main character Thomas Hoenig as conservative or liberal complaints. In fact, Hoenig’s worries were about inherent institutional weaknesses that concerned both left and right demographics, making his story a tough sell to either media “side.” In this sense, a book like The Lords of Easy Money is a gift to media audiences that rarely get a clear look at a confounding topic.

I asked Leonard about the history of the project, the response to it, whether his thesis is more or less relevant today, and other questions. Edited for length, his thoughtful responses:

Matt Taibbi: How did you come on to this subject?

Chris Leonard: I was reporting my previous book about Koch Industries, Kochland, and I met some really bright financial trader type people in the reporting of that. One of these guys in 2016 just started going off on what the Federal Reserve was doing to asset prices through quantitative easing.

I hate to use the cliché term red pill or whatever, but I did not understand how the Fed affected monetary policy. I did not understand what quantitative easing was, I did not understand how it affected markets. I’d heard about this stuff in the background, but when he described it to me in a mechanical way, I became totally obsessed with quantitative easing and came home and started reading about it. And there wasn’t much really deep throat journalism, in my opinion, about QE back at that time. One of the first things I read was that the vote to do QE2 in 2010 was the vote of 11 against one, and the one was Tom Hoenig. I had heard the name and obviously, I had the Kansas City connection. It turns out he lives three blocks from where my mother lived.

But I had never met the guy. I didn’t know a thing about him. And I just thought, “Oh, that’s interesting.” And it was one of those things where the more I pulled the thread, really, the more interesting it became in terms of Tom. He wasn’t that central of a figure at the beginning, but then when I actually started going through and reading his internal arguments, and reading what he was warning about, that’s when I started to become fascinated with him.

Matt Taibbi: How did you connect with him? He obviously gave you incredible access, not just to the history of what he had done, but to his private thoughts. There are not many Fed officials who’ve been so open.

Chris Leonard: It was pretty interesting to me. Again, in 2016 I started to become urgently fascinated with this stuff and I was still doing the Koch book, but I started reporting on this alongside it. And I emailed Tom Hoenig, who at that time was vice chairman of the FDIC.

I went through the public relations team at FDIC and said, “Look, I want to interview this guy about quantitative easing and his vote against it. I know that he’s not involved with the Fed anymore, but I’d love to get his perspective on it.” And he agreed to do the interview and I went and interviewed him at the FDIC headquarters that summer with the PR team sitting there.

I’ve really come to respect this guy and I just can’t hide that. I sincerely feel that he has this old school sense of things, this old school probity. And I really do think he felt like it was his obligation to handle questions from reporters on this, and they had an obligation to talk about his votes at the FOMC and to talk about these issues. And so, that’s why he did that first interview, and it was pretty fascinating.

Matt Taibbi: There must have been subsequent interviews from there.

Chris Leonard: So, we do that first interview. I’m still researching this stuff, but I’m doing it on the side. And on a Saturday morning, I read this interview that he gave to The Wall Street Journal in 2010, when they were voting on 0% interest rates, and it was the weekend interview in the Journal, I forget the name of the author who interviewed him – Mary something [Mary Anastasia O’Grady]and as I say in the book, this guy had been remembered as this hardcore inflation hawk, and this Mellonist, this hard money guy.

But in this Wall Street Journal interview, he was talking entirely about asset bubbles and about wealth inequality, and about the fact that a 0% interest rate was really going to just juice the banking industry and create more asset bubbles. I called him at his home, it was 8:30 AM on a Saturday and I essentially said, “You were not talking about inflation. You were talking about asset bubbles.”

And he’s like, “Yeah, I know that’s what I was saying.” So, we started having these phone calls like that, and then I interviewed him a second time at the FDIC, and this would’ve been later 2016, I think. And it was after that interview where I was like, “This is the book,” because this guy to me represented this political tradition in American life that is dead now, the Eisenhower conservative. The old school conservative who believes in a market, but a market ruled by rules that restrains the worst impulses of capitalism.

He was trying to ride that uneasy line and the messy compromise that used to define our economic system, but now is totally dead. I really wanted to write about him, the way he came to this view, and the struggle he’d had, which to me was an ironic struggle in that he was a conservative, but he was a conservative who wanted to break up the big banks.

And his voice was totally ignored and marginalized. He made some small gains in terms of controlling the big banks, but in any case, I thought, “This really makes it a book in my mind that I can write about this guy, I can write about his fight, his losing fight, and also explain quantitative easing to people.”

Matt Taibbi: Did you see him as a canary in the coal mine for this phenomenon of conservatives now being viewed as liberals and vice versa? Because what he was really talking about was something that traditionally we would’ve thought of as a concern of the left, a populist, anti-elitist message about preventing over-concentration of influence and money. Yet as you say, he was politically a conservative at the time. Was he one of the first people that we thought of that way?

Chris Leonard: Emphatically yes. I think we could debate was he first or not, but certainly, he illuminates this strange political age we live in because, again, he was a conservative arguing policies that were once liberal New Deal policies, like breaking up the concentration of power, putting Wall Street on the tight leash, and breaking up monopolistic power in banking and in other parts of the economy. I mean, this was the pillar of the New Deal order, which was identified as liberal. But of course, now everything is so mixed up and upside down, it doesn’t even make sense anymore. So yes, I think he’s completely a canary in the coal mine for that story.

Matt Taibbi: There was a phrase that he used, “allocative effect,” or “allocative policy,” which seemed to me radical for a Fed official. For him to push the idea that the Fed has a hand in determining winners and losers in the economy seemed to violate an unspoken Fed taboo. That was something the general public didn’t think a lot about back then. Do you think they think a lot about it more now?

Chris Leonard: It’s still something that people don’t think about when it comes to the Fed. Hoenig’s phrase was the misallocation of resources, but to back up, it’s this idea that the Fed and what they do, they set policy and it creates winners and losers and it has distributional effects. And as you know, from the story, they are doing quantitative easing, and a 0% interest rate massively benefits the richest of the rich. It is hyper-trickle-down economics, it’s the idea that we will stoke the stock market and the corporate bond markets, asset prices in other words, with the hope that it creates a so-called wealth effect that makes people feel more confident to go out and spend more money.

But the 1% of Americans who own 40% of all the assets just get tremendous gains before that first job is created for the middle class. And so these policies dramatically widen wealth inequality, they’ve just wrenched this gap between the very rich and everybody else, which is the defining economic dysfunction of our time.

To get back to your point, nobody thinks about that when they think about the Fed, because the Fed presents everything it does in this really clinical, hyper-technical language that obscures what they’re doing and obscures this facet of it. Part of that is from how dysfunctional the media conversation around this stuff is, and that’s what I was trying to get across in that scene with the Glenn Beck monologue.

Matt Taibbi: Where he got one or two or three things right, and about 48 things wrong?

Chris Leonard: Totally, and fundamentally misled the conversation because it became all about Zimbabwe-style hyperinflation. And so, when we never saw price inflation, everybody was like, “Oh, well the critics were wrong,” and “Oh, the critics were all super hardcore, right-wing gold bugs.” And I really felt also, the bulk of coverage of quantitative easing was just to not cover it. It was just to not write about it because it’s boring, there aren’t any interesting people involved, it’s kind of complicated. Again, there’s no good personal fight. You don’t have Trump getting up and just saying outrageous, crazy things, which makes really easy copy. And so, most of the coverage was just non-coverage and it left the space open to idealogues who used it as their little hobby horse for a night or two, and then moved on.

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Matt Taibbi: I wanted to ask about the timing of the book too, because just as you must have been finishing up on it, the COVID disaster happens and there’s the gigantic bond buying program that ends up adding $4.6 trillion to the balance sheet. It seems like the thesis of your book is more relevant than ever. What were your thoughts as all of that was unfolding?

Chris Leonard: With total honesty, when Kochland came out, I had more time and I started really working on this more. And then, I was actually working on a story about the repo bailout, which is chapter 13, “The invisible bailout,” and it was the stock market and treasury market crash of 2020 that really just accelerated everything. I thought, “I need to write this book right now.” So, I really started putting the book together. I’ve been gathering string on it for a long time, but it became the book in May 2020 during all of that. It was a huge impetus for writing it at this time. And it was becoming undeniable that the Fed’s interventions, these super unprecedented, really radical interventions, were driving the train.

And you could just see that so much with the extraordinary bailouts that they did in 2020, just breathtaking, impossible to describe without sounding hyperbolic. I mean, printing, what was it, 300 years’ worth of money in a few months in the spring of 2020? Juicing the stock market, the Dow gains 40% in a couple months during the summer 2020. And even during this time, you still had people disputing that the Fed was boosting stock prices, but those voices were becoming increasingly detached from reality. So, you just couldn’t make this argument anymore that the Fed wasn’t really distorting our economic system and driving our economic system at this time. And I really do feel this was becoming a center of the plate political story for that reason. In my mind, it’s just one of the key factors driving everything, which is why I wanted to write this book. You know what it’s like when you envision a book for the first time?

With this one, I wanted a relatively fast thin book that a business traveler could pick up and read at hotel at night when they’re tired, but walk away from it understanding quantitative easing and what the Fed has done and what that means for our economy. In other words, “Why is it such a big deal that the Fed is talking about hiking rates right now? Why is that going to matter to everybody?” That’s kind of how all the timing comes together, if that makes sense.

Matt Taibbi: Do you think these recent 75 basis-point interest rate hikes coming in rapid succession fits the pattern Hoenig described in the book of the Fed slamming on the brakes too fast after long periods of easy money?

Chris Leonard: One hundred percent. It fits that pattern perfectly and it’s really tragic, and it’s the Fed’s fault. And one of the biggest contours of this is, it’s not just what the Fed is doing right now today at this meeting, it’s what’s been going on for the last 10 years. You’d look at the arguments that Jay Powell was making, the current Fed chairman in 2012, 2013, 2014. He was planning out that if the Fed didn’t restrain itself, if it didn’t stop trying to juice the market so much, if it would just raise interest rates a little bit, it would give itself more room to maneuver when trouble inevitably arose, when the rainy day eventually came, when there was economic slowdown or when there was inflation. But, he was ignored at that time. And then, as you know, he changed his tune and shifted over to the easy money theory.

And that’s led to where we are today, where the Fed has kept interest rates at zero for basically a decade, except for that brief period, when they tried to raise rates and they got up to about 2.5% back in 2018, 2019. But the Fed has given itself zero room to maneuver, they’ve had the pedal to the metal since 2008, with interest rates at zero, pumping trillions of dollars into the banking system via quantitative easing, which leads us to where we are today. Now, even moderate rate hikes can end up being absolutely catastrophic because so much of the market has been built around a zero-interest rate world. They’ve been juicing this thing for 10 years, so when they start raising rates that it’s like the edifice of high asset prices and debt on the other side is just that much larger.

In my mind that really did play a big role in 2021 when they saw inflation rising, where there was a good case to be made that, “Oh, this is transitory. This is COVID,” but there was also this reality that was like, “We better pray to God this is transitory,” because we have a $9 trillion balance sheet and 0% interest rates, and if we have to hike rates quickly, it’s going to be carnage. So let’s kind of keep things on an even keel, and hope that this inflation goes away. And unfortunately, for all of us, inflation didn’t go away. Now, they’re in this position where they feel – I think with some justification – they feel they have to hike rates and they have to tighten, otherwise inflation is going to become embedded and spin out of control and become very difficult to stop.

To get back to your question, yes, this is exactly what Hoenig was talking about. They’ve left themselves no wiggle room because back in the 2010s, they showed zero restraint, and they were charging it on a credit card basically, which is my analogy. And now the bill is coming due, and they have to slam on the brakes, and it’s going to make a super rocky transition.

Matt Taibbi: What’s been the reaction to you personally from this book? I’m wondering about the response and whether you’ve taken political criticism for even writing about this, in the same way Hoenig took criticism.

Chris Leonard: The rollout has been really interesting. I have not faced much personal heat at all, it’s been kind of interesting. The right wing really attached to this book. They have a built-in cynicism toward the Fed, but there’s a passage at the end that describes January 6th as an insurrection that endangered our democracy, and people got really angry about that, which was interesting to me. Apart from that – I’m really trying to figure out how to put this without getting myself into trouble. The way I’d put it is, I was disappointed in the lack of engagement with this book in certain circles, like among respectable finance reporters. I don’t know, man. Listen, the book does go against the grain.

Matt Taibbi: I certainly got recommendations from people all across the spectrum for this book. So, clearly lots of people of different political orientations are reading it. But the response among mainstream conventional wisdom seems curious.

Chris Leonard: If this book had come out in 2019, the conventional wisdom folks would’ve said it was just batty, and just recycling right-wing talking points. That’s an incredibly difficult argument to make right now. The legacy of QE is becoming more and more apparent every single day. It was a disastrous policy. We’re going to be paying the price for a long time. Ben Bernanke, he led the Fed down a really risky path and he portrayed it as just a PhD economist solving a set of math problems. As in, “Nothing to see here, we know what we’re doing.” That legacy is falling apart.

So, I think the book makes a lot more sense today, or rather I think it’s more difficult to argue with, than it would’ve been in 2018 or 2019.

Matt Taibbi: All right, thanks so much again, and congratulations on the book.

Chris Leonard: Thank you very much.

* * *

* * *

YOU'RE NOT JADED; everything really is just as phony and vapid as it looks.

I say this because if you are reading this it's likely the result of a personal quest for truth which has led to a gradual peeling away of the lies our society is made of. Your eyes probably found this text because you're the sort of person who's been trying to make sense of the world in a sea of propaganda and deception, which often results in a growing disgust not just with the power structures which oppress and tyrannize humanity, but with our entire civilization.

This experience is very common for people like yourself, and it's very common because it arises from a clear perception of reality. From the very beginning human civilization has been built around serving the interests of the powerful, from religion to philosophy to the arts to law. As the world has gotten smaller and it's become possible to artificially manufacture culture with mass-distributed media, this has only become more the case.

That's why the more you learn about the world, the more fake and stupid our civilization looks. It's because it is fake and stupid. Our news, our entertainment, our jobs, our legal systems, our political systems, our education systems, our financial, monetary, economic and commercial systems; the way our entire civilization is structured and organized has nothing to do with what's true and good and everything to do with keeping human organisms compliantly turning the gears of capitalism and empire.

Mainstream culture is one giant psyop geared toward keeping people fueling the oppression machine. Not because of some grand conspiracy (though there's plenty of that too), but because the manufacturers of culture have a vested interest in preserving our unwholesome status quo. The media are owned by plutocrats who have an interest in making sure everything they're putting out sustains the imperial status quo upon which their kingdoms are built. The Pentagon has more influence over Hollywood than people like you or I ever will.

Things get elevated to mainstream levels of attention and influence by the people with the wealth and power to elevate them, and they're always going to elevate things which serve their interests by manufacturing consent for the status quo their wealth and power are premised upon, not things which harm their interests like material that expands class consciousness or highlights the depravity of the US-centralized empire.

So mainstream culture presents a fraudulent image of reality. It's written into the code of everything that's mass produced — not just in Prager University lectures on the evils of socialism or propagandistic news stories about weapons of mass destruction, but in sitcoms, in advertisements, in clothing brands, in pop music, in textbooks, in trends. When it's not constant messaging that capitalism is totally working and the world is ordered in a more or less sane and truth-based way, it's manipulations designed to shape our values and measures of self-worth to make us into better gear-turners.

If you're noticing this ubiquitous fraudulence, it's not because you're becoming distant from the rest of society, it's because you're becoming more intimate with it. You're getting in real close, so close you can see the nuts and bolts of it, see how the sausage is made.

So if this is happening to you, don't worry. You're not turning into some kind of jaded hipster who's too cool for what everyone else is into, you're just seeing the bullshit for what it is. Sure a rejection of mainstream culture can just be pure ego-driven "look at me I'm so special" crap, but it's also what happens when you sincerely move in for a closer look at the mass-scale psychological fabric of human civilization.

This is what Terence McKenna was talking about when he said "The cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation." And it's what Jiddu Krishnamurti was pointing at when he said "It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society." A lucid perception of reality today will necessarily be accompanied by the ever-present smell of bullshit.

And that's not your fault. It's not your fault that you were born into this world where so much of everything is fake and stupid. So be gentle with yourself in your sense of alienation. And take comfort in knowing that others see what you're seeing too.

But mainly learn to take comfort in the fact that, just underneath the logos and screens and suburbs and Hollywood actors pretending to be people, reality is roaring. There's a whole world of wonder and authenticity shining ferociously from just beneath the surface. It's just got nothing to do with the artificial culture that's been mass-produced by the powerful and funneled into our minds.

Underneath all the social engineering and power-serving control mechanisms, there's a whole life of raw terrestriality that is much, much older and much, much stronger than the lies of the machine. You can see it crackling everywhere, even in the densest parts of the matrix.

You can see it in the sky. You can see it in the bushes and the pigeons. But you can also see it in the bus billboards and skyscrapers, in the flashing signs and blaring screens. And you can see it in the giant-brained bipedal primates you're surrounded by each day, hiding just behind the dance of imperial fraudulence in their heads. You can see it even in those who are most asleep at the wheel, the most enslaved to the mind viruses of the machine, if you look. Once you learn to see it, you can observe nature winking at you even from inside the most rage-faced pundits and most self-absorbed social natterers. It's there.

In reality this sense of alienation is just an awkward transition phase between buying into the imperial dreamworld and a deep, deep intimacy with humanity as it really is beneath all the obnoxious programming. Beyond the revulsion at the phony facepuppets, something ancient, authentic, and exuberant is dancing. And it is more real and more true than our disgust with this civilization.

Look closer and you see the fraudulence. Look even closer and you see what's real. Your sense of alienation is entirely valid and based in truth, but we're not meant to stay there. Truth beckons us forward. Truth is beckoning us all forward. And these mind cages they have built for us aren't real enough to hold us in for much longer.

— Caitlin Johnstone

* * *

27 Comments

  1. Pam Partee September 9, 2022

    To add some unnamed books by women authors to the list, these come to mind:
    Willa Cather, My Ántonia
    P.D. James’ mysteries
    Annie Proulx, everything
    Flannery O’Connor, Everything That Rises Must Converge
    Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones
    Donna Tartt, The Little Friend
    Constance Helmericks, Down the Wild River North

    • Mike Kalantarian September 9, 2022

      A couple more come to mind:
      Middlemarch, by George Eliot (actually a woman named Mary Ann Evans)
      The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne (but with the sensibility of a woman)

      • Bruce McEwen September 9, 2022

        Ten Great Books By Women

        Tara Road, Mave Binchy
        Rin Tin Tin, Susan Orleans
        Inside of a Dog, Alexandra Horowitz
        Frankenstein, Mary Shelly
        To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
        Wolf Hall, Hillary Mantel
        Interview With A Vampire, Anne Rice
        Beasts For Bad Children, Hillarie Ballock
        Zorro, Isabel Allende
        Fear of Flying, Erica Jong

      • Stephen Rosenthal September 9, 2022

        I read mostly non-fiction, but after perusing my bookshelves, here’s a few I failed to include in my initial post.
        Round 2:
        Don Quixote – Miguel Cervantes
        My Uncle Oswald – Ronald Dahl
        Complete Stories – Edgar Allan Poe
        Tropic of Cancer/Tropic of Capricorn – Henry Miller
        Wind, Sand and Stars – Antoine de Saint Exupéry
        Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert Heinlein
        The Royal Game – Stefan Zweig
        Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie
        To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

        Gray’s Anatomy – one of the most important books I own. If you want to understand the human body, this is the book.

        • Stephen Rosenthal September 9, 2022

          Should be Roald Dahl. Spellchecker strikes yet again.

    • Bruce Anderson September 9, 2022

      Annie Proulx, ‘everything.’ I’ll second that and add Paul Theroux, everything plus Evelyn Waugh almost everything.

      • Chuck Dunbar September 9, 2022

        Paul Theroux: meant to include his fairly recent book, On the Plain of Snakes, in my list.

    • Whyte Owen September 9, 2022

      Posted this once before, but: Louise Erdrich from first to last in order without a break, twice.
      Also: Margaret Atwood’s trilogy beginning with Oryx and Crake. The science in those novels, even more prescient than Handmaid’s Tale, contains nothing that is not feasible with current technology.

  2. Nathan Duffy September 9, 2022

    RE: Book Lists
    I thought I would see more books I know and have but I am heavy towards the nonfiction so I get it. I loved seeing Stephen Kinzer “All the Shahs Men” and Ambrose Bierce “The Devils Dictionary” both books in my collection and when I went back to read all the way through the picks I was delighted to see the Major had also selected Ryszard Kapuscinski “Shah Of Shahs” as I did. Quick enthralling read at less than 150 pages. I did not include “The Mother of All Questions” or “Men Explain Things To Me” but I think Rebecca Solnit is an absolutely extraordinary writer! Nikki Keddie is an Islamic scholar of whose several great books on Shia Islam and Islamic History I possess. As George Hollister noticed several of my choices were on the subject of Judaism. These are all used books I have come across in Berkeley so my reading is really reflective of what is available used in a college town as such. Fascinating even to me. And thanks for the shout out Bruce. I found my copy of the San Quentin Story down in San Jose several years back on a work trip at the only book store I could find in town which was a high end collectible store. After seeing absolutely nothing I was interested in spending money on I was transported to heaven when I found Warden Duffys book in hard cover for $30.

  3. Nathan Duffy September 9, 2022

    As I looked through my books wondering where the female authors are I spotted
    Geraldine Brooks – People of the Book
    Karen Armstrong – Jerusalem, One City Three Faiths
    Francine Klagsbrun – The Fourth Commandment
    Nikki Keddie – An Islamic Response to Imperialism
    Deborah Lipstadt – The Eichmann Trial
    Karen Armstrong – The Battle For God
    …It was then I suddenly realized that the majority of female authors on my shelf are writing on the subject of religion and specifically Islam or Judaism. Now of course those are common topics on my bookshelf but it seems to women write quite successfully about Religion and spirituality. Also as far as books I have on Jewish topics it seems women are quite well represented there throughout. Just my personal observations…

    • Bruce McEwen September 9, 2022

      My wife and her girlfriends read all those Karen Armstrong books, and I should mention here one my wife’s favorite books, Tell Me A Riddle by Tillie Olsen — and, going back to k h’s point about age, when the vast majority of books were written, in the past, male authors prevailed, and those women who wrote used male pen names like George Sand and Hillarie Ballock, but a look at the shelves in any bookstore nowadays will show a more equal division of the sex of the authors, despite male deconstructionists like Northrop Fry and Jacques Derrida who are busy dismantling what they call the Text (a term when capitalized refers to the entirety of Western Literature) and so they are deconstructing the cult of the author, at just the moment a fair number of women finally got on board and started informing our innermost predictions with their own profound tidings; so, as usual, the boys just wreck the treehouse once the girls are allowed to climb up and see what it’s like: ugh, me Tarzan, you Jane, and there’ll be no room of one’s own, either, Virginia!

      • Bruce McEwen September 9, 2022

        Predilections, Spellchecker, not predictions, you malign mangler of words, a pox on you and all your ilk.

        • Chuck Dunbar September 9, 2022

          Oh sir, my humblest apologies, these fancy words sometimes throw me off. Most people do not use such fine language. I seem to have a strange predilection for errors of this sort. I am now under strict supervision and must ask my boss to double-check any words where I am in doubt. I predict a better future for our close collaboration…. (I hope you did not mean monkey pox.)

          Forgiven, I hope,
          Susie Spellchecker

          • Bruce McEwen September 13, 2022

            Curious you should characterize Spellchecker as a coy girl, Dunbar. Most people do not use “such fine language” and “fancy words” is a reference to the J-School injunction, “never use language a 12-year-old would have trouble understanding.” Ostensibly, this is so adolescents can have access to the news and views of the day. But in practice, the policy limits the discussion to the purview of the school-spirited, go-team, slogan-shouting teenager, which, as Caitlin Johnstone would be quick to point out to you is how the MSM does the bidding of the handful of corporate publishers who now control all info. So maybe this molly-coddling sympathy for Suzie Spellchecker is being misplaced…. ?

            • Chuck Dunbar September 14, 2022

              Just written for plain fun and some word-play, nothing more– except for highlighting the annoying misdeeds and hazards of modern tech stuff that tries to do our thinking for us.

  4. ERMA September 9, 2022

    Two books that every American should read: The Cool Million by Nathaniel West, and Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. These will tell you everything you need to know about capitalism and war. On the human condition, Freedom at Midnight (1974) by LaPierre and Collins is the best.

    • Bruce McEwen September 9, 2022

      This comment fits hand-in-glove w/ today’s Caitlin Johnstone excerpt. Thanx, Erma.

    • Bruce Anderson September 9, 2022

      Johnny Got His Gun was so effective at discouraging young men from signing up for war that it was banned for a period in the fifties, as I recall.

      • Bruce McEwen September 9, 2022

        Ay. Skipper. And perhaps that is why the marines started conscripting recruits from the court dockets, like they did w/ you and me and several thousand more minor offenders.

        Nowadays, the recruiter has to go to the courthouse in person and make sure his recruit is not a minor offender — no more of the Dirty Dozen psycho killers, not even a Devil’s Brigade of misfits in the new all volunteer armed forces.

  5. Marmon September 9, 2022

    RE: THE MIDTERMS

    BREAKING: Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) issued an executive order declaring a State Disaster Emergency over polio in New York State.

    Marmon

  6. Marmon September 9, 2022

    RE: WORK

    “Today, the business of our work is for the council to report on the work that has occurred since our last meeting across these areas. We will today also discuss the work yet ahead, the work we must still do.”

    -Kamala Harris, today

    Marmon

  7. Jim Armstrong September 9, 2022

    Book lists:
    A whole bunch I’ve heard about for 70 years or so and also vaguely wish I’d read.

    • Chuck Dunbar September 9, 2022

      Exactly, Jim.

  8. Bruce McEwen September 9, 2022

    Well lads & lasses, I think the book list project successful but over, all that needed saying said, all the best books read, and thank you one and all for your participation and those who want more of this old fashioned entertainment can subscribe to the Sunday Scotsman newspaper where they still publish serial novels like in Chas. Dickens day, and keep abreast of characters like Bruce Anderson and the adventures of Bertie and his libtard auld mither Irene, his nasty school mates Olive and Tofu, his heroic grandmother Dominica and all the rest by Alistair McCall-Smith …

    • Jim Armstrong September 10, 2022

      I think that is Alexander McCall Smith, Bruce.
      Good stuff.

  9. Justine Frederiksen September 9, 2022

    Wait, “The Shipping News!” Thank you to Pam for mentioning Annie Proulx, because I can’t believe I forgot that wonderful book, which was my first glimpse into the delicious minutia of small-town journalism!

  10. Debra Keipp September 9, 2022

    Yup, Proulx for sure, and for amusement, …FUP. I don’t care what ya say, I like the way it was written. Efficient and funny.

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