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A REMARKABLE DOWNPOUR yesterday provided welcome relief to the area, hopefully putting an end to our annual dry season. Yorkville recorded 3.76 inches; Boonville 2.26 inches.
Chatter from the Coast Chatline:
Metal Tiger: We've had over 3" here. 1/2 mile up the Ridge in Albion. Glorious! And the big-a** thunder leaves no doubt as to the power being unleashed. It's thrilling!
Rick Harris: An amazing 3.23 inches of rain as of 6:30 pm Sunday. 2 miles inland from the coast in Little River. Recorded a rate of 1 inch an hour briefly this afternoon.
AN EARLY SEASON STORM SYSTEM will continue to generate showers, possible thunderstorms and the potential for locally heavy rain through mid week. Drier and warmer weather conditions are forecast to return late in the week.
TODAY AND TONIGHT, hazardous weather outlook for northwest California: isolated thunderstorms will be possible (15 to 20% chance) this afternoon and evening. If storms develop, locally heavy rain and small hail will occur. Gusty winds are less likely, but remain possible. (NWS)
FROM GLENN COUNTY OES - Forest Highway 7 is closed at the entrance to the Mendocino National Forest. Heavy rains have caused slides and debris in the August Complex burn scar area.
A candidate’s forum will help you decide who to vote for in the election of our Mendocino Coast Health Care directors.
Watch MendocinoTV.com to find out more about the four candidates vying for 3 seats: John Redding, Susan Savage, Lee Finney and Jade Tippet. Another candidate, Dr. Dawnmarie Risley-Childs, withdrew; and Paul Katzeff is unopposed to fill the short term position.
The forum will be livecast on Wednesday, September 21 at 2pm, then archived for free viewing at MendocinoTV.com. Join in on the chatline along with our studio audience.
Register to vote by October 25. Request a mail-in ballot by November 1. And vote on November 7 like your life depended on it!
THE “MOONALICE” benefit concert for KPFZ has been postponed to Sunday, September 25 at 6:00 PM. Gate at 5:00.
RADIO KPFZ LAKE COUNTY FUNDRAISER
KPFZ is excited to present another benefit concert at 4:20 PM on Sunday, September 18 at Cache Creek Winery, with Moonalice, a band of world-class musicians. Moonalice features 82 year old icon Lester Chambers, lead singer of the famous Chambers Brothers in the 60’s and 70’s, and his dynamic son, vocalist Dylan Chambers. They play a unique blend of psychedelic soul, rock-tinged Americana, and 60’s rock, including some of the Chambers Brothers hits.
Tickets are $20 in advance through Eventbrite and $25 at the gate the day of the concert. (Use Google search and type in “KPFZ Moonalice” and the Eventbrite page should appear.) Bring lawn chairs. Gate opens at 3:00 PM. There will be wine, beer, food and water for sale. No outside alcohol and no dogs, please.
OPUS CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES PRESENTS
Sunday, September 25 at 3 pm: Cellist extraordinaire Joel Cohen and Friends will perform an engaging program of works for piano quintet and larger string ensemble. Among the pieces featured for this concert will be Dvorak’s piano quintet in A major and Bloch’s Concerto Grosso #1 for 10 players! This will be a rare opportunity to hear Mendocino Coast’s top-string players in perfect unison resonate in Preston Hall at Mendocino Presbyterian Church.
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE list of events: andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/index_list
THIS IS HOW WE ROLL!
It doesn't get any better than when our families come out on a Saturday and create a TK/Kinder yard that is transformed by their efforts. Simultaneously in the library, the school board members devoted an entire Saturday (missing their important family events) to meet to reset a vision for the coming year. Transformative stuff.
Thank you Ms. Mayne and Ms. Soto. Thank you school board members. Thank you amazing parents, guardians, staff, families and kids.
This is how we roll.
Happy tears here....
Louise Simson, Superintendent, Anderson Valley Unified School District, Cell: 707-684-1017
ASSIGNMENT UKIAH: DIRTY PLEA DEAL? I DOUBT IT
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
We can hardly encounter a steaming chunk of news media these days without being forced to consider the matter of the Guilty as Hell cop who got a sweetheart deal despite wronging an innocent lass in most dastardly fashion.
As if it weren’t bad enough in the imaginations and tellings of local journalists, said cop’s Immaculate Plea was aided, abetted and engineered by a Mendocino County cabal featuring a cast of powerful and unethical enablers.
Have I got it right so far?
Let’s go further. Mendocino County’s elected DA, along with one of his longtime senior deputies and in collusion with a Superior Court judge, conspired and carried out an exceedingly lenient plea bargain to benefit a Guilty as Hell cop.
You believe that? You actually believe Dave Eyster, Heidi Larson and Judge Ann Moorman came up with a plan that would soil their reputations and perhaps ruin their careers in order to benefit Kevin Murray?!?
When they try to explain, within the rather tight confines of their relative positions, they are limited because the information they hold is privileged. The judge and prosecutors can’t openly offer opinion, or discuss facts, about a witness’s rap sheet or perceived credibility. Their silence is interpreted by our local news herd as a coverup, and proof of dishonesty in the court.
And from their lofty positions as truth seekers, they refuse to believe anything except chicanery most foul. To protect a dirty cop, mind you, a Guilty as Hell cop to boot.
Friends, readers and interested parties, I worked 34 years doing criminal defense investigations in Mendocino County. A few things I learned:
1) Just because a police report refers to someone as a “Victim” does not mean that person is honest, reliable, a credible witness or even a Victim. Many people, in the course of a lifetime of sordid adventures, get labelled as both Victims and Defendants, depending on the case, and depending on who gets to the phone first to call 9-1-1 and blubber about being abused.
2) The women we agree to call Victims in this matter are criminals. They visit Ukiah on a regular rotating basis, rent room(s) at one of the Ukiah motels lining Highway 101, hang out an “Open for Business” sign, or a red light, and proceed to entertain clients in pay-for-sex (aka “prostitution”). This is illegal and if someone had called the cops on them they would have been labelled “Defendants” in the police report(s)
3) Prostitutes are criminals and the people with whom they consort are criminals. They have sex for money, they use drugs, buy drugs, sell drugs, they cheat on their income taxes and they dodge cops and DAs for a hobby. When caught they lie.
(None of this, of course, ignores the obvious fact that prostitutes themselves can be righteous victims, and in fact probably are victimized in dismaying numbers, in part because their customer base consists of criminals.)
So when criminals become “Victims” they often present problems for the judicial system, and this is where I speculate the heart, soul and foundation of the present case rests.
These so-called victims, I’ll guess, have been busy doing what they do in the interim between having a bad cop arrested and the date set for a jury trial in Mendocino County. Maybe they’ve committed fresh crimes in other counties, and perhaps some of those crimes are ugly.
Maybe they have ripe felony warrants, and the prospect of their being arrested and hauled off to jail following court testimony would be queasy pills for prosecutors to swallow.
Maybe they’re in some other country and they aren’t answering their phones. Maybe they’re in rehab. Maybe they’re in jail, or prison.
And maybe the Mendocino County DA is aware of even less savory details, which he’d be required to furnish defense lawyers. There are also defense investigators, and over the past six months they’ve been sifting through old court files and police reports, talking with witnesses about matters both shocking and common, and putting it all into reports defense attorneys would then provide the DA’s office.
Armed with sufficient information, defense lawyers might grind the so-called Victims into pulp. If particularly effective, maybe these unpleasant facts would persuade a trial jury to return a Not Guilty verdict, thus magically and instantly transforming the Guilty as Hell cop into yesss, a Victim.
I know nothing about this case. But I’ve been involved in plenty of criminal matters where it was difficult to tell those who had visited harm on others from those who, on a particular date and time, got what they had coming to them.
It’s not always clean and clear when it comes to which is the aggrieved party, or which is the worst perpetrator in a tangled series of crimes amongst seasoned criminals.
So you do the best you can with what you’ve got.
(Tom Hine also spent years as a member of the journalism herd, where he, too, often made loud newspaper noises over nothing.)
For several years, five or six I think, you carried the ruminations and expostulations of Flynn Washburne, by my lights the most talented and entertaining writer to ever appear in the pages of the Anderson Valley Advertiser. He has gone missing for reasons that can hardly be mysterious for any who avidly read his prose. A few weeks ago in response to a letter from an enthusiast of his, you replied that you missed him too.
In my library over yonder I have a copy of The Letters of Wanda Tinasky purchased a decade or so ago. I leave off here momentarily while I retrieve the volume.
I now have it at hand. I believe you adopted a nonplussed attitude within the past year while relating that a copy of this publication was being offered on some Internet site for a fabulous sum. You also maligned T.R. Factor, whoever that is. You dealt with her, and so are privy to an intimacy that might explain your disobliging evaluation of her work. The very thing that you disliked, though, the multitudinous "footnotes" arranged next to the text, was an unorthodox and yet welcome assistance to me as a reader in untangling all the obscurities and inside jokes. If she is responsible for the tremendous amount of research undertaken to unravel the tightly raveled letters, she performed an estimable job. She made the presentation much richer, I'd say.
There are those texts that seem to have been written solely to give employment to the unravellers — 'Finnigan's Wake,' Melville's 'The Confidence Man,' which are both unsatisfying as literature and as puzzles. They are both boring as hell and both written by the greatest of authors, of communicators. With the Tinasky letters we find ourselves in an inexplicable realm I should say. Directed at, showered upon, a newspaper with a comparatively negligible readership (negligible in numbers, not intellect), we can confidently suppose that the author entertained no dreams of scholastic scrutiny.
I say that fortuitous circumstances were at work. I use the word "fortuitous" advisedly, appreciating (more than you can know) your distaste for the sloppy deployment of jargon and the habitual debasement of language. Most (forgivably) believe it means something like "a fortunate accident," and the English language is such an animal that if enough people make the same error for a long enough period of time the word in fact does change in meaning. Only because that guy who was Wanda Tinasky directed his letters to you, knowing that you would print them; you being, I estimate, an anarchist au fond, of the old-fashioned sort, willing to mix it up, not fussy or precious, and magnanimous as Kropotkin was, willing to risk his neck by smuggling books over the border.
He who was Wanda, I forget his name, chose you, and then some arrangements were made with a gang of people — Fred Sternkopf, T.R. Factor, and whomever you had to deal with at Vers Libre Press, otherwise I never would have enriched myself with the letters or the adventure of which the letters were a part.
I enjoy the rich associations and implications which, if followed far enough, seemed to implicate me as well. Tinasky claimed that Pynchon was Gaddis, who wrote 'The Recognitions,' and whose unfinished masterpiece concerned the player piano with which he was obsessed. The first girl who I allowed to have her way with me was the daughter of an Italian communist columnist whose sister was the mother of Suze Rotolo, Bob Dylan's first serious girlfriend who enlightened him about Brecht and Weill; she can be seen with him walking down a snowy Greenwich Village street on the cover of 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.' Suze was about 20 years older than this girl who had her way with me, yet the resemblance was conspicuous. Her mother, who had money for some reason — a pension from the Italian Communist Party? — never met me, but her husband's sister, the mother of Bob Dylan's sweetheart, subsidized for many years Conlon Nancarrow, the unjustly obscure American composer who was forced to leave the United States as the result of McCarthyite redbaiting and ending up near Mexico City. (He composed exclusively on the player piano.) Gaddis knew all about him, of course, and was fixing to feature him in his unwritten or unfinished masterpiece about the player piano. 'The Recognitions,' his first novel, is about 800 pages long. I read every one. Not a fan of his, though he displayed a passable sense of humor.
Not ordinarily understood: piano rolls, the software for the player pianos, were the result of live performances: the needle that was poking holes in the paper was activated by a live human in an adjacent room, and so the player piano represented a peculiar intersection point between human and machine: the rolls contain idiosyncrasies or even "errors" committed by a live performer.
You may accuse me of going "off-piste."
Flynn Washburne is every bit the equal of that guy who was Wanda as far as his writing chops are concerned. I would go further than that. He is the most conspicuously talented writer that hardly anyone knows about. Take a look again at his work, as an editor. Very little of it doesn't make the grade.
Why not negotiate a publishing arrangement of some sort? I don't know to what degree you "own" all of those brilliant outpourings, but I imagine you to be magnanimous enough to share the wealth once the book goes into its second or third edition. It would, too. There are still enough readers to care for great writing to make of him a success.
Perhaps he would not handle the windfall wisely. That is not your responsibility. Someone of the caliber of any of the great comic writers of the 20th century chose to shelter himself under your wing, Bruce Anderson. If you were to manage to pass that on to subsequent generations that would burnish your legacy.
New York state
MENDOCINO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
SHERIFF’S OVERTIME MEMORANDUM
(Ed note: The Sheriff has had an overtime oversight policy in place since November of 2019, yet in all the discussion of the Sheriff’s office budget for overtime, the policy itself has never been reviewed.)
TO: Area Commanders
FROM: Captain Gregory L. Van Patten #1184
Scheduled Overtime Work Hours Oversight – UPDATE #1
It has recently come to my attention that Field Services personnel, from time to time, have been working overtime shifts (volunteer work assignments) on the same day they are assigned to work their normally scheduled shift.
These volunteer work assignments could include overtime shift slots in Court Security, Transportation, Dispatch, Lake Patrol, COMMET, BLM contract, Forest Service Contract or approved outside employment.
Personnel working these overtime shifts in combination with their normally scheduled work shift are at times working 16 to 20 hour work days (working overtime hours prior to normal shift or working overtime hours just after normal shift).
These extremely long shifts increase the probability of employee injury (especially in operating a motor vehicle), lack of attention to detail and the probability of an inability to work an extended shift should issues arise towards the end of one’s shift (i.e. calls for service). In addition, personnel working overtime shifts on their day(s) off leave less available personnel to work a shift or respond to a call out when a need for additional personnel are required for the safe operation of a shift.
Effective immediately, personnel volunteering to work an overtime work assignment (such as described previously in this memorandum) will be required to notify a supervisor from their assigned area (their normally scheduled shift supervisor if at all possible) that they will be working the assignment. This allows the supervisor to take note of the availability of the employee should a scheduling situation arise.
Once an employee has worked a total of 14 hours, that employee is required to contact a supervisor who will assess the employee’s suitability to work beyond that time period.
The supervisor should question the employee, as follows at a minimum, to obtain information prior to rendering a decision:
How many days and hours the employee has worked during the preceding 7 days.
What is the amount of sleep or rest the employee has had during the preceding 7 days. A general rule of an 8 hours rest between work shifts should be taken into consideration.
Is there any report writing requirements that need to be completed at this specific time (such as an in-custody report).
What is the travel time the employee will have in driving home after the completion of the work assignment. Does the employee note any signs/symptoms of fatigue.
The specific tasks the employee will be performing if allowed to work past 14 hours (such as driving, operating a vessel, supervising inmates, etc.).
If the employee can be authorized to do so for an additional 2 hours. After conducting another assessment the supervisor will contact and brief an Area Commander (their specific Area Commander if possible) of the information of both assessments. The Area Commander will either authorize or prohibit the employee from working beyond the 16 hour period.
Please note the purpose of this memorandum is not to prevent personnel from working overtime shifts or approved outside employment.
The purpose here is to prevent personnel from working long hours that create unsafe working conditions and to allow supervisors to have the knowledge of the availability of personnel when additional personnel needs are required. This procedure will also help to ensure supervisors are engaging in active supervision.
If you have any questions or comments about this memorandum then please contact me as needed.
OH SAMMY BOY, TAKE THREE
by Ken Hurst
Sam Prather phoned me from the San Francisco Cow Palace where he was exhibiting his prize sheep and said he needed me to get down there right away. I went out to my severely junky 1951 black Ford pickup and headed for Highway 101.
Pretty soon I was there and found Sammy at the center of a group of veterinarians and cowboys. I caught his eye and said maybe I should find some cold brews. He said that's exactly what he needed. I replied, "I'm on my way, fellas."
We walked about a quarter of a mile and saw a cabin/shack type bar with country music blaring out the door and I said, "That will do!" Sammy replied, "I hope it's cold."
We ordered a couple of beers each and chugged them quickly and ordered two more. Sammy told me that the problem with those stock cowboys was that they were asking him medical questions when the veterinarians were scheduled to be coming up next. So Sammy wouldn't answer which upset the cowboys.
After we chugged the second two cold brews the band's drummer said, "Has anybody ever told you guys how to sip of beer?"
Sammy replied, "Has anybody ever told you to shove your drumstick up your butt so you can get something good out of it?"
The driver jumped off the bandstand and came at Sammy so we had to fight ourselves out of the bar to get back to the sunny sidewalk.
As we recovered on the sidewalk, Sammy said, "Those guys don't know how to fight worth a dam, but they could sure scratch like a son of a bitch."
I looked at him and his shirt pocket was torn off of his shirt and he had claw marks on both of his cheeks. I began to laugh and so did he — all the way back to the Cow Palace.
By that time the group of cowboys had broken up and Sammy, remembering the time I had been thrown into some blackberries by a bunch of rowdy cowboys, said that he didn't see any blackberry brambles around and suggested that I probably wanted to go back home to sleep.
I have many sawmill stories to tell about myself and Sammy Prather, but this is probably the last of the "Oh Sammy Boy" tales.
I hope the Boonville fair continues with Sammy's dinner. I will have to miss it because I have to take care of my daughter's dogs while she plays for her tennis team in Las Vegas for the US International Championship.
We will not forget Sammy Boy.
MORE BOOK CHAT:
Elaine Kalantarian weighs in:
Yes! I’ve really enjoyed looking at everyone’s lists, that was an excellent idea, Bruce! After thinking some more and being reminded by the books on other reader’s lists, I would add:
- Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
- My Ántonia – Willa Cather
- The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
- The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
- Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust – Nathanael West
- Ethan Frome & Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
- The Loved One, Evelyn Waugh
PS. And based on the number of times these books/authors appeared on readers’ lists, I requested copies from the library of Rhys’ The Wide Sargasso Sea (hopefully not too on the nose about feminism though); Beneath the Wheel and Seasons of the Soul by Herman Hesse.
* * *
I'VE GOT TO ADD, Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel; anything by Charles Portis; Dreiser's American Tragedy; and, a truly great novel of the type certain to put the illiberal liberals into cardiac arrest — if you can find a copy, The Liberation of Lord Byron Jones by Jesse Hill Ford.
Interesting backstory on the novel, which I was unaware of: crimereads.com/bone-blood-bigots-on-the-liberation-of-l-b-jones/
Here's a short youtube doc mentioned in the article: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smkkRPmMdBo&t=1s
* * *
- Dark Star Safari, Paul Theroux
- Stolen Lives (20 years in a desert prison), Malika Oufkir
- The Nature of Alexander, Mary Renault
- Tecumseh, Allan W. Eckert
- Rin Tin Tin, Susan Orleans
- Rossini, Stendhal
- I, Claudius, Robert Graves
- Auguste Rodin, Rainer Marie Rilke
- Dream West (John C. Fremont), David Nevin
- Son of the Morning Star (George A. Custer), Evan S. Connell
- Goya, Robert Hughes
- Lincoln, Gore Vidal
(Voyage of the) Dove, Robin Lee Graham and well, I did, it seems, forget the co-author who helped the kid tell how he sailed his boat around the globe, but having read the book I jumped at the chance to see the film version at the ancient old La Paloma theater in Encinitas so many years ago that it must all be gone so it’s probably out of print anyway…
Influential Nonfiction Adventure & Travel
- Down The Great Unknown (discovery & tragedy of the Grand Canyon), John Wesley Powell
- The River of Doubt (Teddy Roosevelt and son in the headwaters of the Amazon), Candice Millard
- Death in the Long Grass (big game hunting in Africa), Peter Hathaway Capstick
- Travels With A Donkey In The Cevennes, Robert Louis Stevenson
- Two Years Before The Mast, Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
- Lassie Come Home, Eric Knight
- Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, Siegfried Sassoon
- About Face, Col. David Hackworth
- Turned Round In My Boots, Bruce Patterson
- Out There in the Woods, Thomas Allman and Steven Sparks
- A Walk In the Woods, Bill Bryson
Most Influential Anthropology Books
- Lucy, Richard Leaky
- African Genesis, Robert Audrey
- Dragons of Eden, Carl Sagan
- Our Kind, Marvin Harris
- Thinking Animals, Paul Shepard
* * *
THAT QUARTET of mailbox thieves rounded up recently over the hill all had Boonville home addresses, although I've been unable to find anybody who knows them. Deputies found these low rent bandidos with “53 stolen checks which totaled over $60,000.00 in monetary value.” If they're from here they are a good bet to be the same people who broke into boxes in the Philo and Boonville post offices.
EVERY DAY we grow a little more urban, a little less distinct as a specific place. Old timers and Not So Old Timers will remember when our postmasters stamped each outgoing envelope with the bold type date, time, and place of dispatch, and you're getting to be a Valley Old Timer if you remember Melvin ‘Woody’ Wood at the Navarro P.O., Peggy Bates and Berna Walker at the Boonville P.O., Thelma Pinoli and Dot Becker at the Philo Post Office; and I'm probably wrong here but wasn't the memorable Leo Marcott postmaster at Yorkville?
WOODY WOOD lived at Rancho Navarro. His life revolved around his art which, in my opinion, was of a very high quality but about which he was guarded, as if he wasn't confident in his ability. I tried to buy a painting from him but he always put me off, a sure sign of a true artist never entirely satisfied with his work. (I'm happy to report I'm the owner of a Saffron Fraser original, and hope to buy another original piece from the talented Philo painter. For a small population of people, there's a lot of talent in the Anderson Valley.)
DAYLA HEPTING perfectly captured Woody as Navarro postmaster in this paragraph: “Not long after that she [Pat Grim] quit the job, Melvin ‘Woody’ Wood took it. Woody had an entirely different view of it. He laughed a quiet chuckle as he tossed a new book of Postal rules into the trash and went off to have a beer with the boys under the drunk tree, actually drinking alcohol while representing the United States Post Office. Even I could not have done that. It was startling. And in sharp contrast to Pat's reign.”
PAT GRIM. Never has a person had a more fitting surname. Ms. Grim was once an immediate neighbor of mine on Anderson Valley Way. She regularly popped up to complain about something happening at my place, always a happening address, especially the sound of children playing basketball. Jeez, I used to wonder, what else annoys her? A beautiful sunset? Bird song? Hendy Woods?
I'D SHINE HER ON because I felt sorry for her. “Come in and have a cup of coffee?” Which she'd of course refuse. So I'd say, “Yes, ma'am. I'll get right on it,” and ignore her. One day she came over three times to complain about the merry hoopsters, as if they were being noisy at 3am. I remember complaining about her constant complaining to a person who shall remain nameless. “You don't understand, Bruce, she's depressed. Guys like you are too dumb to be depressed.”
I WASN'T SURPRISED when I learned that Ms. Grim had done a header off the Golden Gate Bridge. Trite as the advice is, and not that anyone has ever asked, I prescribe vigorous exercise as a sure-fire antidote to suicidal thoughts, or just plain mental funk. Walk until you drop! Hit the weights until your muscles scream. Works for me.
SEEKING SPRINKLING & TULLEY INFO
From the online archives of the Anderson Valley Advertiser posted by Captain Fathom Alan Graham I read: “We miss other great ones that have passed. Judy Bari, Utah Phillips, Paul Tulley, Donald Sprinkling, Alan Toffer, Jim Noyes, Patterson Kelsey David Alba — let's cherish the living.”
Yet when searching for information on my old friend and downstairs neighbor from Berkeley in the early 60s Donald Sprinkling I still find online contact information about a 90 year old living in Fort Bragg.
If indeed Donald Sprinkling has passed I would like to know exactly when or if there is a chance the posted 2019 letter might be incorrect in this regard. I would also like to know similar information about Paul Tulley, the great friend of the celebrated and much recognized experimental filmmaker and sometimes past resident of Mendocino county Bruce Baillie who did indeed recently pass. Obituary information seems to evade me regarding Sprinkling and Tulley.
I would be grateful for any interesting information about these “legendary” individuals and any informed recollections of their exploits and cultural contributions during the extended “golden” years of the communities that they were part of. I certainly respect that they were (are) both very private individuals with not a lot of “web presence” or photographic record perhaps by choice. There is an image in Nicholas Wilson’s book “Mendocino In The Seventies” of Paul Tulley participating in the The Caspar Flats Jug Band in June 1973.
The filmmaker Bruce Baillie often spoke and wrote about his long friendship and collaborations with poet and fisherman Paul Tulley but there is not much actual footage that I recollect of Paul in Bruce’s films (then again I might have to go back and review “Quick Billy” again to be sure of that. Also the 1963 film "Have You Thought of Talking to The Director" . There is some audio of Paul in one of Bruce’s later videos “The Commute” but that is about it.
I do understand the general sadness we all feel at the disappearance of these moments of utopian hope expressed in those fleeting mid century years in light of humanity’s and the planet’s current persistent plight , but I would like to have some or more of those potential cherished moments recollected if possible by others who may have known these men.
When the exodus to Mendocino county happened starting in the 60s many friends from Berkeley and San Francisco did make the move but I was not able and have great curiosity about that history now. I have only one photograph of Donald Sprinkling from the times we went looking for flotsam and jetsam at the still undeveloped Emeryville Flats when Donald was creating assemblage sculptures prior to his move to Mendocino and when he was still (briefly?) associated with Ann Buchanan who shortly thereafter became friends with the beat poet Allen Ginsburg and then later appears in one of Andy Warhols “Screen Tests”. l recall Donald bought my girlfriends 1950 Chevy red convertible — perhaps he drove that up to Mendocino. All this of course is ancient history now.
From Bruce Baillie’s filmography:1963 Have You Thought of Talking to the Director? 14 minutes, black and white. Made while under the first impression of Mendocino, up the coast north of San Francisco, and of my friend, Paul Tulley. My first “serious” piece.
I do now see this: “The poet Paul Tulley died in 1996.”
I would still like to know more about Donald Knight Sprinkling who remains a bit more obscure.
Myron Ort, Penngrove, California, email@example.com
ANYONE KNOW OF THE REDWOOD CASTLE?
Charles Manson’s 1967 Arrest in Mendocino County
(from Deborah Silva)
A little something for your Manson file. Plus, a question.
Manson was arrested in Leggett at a resort named The Redwood Castle. The group of them were staying in the Adanac cabin.
I've looked online for The Redwood Castle and all I can find is current stuff. They are an AirBnB type place and it looks like they have only one rental at this time. There were some pictures on their FaceBook page of the place back in perhaps the 40's going by the clothing and the car. But I can't find anything about the history of the place.
I've looked in archived newspapers, too. Not a single article!
Do you know anything about The Redwood Castle?
THE BIG RIPOFF
I am an emergency physician, practicing in this country for almost four decades. What I have come to appreciate over the years is that no matter how altruistic a medical plan tries to be, it is always beholden to the insurance company’s drive for the almighty dollar, which trumps all else in this country.
I am often amazed at the range in prices different patients pay for the same prescription for no good reason, and don’t get me started on drug manufacturers advertising prescription drugs to the public. The problem lies in a system that worked initially but has blossomed into a complex multilayered profit machine for a variety of interests, none of whom want to relinquish their profits.
We need an overhaul that requires supermajorities to defeat lobbying interests. Die-hard capitalists will warn you of the consequences of “socialized medicine,” but we are already experiencing these issues — long waits and delayed care — in this country despite the money we throw at the problem. We need universal health care. Vote as if your life depended on it, because it very well may.
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 18, 2022
JUAN DURAN, Ukiah. Controlled substance, fugitive from justice, false ID.
DANIEL ESCAMILLA, Ukiah. Battery, battery on peace officer, vandalism, parole violation.
VALERIE HAUGEN-OWINGS, Willits. False ID, protective order violation.
SHAWN JOHNSON, Ukiah. Mandatory supervision violation.
ANDREW LAMBERSON, Trinidad/Ukiah. Controlled substance, conspiracy, county parole violation.
KOLTON LINDE-CARNES, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
AMY STURGES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
RUSSELL WRAY, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
49ERS GAME GRADES: Forget ‘Trey's team,’ defense matters most now
by Michael Lerseth
The half-full crowd will rejoice in knowing that, for the rest of this season anyway, no one will ask “When will Jimmy Garoppolo replace Trey Lance?” The answer came in the first quarter Sunday with Lance’s season-ending ankle injury. Garoppolo came off the bench and was his familiar efficient self (13-for-21, 154 yards, TD, 100.1 rating). A take-control ground game — 45 carries, 189 yards — helped ease the pressure. RB Jeff Wilson led with 84 yards on 18 carries.
If this proves to be the template for the rest of the season, the 49ers are in good shape. Seattle’s offense didn’t score, was held to 36 rushing yards, managed 14 first downs, held the ball for only 21:40, and got into the red zone once. Nick Bosa had a pair of sacks, Charvarius Ward and Tashaun Gipson had interceptions, and Talanoa Hufanga’s growth continued with six tackles (one for loss) and a pair of passes defended.
Tough to give this unit a good grade when it was responsible for the only points Seattle scored. Ross Dwelley — who earlier had caught a TD pass and recovered a muffed punt — whiffed on his assignment on a would-be field goal that was blocked and returned by Seattle for a TD. Beyond that, Robbie Gould did make two other FGs and Mitch Wishnowsky averaged 44 yards on his three punts, two of which were downed inside the 20.
So you’ve already lost your starting quarterback — the guy you built your offense around — on a running play near the end zone, and at the end of a game firmly in hand you have your starter-turned-backup-turned-starter keep the ball to score on a QB sneak? Perhaps Kyle Shanahan is convinced Garoppolo is pre-disastered (his 2018 season ended in Week 3) or he has an inordinate amount of faith in No. 3 QB Brock Purdy.
This isn’t Trey’s team anymore — and thankfully for the 49ers, those weren’t your older brother’s Seahawks out there. The 49ers, regardless of who was at QB, needed to pound their now injury- and trade-depleted former nemesis to avoid an 0-2 start. Next up is an old face in a new place: Russell Wilson and his Denver Broncos teammates host the 49ers in a prime-time game next Sunday.
So early it's still almost dark out.
I'm near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.
When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.
They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren't saying anything, these boys.
I think if they could, they would take
each other's arm.
It's early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.
They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.
Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn't enter into this.
Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.
— Raymond Carver
HOW LOW CAN THEY GO?
by Maureen Dowd
Donald Trump will be remembered for many things.
He injected obscenities into The New York Times’s White House coverage. He turned conspiracy theory into Republican orthodoxy. And he cut out the middleman on ugliness, happily doing the political wet work himself.
The Bush family had retainers, like Lee Atwater, who would hand off the dirty tricks and the scaremongering Willie Horton stuff to outside groups, and use direct mail and radio ads.
Trump dispensed with the idea that the candidate was above it all. He was excited to show he was beneath it all — the naked id of the Republican Party.
His soulless followers, like Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott, are happy to mud-wrestle and perform Grand Guignol as well.
In some ways, it’s easier to battle racism, sexism, xenophobia and fakery when the principals are gleefully spewing it. You can fight back on the record and in real time.
In other ways, however, having it all out in the open sends a foul stench through American politics, intensifying the brutish and bleak mood of the country.
Politicians who purport to be guardians of American “values” are rewarded for being inhumane. The nastier, the better. Republican pols have gone from kissing babies and rope-line handshakes to full-on viciousness.
I asked Trump during the 2016 campaign why he had gone so dark. “I guess because of the fact that I immediately went to No. 1,” he replied, “and I said, why don’t I just keep the same thing going?” As it turned out, he was spinning up the mob, laying the groundwork for a violent attack on the Capitol. Trump riled up the mob again on Thursday in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt. If he’s indicted on a charge of spiriting away classified documents to his Mar-a-Lago estate, the former president said, there will be “problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before. I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it.”
Trump created the cynical and boorish template for other presidential hopefuls on the right.
It can be amusing to mock elites. But there’s something exceedingly creepy — and blatantly opportunistic — about DeSantis chartering two planes to send some 50 migrants, mostly Venezuelan, from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard. The lawyers for some migrants said that they were deceived about their destination, and Martha’s Vineyard officials said they had no notice. Abbott sent two busloads of migrants to Vice President Kamala Harris’s home at the Naval Observatory.
It was reported that a woman who said her name was Perla offered the migrants in Texas three months of rent and work in Boston. But then they ended up, as one put it, “on this little island.”
This caper to expose the hypocrisy of Democratic elites ended up being compared to human trafficking. The Republicans are exploiting people’s misery for a political game. The migrants simply want to work, which a bunch of Americans don’t want to do anymore.
With their pre-midterm publicity stunts, as with their draconian push to outlaw abortion, the Republicans are increasingly letting politics take precedence over people.
The argument that migrants coming across the border have a more severe impact on border states is obviously valid. You can’t have a nearly unchecked flood of people coming in — an average of 8,500 a day, according to Axios.
It is also a valid criticism that Democrats — both in the White House and Congress — are going out of their way to avoid what they see as a third rail with progressives. The border is just the tip of the spear. Democrats are too afraid of angering the base to bear down and overhaul the system, including tackling the backlog of court cases and fixing how those cases are adjudicated.
President Biden ignores the border, giving it to Kamala Harris to get under control. We all know that’s not happening. Republicans like Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham who once tried to work on solutions have now just degenerated into using the border issue to bash Democrats as flaccid.
But the contentions of Republicans about geographical unfairness and Democratic inaction are undercut by their meanspirited behavior.
They are willing to make life worse for vulnerable, exhausted people who are already in a terrible position — and chortle while they’re being cruel.
As Blake Hounshell noted in The Times, DeSantis is courting Trump donors by adopting the racially charged playbook of Trump, who “made frequent and aggressive political use of Latino migrants during his run for the presidency in 2016 and long thereafter, casting many of them as ‘criminals’ and ‘rapists’ during his presidential announcement at Trump Tower.”
The callousness of DeSantis’s manipulations is clear.
Ugliness is what the G.O.P. is wearing this fall.
by Wyatt Mason
The Lockheed Martin Hellfire 114 R9X, nicknamed the "ninja bomb" or the "flying Ginsu," is an air to surface, drone launched missile, approximately five feet long and seven inches in diameter, weighing roughly 100 pounds with a top speed of 995 mph. Most members of the Hellfire family are designed to carry different types of warheads depending on the objective, from bunkers to buildings and "soft skinned targets" — human beings to be taken out in groups. Carrying no explosives, the R9X is unique. To avoid collateral damage, the R9X is designed to kill a single human being with what is called a kinetic or hit-to-kill design. As The Guardian reported in September of 2020, "the weapon uses a combination of the force of 100 pounds of dense material flying at high speed and six attached blades which deploy before impact to crush and slice its victims."
At 6:18 AM on Sunday, July 31, two R9X missiles were launched from a General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drone, striking and killing the former surgeon and leader of Al Qaeda Ayman al-Zawahri, one of the planners of the September 11 attacks. The CIA had been trying to find al-Zawahri for more than 20 years. After America's withdrawal from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021, intelligence led the agency to a Taliban safe house in Kabul where al-Zawahri and his wife, his daughter, and her children had come to live. He was never observed leaving the house, but every morning, the CIA determined, he could be seen reading alone on the balcony.
On the morning in question al-Zawahri was said to have been standing on the balcony when the missiles found him. The US Department of Defense has not specified whether one or both of the missiles struck him, but regardless, one of the heads of an R9X would have passed through him before the six spinning 18-inch long blades mounted to the missile's midsection reached his body and sliced whatever was left of him apart.
(New York Review of Books)
STANLEY KETCHEL was wonderful: a malevolent free-swinging brooding brawler of the like rarely seen before or since.
A man condemned to live and die violently.
Ketchel was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan #OnThisDay in 1886, and he packed more into his 24 years than most could in a dozen lifetimes.
Ketchel was a by-product of America’s dustbowl poverty. By the age of 12 he was a hobo, homeless and drifting from town to town. His flair for violence was spotted in Butte, Montana where, as a 16-year-old saloon bouncer, he turned to professional boxing to monetise his ability to knock full-grown men unconscious.
He earned recognition as the world middleweight champion when, as a ferocious 21-year-old, he demolished Mike Twin Sullivan inside a round. A year later he destroyed light-heavyweight champion Philadelphia Jack O’Brien and shared four savage fights with bitter rival Billy Papke.
Best remembered for his bold 1909 challenge of world heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, when after decking the bigger man, Ketchel was knocked out cold by Johnson.
He was murdered in 1910. Shot through the lung while eating breakfast by a jealous farm worker. He was 24 years old.
They don’t make ‘em like Stanley anymore.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The reptoid ghouls living on Martha’s Vineyard may just eat those “migrants” for dinner if they run out of their usual fare – that is whatever gets shipped to them from Area 51 more aptly named “Dreamland” where they have all those kids chained to walls. You know who you are you murderous reptilian FREAKs!!!
These ghouls, these alien, triangle headed, one-eyed Satanic reptoids, and I mean that literally - their time is up. Of course they will fight to the bitter end, but they won’t win. and they know it.
ILLEGAL POT SHOPS IN LOS ANGELES ARE THRIVING IN PLAIN SIGHT
While reporting on the world of illegal pot dispensaries in Los Angeles, my colleague Matthew Ormseth met a security guard at an unlicensed storefront that had been raided four times in the last year and a half. Even so, the guard told him, he didn’t expect much to change. “I don’t see it slowing down,” the guard said. “Just look up and down the street. It’s everywhere. And everyone’s making money.”…
STRIKE, STRIKE, STRIKE
The mounting social inequality is fueling protests around the globe. The global ruling class is determined to prevent these protests from employing the weapon that can bring them down — strikes.
by Chris Hedges
The ruling oligarchs are terrified that, for tens of millions of people, the economic dislocation caused by inflation, stagnant wages, austerity, the pandemic and the energy crisis is becoming unendurable. They warn, as Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and NATO Secretary GeneraJens Stoltenberg, have done, about the potential for social unrest, especially as we head towards winter.
Social unrest is a code word for strikes — the one weapon workers possess that can cripple and destroy the billionaire class’s economic and political power. Strikes are what the global oligarchs fear most. Through the courts and police intervention, they will seek to prevent workers from shutting down the economy. This looming battle is crucial. If we begin to chip away at corporate power through strikes, most of which will probably be wildcat strikes that defy union leadership and anti-union laws, we can begin to regain agency over our lives.
The oligarchs have spent decades abolishing or domesticating unions, turning the few unions that remain — only 10.7 percent of the workforce is unionized — into obsequious junior partners in the capitalist system. As of January 2022, private-sector unionization stood at its lowest point since the passage of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. And yet, 48 percent of U.S. workers say they would like to belong to a union.…
Vineyard madness, Railroad strike averted, a tepid and unconvincing 9/11 memorial, Newsom eaten in lifeboat, political quiz, three finance headlines and more
America was crazy busy this week. The top stories:
Railroad Strike Averted
In a dramatic resolution to one of the biggest labor stories in recent American history, at least dating to the early eighties, a strike of America's 115,000 unionized railway employees was averted at the 12th hour, although union workers as of this writing have yet to formally approve the arrangement. The administration of President Joe Biden in conjunction with officials from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the Trainmen Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, among others, along with major freight companies like Union Pacific and BNSF Railway, forestalled what one Democratic congressman called a potential “nightmare” that could have cost the country $2 billion a day. The most celebratory tones came from the White House of a (probably germanely) beaming Biden, who said the deal meant “we can avert any significant damage,” calling it a win for the “dignity of all rail workers.” There were rumblings among some rank-and-file workers that the final agreement represented a surrender of sorts by the unions, as significant issues remain, particularly with the punishing hours for workers deemed essential during the Covid-19 emergency, as companies can still penalize employees for taking time off outside of holidays and planned vacations, even in the case of emergencies. Rail workers often operate in sleep-deprived skeleton crews on mile-long trains booming through populated areas at high speeds, thanks in large part to cost-cutting layoffs by firms like BNSF and Union Pacific, which both posted net incomes above $6 billion last year. Profits at both firms were up 16% from the year before, too, so naturally there was great hesitation to grant pay raises or more vacation time. But, crisis averted!
9/11 Miserably Commemorated
Traditionally the anniversary of 9/11 is a time for politicians in America to gather together in rousing, libidinous demonstrations of fake unity. This year, American politicians mostly made somber statements remotely in a tepid, unconvincing, generally depressing expressions of undisguised pessimism. The usual suspects mouthed the usual words from the usual script, with Joe Biden departing from his recent vengeance-promising approach to national oratory to speak about the anniversary of the collapse of the Trade Center as “a day of renewal and resolve for each and every American,” perhaps really meaning all of them. Biden also referenced the killing of Al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, barbecued impressively in a balcony drone strike earlier this year, saying the United States “will not rest, we will never forget, we’ll never give up,” which does seem to be one true legacy of that awful day: we’ll probably still be firing Hellfire missiles at people connected to the event thirty years from now. The first lady Jill Biden said that images of 9/11 are “seared into our collective memory,” adding “we remember the details like a slide under a microscope” — a strange comment about an event involving something huge we witnessed exploding from a great distance, as opposed to something tiny one strains through an instrument to see moving slightly if at all. But, we knew what she meant. Former Secretary of State and “basket of deplorables” orator Hillary Clinton said of 9/11, “We put aside differences. I wish we could find ways of doing that again.” Which is very true. Would that we could all find more ways of expressing mutual love and admiration for one another, like for instance the next story:
DeSantis, Martha’s Vineyard, Play Migrant Dodgeball
Except for the fact that there are roughly 50 innocent immigrants at the heart of the story, it’s hard to find what’s not funny about this week’s reigning culture-war imbroglio, a flight of migrants from San Antonio, Texas to the lily-white haven of Martha’s Vineyard, paid for by unashamedly obliquitous Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The story is about as perfect a metaphor for the American cultural divide as could be conceived. On one side are Republicans who openly admit to no longer wanting “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” at least those without documents, who committed something like the political version of a mass Mann Act violation by promising jobs and services to migrants willing to fly to Paradise North. On the other side, we have politicians and HATE HAS NO HOME HERE millionaires who pretend to limitless affection for the undocumented visitor, but just reacted as if the world’s biggest and most gastrointestinally disturbed Saint Bernard voided in their pool when those same migrants de-planed in their community. The culture war increasingly sets up as a clash between sarcasm and earnestness. DeSantis for instance sent to NPR a statement dripping with fake concern, saying “states like Massachusetts, New York and California will better facilitate the care of these individuals.” Meanwhile, the Vineyard’s toothy Representative Dylan Fernandes decried “the governor of Florida hatching a secret plot to send immigrants like cattle on an airplane, ship women and children to a place they weren’t told where they were going,” which he called “incredibly inhumane and depraved.” Which it probably is, although it’s hard not to see the humor in the most exclusive, most Martin-Mull-white, most relentlessly faux-progressive resort community in the country scrambling to explain the involuntary displeasure in their faces as they welcomed their new guests from across our Southern border. Sadly, no memberships at the Vineyard Golf Club — which once could be obtained for a mere $350,000 initiation fee — were available at the time, but the new arrivals should have been able to find shelter in a humble community like West Tisbury for as little as $26.5 million. Sotheby’s representatives doubtless would have been eager to help, but alas, the island instead proclaimed a “humanitarian crisis,” said it had no room for 50 people, and shipped them off with hugs to a military base on the Cape within 24 hours. Of course, by then, self-congratulations were in order! “Shout out to Massachusetts and the people of Martha’s Vineyard,” tweeted Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “for showing the world what the best of America looks like.” American flag emojis, y’all!
New Financial Product Allows Ordinary Citizens to Mimic Insider Trades of Congress
The site Unusual Whales created two Exchange-Traded Funds that will comb through the public disclosures of currently serving members of congress to create portfolios in which ordinary people can invest. As Bloomberg reported, “the Unusual Whales Subversive Democratic Trading ETF (ticker NANC) and the Unusual Whales Subversive Republican Trading ETF (KRUZ) would analyze the financial disclosure of lawmakers from both parties and their spouses and dependent children to construct a portfolio of between 500 and 600 holdings,” according to regulatory filings. The site draws attention to the fact that members of congress and other government officials keep getting caught up in scandals involving apparent trading on insider knowledge, including a report this week from the ongoing “Conflicted Congress” project that 72 legislators have failed to properly report trades under the STOCK Act, which was meant to stamp out such activity. Members pay fines as low as $200 for violations, if they’re even punished at all, and the public is increasingly aware of the issue (the Nancy Pelosi Stock Tracker now has 161,000 followers). Pelosi, who reportedly has faced impatience from within her own party over failure to pass legislation with enough teeth to close insider-dealing loopholes, is saying a vote on the issue could happen as soon as next month. Asked how amusing on a scale of one to ten the public reaction has been to their gambit, the Unusual Whales account this week said “right now it’s a ten out of ten,” expressing hope that it helps “push the cause forward.” We wish them luck. Buy NANC and KRUZ!
KEEP AN EYE ON:
Subpoenas Issued in Trump Case
For seemingly the ten billionth time, official sources leaked grand jury information about targets in Trump-related cases, this time over subpoenas involving as many as 50 figures, many of whom already appeared before the House January 6th Committee. Recipients include attorneys Rudy Giuliani, Victoria Toensing, Sydney Powell, and many others. The news broke on RedState.com last Friday, but mainstream press waited until early this week to confirm a story that suggests a wide-ranging criminal investigation of January 6th fundraisers, organizers, and legal counsel in election challenge cases.
California Passes Another Sucky Law
California Governor Gavin Newsom, who would be the first person eaten in a lifeboat if a San Andreas quake sent his state sinking into the ocean, passed an aggressive “anti-disinformation” bill making the state police the editorial processes of thousands of sites. Amusingly, the bill mimics a similarly crappy net-censorship measure from Florida, governed by Ron DeSantis, Newsom’s hated rival. Both men seem equally convinced they will be their party’s presidential nominee in 2024, based on remarkably similar levels of delusional indifference to poll numbers.
INTERNATIONAL NOTES The great Swiss tennis champion Roger Federer retired at the age of 41, having won 20 grand slam titles. The eternally classy, controversy-free, lavishly-gifted athlete exits the scene having never shamed his sport nor revealed any character weakness. As a result, he inspired nearly all Americans to admire him and his play, but secretly also made nearly everybody feel inferior, which means fans in the States are probably secretly glad he’s finally gone, so somebody more accessibly flawed can take his place. Federer’s decision to leave the game comes just as Francis Tiafoe failed to make the final of the U.S. Open, continuing the astounding streak of American futility in a sport this country dominated for decades, which has provided the rest of the world with a consistent source of amusement and quiet satisfaction that looks like it will continue, unless we start allowing the game to be played with Raytheon-manufactured robots, an eventuality that can’t be ruled out
★ In what journalist Matt Stoller called a “holy $&$#& story of corruption,” Amazon was caught on tape saying it would pull out of Canada if the country adopted tougher antitrust laws. Published by the site TheLogic.co, the piece quotes the company’s policy director for Canada, James Maunder, saying, “If Canada were to adopt U.S.-style antitrust legislation—the six bills currently in Congress—we’ve said it in the U.S., we’d have to shut down Marketplace.”
★ Videos showing Chinese drones sneaking up on Taiwanese soldiers, who then react in surprise by throwing rocks at the machines, have gone viral on Chinese social media, according to CNN. The Taiwan Defense Ministry confirmed the incident took place on August 16 in the Kinmen Islands. So far China seems to be getting more laughs than Taiwan, though it appears to be a close race. Hopefully, the conflict stays on this level.
★ The Germans seized three refineries belonging to Russian company Rosneft to “counter the threat to the security of energy supply.” The move came right as Russia said Germany crossed a “red line” by pledging weapons support for Ukraine, and it’s unclear whether Russia can or will retaliate. This story seems less likely to end in laughs.
This Week In Blithely Comparing People To Hitler
a) “Perhaps, in light of her 70 years on the throne, she should be included in the same list with Hitler.” — Iranian academic Foad Izadi, on Queen Elizabeth II
b) “I guess when President Butterbeans is frail, weak, and dementia ridden, the Hitler imagery was their attempt to make him look ‘tough’ while he declares war on half of America as enemies of the state.” — Marjorie Taylor Greene, on Joe Biden
c) “There’s another evil leader, you know, who is known for shipping innocent people off without their consent for processing elsewhere.” — George “Mr. Sulu” Takei, on Ron DeSantis
And Finally, Three Finance Headlines by Eric Salzman
Basic, Bizarre, and Embarrassing
U.K. banking giant Barclays PLC faced a colossal unforced error that cost the bank at least $864 million. Earlier this year Barclays disclosed that it “accidentally” issued approximately $36 billion of exchange traded notes, when they only registered $21 billion with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This forced the bank to purchase the notes back from investors at their issuance price. Unfortunately for Barclays, most of the notes are worth a lot less than their issuance price, hence the $864 million loss. “The mistake has been called ‘basic.’ ‘bizarre’ and ‘embarrassing’ by analysts,” wroteBloomberg.However, one bank’s cock-up is a windfall for other investors. It turns out one of the affected exchange traded notes track the stock price of Peloton Interactive, a stock that’s been pulverized in 2022. The value of the Barclays note is currently about 8 cents, but holders of that note can return it to Barclays at about 102.1, for a cool 1,276% return. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
The Art of the Deal?
On Wednesday it was reported President Joe Biden was looking to replenish our Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) if West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude falls below $80. Currently, the October futures contract stands at $85.38. The SPR has 714 million barrels in storage capacity. Currently the SPR level is at 434 million barrels, the lowest it’s been since 1985. If we refill the SPR to the top, at, say, $75 a barrel, it would cost approximately $21 billion. What’s interesting is in March 2020, Donald Trump called for replenishing the SPR when oil crashed due to the pandemic lockdown, leaving crude costing around $25. Back then the SPR had a shortfall of 79 million barrels. At $25 a barrel that would have cost approximately $2 billion, but as with everything else from that era, the proposal was panned. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed the proposal as a “bailout for big oil.” As it turns out, refilling the SPR for $2 billion would’ve been a steal, especially as Biden has drawn down the SPR 32% since he took office. The White House may want to rethink the plan, but more importantly pray nobody remembers they said anything about it come election time.
August Consumer Price Index (CPI) Red Hot
On Tuesday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its CPI reading for August. Many traders and investors were betting that inflation peaked over the previous two months and actually started cooling in August. It didn’t. While the headline number went from 8.5% year over year to 8.3%, the CPI Less Food and Energy increased 0.6% for the month (0.3% was the expected number) and increased 6.3% year over year (6.1% was expected there). The price increases were broad, with shelter costs leading the way. Unfortunately, wages adjusted for inflation declined 3.4%, and real hourly earnings fell 2.8%. Hourly earnings, adjusted for inflation, have now fallen for 17 straight months, which, well, sucks. Financial markets promptly vomited on the news. The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ Composite fell 4.3% and 5.16% respectively, and Treasury yields jumped higher, led by the 2-year Treasury note. Prior to the number’s release, the yield on the 2-year note was 3.50%, by days end Tuesday it was 3.76%. That’s a huge move, and unfortunately the yield has kept moving, rising to 3.86% as of Thursday’s close. Long-term rates have also moved sharply higher, driving key indicators like mortgage loan rates to levels not seen in over 14 years. The Freddie Mac weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) printed at 6.02%, the highest since September 2008.
UKRAINE, SUNDAY, 18TH SEPTEMBER
Troops found more than 10 "torture rooms" in reclaimed portions of the Kharkiv region, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed in an evening address.
Ukraine's military said it's consolidating reclaimed territories in the eastern part of the country, while Russian state media reported a clash between its security forces and "a group of armed men" in the south.
Ukraine's military claims Russian forces are preparing retreat routes from Kherson, a key to controlling Ukraine's southern coast and one of the first areas occupied in the invasion.
US President Joe Biden told "60 Minutes"there's "no indication" China has supplied weapons to Russia — a move he said would be a "gigantic mistake."