Clear Cold | Art Tour | Sandbar Holds | Caltrans Rescue | Autumn Grape | AV Events | Taco Tip | Turkey Challenge | Highway Fatalities | Promoting Bragg | Spot Wanted | Pet Sawyer | Embezzlement Bureau | Chandelier Tree | Electric Truck | Log Hauler | Marco Radio | Frank Mathison | Milo Guido | In Harper's | Yesterday's Catch | Kwan Tai | Metamorphosis | Funny Criminals | Jack Shot | Short Visit | Virinda Longmire | Queen Bees | Write Up | What Is | Blatant Corruption | Mt. Shasta | Jack Dempsey | Jealous God | Gas Pumps | Counting Votes | Little Sailor | Hummingbirds | Earthworms | Ukraine | Shock Troops | General Diplomacy | Gassed | Wanker Mag | Bunny Hop
FROST ADVISORY remains in effect until 9am this morning. Dry weather accompanied by morning frost and mild afternoon temperatures is forecast to occur through the week. (NWS)
TODAY IS THE LAST DAY to enjoy the Art Studios Tour in Anderson Valley.
A sampling of the artists' work:
Note: yesterday we posted a link to a page with outdated tour information. Here is the proper link with current tour info.
WITH THE RECENT RAINS came a vain hope that they were sufficient to flush out the Navarro, clearing the sandbar at the mouth, opening the battered stream for a thorough Pacific cleansing of its summer-long trapped waters, waters basted in chemical runoff from the industrial vineyards draining into it. Nope, as a reader writes, “If you were hoping the recent rainfall was enough to blast open the mouth of the Navarro — sorry, it has not happened yet. It didn't even look close to blasting open the channel.”
CALTRANS EMPLOYEES HELP RESCUE MENDOCINO COUNTY WOMAN, DOGS STRANDED OVERNIGHT AFTER SNOWY CRASH
by Charles Swanson
A Mendocino County woman and her four dogs, who were trapped after a Nov. 2 car crash in the northern Sierra Nevada mountains, are safe thanks to some keen-eyed Caltrans employees.
Tina Milberger, of Ukiah, was traveling Nov. 2 along State Route 32 northeast of Chico with her canine companions when her vehicle left the road, overturned and went down a steep embankment around 11:30 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol’s Susanville office.
Milberger was trapped upside down in the vehicle overnight.
On its Facebook page, Caltrans District 2 says maintenance employees Vic Baccala and Chuck Braswell discovered Milberger’s car tracks while plowing snow around 4 a.m. Nov. 3. The two stopped and searched the embankment with a bright light and, after hearing Milberger's car horn, called 911.
Emergency personnel were able to lift Milberger and three of her dogs up the 130-foot embankment with a rope system. She was then airlifted to Enloe Medical Center in Chico with suspected major injuries.
Caltrans reported that another maintenance employee, Shannon Kenyon, learned of one of Milberger’s dogs was still missing in the aftermath of the crash. After three days of visiting the crash site, Kenyon discovered the dog, Macho, according to Caltrans.
“I walked over to the edge and I yelled ‘Macho,’” Kenyon said. “I walked to where I could see down the hill and I saw something red move. I took a leap of faith, grabbed my gloves, and headed down the mountain.”
Kenyon found Macho scared and growling at the bottom of the embankment and spent several minutes gaining Macho’s trust.
“I just remember saying to him, ‘You’re going to have to trust me. You have to trust me. You have to get out of here, you can’t stay here,’” Kenyon said. “So I reached out, put my arms around him and he let me pick him up, he just leaned into me and up the hill I went with this 40-plus pound dog.”
Macho was reunited with Milberger the next day in what Caltrans said was an emotional scene.
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE: List of Events
FINE DINING TIP: Boonville primos tacos are back 11/12 -11/13 Starts at 4-930 come get your steet taco fix in front of fair ground parking lot and today they have a special BIRRIA TACOS
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has identified the driver killed near Hopland when his vehicle struck a tree along Highway 101 before catching fire as a Hopland resident.
According to the CHP, the deceased was driving a 2005 Ford Escape northbound on Hwy. 101 just north of La Franchi Road, which is just north of the Green Bridge, when the vehicle left the roadway around 5:45 a.m. Oct. 29.
The CHP reports that “for unknown reasons, the driver of the Ford made an unsafe turning movement, causing the vehicle to leave the east roadway edge of the highway.” The vehicle then continued north on the gravel shoulder until it “collided with a tree, caught fire and became fully engulfed” in flames.
The driver of the SUV, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle, was killed. At the time, the CHP reported that it was “unknown whether alcohol or drug use was a factor.”
When asked if the driver had been identified and his name could be released, Capt. Greg Van Patten said that the MCSO was working to confirm his identity, which he said will “hopefully be accomplished by dental comparisons.” Van Patten reported this week that the driver had been identified as Antonio Angel Sanchez, 24, of Hopland.
Also this week, Van Patten identified the driver recently killed on Highway 128 after his vehicle also collided with a tree as a 29-year-old Santa Rosa man, Omar Gutierrez Nunez.
According to the CHP, Nunez was driving a 2011 Lexus EX350 eastbound on Highway 128 east of Boonville around 5:10 p.m. Nov. 5, when, “for unknown reasons, the vehicle traveled off the south roadway edge and onto the dirt shoulder” before colliding with a tree.
At the time, the CHP reported that it was “unknown whether alcohol or drugs were a factor in this collision.”
IN SEARCH OF ANOTHER PLACE TO STAY...
Maybe someone has a spot on their land that they can rent me so I can live in my 20ft motorhome. I can pay from $400 to $500 a month. I currently live in a trailer park with just enough space for my motorhome and little truck. I want to prepare for the hard times coming, I want to set-up in a secure area a water tank, a garden and food supply, a solar panel battery system with invertor and back-up generator, I have some funds to make this happen. I'm almost 63 years old and I survived myself throughout my whole life doing various types of work, some of that work started off as being a mechanic, a carpenter and a gardener, then later on considered myself a handyman from all the work I done and skills I had learned along the way. I use to have a step van full of tools but unfortunately I had to sell it all last time I moved, long story. I still have my skills and know-how thou. I'm thinking once I get settled I can be of help to you if you can use some help.
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Sawyer is a mixed breed, 1 year old, uber handsome dog. This delightful guy sure loves his stuffie toys and tennis balls, and he's looking for a catch/fetch partner. Sawyer walks great on-leash, and is generally a pretty mellow dude. Sawyer also has lovely indoor manners. We think Sawyer would enjoy the company of another dog and kids in his forever home. Sawyer weighs in at a fit and good looking 89 pounds.
To see more about Sawyer and our other dog and cat guests, head to mendoanimalshelter.com
For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.
GEORGE DORNER: If the Board of Stupes succeeds in driving Ms. Cubbison from office, what will they do then for someone to manage their newly created Embezzlement Bureau? Oh, that’s right, the voters will give them someone else to abuse. Probably someone unfamiliar with the office, who will be saddled with the same problems plaguing Ms Cubbison. The taxpayers’ hopes must lie in a future BOS. The present one lacks the planning ability to organize a two car funeral.
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK (Electric Vehicle)
(1) ELECTRIC TRUCKS: Yes, but it’s just the thing for Suzy Cream Cheese, Westport Trophy wife, to drive to Starbucks for a latte and then on to the spa — all the time virtue signalling that she “Cares about Climate Change”, plus “living the rugged outdoor life” by driving a real pickup truck.
(2) Yes, it’s gonna be like winning the STATUS mega-jackpot!!!
(3) With a lot of planning, people like Suzy and even me, could drive our little electric golf cart type vehicles around town for our errands, leaving the diesel for use where it is needed. That would take “leaders” who were serious about the environment, the economy, and the welfare of the people. There’s no money in that.
ARMISTICE DAY MARKS 10 YEARS OF MOTA ON KNYO
Here's the recording of last night's (2022-11-11) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA): https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0514
Thanks to Hank Sims for tech help, as well as for his fine news site: https://LostCoastOutpost.com
Thanks are due the Anderson Valley Advertiser, which always provides about an hour of each of my Friday night shows' most locally relevant material without asking for anything in return, going back decades. Further, thank tiny bravely struggling KNYO itself (KNYO.org). Find the hidden red donation heart there and help the station out with a substantial gift from your own heart. Or try the new iron-rich naturally healthy KNYO hot sauce. ("It's toasted!")
Last night's show marked ten years of Memo of the Air on KNYO (five of them also on KMEC), after almost 15 years on KMFB, and, before that, five years of publishing Memo countywide, after edit/typesetting the Mendocino Commentary for two years. Sound effects for hundreds of plays for Mendocino Theater Company, Gloriana Opera Company, Warehouse Rep Theater, yadda yadda.. Before that, two years of live radio drama (Chuck Frank, Private Op; and Cleveland, Ohio, 37th Century!) through the phone lines from the Albion Whale School to KKUP in Cupertino. Four miserable months trying to do radio at the beginning of KZYX with rotten rat bastard Sean Donovan tapdancing on my head, a month in 1985 of my little automatic phone-answering pirate station in Mendocino, in the Corners of the Mouth church tower. Oh, and two-plus years of the Radio *Free Earth 2-hour variety teevee show, recorded every Wednesday in the back room of that little pink house in Caspar and put on Friday nights on the cable in town (it was Warner Cable in those days). I have a crate of tapes of over a hundred of those teevee shows, many of which featured people who are long dead now, musicians and fishermen and artists and a large, florid preacher woman who would sit on a bar-stool and read the bible into the camera. Recording the Lark In the Morning music camp. And all the videotaped stage shows and music shows and Cynthia Frank's Women's Choirs and, ahem, birthdays and bar mitzvahs and Gala Grand Openings. And six months of just a deejay radio show on KMFB in 1983-84 midnight-to-6am Friday and Saturday nights, back when I was almost too shy to even speak the station I.D., that I would start with the recorded radio drama I wrote and directed at the Community School, where I learned and taught recording engineering, and recorded, among other things, kids' bands, experimental art video, the Lark In The Morning record album for Mickie Zekely and Michael Hubbert... Klingensmith, that's the name I was hunting for: the boy who ran the board for a lot of those Community School radio shows, including Lawrence Bullock's private detective /Joe November/. And the live radio dramas in Crown Hall and Helen Schoeni Theater, and on and on... But, in short, my latest milestone is: ten years of all night, every Friday night, eight hours and sometimes more, at KNYO, in one or the other of the places in town, or by remote from elsewhere in the great darkness, and I'm kind of proud of it.
Armistice Day, when traditionally, for the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh /month/ we bow our heads to listen to the guns' having gone silent, and reaffirm that the Great War of a hundred years ago was in fact the War to End All Wars, being so terrible and infuriatingly stupid that the world would not ever let another one happen – and yet, of course, we did and do, all the time anymore, overlapping, never without a war, because a handful of obscenely rich people need so very much to stay rich, and their money is so persuasive to men who are clawing to be /just a little bit/ rich. And the jobs book-falsifying and screwing and pounding and welding forty-billion-dollar aircraft carriers together, that are obsolete before they're even slid into the water and christened with champagne, let's not forget about those. We could have cities in space by now.
Besides all that, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
Stop right there. https://myonebeautifulthing.com/2022/11/07/repost-bursts-of-beauty
Palindromic Bob a la W.A. Yankovic. (via AVClub) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUQDzj6R3p4
And scroll down to brainstorm/green-needle. It is a weird thing about our brains, and a good reason not to fly off the handle when someone offends you. You heard them wrong because your brain is not reliable but carries a lot of random crap around for you to punch yourself in the nose with and blame other people who have no idea what your problem is and who just want to get away now. And it's not just you, nor is it just sounds. It happens in every aspect and facet of communication. Everybody does it. We take turns unwittingly gaslighting ourselves and each other. Brainstorm. Green needle. https://boingboing.net/2022/11/07/ventriloquist-says-poor-peter-parker-without-moving-his-lips.html
*Email me your written work and I'll read it on the very next MOTA. I've been at Juanita's for two Fridays, but I'll be in Fort Bragg for that show, at KNYO's Franklin Street studio, next to the old Tip Top bar. Polish up your act.
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org
DEB SILVA WRITES:
Yesterday, Friday Nov. 11, in the MTC you posted a picture of Guidi's Bar and Store, Talmage.
When I was looking up old crime stories for Zack to write up, I found some articles on Milo Guidi. I don't think I ever sent them to you because there was not a ton of information. Just a lot of short articles.
I also was trying to find if there was a connection between Nora Patton, mentioned in the Guidi stories, and Horatio Patton who was featured in the Millard Means story that Zack wrote. I couldn't make that connection. There were a few Patton families in Mendo County back in the early 1900's.
Milo was the person who had the store and bar in Talmage. He killed an Indian in 1909, was tried and acquitted. A dozen years later he was killed by a group of Indians.
I was not able to find any pictures of Milo Guidi. I did find that he was a native of Italy and had been married three times. It was his third wife Louisa who was sent to the state hospital. The 1920 census said her native tongue was Russian and that she was 66 years old, Milo was 61 years old. There was a state hospital intake form for her (see below), hers is the form on the right.
I was able to find mug shots for three of those tried for Milo's murder. The fourth guy was acquitted. One article said his name was Raymond Duncan but subsequent articles had his name as Clement Duncan.
HEALDSBURG ARTIST’S HANDMADE TINY ALTARS FOR DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS FEATURED IN HARPER’S BAZAAR
by Mya Constantino
When Alma Vigil traversed Mexico as a kid, she was enamored with her culture’s beauty and charm — the vibrant folk art and the makers behind it all.
Since then, Vigil has included that beauty in her shop, Alma’s Oilcloth and Chucherias, in Healdsburg, home to Mexican cultural products such as decorative flowers and colorful ornaments. Among her most-prized items are her small and large Día de los Muertos altars and ofrendas, or offerings, she’s crafted by hand for more than 10 years. “It’s flattering to be featured in the magazine,” said Vigil, 44, who grew up in Sebastopol. “My culture, my family, and customers … that’s what keeps me going.”
Vigil opened her shop in 2011 after several years of selling at local farmers markets and craft shows. The shop first started with a small selection of handmade items that included her oilcloth tablecloths and market bags. Over the years, she expanded her collection, incorporating pieces made by artisans in Mexico, California and Texas.
She’s attracted a devoted community who adores her store for how it reminds them of their native lands. “Customers come in and tell me that my shop feels like home and that they feel represented,” Vigil said. “It makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing.”
She also has a strong presence online: More than 50,000 people follow her on Instagram and her website displays colorful papier-mâché hearts, tortilla holders and mugs, among other things.
Vigil begins assembling the altars in July to be ready for the November holiday. One small altar takes a couple of hours to make, she said. First, she paints the base, which is made of wood, then adds details such as flowers and décor made of paper and clay.
During a regular workday, Vigil can create about eight altars, she said. In a month, she makes 100 to 150.
Her dream of selling and creating Mexican artistry emerged following her yearly travels to Mexico with her parents, exploring handmade art in cities such as Quiroga, Pátzcuaro and Janitzio located in Michoacán state.
“I’d talk to artists and get to know their stories,” Vigil said. “These artisans had created these pieces for decades. Everything is colorful, handmade. I love it.”
Besides a fascination with miniature things, Vigil wanted to create small altars so people could display them throughout the year at home and work.
“Those who want to remember their family members can light a candle for them year-round,” Vigil said.
Artistic skills run in the family. Vigil remembers sketching horses and flowers as a kid with her father, Tarcicio, who grew up on a ranch in Mexico.
For Día de los Muertos every year, she and her mother travel to Mexico to maintain the grave sites of her grandparents where she will often sit and pray.
The tradition, which honors loved ones who have died, has its origins in the traditions of pre-Colombian cultures as far back as 3,000 years, and is now celebrated around the globe. The official holiday is Nov. 1 and 2.
In Mexico, people spend days creating altars bearing favorite foods, marigolds and other memorabilia in honor of loved ones who have died. The altars are displayed in cemeteries, churches and homes.
“It’s a beautiful tradition in our culture,” Vigil said. “It’s sad to lose someone but it’s also beautiful to remember them and honor them.”
In October, Vigil moved her shop into a bigger space next door. She plans to expand her inventory by offering more items from other areas in Mexico.
By Valentine’s Day next year, she plans to host workshops for kids and their families to create their own folk art.
“I want parents and their kids to learn how to make things that are instrumental to their culture,” Vigil said. “I want to keep our culture alive.”
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, November 12, 2022
ANGEL BELTRAN-GARCIA, Ukiah. DUI, no license.
SCOTT FABER, Ukiah. Failure to appear. (Frequent Flyer)
RICHARD FELIZ JR., Redwood Valley. Domestic battery, probation revocation.
JOSE NUNEZ-CARDENAS, Ukiah. DUI.
KALUB PICENO, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
STEVEN SIMPSON, Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale.
NAKEA SIMS, Laytonville. Probation revocation.
AMY SLAUGHTER, Willits. Unspecified offense.
JALAHN TRAVIS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
METAMORPHOSIS for Robert Wallace (My childhood friend in Claverack. Retired from the post office. A poet now. A poet then. — John Sakowicz)
His eyes are fixed on everything. His eyes are fixed on nothing.
His eyes are fixed on the freckled fawn. His eyes fixed on the joys of morning.
His are fixed on autumn's pageant of transience. His eyes are fixed on this lifetime's show of insubstantiality.
His eyes are fixed on the labyrinth of old age leading down to death's dark interior.
He is busy now watching intently. All his past loves are past him. All his past wars have been fought. All his past races have been run.
His voice lacks the same fullness as I knew as a child. But he renders poems from the country quiet. He prepares now to meet the phantom gadding through the forest.
WHEN I STARTED WRITING all my friends who are ex-cons said the same thing: "Joe, let them know that we're funny." We're talking about guys who did serious things. That's one of the reasons I have problems with Michael Mann. Because criminals are funnier than he makes them. We are goofy. Convicts love Elmore Leonard because he makes criminals funny. They might not be exactly like criminals are, but they're humorous, they make fun of each other, they insult each other, they tell jokes that are raunchy, they laugh at other people. Joseph Wambaugh works too because he is the other side of the coin — he gets the cops and he has them joking. You know cops struggle with suicide and alcoholism, but they're a fraternity, like we're a fraternity. I also like James Ellroy. Because his mother was killed, he gets it. He gets that moment. He understands the randomness of it, the acute confusion and complete surprise. It's like he's just flipping his soul inside out, and you can see the scars. You almost get an alcoholic rant. He's somebody who you're like, "You're really suffering, but man is this interesting." I've met men like him so in a way he becomes a criminal on the page. He's taken the energy of criminality and turned it into an art.
— Joe Loya
THE EASTBOUND INTERMODAL KEPT ON ROLLING PAST US. And Jack asked me to take his picture again. Here the train has passed by the east bridge. Ludlow is on the left.
Historical note - Ludlow has always been associated with the AT&SF and BNSF. A century ago, it was also an interchange point with the Tidewater and Tonopah Railroad. And also the shortline Ludlow & Southern Railroad.
I got a job offer in San Francisco around 1970-1971, when I was working in an East Coast city. My aim was to get a job in my native Boston area, but after months of interviewing with no results, this one seemed promising, so I went for it. I figured I'd stay in California for maybe 6 months or a year and would eventually get something in Boston.
I packed up as much of as I could carry, or send by checked baggage, and boarded a train called the "Southern Crescent" in New Haven, Connecticut, which carried a through sleeper to Los Angeles. My car was easy to identify as it had Southern Pacific lettering on it. My parents and friends saw me off at the platform and I assured them that I'd be back in New England eventually. I had a pleasant trip across the southern USA, and in Los Angeles I changed to the "Coast Daylight" which took me to the old SP depot at 3rd and Townsend Streets in San Francisco. Soon, I settled in and started my new job.
One afternoon after work, I boarded the Sausalito Ferry, which was 75 cents one way, and was struck by the incredible beauty one could see in a 30 minute ferry ride. After a pleasant dinner in Sausalito I rode back with the moon out and the city looked so enchanting. I wondered if this is what Heaven looked like.
It was not long after that when I realized that I was indeed home! I also found that there were many differences between the Northeast USA and the Bay Area. There are good people everywhere, but the way people greeted someone new was totally different, especially if you were young. On the east coast, the first question was almost always, "Where did you go to school?" but in 50+ years here, I've never been asked that. People are more likely to ask, "What are you into?" or "What do you like to do?" I always got the impression that in the east, they were sizing you up and trying to categorize what box you belonged in. I never fit neatly into any of those little boxes, but I never had a problem here. Especially when we baby boomers were young, there was a certain informality that prevailed here. Wherever you went, there were people you could strike up a conversation with. I also discovered that people in the Bay Area have a certain "joie de vivre" that I never noticed in the east. That's not to say east coast folks don't have fun. They do, but they do it differently and usually in groups, or in organized events. I also noticed that they tended to drink more heavily than Bay Area folks, at least 50+ years ago. When I stepped off that train in San Francisco, I never would have imagined I'd still be here some 51 years later!
WITH A GLASS IN ONE HAND and a staff in the other in this 1890s or early 1900s photograph, Virinda Longmire represents two qualities — hospitality and strength — symbolizing the settlers of the Wild West.
She and her husband, James Longmire, traveled from Indiana to Washington in 1853 with the first wagon train to successfully cross the Naches Pass through the Cascade Mountains, north of Mount Rainier. Their children Elcaine, David, John and Tibatha made the hard trip with them. In 1883 James Longmire discovered Longmire Springs and built a trail from there to Succotash Valley in Ashford.
In 1906 the Longmires built the 30-room Longmire Springs Hotel. However, the National Park Service prohibited James’ son Robert from opening a saloon. Eventually the Rainier National Park Company demolished the original Longmire Springs Hotel and utility buildings. Today, Longmire is the site of the National Park Inn, the Longmire Museum and a Wilderness Information Center. After Paradise, Longmire is the second most popular area in Mount Rainier National Park.
ANYONE WHO WRITES down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down. Children are demanding. They are the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and generally congenial readers on earth.... Children are game for anything. I throw them hard words and they backhand them across the net.
― E.B. White
SLIPPERY SLOPE TOWARD A FASCIST STATE
by John Arteaga
By the time you read this, we will probably know roughly how this election will have turned out. Will our democracy have survived, or will we have been dragged off the edge onto a slippery slope toward a fascist state every bit as extreme as “Il Duce”, Mussolini’s, Italy.
Ever since the rise of Trump, who seized the reins of the machine that has been playing a decades-long game to seize power even though they knew that they represented the views of a definite minority of we the people, a minority that would be even smaller if they were to state clearly what their plans were, we have been heading toward a strongman led fascist state.
I have come to think of Maga Republicans as an American Taliban; instead of beating women to death for the crime of not wearing their headscarf just right, here they condemn all women of childbearing age to the nightmare of complete loss of agency over one’s most basic human right; that of having say over what one does with their own body!
No matter how responsible sexual partners may be about contraception, NO contraceptive is 100 percent reliable, and there could scarcely be a crueler fate than being born to someone who didn’t want to carry you to term but was compelled to by the state. It is so interesting that those on the ‘pro-life’ end of the political spectrum, while they feign such solicitousness for the poor helpless fetus, tend to abandon completely any such concern for the welfare of the child once it’s born!
There was a study done a couple of decades after the passage of Roe V Wade which found a precipitous drop-off of crime 15 years after its passage. What other explanation could there be but that children born to parents who didn’t want them are more likely to engage in criminal activity, often starting around age 15!
It is truly shocking that more people don’t know about the sea of propaganda that we are all forced to swim in. Better educated first world countries would NEVER allow their elections to be transformed into what it has become today in the ‘land of the free, home of the brave’; basically an auction, where there is not only no limit to the corrupting influence of money on elections, but through ‘super PACs’ and supposedly ‘educational’ organizations, those funds can be ‘dark’, that is, free of all disclosure about where the money comes from.
If that sounds insane to you, that’s because it is! Obviously!
One of the longest players and worst offenders in the long game that the far right has played to bring our nation to the brink of the end of democracy is a man called Leonard Leo, creator of the Federalist Society, an extraordinarily well funded nest of termites in the foundations of our democracy. They have for decades been identifying and grooming law students who exhibit the right tendencies toward right wing reactionary thinking.
Of course Trump, who early on elbowed his way to the front teat of this bloated funding hog, promised to appoint only Federalist Society approved lackeys to the lifetime federal judge appointments, especially the big enchilada, the Supreme Court.
I can hardly think about the completely unconstitutional theft of a Supreme Court appointment that rightly belonged to Barack Obama being hijacked by the despicable Trump fluffer Mitch McConnell, without experiencing an itching sense of frustration and despair. McConnell, a man who does not even have the decency to push back when Trump vilifies his Chinese wife with a racist slur reference, has enabled the Supreme Court to be completely transformed by a supermajority of coldhearted soulless devotees of the billionaire class, who are champing at the bit to transfer any and all of the rights our forefathers fought and died for back to the feudal lords of yore. I’ve heard the present incarnation of the Supreme Court referred to as a vending machine at this point; you put in your money (dark corporate money, free of identity or responsibility) and you get the law you are willing to pay for.
Just recently some crackpot tycoon donated his entire 1.5 billion dollar company to Leonard Leo’s anti-democratic Federalist Society machine. All perfectly legal, thanks to the deranged ‘Citizens United’ decision handed down by a Supreme Court that was not even as far right as today’s.
Nixon was driven from office for what now seems like minor peccadilloes compared to the in-your-face blatant corruption of all three branches of government that have been so thoroughly influenced by not simply the appearance, but the palpable fact of corrupt tampering by the richest and most powerful people and organizations with obvious axes to grind and coffers to fill.
The recently produced documentary about the rise of Hitler presents so many scenes with such congruency with the rise of Trump that it is no wonder that he has sued to stop its release. Truth hurts!
(This and other columns are available on my blog at inarationalworld2.blogspot.com)
JACK DEMPSEY was one of America's first great sports heroes. His savage style captivated the public and made him as popular a figure as Babe Ruth or Red Grange. In the ring, Dempsey was equipped with a two-fisted attack. He boxed out of a low crouch, bobbing, weaving and bombing. He continually stalked the man in front of him and was an unrelenting and remorseless warrior. His power was so prodigious that he once scored knockouts in 14 and 18 seconds. In his 78-bout career, Dempsey compiled 49 knockouts, with 25 of them in the first round. Born William Harrison Dempsey in Manassa Colorado, Dempsey was one of 11 children. He left home at the age of 16 and traveled the west on freight trains with hobos, settling occasionally in mining towns. It was during that period of his life that Dempsey learned how to fight as a means of survival. Dempsey's career turned around when he met manager Jack "Doc" Kearns. Under Kearns, Dempsey knocked out Fireman Jim Flynn, Fred Fulton, former light heavyweight titlist Battling Levinsky and Gunboat Smith.
I THE LORD THY GOD am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.
— Deuteronomy 5:9 (King James Bible)
THEY CAN'T COUNT EVEN IN VEGAS NOW? Transcript from "America This Week"
"If they counted money the way they’re counting ballots, those people would be in Lake Mead tied to a cinder block," says Walter Kirn, on the Nevada elections
by Matt Taibbi
Late this week, the Clark County Registrar in Nevada, Joe Gloria, gave one of the more confusing recent press conferences, saying 50,000 votes still needed to be counted, but that he would likely need until Monday to “get them into the system.”
We can argue about why this is happening — the conventional explanation is a new influx of mail-in ballots, which take longer to count, with both parties blaming each other for why — but editorializing on the subject has been bizarre for another reason. Commercial media both before and after the midterms has been packed with stories about how it’s totally fine that it now takes forever to count votes in America. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre even declared, “That’s how this is supposed to work.”
On the other hand, if counting votes quickly is so essential to instilling confidence in democracy, and “democracy itself” is famously in trouble, why aren’t we trying harder to fix this? Especially in Nevada, a state famous for its counting, the new tolerance for sloth hits the ear like an oar.
Here’s Walter Kirn, broadcasting from Clark County Friday, on the seeming inability of Americans to count things, even in a state where reaching an accurate count every night is a matter of life or death:
Walter Kirn: This is a town in which umpteen-million quarters are dumped into slot machines every night and counted within hours. This is a town that counts for a living. If you’ve seen Casino, you know how it works. A few of those dollars may go into some people’s pockets, or they used to, at least before MGM…
Matt Taibbi: But if you’re off by a couple bucks, you end up in a hole a couple of miles north of the city, don’t you?
Walter Kirn: Exactly. If they counted money the way they’re counting ballots, those people would be in Lake Mead tied to a cinder block. So it’s increasingly hard for me, as at a certain level I’m just the average person, and the average person should not need to have a Jesuitical, theologically precise insight into all the different types of ballots, and all the ways in which they’re delivered, and all the stages at which they’re tabulated. The outsider, the American citizen, has every right to feel that these processes are simple, objective and rapid, and that they can’t have that confidence in that suggests to me that there is a lot to be a dissident about in this country.
The inability to get buy-in from voters, and especially from the losers of these elections, who must have the confidence that they lost fairly, is a systemic and spiritual failure. It can’t be addressed simply by criminalizing complaints or calling people names. It has to be addressed at the root. And there seems to be little prospect that it will be. So who wins and who loses now has become, to me, a secondary consideration. The real consideration is how do they maintain faith in a system that really would not suffice in a grocery store at the end of the day, when they open the till.
CONSIDER THE HUMMINGBIRD
by Katherine Rundell
Queen Victoria was not readily amused. She referred to her own children as ‘nasty’ and ‘frog-like’. In portraits her face has the expression of one who has seen a great deal and would prefer to burn most of it. There was an exception, though, and it was the hummingbird. At the Great Exhibition in 1851, the ornithologist John Gould mounted a display of 1500 hummingbirds: about 320 different species, stuffed and arranged in lifelike poses. The queen was beguiled. ‘It is impossible to imagine anything so lovely as these little hummingbirds,’ she wrote in her diary, ‘their variety and the extraordinary brilliancy of their colours.’ Dickens, too, was impressed by their beauty, and by the power a fine specimen conferred on its owner. ‘Those who have secured a specimen considered unique,’ he said, ‘are looked on with the same sort of admiring envy that gathers round the owner of a genuine Correggio.’ Ruskin’s awe at Gould’s exhibit was such that it left him despondent. ‘Had I devoted myself to birds, I might have produced something myself worth doing ... If only I could have seen a hummingbird fly, it would have been an epoch in my life.’
Their Lilliputian beauty is enough to stir the most stolid queen – but the hummingbird is far more fine than human eyes can see. Hummingbirds are the smallest living bird. The most miniature of these miniatures, the male bee hummingbird, weighs less than two grams, about as much as half a teaspoonful of sugar. Hatched after eighteen days of incubation from an egg the size of a chickpea, his wings grow to barely three centimetres across. He is blue in body, with a gorget (the feathers at the throat) that turns red during the mating season; his plumage is iridescent, changing colour in changing light. Many of the 361 known species of hummingbird have a similar iridescence: among them, the male red-tailed comet, with its long, forked, golden-red tail; and the wine-throated hummingbird, with its hot pink bib, the hind feathers of which flare outwards from the neck like a cravat. They are a shining race, and they see one another more vividly than we do. The majority of birds have cones in their retina that allow them to perceive a spectrum of ultraviolet colours invisible to us; hummingbirds see an ultra-violet yellow, for instance, which is as different from the yellow we see as green is from blue. A study from Yale earlier this year reported that ‘the diversity of bird-visible colours in hummingbird plumages exceeds the known diversity of colours found in the plumages of all other bird species combined.’ There is no bird species in the world more colourful.
Queen Victoria’s admiration was the beginning of a craze. Found only in the Americas, no wild hummingbirds had ever existed in Europe; they were both ravishing and new, and the world of fashion seized on them hungrily. London and Paris went wild for them; they were pinned to turbans and arranged in groups on summer bonnets (Harper’s magazine suggested in 1887 that you might arrange your hummingbird spread-eagled across the crown of your hat, as if it had just dropped down from the sky, an ‘appealing expression’ on its face). Whole heads were mounted and used as earrings and necklaces; their feathers trimmed bodices and capes and their faces peered out from furs. As more specimens flooded the marketplace, they became increasingly affordable. Stuffed with sawdust and displayed in trays in the less salubrious Saturday-night markets at a cost of tuppence a bird, they were, the Times wrote in 1894, ‘so cheap that even the ragged girl from the neighbouring slums could decorate her battered hat, like any fine lady, with some bright-winged bird of the tropics’. An American journal noted in 1875 that ‘Lady Burdett Coutts certifies from personal knowledge that one Parisian milliner uses forty thousand hummingbirds every season.’ The natural history writer Jon Dunn, in his brilliant The Glitter in the Green: In Search of Hummingbirds (Bloomsbury, £20), records that in 1888 an auction house in London sold 400,000 hummingbird skins in one single, bloody afternoon.
As the trade grew, so too did disquiet from ornithologists and wildlife campaigners. In 1912, all 96 US senators in Washington received a parcel; in it was a card to which were glued two one-cent coins and the skin of a hummingbird. It came with a letter protesting the sale each year in Europe of tens of thousands of ‘American Hummingbirds’, many of them, the letter said, for less than two cents apiece. In Britain, Emily Williamson founded the Plumage League, a society of women who pledged not to wear bird feathers on their hats, which in 1889 became the all-female Society for the Protection of Birds. Punch mocked its objective – ‘Not a very severe self-denying ordinance that, Ladies?’ – but it only grew in ambition and determination, and in 1904 was granted a Royal Charter to become the RSPB.
Around one in ten of all hummingbird species are now endangered or critically endangered. They are worth protecting; we have loved them for a long time. Some of the earliest inhabitants of the American south-west, the Navajo and Mojave peoples, have old stories that salute the hummingbird. The Mojave myth says that at the beginning of human life all people lived in darkness underground. They dwelled in the earth until a hummingbird, released into the tunnels above them, navigated the narrow twisting passages and led them up into the bright of the day. They are guiding birds and have an affinity with light. The Navajo also regard the hummingbird as an explorer: its wild swoops, and those moments in which it soars up only to plummet downwards – which we now believe to be a mating ritual, allowing the male to display all his ultraviolet colours to his mate – are attempts to peer above the blue of the sky. The hummingbird has never succeeded in reaching past the blue, but that has never stopped them trying.
Their name in English is testament to their speed. When Europeans first arrived in the Americas, they were unsure what they were seeing: bird or insect or something in between? The French, unflatteringly, called them oiseaux mouches, ‘bird flies’; in Brazil, the smallest were besourinhos, or ‘little beetles’, and in Spanish picaflores, ‘flower stingers’. The English called them humbirds, for the blur of noise their wings make as they beat at up to eighty times per second. They are turbine creatures; the hummingbird heart pumps 1200 times a minute. With a metabolic rate 77 times faster than our own, they need to feed almost continuously on flower nectar and small insects – mosquitos, ants, the occasional wasp. At night, therefore, or if the weather becomes too cold, many hummingbirds enter torpor to protect themselves from starvation, slowing their metabolisms almost to a halt. They become chill to the touch and motionless; if you held one you might think it was dead. Creatures of superlatives, they are record-breaking even in stillness; the temperature of one black metaltail hummingbird was recorded as 3.3°C, the lowest ever observed in a non-hibernating mammal or bird.
There is nothing I admire more than evolution. But it’s difficult, more than with any other living thing, to imagine hummingbirds beginning as archaebacteria among primordial murk, painstakingly working over millions of years to grow bright wings. They seem as if they were made in an instant, a spark of genius from an extravagant god. But in fact they are still evolving exceptionally fast. The tribe that includes the bee hummingbird, for instance, originated only five million years ago but has already diversified into as many as 35 species. A recent study predicted that, if left undisturbed, hummingbirds could evolve twice as many species as we have today, before reaching an equilibrium at around 767.
Charles Darwin ended his Origin of Species with these words: ‘There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, while this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.’ There might be many more hummingbirds, if we can curb our destructive tendencies long enough for them to come into iridescent being.
(Katherine Rundell is editor of The Book of Hopes, an anthology of stories and pictures for children. Her own books for children include, most recently, The Good Thieves. She began her series of animal studies for the LRB in 2018. They have now been published as a book, The Golden Mole and Other Living Treasure, with illustrations by Talya Baldwin. London Review of Books.)
UKRAINE, SATURDAY 12TH NOVEMBER
Ukraine is carrying out “stabilisation measures” near the city of Kherson after it was retaken by Ukrainian forces. Earlier, people across the country had awoken on Saturday from a night of jubilant celebrations following what has been described as a “historic day” for Kyiv and perhaps the most important strategic breakthrough since the beginning of the Russian invasion.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said Kyiv’s forces have established control in over 60 settlements in the Kherson region and that stabilisation measures are being carried out in Kherson. He added that Russian forces have destroyed all Kherson’s critical infrastructure before they fled including communications, water supplies along with heat and electricity supplies.
After an eight-month occupation, hundreds of citizens flooded the streets on Saturday morning, reaching out to greet and embrace Ukrainian soldiers and the first foreign journalists on the scene. However, Zelenskiy cautioned that while special military units had reached Kherson city, a full deployment to reinforce the advance troops was still under way – a reminder that about 70% of the Kherson region remains under Russian control.
Zelenskiy declared the city to be “ours” and that it was a “historic” day for the country, after Russia announced the completion of its withdrawal from the regional capital. In a statement on his Telegram page, he said people in Kherson never gave up hope on Ukraine, adding: “Hope for Ukraine is always justified – and Ukraine always returns its own.”
A Ukrainian defence ministry spokesperson has told the BBC that Ukraine’s forces are almost in full control of Kherson.
Russia said more than 30,000 service personnel had been withdrawn to the eastern bank of the Dnipro River. The defence ministry said its evacuation had been completed by 5am Moscow time on Friday. The ministry said there was no military hardware or soldiers left on the western side of the river.
However, reports have emerged of some Russian troops being left behind in Ukraine and changing into civilian clothes, or drowning trying to escape. The Ukrainian ministry of defence’s intelligence unit has urged Russian soldiers to surrender.
The Antonivskiy Bridge, the only nearby road crossing from the city of Kherson to the Russian-controlled eastern bank of the Dnipro River, has been blown up. There was significant new damage to the nearby major Nova Kakhovka dam after the withdrawal, and footage emerged of explosions at the location.
Alexander Fomin, one of the members of the Russian-imposed administration in occupied Kherson oblast, has said Henichesk has been declared the temporary administrative capital of Kherson. The region is one of the areas that the Russian Federation has claimed to have annexed. He said: “All the main authorities are concentrated there.”
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, and the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, met at the Asean summit in Cambodia. “There were very few who believed that Ukraine would survive,” Kuleba said. “This is coming, and our victory will be our joint victory – a victory of all peace-loving nations across the world”. Blinken hailed the “remarkable courage” of Ukraine’s military and people, and vowed that US support “will continue for as long as it takes” to defeat Russia.
Britain said Russia’s withdrawal from the only regional capital in Ukrainethat it had captured since its invasion began in February was another humiliation for its army, but that Moscow continued to pose a threat. “Russia’s announced withdrawal from Kherson marks another strategic failure for them,” the British defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said in a statement on Saturday. “In February, Russia failed to take any of its major objectives except Kherson. Now, with that also being surrendered, ordinary people of Russia must surely ask themselves: ‘What was it all for?’” Wallace said.
Russia has restated its insistence on unhindered access to world markets for its food and fertiliser exports after what it called a “thorough exchange of views” with UN officials on Friday in Geneva.
Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Vershinin, has been quoted by the state news agency Tass as saying talks with UN officials had been useful and detailed but the issue of renewing the Black Sea grain export deal – which expires in one week – had yet to be resolved. Vershinin was quoted as saying that restoring access to the Swift payments system for the agricultural lender Rosselkhozbank was a key issue.
Turkey is committed to seeking a peace dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday, according to Turkish media. “We are working on how to create a peace corridor here, like we had the grain corridor,” Erdoğan was quoted as telling reporters on a flight from Uzbekistan. The president said he would not be proposing a specific timeframe for any extension of the grain corridor deal, but said he wants it to run “as long as possible”.
The Russian state-owned news agency Tass is reporting that Russia has banned the passage of ships loaded outside the Russian Federation through the Kerch Strait to the Sea of Azov.
Russian oligarchs and executives from multiple companies under international sanctions are among the lobbyists attending Cop27 in Sharm el-Sheikh.
The British graffiti-artist Banksy unveiled his latest work, on a Ukrainian building damaged by Russian bombing. The anonymous artist from Bristol, whose work sells for millions of pounds, posted a picture on Instagram of the artwork, a gymnast doing a handstand amid debris in Borodianka, a town north of the capital, Kyiv, which was pummelled by Russian bombs and then occupied.
URGING PEACE WITH RUSSIA, TOP US GENERAL CHALLENGES DC'S PROXY WAR
A series of leaks, including a call for diplomacy from Gen. Mark Milley, show that some US officials are ready for a settlement in Ukraine.
by Aaron Maté
When the Congressional Progressive Caucus was bullied into withdrawing a letter urging diplomacy with Russia to end the war in Ukraine, everyone from neoconservative pundits to Sen. Bernie Sanders came forward to scold them. But now the same call is coming from a source that cannot be so easily ignored, and intimidated.
“A disagreement has emerged at the highest levels of the United States government over whether to press Ukraine to seek a diplomatic end to its war with Russia,” the New York Times reports. Leading the call for talks with Moscow is Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to US officials, Milley “has made the case in internal meetings that the Ukrainians have achieved about as much as they could reasonably expect on the battlefield before winter sets in and so they should try to cement their gains at the bargaining table.”
The top US general has made no secret of his stance. “When there’s an opportunity to negotiate, when peace can be achieved, seize it,” Milley declared in a public speech this week.
Milley’s view “is not shared” by President Biden or his National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, the Times claims. Nor by the top US diplomat, Secretary of State Antony Blinken. As one US official explained to CNN, "the State Department is on the opposite side of the pole,” leading to “a unique situation where military brass are more fervently pushing for diplomacy than US diplomats.”
While US “diplomats” oppose diplomacy, White House officials would not be disclosing that Milley, the nation’s highest military officer, is challenging their stance if he were alone. Indeed, the Milley revelation is only the latest in a series of leaks suggesting that, despite the uproar over the progressives’ pro-diplomacy letter, at least some close to the president agree with its message…
THE ATLANTIC IS A SHITTY PROPAGANDA RAG RUN BY ELITIST WANKERS
by Caitlin Johnstone
The Atlantic, which is owned by billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs and run by neoconservative war propagandist Jeffrey Goldberg, has published a pair of articles that are appalling even by its own standards.
Virulent Russiagater Anne Applebaum argues in “Fear of Nuclear War Has Warped the West’s Ukraine Strategy” that the US and its allies should escalate against Russia with full confidence that Putin won’t respond with nuclear weapons.
“Here is the only thing we know: As long as Putin believes that the use of nuclear weapons won’t win the war—as long as he believes that to do so would call down an unprecedented international and Western response, perhaps including the destruction of his navy, of his communications system, of his economic model—then he won’t use them,” Applebaum writes.
But throughout her own essay Applebaum also acknowledges that she does not actually know the things she is claiming to know.
“We don’t know whether our refusal to transfer sophisticated tanks to Ukraine is preventing nuclear war,” she writes. “We don’t know whether loaning an F-16 would lead to Armageddon. We don’t know whether holding back the longest-range ammunition is stopping Putin from dropping a tactical nuclear weapon or any other kind of weapon.”
“I can’t prove this to be true, of course, because no one can,” says Applebaum after confidently asserting that more western aggression would actually have deterred Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
These are the kinds of things it’s important to have the highest degree of certainty in before taking drastic actions which can, you know, literally end the world. It’s absolutely nuts how western pundits face more scrutiny and accountability when publicly recommending financial investments than when recommending moves that could end all terrestrial life.
On that note it’s probably worth mentioning here that Applebaum’s husband, European Parliament member Radoslaw Sikorski, recently made headlines by publicly thanking the United States for sabotaging the Nord Stream gas pipelines.
The Atlantic has also published an article titled “The Age of Social Media Is Ending,” subtitled “It never should have begun.” Its author, Ian Bogost, argues that the recent management failures in Twitter and Facebook mean the days of just any old schmuck having access to their own personal broadcasting network are over, and that this is a good thing.
Bogost’s piece contains what has got to be the single most elitist sentence that I have ever read:
“A global broadcast network where anyone can say anything to anyone else as often as possible, and where such people have come to think they deserve such a capacity, or even that withholding it amounts to censorship or suppression—that’s just a terrible idea from the outset.”
Nothing enrages the official authorized commentariat like the common riff raff having access to platforms and audiences. That’s why the official authorized commentariat have been the most vocal voices calling for internet censorship and complaining about the rise of a more democratized information environment. These elitist wankers have been fuming for years about the way the uninitiated rabble have been granted the ability to not just talk, but to talk back.
Hamilton Nolan of In These Times posted a recent observation on Twitter which makes the perfect counter to The Atlantic’s snooty pontifications.
“The best thing Twitter did for journalism was to show everyone there are thousands of regular people who are better writers than most professionals which is why the most mediocre famous pundits have always been quickest to dismiss it as a cesspool,” Nolan writes, adding, “Best thing Twitter did for the world in general was to allow anyone to yell directly at rich and powerful people, which drove many of them insane, including the richest guy on earth.”
Of course the imperial narrative managers at The Atlantic would be opposed to normal people getting a voice in public discourse. When your job is to control the narrative, the bigger a monopoly you hold over it the better.