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MOSTLY DRY CONDITIONS and below normal temperatures are expected through the end of the work week. A chance for rain showers is currently in the forecast for late this weekend. (NWS)
AV JR./SR. HIGH SERVICE LEARNING TEAM STUDENTS continue to make progress towards their mission of developing a skatepark in Boonville! In July, the project was granted $8,000 by the AV Community Services District Recreation Committee, which is partnering with SLT kids in the effort and serving as fiscal agent for the project. A graphic designer has been hired to create 3D renderings of the community park with the skatepark and other park improvements included — soon to be showcased in the launching of the new AV skatepark project website and fundraising campaign (stay tuned!).
Next Tuesday, September 20th at 5pm, AV community park neighbors are invited for a meeting at the park to discuss potential transfer of the community park area from the school district to the CSD, and planned recreation developments, including the skatepark.
— Noor Dawood, Anderson Valley Adult School
BOONVILLE COUNTY FAIR, September 23-25, 2022
You are a major-league curmudgeon while I'm still in Double-AA, putting in the work to develop some consistency in my cynicism, that sad province of those who chafe at their powerlessness. I try to read the AVA weekly but I'm often far from civilization, thus a newsstand, and I've lacked a fixed address for seven years. But I now have one or at least one I occupy often enough to collect mail and avoid the heat along with people who will gather and hold it until it appears.
I'm not homeless. In fact, I have too many. It is difficult to be three or four places at once when you are not anywhere at all. No complaint, I like to roam the north coast.
Enclosed is a two year subscription with the leftover to be used at your discretion — petty cash, lawyers, confidential informants, intoxicatants, whatever, be it the month's granola or payoffs for the Sheriff so you can party undisturbed.
I assume/trust you will keep my location off the record. Off The Record is the primary reason I read the AVA and urge you to keep including your selection of online comments which is about my sole contact with the screen world these days.
I noticed, isolated as it was in the legal notices, an undocumented assertion that hydrogen peroxide kills covid. It lacked both attribution or context and I feared people/believers might pour/snort it into their respiratory tracts. It struck me as uncommonly irresponsible, even for you. What is up with its bald insertion in legal notices?
High regards and stay cool,
Jim Dodge, North Coast
AHEM. I know I'm the editor of Boonville's esteemed weekly, but if I'd seen this ad pre-pub, I'd have approved it because (1) it was a paid ad and (2) purchased by my old friend, Dave Smith, who up and died on us before he could pay for it. Which of course is irresponsible of me every which way, not to say mercenary.
Now that my colleague, The Major, has brought the ad to my admittedly defective attention, I hope it wasn't by quaffing hydrogen peroxide that Dave was hastened to his grave, and I'm surprised that he could have believed it as a covid cure. Knowing him, it may well have been a joke. (I've paid dearly over the years for joking in print, believe me.) Still and all, I doubt an ava reader would be so gullible as to ingest a nutball covid cure on the say-so of a terse, unelaborated upon bold type assertion. If an ava ad said, “Jesus Saves” would you say to yourself, “Well, ok, sign me up?”
WINERY TASTING ROOMS, THE EARLY YEARS
by Marshall Newman
Driving through Anderson Valley recently, I realized most of the sheep pastures, mill sites and apple orchards of my youth had turned into vineyards. Those many vineyards have begat an equally dizzying number of winery tasting rooms; 31 at last count, compared to zero back then. Longtime valley residents and visitors will remember North Coast tasting rooms from the 1950s to the early 1970s were relatively few, and limited to Napa and Sonoma County. They also were very different experiences from the more polished presentations of today.
My first visit to a winery tasting room was in 1957, when my parents began weekend trips from the Bay Area to El Rancho Navarro, their newly acquired summer camp near Philo. Italian Swiss Colony (or Asti, as it was often called), located between Geyserville and Cloverdale, became our default stop on those weekly trips (during autumn, winter and spring – we lived at camp during the summer). Italian Swiss Colony likely was Sonoma County’s biggest tourist attraction in those days, driven by a national reputation, free wine tasting, and those “little old winemaker, me” advertisements on radio and television.
For we Newmans, the attractions were more practical. Yes, my parents would enjoy a glass or two of wine (the glasses used in the Asti tasting room were tiny) during our stops. More important for us kids were the bathrooms and a tub of free cookies. The Italian Swiss Colony tasting room also offered perhaps the most clever winery promotion ever; free picture postcards visitors could send to friends, free postage on those cards and even an on-site post office.
Our stops at Italian Swiss Colony lasted until the autumn of 1958. My mother put an end to them when she realized the tasting room staff was greeting my father by name and pouring his favorite wine before he arrived at the tasting bar. The long-haul weekly commute ended soon after, when we moved to Philo.
In truth, there were not a lot tasting rooms in Sonoma County – or anywhere else – back then. On Highway 101 near Geyserville, the Four Monks Wine Vinegar facility (which later became Geyser Peak Winery and now is Virginia Dare Winery) had a sign next to the road that read, “No wine for sale – we drink it ourselves.”
Jump forward to 1970. I am driving from college to Philo on a regular basis. A sign on Highway 101 just north of Geyserville proclaimed “Free Wine Tasting” and pointed down Canyon Road to Dry Creek Valley and J. Pedroncelli Winery. Being legal drinking age and curious, I went. There, at a long counter in the barrel room, presided over by a retired airline pilot named John, I discovered the pleasures of wine. I bought my first bottle - J. Pedroncelli Chenin Blanc – there.
Over the next couple of years, I visited other wineries along Highway 101; the old, mostly two-lane highway that went through – not around - Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Geyserville and Cloverdale back then, not the four-lane freeway of today. Foppiano Vineyards near Healdsburg didn’t have a tasting room, but sold gallon bottles of Burgundy and – for big spenders – half-gallon bottles of 1964 Zinfandel at the cellar door. A. Rege Wine Company, across the highway and a bit north of Italian Swiss Colony, had a tiny tasting room where it offered Rege Burgundy and Rege Reserve Burgundy, the latter distinguished by an extra year in large redwood tanks and an extra dollar in price. Just south of Cloverdale, Bandiera Wines poured and sold Burgundy and – if I remember correctly – Zinfandel at the winery.
Italian Swiss Colony’s tasting room closed years ago: after several changes in ownership, the production facility was purchased by E. & J. Gallo Winery in 2015. Pedroncelli Winery is thriving under the management of the family’s third and fourth generation, with a dedicated tasting room and a full range of Sonoma County wines. Foppiano continues to make and sell wine – though Burgundy has been supplanted by varietal bottlings, most notably Petite Sirah. It also has a dedicated tasting room. A. Rege and Bandiera are long gone; while the latter survived as a label into the 2000s, its original vineyard was replaced by a subdivision.
A favorite winery stop in those years was Nervo Winery, between Healdsburg and Geyserville. Here, in a tiny building next to the old stone winery, Frank Nervo (or occasionally his sister Margaret) would pour Zinfandel (usually the most recent bottling, but occasionally one from 1944), Pinot Noir, Pinot St. George (a red grape variety now called Négrette) and Beclan Cabernet (which was not Cabernet, but may have been Béclan, an obscure French grape variety). After a few visits, during which we became acquainted, Frank began putting the open bottles and a plastic cup on the counter and leaving me to pour my own while he tackled tasks in the winery. The Nervo family closed the tasting room and sold the property in late 1972. The old stone winery, beautifully refurbished in recent years, is now the centerpiece of Trione Winery.
A few things to know about the wine world in Sonoma and Mendocino back then.
A majority of wine production in 1970 was generic blends in big bottles (“jug wines”) and many of the winery owners were Italian. J. Pedroncelli Winery in Sonoma and Parducci Winery in Mendocino were among the first in their respective counties to bottle premium wines in standard, cork-finished bottles labeled with the grape variety. However, it took the establishment of new wineries like Dry Creek Vineyards, Joseph Swan Vineyards, Trentadue Winery, A. Rafanelli Winery and Geyser Peak Winery, plus the building of Souverain Cellars-Sonoma and the revitalization of Simi Winery, all in the early 1970s, for Northern Sonoma and Mendocino to develop as premium wine regions.
With the exception of Italian Swiss Colony, the term “tasting room” was a misnomer. J. Pedroncelli had its counter and bins of wine along the walls, though most of the warehouse was devoted to barrel storage. At A. Rege and Nervo, tastings took place in converted corners of their offices; small, old buildings next to the winery.
Winery promotional material – when it existed - usually was a single sheet of paper with a list of the wines available and their prices. A few small wineries in the early 1970s may have offered single-fold brochures, but I cannot recall seeing any.
Italian Swiss Colony attracted crowds to its tasting room in the late 1950s 1960s and early 1970s, but not so other wineries in Northern Sonoma. Despite wine tasting being free, most tasting rooms attracted little notice. I recall being the only person at a tasting room on Saturday afternoon on more than one occasion. Even the wildest imagination in the wine business could not have conceived of requiring an appointment to taste back then.
SOME POLL OR OTHER claims that an overwhelming majority of Americans say they are at least moderately concerned about getting access to quality health care, but that majority agreement disappears over what to do about it, although roughly two-thirds of adults do agree it is the federal government's responsibility to ensure all Americans are covered. Which it is, but isn't in the only country in the world without it in some form or other.
MY MEDICAL STRATEGY is to stay away from doctors who, at my age, and at any age if you're insured, will give you the fatted calf special, batteries of tests mostly designed to profit their sponsoring hospital. I like the doctor I occasionally see at St. Mary's in San Francisco, a man named Yoss. He won me when he said I should be tested for whatever it was, and I said “Nope.” And he said, “OK.” Once they start testing us geezers they are certain to have you trotting around the medical labyrinth waiting in lines for some other alleged specialist. If there was a Boonville doctor with just him or her in a small house whose front room was his surgery I'd sign right up. But not a chance. The Adventist monopoly wouldn't permit it.
WHICH IS THE WAY it was in the Anderson Valley and lots of small towns up through the early 1960s with our own Dr. Bradford. Old timers tell me Bradford would take cords of wood, abalone, deer jerky, whatever his patients could manage in payment for his services. (Was he nicknamed Shoveltooth? Being that the old boy was from a less sensitive time when people were often called by their most prominent feature — Red, Fats, Hose Nose, and on into unrepeatable ethnic slurs then common. As a twelve-year-old, a redheaded kid I delivered newspapers with was routinely greeted with, “Red on the head like a dick on a dog” by one of his customers, a comment that would get an adult a perv jacket if he said that to a kid now.)
WHERE WERE WE? Oh yes, modern medicine. The only local doctor I've known who I liked on a personal level was Logan McGahn, a young guy fired over a contract dispute with the Nice People who comprise boards of directors in Mendocino County. Not that I've disliked the others, but McGahn was a guy who actually listened to your description of your STD or whatever it was ailing you. I also admired the late Fort Bragg neurologist, Peter Glusker, and also Dr. Graham, for their kind attention to my late sister, a memorably difficult patient.)
DO THE MATH (60K MINUS 15K)
On Friday, September 9, 2022 at about 1:29 A.M. Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office assisted Ukiah Police Department officers (UPD) on a traffic stop in the 500 block of North Dora Street Ukiah.
Upon arrival Deputies identified the four occupants of the vehicle as Marlen Nunez-Alvarez, 19, of Boonville, Victor Martinez, 22, of Boonville, Elijah Devinegomes 19, of Boonville, and a 17-year-old male.
Deputies assisted the UPD officers in searching the vehicle and located numerous stolen checks, personal documents, and US mail which belonged to people who reside in various locations throughout Mendocino County.
In total, Deputies counted 53 stolen checks which totaled over $60,000 in monetary value.
Upon further examination, it was noted that some of the checks were already forged with the names of some of the occupants in the vehicle.
Upon further investigation it was determined that Nunez-Alvarez, Martinez, Devinegomes, and the 17-year-old male were conspiring in an attempt to cash or trade the stolen checks for financial gain.
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is currently working with the United States Postal Inspection Service to attempt contact with all the identified victims in this case.
Nunez-Alvarez, Martinez, Devinegomes and the 17-year-old male were placed under arrest for grand theft, possession of stolen property, and conspiracy.
Nunez-Alvarez, Martinez, and Devinegomes were booked into the Mendocino County Jail where they were to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail separately.
The 17-year-old male was booked into the Mendocino County Juvenile Hall.
3AM CLUB, TALMAGE
On Thursday, September 8, 2022 at about 2:47 A.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were on routine patrol in the area Talmage Road in Ukiah.
A Deputy conducted a traffic enforcement stop on a vehicle driven by a female driver who was identified as Destenie Hall, 29, of Ukiah, and a male passenger identified as Kevin Worley, 30 of Ukiah.
Upon contacting Hall she displayed obvious signs of being under the influence of a controlled substance. Hall was evaluated and the Deputy determined she was in fact under the influence of a controlled substance.
A search of Hall's wallet revealed two baggies containing two different types of suspected controlled substances. Hall was also found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia. A search of a backpack which belonged to Worley contained additional drug paraphernalia.
Further search of the vehicle revealed over five-pounds of bud marijuana with some of it packaged in a manner consistent with sales.
Hall was arrested for conspiracy, being under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana for sales, transportation of marijuana for sales, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Worley was arrested for conspiracy possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana for sales, transportation of marijuana for sales, (11360 (a) HS) and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Both Worley and Hall were booked into the Mendocino County Jail where they were to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail separately.
SURE, SILK SAID, GO AHEAD AND SEARCH
On Thursday, September 8, 2022 at 7:02 P.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were on routine patrol in the area of North State Street in Ukiah.
A Deputy observed a vehicle being driven by Eric Silk-Hoaglin, 32, of Ukiah, who he knew from prior law enforcement contacts. The Deputy conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle which had several moving traffic violations. The vehicle ultimately yielded in the 1000 block of North State Street.
Upon contacting Silk-Hoaglin, he consented to a search of his vehicle and informed the Deputy that he was out of custody on bail which was later confirmed.
The Deputy observed several rounds of ammunition on the driver's side floorboard of the vehicle and immediately detained Silk-Hoaglin.
A search of Silk-Hoaglin's person revealed several small plastic baggies which contained a commercial quantity of suspected Fentanyl.
The Deputy ultimately continued the investigation, collected additional evidence and developed probable cause to believe Silk-Hoaglin was in possession and transportation of a controlled substance for sale.
The Deputy also determined that as a result Silk-Hoaglin was committing a felony offense while out on bail on a separate unrelated case.
Silk-Hoaglin was ultimately placed under arrest for possession of narcotic for sale, transportation of a narcotic for sale, possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, and committing a felony offense while out of custody on bail.
Silk-Hoaglin was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
OLD & OLDER PETALUMA
LIT CHAT add-ons
KIRK VODOPALS: Books: I haven’t read his entire works, but pretty much anything by Kurt Vonnegut. Last one I read was Sirens of Titan which was his first novel, I believe. Crazy to think he wrote like that in the fifties.
- Empire of the Summer Moon by SC Gwynne
- Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
- Great Plains or On the Rez by Ian Frazier
* * *
MARCO McCLEAN: About the books: Not mentioned so far by others here are brilliant comix series and graphic novels, like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Sandman; Saga; East of West; Girl Genius; Strong Female Protagonist; Watchmen; V for Vendetta…
Speaking of comic books: Marvel teevee shows that particularly grabbed me: Jessica Jones; Daredevil… Other series: Lie To Me; Sherlock; Elementary; Firefly; Dead Like Me; Pushing Daisies; Farscape; all three Stargate series; The Magicians; the first year of Heroes; maybe one-in-four episodes of each of the Star Trek series; Cowboy Bebop; Northern Exposure; The Expanse; Dark Mirror; Sanctuary; Defiance…
And movies that affect you as hard as any book does: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape; The Wedding Gift; Dark City (Alex Troyas); City of Lost Children; Strange Days; Illuminata; MirrorMask; The Fall (Tarsem Singh); the entire Studio Ghibli film catalog; Tom Cruise’s Edge Of Tomorrow, Oblivion, and Minority Report. Also there’s the Dust web series of very short films, such as FTL.
I was 13 when I saw Play Misty For Me. In hindsight not a work of art, but I was 13. I’m 63 now and I think of Jessica of Jessica Walter going nuts and jumping up out of the dark with with scissors every time I pick up a pair of scissors.
And the documentary: In the Realms of the Unreal, about Henry Darger, a janitor in a hospital, who died alone in his apartment that was stuffed and papered with his 18,000-page unpublished graphic novel). That’s on Youtube in full, in low but acceptable resolution, here: youtube.com/watch?v=sRlvDKcDvsI
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 12, 2022
ELIJAH DEVINE-GOMES, Boonville. Grand theft, stolen property, conspiracy.
LATEEFAH GLOVER, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, resisting.
JAMES HAGGETT, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
ALEXIS HERNANDEZ-MADRIGAL, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI.
FREDERICK KLEIN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (No booking photo available.)
THUONG NGUYEN, Fort Bragg. DUI, no license, resisting.
RAUL PAZ, Richmond/Ukiah. Shoplifting.
HENRY REYES-HERNANDEZ, Gualala. Domestic battery.
STEVEN SANEZ, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
TRENTON SHOOPMAN, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation, false personation of another, getting credit with another’s ID, firearm possession in violation of specific misdemeanor conviction provision.
CHRISTINA TORRES, Hopland. Throwing substances at vehicles.
ERNESTO VARGAS, Exeter/Laytonville. DUI, suspended license for DUI, unspecified offense.
LEARNING IS UNFINISHED, NOT LOST
by Michelle Hutchins, County Superintendent of Schools
As we soar past Labor Day weekend, all districts have welcomed students back to school. Although COVID-19 variants continue to spread, students and teachers are finding that campus life feels much like it did before the pandemic. The State of California lifted its mask mandate last spring and face coverings remain optional. Gone are the lines marking where students should stand to ensure social distancing. Sanitizing stations in classrooms and some plexiglass barriers remain among the few physical reminders that COVID-19 remains a threat. Across Mendocino County, schools are offering students and staff take-home COVID-19 testing kits upon request.
Schools are now faced with how to help students catch up with their learning. Research suggests more students have experienced more unfinished learning during the last two years than ever before. With the pandemic waning, schools face a critical choice about how to respond. Should they use the traditional approach of reviewing all the content students missed, known as remediation? Or should they start with the current grade’s content and provide just-in-time support when necessary, known as learning acceleration?
New data from Zearn, a nonprofit organization whose online math platform is used by one in four elementary students nationwide, provides one of the first direct comparisons of these two approaches—and compelling new evidence that schools should make learning acceleration the foundation of their approach.
Students who experienced learning acceleration struggled less and learned more than students who started at the same level but experienced remediation instead.
Students of color and those from low-income backgrounds were more likely than their white, wealthier peers to experience remediation—even when they had already demonstrated success on grade-level content.
Learning acceleration was particularly effective for students of color and those from low-income families and students learning English.
This is strong evidence that learning acceleration works, and that it could be key to unwinding generations-old academic inequities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. School leaders have an important opportunity in the months ahead to start providing teachers with the resources and support they need—and to start building the skill and beliefs that are necessary—to help every student engage in grade-level work right away.
As a parent, what can you do to find out how your school is addressing learning loss? There are resources at Accelerate, Don’t Remediate at www.tntp.org/accelerate.
What else can be done to support students as they return to school? When summer ends, children often complain about the return to school; they mourn the loss of leisure time and worry about the onset of new challenges and responsibilities. A new teacher, classroom, and schedule, in addition to a harder curriculum and a higher expectation for academic performance, cause anxiety. The question becomes: what is normal anxiety when entering a new school year and when is it excessive?
According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, one child in every eight suffers from an anxiety disorder; meaning, a teacher with a classroom of 25 can expect two to three children with high anxiety levels. Anxiety is considered excessive when it interferes with a child’s well-being and ability to learn. High levels of anxiety are often apparent in a child’s behavior, such as temper tantrums. Excessive anxiety can lead to school avoidance. It can also manifest as physical symptoms, such as trouble breathing, nausea, headaches, and stomach aches. A UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools publication noted, “A child who expresses such symptoms should see a physician, as well as having special attention from his or her teacher and probably a support staff member such as a school psychologist or counselor.”
To support students as they return to school, it can help to understand what anxiety looks like and how to reduce it. Sometimes anxiety manifests as uncertainty and a fear that the worst will happen. Students may be worried that the next grade level is beyond their capabilities. By asking children what, exactly, they are concerned about, parents can provide information and reassurance. For example, parents can describe what is expected at their child’s level of schooling and demonstrate that their child is, in fact, prepared to take on this new challenge.
One of the best ways to support children is for families and teachers to work together. Open communication keeps everyone aware of current challenges and provides an opportunity for collaboration.
IT’S OUR PARTY AND YOU’LL FRY IF WE WANT TO
by Steve Heilig
Wake up! The world is on fire! — Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Another Burning Man gathering has come and gone, supposedly “leaving no trace” as one of their primary credos has it. But can that really be true? Far from it, alas.
First, a disclaimer: I’m not anti-Burning Man. Some of my best friends — seriously! — are, or were while alive, committed “Burners.” They have had a great time at the annual bash on the “Playa” in the high Nevada desert. Much of the art and constructed “temples” and so forth are fantastic (to see some, and hear an interview with one of the temples’ founding visionary artists, search “David Best, The New School at Commonweal”).
But Burning Man (BM) should not be above critique. When I first raised concerns in “print”, including here in the AVA, about BM’s carbon footprint a decade ago, some readers reacted as if I had thrown a bomb at their church and I got more negative blowback than when writing about abortion, the right to die, war, or other heated topics. Denial runs deep, even, maybe especially, among good people who otherwise likely think of themselves as “green.” But now I feel it's time to repeat and update the critique, as the need to reexamine the impacts of our “lifestyles” is bigger than ever.
There should be no need to summarize climate science here, as it’s now an overwhelming consensus that human impact, mainly via carbon emissions, is helping to cook us and all other species who live on this globe. Even oil companies and the highest levels of financiers recognize the imperative to clean up their acts, or eventually be forced to do so. And that even so, it could be, likely is, too late to prevent much disruption and suffering due to various cataclysms.
So what of BM — an event with much high-sounding rhetoric, including “green,” about what they do — and their environmental aspect? That could be said to be everybody's business. I don’t care much about the smoke from the actual burning of temples and “The Man.” That’s relatively inconsequential. It’s the fuel burned and carbon emitted by everybody getting to and from the “Playa” that’s an issue. Up to 80,000 people now attend. They come from around the world. The traffic jams are legendary. BM “prides itself on being eco-friendly” and does have an “environmental statement.” It's proudly a “Leave No Trace” event, which is cool enough, even though they'd likely not have a permit or event without such a goal. But just cleaning up after oneself and encouraging greener practices while there is far from enough (and the garbage, including thousands of junked bikes, left in nearby towns and along the roads out afterwards have become a real problem too). At a minimum, the “carbon footprint” of BM would seem to be substantial. The number of plastic water bottles — a big green no-no — used there is unknown but must be huge. And so on.
Photos of the gridlock exodus from BM this year prompted renowned writer Rebecca Solnit to call it a “Carbon Potlach.” Others have said much nastier things. I suspect what most, er, burns many BM critics is the apparent hypocrisy of the whole thing.
BM prides itself on being “an alternative to mass culture and consumer society,” and we sure need more alternatives to that. They also preach “radical” self-reliance, expression, inclusion, and the like, and “decommodification”, although as many have lamented, corporate interests and presence has increased each year and the San Francisco Chronicle noted years ago that “it has become a place where CEOs, venture capitalists and startuppers (sic) can network,” thus making BM “a little bit like a corporate retreat.” That entails private jets galore. Paris Hilton — remember her? — has become a regular. In other words, BM is “evolving” towards something very different from what it was in the early years, and in fact the small group of “owners” have taken the trouble to state they are certainly “not anti-capitalist.” With many of the new power elite attending, BM has a big opportunity to provide an example of real “socially conscious capitalism.” After all, such goals are often stated by our new “techie” business folks — Google's “Don't Be Evil” being a prime example — but rarely put into practice yet, as too many sad stories have revealed.
What is done to mediate the impacts? Not enough. But in fact, BM could not really be a no-impact event, considering all that driving and flying and burning of fuel, no matter what practices occur at the event.
Given their stated high ideals, though, BM should at least truly attempt to go “carbon-neutral” — in total, not just at the event. That would likely be hugely difficult, and costly, but it's way past time, if the event is to approach some sort of positive “consciousness” in this troubled transitional time for our economy and planet. Solar power, mass transport to/from BM, carbon offsets/credits, and much more might be a good start. There are plenty of people who could help BM do this, many of whom probably have attended or still attend BM nowadays — but it would take real commitment, of a truly radical kind.
Nowadays lots of money flows in to BM coffers — more than ever now that the permitted attendance has been increased to 80,000, and even BM founder Larry Harvey once admitted that BM's honchos have long operated behind “a veil of secrecy” with intimations of a few making lots of money — capitalism at its grooviest, perhaps, hiding behind lots of performative paganism. This might well be nobody else’s business if it weren’t for all their expressed high ideals and the fact that the “trace” they leave isn’t limited to the Playa — it’s in the air, impacting us all, and not in a good way.
It’s far too late for Business As Usual. So, here's my proposal to BM: Cancel it next year, and urge all would-be attendees to take the money they would have spent on tickets and supplies and gas and flights and give that to the charities of their choice. And as for all that fine energy that would have been expended on the playa that week, what if all the constructive effort, literal and otherwise, went towards building homes for Habit for Humanity, volunteering in food banks, and the like? Such good karma! And what if BM's leaders/owners used that year to figure out how to be truly ecologically and socially responsible — at a minimum buying massive amounts of “carbon offsets” to help balance things out at least somewhat — and then actually did that?
Now that would be truly “radical,” and much closer to leaving no trace.
(PS: “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To” was a pathetic #1 hit tune in 1963 sung by Lesley Gore and written by John Gluck, Wally Gold, and Herb Wiener).
COURTS, NOT ENABLERS
Gov. Gavin Newsom took the right action in vetoing the ill-advised Senate Bill 57, which would have authorized drug injection sites in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles, cities already overrun with addicts, many of whom comprise a significant part of the homeless population in those cities. Envisioned as a harm-reduction proposal, it was heavy on ways to support addicts and light on any kind of effort to address addiction with effective treatment, other than to provide counseling and recommend treatment.
More effective will be the governor’s proposal for a Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment Court, or Care Court, in each county. These courts are designed to identify the people most severely impaired by mental health issues or drug abuse who do not voluntarily seek treatment. After a court finding, they will be placed in a county-designed facility to provide these services.
While there is opposition from many, including the ACLU, believing it violates individuals’ civil rights, this is a logical first step in identifying and assisting a significant population who now comprise the chronically homeless and will likely never pursue adequate treatment for their health needs.
‘Joe Martin was the man who started me in boxing but sometimes I trained with a black man named Fred Stoner. I trained six days a week and never drank or smoked a cigarette. The only thing I ever did like drugs was twice I took the cap off a gas tank and smelled the gas which made me dizzy. Boxing kept me out of trouble.’
— Muhammad Ali
2022 had only just begun when suddenly everything almost ended. While meeting to confirm our new president into office, the Capital Building was overrun. The previous President almost ended over two centuries of a Constitutional republican national government. Inside the place where war measures saved the Union, where the American congresses declared war on the Kaiser, Tojo, and Hitler, and where the Cold War was fought and won, an autocratic madman very nearly took over national power. By the end of March, faraway in eastern Europe, another crazed ruler invaded his smaller neighboring nation, Ukraine. Tens of thousands of his tanks, planes and armed forces almost destroyed a free people’s will to resist.
In this country millions were saved by vaccines, but Covid wasn’t beaten. Thousands more would die.
Kyiv held, Mariapol was bombed to death, and the war for Ukraine’s Donbass has continued. Inflation raged, destroying hopes and dreams. In the summer over five thousand wildfires devastated California, Spain, France and Portugal burned, a Pope apologized for inhuman wrongs of His Church, and the replaced president lied on and on. First about his lost election; then trying to cover up his theft of classified materials vital to national security. In August the FBI searched his Palm Beach resort recovering incriminating materials. He successfully raised millions funding a new campaign to become President again. He has delayed the investigation.
In spite of all, thank God, eternal hope springs. Queen Elizabeth II passed. Her son, Charles III, is crowned. In Ukraine Pres. Zelensky’s forces counterattacked successfully. More new vaccines have arrive. Economies and our lives struggle forward. Children and their teachers have returned to in-person learning again.
Frank H. Baumgardner
THE QUEEN TAPPED INTO A NOSTALGIA THAT HAS KEPT THE MONARCHY STRONG
by Patrick Cockburn
An hour before the Queen died, I looked out of my window in Canterbury at the medieval church of St Dunstan’s, which is associated with two historic events that help to explain why the British monarchy has lasted so long while others have not.
The first event took place on 12 July 1174 and illustrates the strong survival instinct of British monarchs down the centuries.
On that day, Henry II, the formidable founder of the Plantagenet dynasty and ruler of England and half of France, dressed in a hair shirt under a smock, walked barefoot from St Dunstan’s to Canterbury Cathedral half a mile away in expiation of his responsibility for the murder by his knights of Archbishop Thomas Becket.
Whipped by monks, Henry went to Becket’s tomb in the crypt and confessed that his “incautious words” had led to the killing. His penitence went down spectacularly well with onlookers and, in what was taken as an instant sign of divine approval, Henry’s armies started winning in the field.
Several centuries later, St Dunstan’s became associated with another more gruesome aspect of the British monarchy, which is that their enemies have seldom flourished. In the crypt of the church is the head of Sir Thomas More, former chancellor of England executed in 1535 on the orders of Henry VIII for “maliciously denying the royal supremacy”. The head was given to his daughter, Margaret Roper, whose entrance to her home in Canterbury – a few hundred yards from the church – still stands.
If the English monarchy differed from its contemporaries on the Continent, it was because of the frequency with which monarchs from Edward II to Charles I were overthrown. They learned a certain flexibility and, from the 19th century on, were protected from being targeted by their loss of real power. By the time that Kaiser Wilhelm II and Czar Nicholas II were destroying their dynasties by starting a catastrophic war in 1914, British monarchs had been reduced to the safer role of national icon.
Queen Elizabeth played that role perfectly. At first, she was a symbol of empire. She was head of the Church of England, but as organised religion failed and ceased to be a sign of identity, the veneration for the Queen and the monarch increased. In time, worship of the Royal Family seemed to replace the place previously occupied by religion.
By not modernising too abruptly or overtly, the monarchy did not appear to be playing to the gallery. Did this make it easier for Britain to give up the empire grudgingly but without the same agonies as France? Probably it helped and diminished the sense of political loss.
The monarchy gave a comforting sense of continuity with the past, even if that sense was largely bogus, often concealing radical social and political change. Its existence did something to hold back such changes until they were irresistible.
As a child, I used to look at a photograph of my mother, Patricia Arbuthnot, in a long white dress just before she was presented as a debutante at Buckingham Palace in 1931 at the height of the Depression. Even in the 50s this seemed to me to be redolent of an era as long gone as the aristocratic ball in Brussels before the Battle of Waterloo.
My mother would describe how they waited in a line of cars outside the palace. Her father, a retired major in the Scots Guards and wearing full dress uniform, had brought sandwiches which, for lack of anywhere else to put them, he had placed in his bearskin helmet. As the family sat in their overheated car waiting to enter the palace, the butter in the sandwiches began to melt and threatened to spread on to my mother’s elaborate dress.
The age of debutantes in their finery passed away, but the monarchy was generally astute in avoiding being identified as effete aristocrats. Their engagement with politics was limited and generally uncontentious. Edward VII and George V agreed to the sharp reduction in the power of the House of Lords in 1911 by threatening to create more peers. But there were few such episodes.
A case can be made that the monarchy has continued to play a strong role in British cultural identity. I have a vague childhood memory of people in cinemas singing “God Save the Queen” at the end of a film. It is difficult to imagine that happening now.
By the turn of the century, Anthony King could write in The British Constitution that “the United Kingdom today, though still a monarchy in form, is all but a republic in fact”. There was a large dollop of nostalgia in attitudes to the monarchy and fascination with the Royal Family as celebrities. This is often portrayed as new, but I think it was Lord Northcliffe, a century ago, who said that royal funerals were second only to wars as topics about which newspaper readers most wanted to know.
The monarchy will continue much as before, since for a long time past, only a quarter of the population has wanted to get rid of it. The percentage may have been higher during Queen Victoria’s reign, writes King, adding that people will probably “be singing ‘God save the Queen (or King)’ for decades, possibly even centuries to come – if they can remember the words”.
(Patrick Cockburn is the author of War in the Age of Trump (Verso). Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
UNDER OREGON SKIES
by Jeffrey St. Clair
I met a 90-year old man Saturday on my morning walk through the Mountain View Cemetery, here in Oregon City–one of the oldest settler graveyards in the West. He was sitting on a bench under the Giant Sequoia trees that were planted here about 130 years ago and have now grown very fat and tall. He waved me over.
“Is that smoke,” he asked?
The sky was a sickly orange-gray.
“Yes, from the Waldo Lake Fire.”
Waldo Lake is in the high Cascades about 180 miles to the southeast.
He shook his head.
“The most beautiful place, I’ve ever seen,” he said, emphatically. “The purest water around, they say.”
He pointed toward the mountains with a long thin finger, bent by arthritis.
“We used to think Oregon was the best place in the world to live. Now look at it. It’s like the stories of Hell they scared us with in Sunday School.”
He told me he had climbed Mt Hood the first year he arrived in Oregon from Michigan, back in 1964.
“I come here almost every day just to look at it, amazed that I made it to the top. You have to be young and stupid, I guess, and I was. Now I can’t even see it.”
I told him I was from the Midwest as well.
“Ah, the checkerboard country, flat and featureless,” he said. “That’s a place even lower than Hell.”
IS WAR WHAT YOU ASKED FOR?
by James Kunstler
The Russians called their move into Ukraine last February a “special military operation” for a reason. The description was precise. It was not a “war” prosecuted on the people of Ukraine. Russia could have completely disabled the Zelensky regime in an afternoon with air power, but they did not want to smash up the country’s vital infrastructure and foreclose the peoples’ future.
The operation was designed to expel Ukrainian military forces from their forward dug-in positions along the Donbas frontier, where they had been shelling, harassing, and killing the Russian-speaking population for eight years — ever since the 2014 CIA-backed Maidan “color Revolution” brought Ukraine under American control.
The precipitating event of the operation begun last winter was the renewed threat to bring Ukraine into NATO, for the purpose of putting bases on Russia’s border. Russia would not tolerate that any more than America would tolerate Russian bases planted across our border with Mexico. The special operation was mounted to reestablish firm boundaries, both geographically and in geopolitical psychology, for an adversary, the West, who displayed an increasingly psychotic drive to smash all boundaries that make civilized life possible, even in their own countries.
Since then, the US has poured money into Ukraine at the rate of about $10-billion a month for the purpose of prolonging the struggle in Ukraine. We’re doing this at a moment in history when the US faces grave financial breakdown, along with the countries of the European Union and the UK. Nothing about our involvement in Ukraine is in the interest of the American people. Our foreign policy establishment has shown a blind animus toward Russia for no apparent good reason.
At this point reasonable people might conclude that it is for a bad reason. Increasingly it looks like a desperate diversion from the technocrat coup perpetrated by a supranational cabal emanating out of Davos, as led by the megalomaniacs at the World Economic Forum (WEF). The coupsters also happen to be intriguing behind America’s Democratic Party and the White House regime of the obvious tool, “Joe Biden.”
To digress from Ukraine for a moment, let’s consider the perilous condition of “Joe Biden’s” regime just now. All the “narratives” — the miasma of lies the regime has generated in its campaign to wreck our country — are falling apart. Much of this centers on the criminal misbehavior of the FBI, the regime’s clean-up crew, which has lost control of the clean-up. If the conservative opposition seizes majority control of the US House of Representatives on November 8, all the US players in this coup will be called to testify.
This includes the perpetrators of RussiaGate (of which the Ukraine mess is a continuation); the perps of the Covid-19 bioweapon op that will end up killing more Americans from the “vaccines” and the economic blowback of lockdowns as died from the virus itself; the backstage perps of the censoring and cancellation initiative run through the news and social media; the perps who arranged the ballot shenanigans in the 2020 elections; the perps who supported the Antifa and BLM riots of that same year; the perps behind the Mar-a-Lago raid; and, most threatening of all to the regime, the perps who concealed the Hunter Biden laptop evidence of international bribery and treason committed by the current President of the United States. He knows it, he can sniff the danger, as do the rogues and degenerates behind him. Hence, his recent mendacious fulminations against “MAGA Republicans [being] a threat to our democracy” and his ramped-up FBI police-state antics against Donald Trump and his associates. “Joe Biden” must sense that he is going down.
The New York Times today is ballyhooing the Ukraine military’s “lightning advance” east of Kharkov. I’d argue that what The Times wants you to see is not exactly what is happening. Rather the Russians appear to have made an orderly, tactical retreat from the outskirts of Kharkov, inducing the NATO-trained Ukraine forces eastward across the Siverskyi Donets River and out into the flat, open country where they will be cut off, cauldroned, and slaughtered. Everything that NATO and the US have done in this conflict has been a stupid move. Why should this one be an exception?
At the same time, Russia has hit a number of power generation plants around Ukraine, leaving many Ukrainians without lights, hot water, communications — in short, what’s needed to remain civilized. This was exactly what Russia had hoped to avoid the past eight months, but the obdurate pathological idiocy of our country’s leaders has forced Russia to send a harsher message to provoke some rational thought here about ending this conflict. There is even chatter on the web that Russia is about to declare that the special military operation is now a war, with all that implies about targets.
The US may be crazed beyond redemption, but the people of the NATO member countries might have had a clarifying experience lately watching their governments barter away the natural gas they desperately need to run industry and heat their homes this winter — in the foolish gesture of jumping on America’s sanctions bandwagon. Will Germany, France, Italy, and the rest now leap into a war against Russia on the plains of Ukraine in winter? I think they will sooner overthrow their own WEF-directed governments. This appears to be just what has happened in Sweden’s election on Sunday where a bloc of center-right parties has ousted the left government led by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
The question for now is this: Will the US jump stupidly into World War Three over Ukraine? If not, how much does Russia have to disrupt life in the rest of Ukraine outside the Donbas to drive the US and NATO into serious peace talks? It better happen soon because otherwise the West will be completely preoccupied with the collapse of its financial markets, currencies, and economies — and probably before the November elections here.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)