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COLD OVERNIGHT TEMPERATURES and dry weather will remain through the weekend. Light precipitation chances increase beginning early next week. (NWS)
FORT BRAGG ELECTION RESULTS BRING SURPRISES
by Mary Benjamin
The final, certified results for the November 8th election in Mendocino County revealed a surprise win for an incumbent candidate running for a second four-year term on the Fort Bragg City Council. Early results showed Tess Albin-Smith trailing far behind candidate Michelle Roberts. However, once all votes for the three open seats were counted, Albin-Smith had pulled ahead of Michelle Roberts for a third-place showing, winning her seat by a three-vote margin.
With a large field of candidates running for a four-year seat, coming in first with 26.14% was Jason Godeke. In second place was Marcia Rafanan with 16.08%. Rafanan had just served a partial term as an appointed council member due to a vacancy. Coming in as a surprising third was incumbent Tess Albin-Smith with 12.05%. She barely edged out Michelle Roberts, who pulled in 11.99% of the votes.
Albin-Smith had campaigned for her incumbent seat as a write-in candidate. Due to a technical problem, Albin-Smith’s name did not appear on the ballot, although she believed she had met the county’s paperwork requirements. Although write-in candidates historically have a better chance of winning a local or state election than a national one, overall, the odds are still low that any write-in candidate will win.
For the one opening of a two-year seat on the City Council, Lindy Peters, a long-time council member, won his seat with 78.31% of the vote. First-time candidate Alberto Aldaco pulled in 21.69% of the vote, although he had publicly announced his withdrawal from the election prior to voting day.
The certified election results for the Mendocino Coast Health Care District bring on board three new members. Jade Tippett had the highest vote count of 27.78%.
In second place was Lee Finney, with 21.73% of the vote. In third place was Susan Savage, with 19.96% of the vote. Incumbent John Redding, with 12.64% of the vote, did not win re-election to his seat.
(Fort Bragg Advocate-News)
VELMA'S FARM STAND AT FILIGREEN FARM, AV Way, Boonville
We are opening the farm stand one final time this Saturday, December 17th from 12pm-4pm. And even better, we will be popping up with our friends from Boonville Barn Collective and Wilder Ferments!
UNIQUE GIFTS FROM PETIT TETON
Petit Teton has a wonderful selection of unique, farm-grown and farm-made local gifts which we are happy to ship for you. We would love to see you come by to select them or we can email you a complete list of our offerings and we'll ship whatever you want to wherever you would like. The selections range from almost all imaginable jams (and a few you've not yet dreamed of), to soups, a range of hot sauces from hot to hotter, and a wide selection of pickles and sauces.
Give us a call 707.684.4146, email us at email@example.com, or stop by 8:30-4:30 any day but Sunday when we're open 12-4:30.
MORSELL-HAYE STEPS DOWN as Fort Bragg Vice Mayor, Godeke sworn in as new council member
by Megan Wutzke
During the city council meeting on December 12, Jessica Morsell-Haye stepped down as vice-mayor and from the city council. Morsell-Haye chose not to seek another term as a council member. Three incumbent candidates, Marcia Rafanan, Tess Albin-Smith, and Lindy Peters, kept their seats. Jason Godeke was sworn in as the newest council member.
Bernie Norvell was reelected as mayor, with Godeke elected as vice mayor.
Before she stepped down, Morsell-Haye spoke on some of the council’s accomplishments from the past four years.
These accomplishments included funding a digital infrastructure plan to bring broadband to the region. This infrastructure plan was awarded $500,000 for the design phase of wired broadband for high speeds at a low cost.
Morsell-Haye also discussed the council’s work on developing more housing, particularly with the community land trust. This land trust is working to increase housing stock and access to first-time homeowners. The trust has been earmarked for congressional funding.
Morsell-Haye highlighted the Blue Economy and Assistant City Manager Sarah McCormick’s role in developing it. Over $800,000 has been awarded to the Noyo Center to develop the Blue Economy further.
Finally, Morsell-Haye also spoke on Fort Bragg’s drought emergency and the city’s steps to fix it. For example, Fort Bragg received a mobile desalination unit and is working towards a desalinization buoy pilot project. The city has also recently worked to increase water storage by approving a project to add three new reservoirs.
Morsell-Haye was awarded a plaque for her work on the city council.
(Ukiah Daily Journal)
2023 SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM NOW OPEN
The Community Foundation of Mendocino County is accepting applications for the 2023 Scholarship Program. The program has grown significantly over the last few years, with Community Foundation donors meeting the demand for increased educational opportunities. The 2023 cycle includes over forty scholarships, with offerings for every corner of the county. In 2022, the Community Foundation awarded 110 scholarships totaling $383,000. Each of the Community Foundation scholarships have been crafted by a local resident. The donor selects the award's criteria and preferences, often naming the scholarship in honor of a loved one.
Endowing a scholarship provides a permanent way of honoring its namesake and fostering a legacy in the next generation. In addition to traditional scholarships, the Community Foundation offers support for technical, trade, and vocational school students. Whether a student is seeking a vocational, two-year, or four-year degree, the Community Foundation has options to sustain them on their educational journey.
For a full list of our scholarships, please visit our website. Applications can be submitted through the online application portal. Applications must be submitted by 5:00 on March 10, 2023. If you would like to request assistance or accommodations, please contact the Community Foundation office at (707) 468-9882. or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
AV HIGH AUTO CLASS Celebration at Offspring Pizza!
FOND MEMORIES OF BACHMAN HILL
About Boonville between 1979 & 1982 I went to Bachman Hill School a mile down from Boonville post office or Anderson valley post office I recited at Bachman Hill from 1979 to 1982 when I graduated there's a story you forgot about the green man who lived in Hendy Woods, he thought world war II was still going on. Then he finally died of malnutrition campers used to leave him clothes and food and there's a lot still to be researched, we had three log cabins and then the owner had her personal property on our property that she lived in and she was building kind of a mansion that never got finished built, I heard that they turned our log cabins into a hotel, I'm shocked that you had not mentioned Bachman Hill whatsoever, is a very rare boarding school and we had a totem pole, they used to have, I used to have compromising Court instead of small claims, like our dust used to get on our neighbor’s laundry when he hung it outside so we had to oil our roads, stuff like that, I used to talk but like I know one sentence. Do you want to go to Horn of Zeese and have a slip of Charlie Brown?? That means would you like to go to the coffee shop and have a piece of pie!
Tina Conner (via on-line post)
JULIE BEARDSLEY on the “abrupt” departure of Public Health Director Anne Molgaard:
“I wish the County would stop these Stalin-esque disappearing of department heads, with the accompanying faux story about retiring. It’s incredibly destabilizing to the department, does not demonstrate transparency or honesty in government, and certainly doesn’t encourage talented managers to want to work for the County. I understand the CEO gets to choose her team, but isn’t there a better way to handle these situations rather than what feels like a palace coup?”
DAY TRIPPING: WATERFALL WEATHER
by Justine Frederiksen
Given the soaking rains Mendocino County received last week and the sunny skies being delivered this week, right now is a perfect time to visit local waterfalls. As proof, take the lovely one inside Russian Gulch State Park near Mendocino.
This UDJ correspondent has visited that 35-foot-tall cascade multiple times over several years, and on Monday it was displaying the largest and strongest flows of water witnessed so far. Even better? Given the cold weather and apparent lack of tourists, the impressive display also had to be shared with the least amount of people so far.
If you live in Ukiah, however, you do have to drive about an hour, then hike about an hour, to see the waterfall. It is located just north of Mendocino, which is just about an hour’s drive from Ukiah, depending on how quickly you navigate Highways 253 and 128. Once you hit Highway 1 at the Navarro River, head to the right up the hill for a few more winding miles until you see the sign for the park, which is located a couple of miles north of the village of Mendocino.
Although the park is mostly to the east of the highway, you first turn left, then drive under the highway to enter it. If you come on a weekday (which is recommended if at all possible to avoid the crowds) you will likely not find anyone manning the entrance kiosk, but a fee to park for the day is still required for most vehicles.
Word to the wise: Please don’t block the entrance as you stop for an envelope to fill with cash or check, as you will be delaying entry for many visitors with annual passes who don’t need to pay again. Instead, use the parking lot to the left of the kiosk which offers temporary spaces you can use while you prepare your payment, which should be dropped into the green tower marked “Pay here.”
Once you’ve settled your payment and driven down the hill (very slowly since at least one tree recently fell along this very narrow and twisting stretch of road), you can park near the building up ahead, or turn right and park near the soaring bridge above the beach. On Monday that was the best option, as the bathrooms near the bridge were the only ones open to visitors.
After walking through the campground, you reach the Fern Canyon Trail, which is so flat and wide that bicyclists are welcome, and after about a mile of meandering along the creek among the redwoods and ferns you will see a sign telling you that the waterfall is .7 mile to the left or 3.7 miles to the right. You will also see bike racks up ahead, since the trail changes dramatically after that and bicycles must be left behind.
Most people likely choose to go left for the .7 mile trail, and if you do, be prepared for some obstacles, particularly some eroded sections of the trail, which gets quite uneven and rough as you approach the falls.
If you’d like to avoid bicyclists and most other hikers on your way to the falls, keep your eyes peeled for the North Trail, which begins to your left as you near the end of the campground. It is marked only by a skinny trail marker and a small sign, however, so it is very easy to miss. If you reach the Fern Canyon Trailhead, you’ve missed the entrance to the North Trail, which on Monday was full of an exciting variety of mushrooms and other fungi.
However, the quickest and flattest way to reach that waterfall is by taking the Fern Canyon Trail to the Falls Loop Trail.
Bonus: The “waterfall trail” in Low Gap Park
If you live in the Ukiah area and don’t have the time and gas money to spend on a trip to the coast, there are some cool waterfalls that are currently flowing much closer to home in Low Gap Park.
If you head out from the parking lot (located across from Ukiah High School on Low Gap Road) and down the paved path toward Orr Creek, immediately after crossing the big bridge, hang a left and go over the smaller bridge.
Immediately after crossing the smaller bridge, stay to the right and follow the small stream below, where you will encounter waterfall after waterfall cascading into small pools. Depending on how big you expect a waterfall to be, there are currently about seven to 10 of them along that path.
(Ukiah Daily Journal)
CASEY HARTLIP on The Club
I moved to the Ukiah area with my folks around 1972. In the Redwood Valley area there were generally two dinnertime dining options…. The Club and The Broiler Steak House commonly known as The Broiler to locals.
The Broiler has been your meat & potatoes spot with their famous ice cold…..mostly iceberg salad. The house dressing which many prefer is a cross between French dressing and Velveeta…… I always liked the blue cheese.
For many years The Broiler was considered the more upscale of the two as a dinner choice as The Club was known more for its dark and often rowdy bar scene.
Something happened about 8-10 years ago. The Club did a remodel of their bar and bathrooms and greatly improved the food quality. At the same time The Broiler seemed to stay the same, however the steaks and potatoes seemed to get smaller.
Given a choice I’d much prefer the have dinner at The Club.
THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES has released 11,000 unredacted documents related to the assassination of President Kennedy, offering historians a fresh trove of details. The latest release came soon after Biden issued an executive order authorizing their publication, while still keeping thousands more documents from public view. “Pursuant to my direction, agencies have undertaken a comprehensive effort to review the full set of almost 16,000 records that had previously been released in redacted form and determined that more than 70% of those records may now be released in full,” said Biden. There's still a trove to come, but the entire trove will undoubtedly confirm that Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy's assassin, or one of them, was on the CIA’s payroll, hence the sensitivity over release of the “trove,” which will continue to be endlessly dribbled out until all the persons involved are dead. Wild as it is, a pretty good visual of the people and agencies involved in that sad event is Oliver Stone's movie, “JFK.”
WORKING in the upper echelons of Mendocino County government as an “at will” employee is a little like being a member of Stalin's politburo. You can be fired at any time for any reason or no reason at all. The only diff between Uncle Joe's personnel practices and Mendo's is that he literally terminated ex-employees. With no explanation to the public, Mendo managers suddenly disappear, a number of them of reappearing in court brandishing winning wrongful termination suits that cost our broke-ass county a lot more money in lavish fees to outside legal sharks. A loyal soldier in the pins and needles offices of the, uh, temperamentally uneven regime of Carmel Angelo, Anne Molgaard is the latest member of the county politburo to disappear, her exit widely described as “abrupt.”
THE NEW CEO, Darcy Antle, broke into tears when Dear Leader Angelo retired, leaving behind a combination of managerial chaos and fiscal time bombs as she departed for a lush retirement in San Diego. Antle had studied at the foot of the master. Re Molgaard, Antle got off this terse e-mail to Public Health staff:
“There's been a change in leadership in your department. Anne Molgaard has retired from the County of Mendocino effective December 9, 2022” adding that the departed’s “access to all County facilities/offices is the same as afforded to the general public; please be sure to treat her with respect as you would the public during any future contact… Staff may not discuss confidential or work-related information with Ms. Molgaard, as you would refrain from the same with the general public.”
IS IT ANY WONDER that people don't want to work for Mendocino County, a jurisdiction dominated by howling incompetents at the power levers?
FOR YOUR APOCALYPSE FILES:
Mr. Bixler, 72, is a retired teacher and principal, who “identifies” as transgender. “She” was appointed to the Liberty School Board outside Phoenix in 2021 and wears “her” dead mother's dresses to school board meetings in memory of mom.
I'VE IDENTIFIED for years as the centerfielder for the San Francisco Giants, making leaping, impossible catches that astound baseball fans everywhere, but when I showed up at the ballpark to ask Gabe Kapler for my uniform, he called the cops.
THOSE TWO ROGUE COPS outta Rohnert Park have been indicted by the Frisco-based federal court on numerous counts of, basically, highway robbery. The pair often lurked nights at Frog Woman Rock, formerly Squaw Rock, where they’d stop Southbound vehicles they suspected of transporting marijuana, then helping themselves to the dope and whatever cash their victims were carrying.
MENDO'S COP BASHERS claim several members of Mendo law enforcement were involved in these shakedowns and many others closer to home, although there is zero evidence that this is the case. The bashers are hoping that the two badged crooks from Rohnert Park will rat out Mendo law enforcement in return for reduced sentences. Wishful thinking on the basher's part, but there it is.
PERMIT ME one caveat: I don't believe it is possible for two cops from a distant police force could hold up passing motorists in Mendocino County for several years without Mendo law enforcement knowing about it. Interestingly, one segment of the federal indictment cites an episode where a pair of CHP officers suddenly showed up as the two RP bandits were doing their thing, prompting the RP boys to partly log their take back in Rohnert Park as if it were a “legal” interdiction.
FROM THE INDICTMENT. UH OH. “…AND OTHERS…” (Huffaker has already pled guilty.)
… 19. In furtherance of the conspiracy, and to carry out its objects, Huffaker, Tatum, and others committed or caused to be committed the following overt acts, among others, in the Northern District of California and elsewhere:
a. On or about December 5, 2017, Huffaker and another individual conducted a traffic stop on Victim 7 (E.F.) in the Northern District of California (the “December 5, 2017 stop”);
b. During the December 5, 2017 stop of Victim 7 (E.F.), Huffaker falsely claimed to be an ATF agent;
c. During the December 5, 2017 stop of Victim 7 (E.F.), Victim 7 did not consent to the seizure of three pounds of marijuana that he possessed;
d. During the December 5, 2017, stop of Victim 7 (E.F.) Huffaker seized those three pounds of marijuana while failing to provide a citation or any other documentation related to the stop that would allow Victim 7 (E.F.) to contest the seizure;
ESTHER MOBLEY of the Chron's hooch beat notes: “Winemakers in Bordeaux took to the streets in protest last week, calling for government aid amid worsening economic conditions for the region’s wine industry, reports Chris Mercer in Decanter. In particular, some vintners who are nearing retirement want subsidies to rip out their vineyards.”
CAN it happen here? O yea, in fact large sectors of the Mendo wine biz already enjoy lax enforcement of chemical spraying, and total exemption from the county's noise ordinance, cf. frost fans.
NEW LABELING LAW may cause consternation in the booze boutiques:
SHALL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN!
Winter Solstice Circle Dance this Sunday, 12/18, 4-7pm, Mendocino Community Center.
Candles will light the darkness at our annual Winter Solstice celebration. There will be a break for a festive finger food potluck so bring something to share if possible.
To dress the part wear a white outfit under a black or dark over garment so you can embody the dark first and then the rebirth of the light! If your closet does not provide these Gwen always brings extra white and black garments so you can join in.
Also, while we will dance inside the Mendocino Community Center, we will keep some windows open for Covid protection, so bring layers.
Re Covid safety, we are aiming for that elusive living-with-Covid goal of safety and comfort. So, masking in our circle is strongly recommended (we have many dancers over 65 or ones who care for the vulnerable), but if you feel discomfort wearing a mask, there is this alternative: use an antigen (home 15 minute) test the day of Circle Dance. If you test negative you are very very unlikely to be contagious and safe enough to dance mask free. (Gwen will have a few tests on site in case you do not have one at home.)
There will be a wealth of dances. some very simple, some beautifully layered and complex. Please tell your friends to come. Not dancing and sitting out some dances is totally fine. This is a special occasion that nurtures and celebrates Community and the hope that comes with the lengthening days and the new year.
No previous experience or partners necessary! All dances are taught before each one.
Dance is one of the oldest ways in which people celebrate community and togetherness, and the circle is the oldest dance formation. Circle Dance mixes traditional folk dances with new choreography's set to a variety of music both ancient and modern from around the world. Dances can be slow and meditative or lively and energetic.
Circle Dance groups are a grass roots phenomenon, with hundreds of dance circles in the US, England, and throughout the world.
The Mendocino group has been dancing every month for over 30 years. As one dancer put it, “We are doing what people have been doing for millennia— on beaches, in forest glens, around campfires— dancing together in circles to express joy, passion, solidarity, pain and faith.”
For more information on Sacred Circle Dance go to www.CircleDancing.com.
For local info contact Devora Rossman at email@example.com or 937-1077.
Come for the Dance, come for the Community, come for the Ritual.
Tom Wodetzki <firstname.lastname@example.org>
SAVE THE BEES!
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is seeking data and public comments on a petition to list the Crotch’s bumble bee, Franklin’s bumble bee, Suckley’s cuckoo bumble bee and western bumble bee under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).
The Crotch’s bumble bee (Bombus crotchii) is found between San Diego and Redding in a variety of habitats including open grasslands, shrublands, chaparral, desert margins including Joshua tree and creosote scrub, and semi-urban settings. It is near endemic to California, with only a few records from Nevada and Mexico.
The Franklin’s bumble bee (Bombus franklini) has the smallest range of any bumble bee in North America, occurring only in northern California and southern Oregon. In California, it historically occurred in Siskiyou and Trinity counties in grasslands and meadows ranging from 540 to 7,800 feet in elevation. It has not been observed in California since 1998 or in Oregon since 2006.
The western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis occidentalis) ranges broadly from northern Mexico to central British Columbia, Canada. In California, it historically occurred from sea level to over 8,000 feet and was found in a variety of habitat types including shrublands, chaparral, gardens and urban parks. It currently is observed in high elevation meadows, forests, riparian areas in the Sierra Nevada and Cascades as well as in coastal grasslands in northern California.
The Suckley’s cuckoo bumble bee (Bombus suckleyi) is a nest parasite of the western bumble bee. The range of the Suckley’s cuckoo bumble bee is limited to a subset of its host’s range, though with a more montane distribution in the Cascades, with a possibility of occurrence in the Sierra Nevada based on limited historic records.
Threats to all these bumble bees include habitat loss, climate change, disease and exposure to pesticides. Small population size is also a potential threat to the Franklin’s bumble bee.
For the Suckley’s cuckoo bumble bee, threats include the decline of its host species.
In October 2018, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Defenders of Wildlife and Center for Food Safety submitted a petition to the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) to list the Crotch’s, Franklin’s, Suckley’s cuckoo and western bumble bee species as Endangered under CESA. The Commission determined listing “may be warranted” and the species became candidates for listing on June 12, 2019. That listing was legally challenged and candidacy was stayed during much of the ensuing litigation. The Commission’s decision was ultimately upheld and candidacy was reinstated on September 30, 2022. Thus, the Crotch’s, Franklin’s, Suckley’s cuckoo and western bumble bee species now have the same legal protection afforded to an endangered or threatened species (California Fish and Game Code [FGC] sections 2074.2 and 2085).
Over the next 12 months, CDFW will conduct a status review to inform the Commission’s final decision on whether to list the species under CESA. As part of the status review process, CDFW is soliciting information regarding the species’ ecology, genetics, life history, distribution, abundance, habitat, the degree and immediacy of threats to its reproduction or survival, the adequacy of existing management and recommendations for management of the species.
CDFW respectfully requests that data and comments be submitted before January 15, 2023. Please submit data and comments to CDFW by email at email@example.com and include “Bumble bee” in the subject line. Data or comments may also be submitted by mail to California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife Diversity Program, Attn: CESA Conservation Unit, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090.
CDFW will produce a peer reviewed report based upon the best scientific information available, which will include a recommendation as to whether the petitioned action is warranted (FGC section 2074.6). The report will be made publicly available on CDFW’s website for at least 30 days before the Commission considers acting on the petition. Please note, the Commission—which is a legally separate entity from CDFW—is charged with making the final determination on whether to list a species as endangered or threatened under CESA (FGC section 2075.5). CDFW serves in a scientific advisory role to the Commission during this process. See the California Fish and Game Commission webpage for details on submitting comments to the Commission and receiving email alerts for upcoming Commission meetings.
The listing petition, CDFW’s petition evaluation report and updates on the listing process are available on the Commission’s website.
* * *
A READER COMMENTS: There used to be a ground nesting bumblebee colony at Mendocino headlands.
They were small and aggressively defensive.
The ground nest areas were marked with signs, so visitors were warned of the danger.
The ground was pock marked with holes.
I have noticed that the large bumblebees that used to be innumerable on the blackberry flowers are non-existent anymore.
I have had numerous small bumblebees that are fatally attracted to pooled water.
We also have a boring bumblebee that has tunneled into a rough redwood 4×4 post…
Not to say that wasn’t interesting, as I had not observed that “bee”havior before…
I’m not sure of the species of any of these bumblebees, but I will be paying closer attention from now on…
THE EMERALD CUP, two on-line comments:
(1) I’m speaking as a FORMER EC JUDGE
“Hip hop, some reggae” is EXACTLY why I no longer go to the EC.
Grass Roots? NO, it’s a youth oriented commercial profit making event run by a bird brain founder who is clueless, (he had plants growing within sight of Hwy 101 years ago, and they wondered why they got ripped off).
Blake’s vision is impaired by dollar signs in his eyes. He pleads personal poverty yet somehow lays his hands on a stack of cash to produce the EC.
Most of us who were at Area 101 in the beginning & successive years are elderly & just can’t relate to the EC anymore.
Although car parking at Area 101 is totally fucked, we were surrounded by OUR community, not a bunch of young strangers with fucking hip hop & fucking reggae music assaulting our ears.
The EC started as a great idea, and it WAS a growers event. It was still a decent event when moved to the Mateel, but the event lost its soul & morphed into something unrecognizable when it moved to Santa Rosa.
Now it’s a large consumer event leaning towards SoCal pot consumers. It now seems like a cross between a circus & and big sales event with boring speakers blah blah blah.
A LOT of money changes hands at EC… does it make a PROFIT or is Blake running a 501 C 3 non profit. I’m sure the cost to rent the Sonoma County Fairgrounds IS huge. Was money made from the vendors & was money made from corporate sponsors? What about admission fees for attendees?
I think the EC has outlived its purpose.
And with market prices such as they are these days, can SMALL mom & pop growers living on social security even afford the entry fees?
The worse the EC event is, the more incentive we remaining small mom & pop growers have to go back underground, and have our own back porch bud ‘contests’ with a circle of friends, like we’ve been doing all along… no trophy needed.
(2) I’m going to add a slightly different perspective on the original Area 101 Emerald Cup. Most everybody I knew up Spy Rock/Bell Springs were bummed at Tim Blake for blowing up publicly what we were all doing secretly. I still think he accelerated the demise of our scene by pushing the public envelope. It happens- somebody new comes into town and thinks it’s cool to tell the world how cool it is and they imagine themselves a “pot activist” or a “freedom bringer”. LOL! No, they just make a name for themselves by exposing all their neighbors…Tim Blake also pushed the virtues of “legalization” after he personally spoke with Governor Newsom. He told everybody it was going to be great and we’d finally won! We will be “free” and “safe”. LOL! Then after it passed the Cannabis Control Board went behind closed doors and rejected the 1 acre limit, opening it up for Newsom’s fat friends to blow up mega-grows. Tim Blake was shocked! The Governor had lied to his face!! LOfrigginL! Yeah Tim- that’s how they do you. That’s how they’ve been doing us forever. Please put down the joint, bro….So here we are now- The Emerald Cup is held in Los Angeles, this poser fest is held in Santa Rosa and the CannaCon is held in Vegas. Humboldt is nowhere, as is Mendocino. Congratulations everybody on selling it all out for whatever you could personally get…that’s some real community spirit right there. LOL!
CATCH OF THE DAY, Thursday, December 15, 2022
OSCAR CABEZAS-TAFOYA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
WILLIAM HILL, Fort Bragg. Assault with intent to rape, kidnapping for robbery & rape, anal or genital penetration by foreigh object by force or violence, touching of intimate parts of another against their will.
DAVID KEATH, Willits. Suspended license for DUI, probation revocation.
CHESHIRE MAIAVA, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, ammo possession by prohibited person.
JOHN MARKS JR., Ukiah. County parole violation.
DOVE MICHAEL, Mendocino. Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury.
JAMES WEISMULLER, Willits. Domestic battery.
AARON WILSON, Covelo. Domestic battery, battery with serious injury, curelty to child-infliction of injury.
JAMES YOAST, Redwood Valley. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, failure to appear.
NEVER LEAVE, CRAIG. YOU'RE A NATCH FOR MENDO
Awoke this morning at the Building Bridges homeless shelter in Ukiah, California, having concluded a commitment to voluntarily bottom line the trash & recycling chore there, since March 1st. Ambled over to the Express Mart to check Lotto, then headed for the Ukiah Co-op for a caprese sandwich and a cup o’ coffee, enjoyed in the cafe; presently am seated at a computer in the Ukiah Public Library. I am ready to move significantly onward! It has been unique being in Mendocino county since returning from Honolulu in November of 2020. Was supportive of the trimmer scene in Redwood Valley for 13 months before they kicked me out. Was supportive of Andy Caffrey’s effort to digitalize the Earth First! video archive and place it for perpetuity in the cloud. Got a pacemaker inserted at Adventist Hospital, because all of the stress caused the two heart chambers to misfire. Redwood Community Services gave me a bed at Building Bridges March 1st. Enjoyed many fine free meals at Plowshares. Made friends with a very wide range of displaced individuals at the homeless shelter. As of this moment, I am available on the planet earth for spiritually focused direct action. I already am enlightened, and do not require watching mental activity (thoughts) anymore. They repeat over and over and over, to eventually wanting to beat the crap out of American postmodernism, before the mind returns to silence.
Craig Louis Stehr
BIGGEST DOPE BUST IN HUMCO HISTORY
Press release from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office:
On December 13, 2022 Jose Lomeli Osuna pled guilty to all the charges and enhancements he faced following his September 15, 2022 arrest by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force (DTF).
On that date DTF served warrants on three locations: at a Creamery Alley, Arcata location agents found 3 pounds of methamphetamine, 4 ounces of fentanyl and over $114,000 in cash; at a Myrtle Avenue, Eureka location agents found 1.3 ounces of cocaine; and at a storage unit in McKinleyville they located 24 pounds of methamphetamine, 3 pounds of heroin, 1.25 pounds of cocaine and 5.83 pounds of fentanyl.
The defendant pled guilty to possession with intent to sell heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl, with enhancements for possession of: methamphetamine over 10 kilograms (22 pounds), heroin over 1 kilogram and fentanyl over 1 kilogram. He also admitted to two prior convictions for transportation of drugs for sales.
Recent changes to the Penal Code (1170(h)) dictate that individuals convicted of selling, transporting or possessing drugs for sales cannot be sentenced to prison. However, a judge could sentence Lomelli Osuna to as much as 18 years in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. Given the defendant’s record and his major role in Humboldt County drug dealing as indicated by the large quantities seized by DTF, the District Attorney will seek to maximize Lomelli Osuna’s time in custody.
KEATING V. SCHWARTZ-LULU
To the Editor,
Thanks so much for your exhaustive and exhausting account of every junior high school locker room encounter you had with the former Stephen Schwartz back when Lyndon Johnson was President. (“Off the Record,” AVA, Dec. 7) In lavishing your admiration on Stephen-Sandalio-Suleyman-Ahmad-Lulu-Schwartz you managed to leave out many much more important details of the one-time Stephen Schwartz's life and deeds.
Schwartz is a long-term San Francisco bar scene nuisance and professional repentant former leftist, and was a minor league neo-conservative pom-pom girl for United States foreign policy violence against civilians on three continents over three decades. Now deep in his dotage, and with Schwartz”s junior varsity skills no longer marketable to Uncle Sam, Schwartz has undergone gender transition and operates under the appropriately-nutty-sounding handle Lulu as San Francisco's leading Alice Cooper impersonator -- or, as can be seen in the photo you published some time back, at least it's ugliest one.
1. In the early 1980s “red diaper baby” Steve Schwartz stank up the Caffe Trieste in San Francisco”s North Beach neighborhood as “Comrade Sandalio,” the General Secretary of a wacky-slaphappy one man Trotskyist party with the grandiloquent name of “Fomento Obrero Revoucionario Organizing Committee in the United States -- “FOCUS.” Up to this point Schwartz”s practical political activity consisted solely of hollering about himself, Trotsky and the Spanish Civil War in a loud voice in bars. This was enough to snow an easily played and wealthy Reagan rightist named Lawry Chickering, the Grand Poobah of a Reagan Administration-connected think tank called the Institute for Contemporary Studies, and Chickering offered Schwartz a job as an editor at his institute. This massive improvement in employment prospects occurred when Schwartz was a long-term resident of a North Beach SRO hotel, occasionally drove a taxi to pay the bills, and didn”t have an undergrad degree, but “Comrade Sandalio's” new found enthusiasm for Ronald Reagan and the CIA's atrocity-happy proxy army the Nicaraguan Contras allowed him to be presented as an “expert” on Central America at Reagan Administration-affiliated neo-conservative conferences.
So, hocus pocus -- no more FOCUS! Schwartz spent the rest of the Reagan eighties furiously hopping up and down on his fat little fetlocks demanding an acceleration of violence by the United States government and its ghoulish proxies in Nicaragua and El Salvador, for example in an editorial in the April 11, 1986 SF Examiner, subtly titled, “Support Contras.” The then-Stephen Schwartz also bragged on camera to reporter Sylvia Chase in an investigative piece, titled “Private Spies,” broadcast on Nov. 10 1987 on SF's KRON 4 TV”s 6pm “Evening Edition,” that he spied on opponents of Reagan Administration policies in Central America and fed the information he'd acquired about them to the Feds.
2. In the 1990's territories of the former Yugoslavia became a focus of US national security concerns. Irresistibly attracted to the smell of human blood being shed in great quantities, the one-time Central America “expert” Schwartz relocated to Sarajevo and now styled himself as an "expert" on the Balkans with a full-scale fashion makeover, rocking a Bond villain Halloween costume consisting of a long beard and skull-cap. Schwartz also converted to the Sufi branch of Islam, changing his name -- for the duration of direct U.S. military involvement in the Balkans -- to Suleyman Ahmad Stephen Schwartz. Suleyman Ahmad's Road-to-Damascus as a newly minted Muslim apparently qualified him to demand violence by the U.S. against various Muslim civilian targets in not-exactly-pro-Muslim publications like William Kristol's The Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal. Also in his role as an apparent convert to Islam, Schwartz wrote a book titled (without apparent conscious ironic intent) The Two Faces of Islam. Schwartz and his 'Two Faces' elicited scathing and dismissive mention in a review of then-recent works on Islam by dean of U.S. anthropologists Clifford Geertz, in the July 3, 2003 issue of the New York Review of Books. Geertz bagged on Schwartz as “a strange and outlandish figure” and dismissed Schwartz”s “Two Faces” as a “monomaniacal tracing out, laborious and repetitiveâ¦” “without source references” other than the Koran.
From the collapse of the Soviet Union until his death in 2016, Islam Karimov was the dictator of Uzbekistan. Karimov allowed Uzbekistan to be a location for CIA black sites in the George W. Bush Administration”s “extraordinary renditions” scheme during the “War on Terror,” where “illegal combatants” were kidnapped, delivered to black sites, and subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques, including torture. Uzbek dictator Karimov”s Wikipedia entry states in part: ”Craig Murray, the British Ambassador from 2002 to 2004, described widespread torture, kidnapping, murder, rape by the police, financial corruption, religious persecution, censorship and other human rights abuses. This included the case of Karimov's security forces executing prisoners Muzafar Avazov and Khuzniddin Alimov by boiling them alive in 2002.”
Craig Murray described the future Lulu Schwartz in his blog this way: “...Perhaps the greatest American apologist for Uzbekistan”s tyrant has been Stephen Schwartz, a one-time member of the neocon Foundation for the Defense of Democracies who is most celebrated for his purple prose advocating regime change in Saudi Arabia...As he wrote in the neocon journal The Weekly Standard in 2002, the situation in Uzbekistan was about as good as it could get.
“Explaining away the grisly record of the Karimov regime, Schwartz asserted that “before freedom can be established, the enemies of freedom must be defeated. The fate of democracies that do not defeat the enemies of democracy is illustrated by the histories of Germany and Italy after the First World War. Democracies can grant mercy to their enemies only from a position of unchallengeable strength...Since September 11, the United States no longer accepts the claim that the free exercise of terrorist agitation, incitement, and organization outweighs the benefits of legal sanction,” Schwartz wrote.
(Schwartz, quoted here in Murray,) "The United States, which has entered into a military alliance with Uzbekistan, must support the Uzbeks in their internal as well as their external combat, and must repudiate the blandishments of the human rights industry.” (!) At this time tough guy Schwartz was still on the payroll of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, which some wags at the time suggested should be re-named the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies that Boil People to Death.
3. You wrote: “I also liked his “Brotherhood of the Sea, A History of the Sailor's Union of the Pacific, 1885-1985.” But his is the only book on the subject I've read.” Indeed. If you read a second book on the subject -- perhaps Workers on the Waterfront: Seamen, Longshoremen and Unionism in the 1930's, by Bruce Nelson, published by the University of Illinois Press, you'll see that the Sailors Union of the Pacific, fondly nicknamed the “Brotherhood of the Sea' by its partisans, was a systematically racist entity that practiced what was called “checkerboard unionism.”
On pages 246 to 249 of Nelson's work: "When the unions seized full control of hiring after the 1934 strike, blacks were often barred from even entering the Sailor's and Marine Firemen's Halls… "In spite of considerable pressure from the Federal government's Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC), the SUP adamantly refused to accept black seamen in its ranks...a federal agency reported that "[a union official] called his office and said that the SUP was not hiring Negroes and were not going to hire them.”
“…Sailor's Union official Maxie Weisbarth acknowledged that there were no blacks in the SUP “because Negroes aren't sailors. It's not their kind of work...Them? Work? Real Work?' " After World War II, according to an SUP veteran quoted by Bruce Nelson, "Racist types could make a name for themselves (in the SUP) and win the favor of the leadership" by encouraging hostility between the segregationist SUP and the racially integrated Marine Cooks and Stewards. SUP propaganda of that time included descriptions of SUP members engaged in waterfront brawls with "spics." None of this is evident in Schwartz's palace history of the Sailors Union, Brotherhood of the Sea…
As the official historian of the Sailors Union of the Pacific there was no way Schwartz couldn't have known these indicting facts. If a Truth-in-Packaging law got applied here Schwartz”s brown-nosing song of homage to his then-employer, SUP union bureaucrat-in-chief Paul Dempster, and to this right-wing, racist, scab-herding labor brokerage would have to be titled "Aryan Brotherhood of the Sea.”
Recent depictions of Steve Schwartz/Lulu Schwartz in the AVA depict Schwartz as some kind of colorful, quirky, harmlessly obnoxious Northern California weirdo of the type that supplies the Anderson Valley Advertiser with so much of its material. To do this you have completely disappeared large portions of Schwartz's real world track record, from Reagan and the Contras to the torturer-tyrant Islam Karimov, down the memory hole. You totally blank out any reference to episodes of state violence and mass murder, the vast majority of it targeting working class and poor people, that Schwartz, however vicariously, enthusiastically attached himself to for a buck over a thirty-year long period. For some bizarre and unfathomable reason the repugnant multiple decade long track record of contemporary San Francisco's most illustrious Alice Cooper impersonator has clearly earned Schwartz the respect and admiration of the William Allen White of Mendocino County.
Kevin Keating, Buenos Aires, Argentina
ED NOTE: I haven't made Schwartz Studies my life's work, as you apparently have. I defer to your superior scholarship, but still think, given his age and obvious mental illness, ordinary sympathy isn't too much to ask.
IS CALIFORNIA’S DROUGHT OVER? Water Providers Still Predict Shortages Next Year
by Alastair Bland
December has delivered a powerful punch of storms to California. But the wet weather comes with a dry dose of reality: The state’s largest reservoirs remain badly depleted, projected water deliveries are low, wells are drying up, and the Colorado River’s water, already diminished by a megadrought, is severely overallocated.
Throughout California, urban water managers are bracing for a fourth consecutive drought year. Nearly one out of every five water agencies — 76 out of 414 — in a recent state survey predict that they won’t have enough water to meet demand next year. That means they are likely to impose more severe restrictions on customers, with some Southern California providers considering a ban on all outdoor watering.
While December’s rain and snow show promise, water managers remember the same thing happened last year — epic early storms followed by the driest January through March in California’s recorded history.
“We’re not counting any chickens just yet,” said Andrea Pook, a spokesperson for the East Bay Municipal Utility District, which delivers water to 1.4 million Bay Area residents. The district’s water supply is in relatively good shape, with a 9% water deficit projected through the first half of 2023.
Last week the state announced an emergency regulation extending its ban on “wasteful water practices” through 2023. Included are watering while it’s raining, running decorative fountains without recirculating flows and washing vehicles with hoses not fitted with automatic shutoff nozzles, among others.
Some regions of California have more water than they need. Sacramento reported a 173% surplus for 2023 to state officials. City spokesperson Carlos Eliason said Sacramento has a healthy system of community wells to draw from in addition to the Sacramento and American rivers.
The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, serving 90,000 people in and around Eureka, reported an 834% surplus for 2023. Its main reservoir typically fills to the brim every year.
“Unfortunately, our system isn’t connected to other systems, so we can’t do anything to help our neighbors in other parts of the state, but we’d like to,” said General Manager John Friedenbach.
Other areas will probably cruise through the drought with some basic conservation efforts. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission reported a 5% shortage for 2023 and the Santa Clara Valley Water District, serving the South Bay and Peninsula, has a shortfall of 11%.
Sonoma County’s major reservoir was at just 39% of capacity last week, its lowest level ever recorded, but Don Seymour, the county water agency’s deputy chief engineer, said there is no reason to panic. “That’s still a lot of water,” he said. “We could stretch that out into the spring of 2024.”
Cities dependent on state aqueduct are hit hard
But other regions of the state — mostly in Southern California — aren’t as fortunate. Millions of Southern Californians will likely face outdoor watering restrictions or even bans, with probable exceptions made for the hand-watering of trees.
The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, for instance, expects a 63% shortage based on average historical demand. The district serves 77,000 people in Agoura Hills, Calabasas and other nearby communities in western Los Angeles County.
“That means that if a household normally uses 100 gallons of water, we’ll be able to deliver 37 gallons,” said Las Virgenes’ public affairs officer Mike McNutt.
The district purchases between 20,000 and 25,000 acre-feet of imported water annually from the region’s wholesaler, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. This year that delivery could drop to 11,000 acre-feet, according to John Zhao, the district’s director of facilities and operations.
McNutt said residents have already cut water use by 35% from pre-drought levels, mostly from outdoor conservation. Most homes in the region, he said, are fully outfitted with high-efficiency appliances, toilets and showerheads. That means there is limited room to improve without more drastic action, which the district hopes to avoid.
But if drought conditions continue, Las Virgenes customers could be hit with a total outdoor watering ban in 2023 — a step up from the region’s one-day-per-week allowance implemented last spring by the Metropolitan Water District.
Las Virgenes has a 10,000-acre-foot reservoir to fall back on, and McNutt said the district may also seek transfers of water from nearby communities with water to spare — arrangements he said would have to be negotiated through the Metropolitan Water District.
Most Southern Californians — 27 million people — rely at least partially on the State Water Project, a system of dams and canals that moves water from the Sacramento Valley to Southern California. On Dec. 1, the Department of Water Resources announced it will initially allocate just 5% of the supply that water districts requested from the state — bad news for those with no other water source.
“We are 100% reliant on the State Water Project,” McNutt said.
The Ventura County communities of Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley face a similar dependency on the State Water Project.
“We wouldn’t exist without that imported water,” said Wanda Moyer, Simi Valley’s water conservation coordinator.
Simi Valley is expecting a 68% shortage in 2023 and will implement a total outdoor watering ban if the state’s delivery projections don’t improve, Moyer said.
In June, when Metropolitan’s once-weekly watering limit for gardens and lawns took effect, “people were angry,” she said.
Breaking the rules triggered a warning the first time, then fines. Next year, Simi Valley’s repeat offenders may face a tactical measure – the use of water restrictors.
These tools are basically washers with a hole in the center. Inserted inside a pipe, a restrictor allows just a trickle of water to pass. Las Virgenes has been using them since June on repeat water-use offenders. The district, which has installed more than 200 restrictors, keeps the device in place for two weeks before removing it, McNutt said. If violations continue, it’s reinstalled for three months, he said.
Moyer said scofflaws whose water pipes are fitted with restrictors “will be taking a military-type shower.”
Water connections serving non-residential sprinklers for lawns and other landscaping could be shut off completely, she said, following multiple violations.
‘Water conservation is a way of life’
Fort Bragg, on California’s North Coast, nearly ran out of water in 2021, forcing management into a stage 4 “water crisis” mode. A small desalination unit, capable of processing 200 gallons per minute, was revved up to meet basic needs for the 7,500 local residents. Meanwhile, outlying communities, like the seaside bluff town of Mendocino and isolated inns, restaurants and homes, saw wells run dry. Fort Bragg delivery trucks, carrying water provided by the city of Ukiah, brought relief.
Things have improved for Fort Bragg. In 2022, late spring rains recharged its reserves, said John Smith, the city’s director of public works. Its small reservoir is brim-full, and the desalination unit is ready to go if needed.
The city asked residents to use 20% less water, which they did — plus some.
“We asked for 20%, and they conserved 30%,” he said.
Earlier this year, Californians were slow to respond to drought warnings. In fact, their usage went up last spring. Californians emerged from the driest January, February and March on record with the biggest jump in water use since the drought began: a nearly 19% increase in March compared to two years earlier.
But many Californians have stepped up since then. In October, statewide urban water use dropped 12.6% compared to October of 2020.
Still, the cumulative savings (only 5.2% compared to 2020) fall far short of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request for a 15% voluntary cut.
Santa Rosa’s water director, Jennifer Burke, said water use in the city of 180,000 is down 18% of average since June of 2021, thanks in part to rules limiting outdoor watering to nighttime hours when evaporative losses are less.
In Sacramento, residents have curbed water use by more than 20% by limiting residents to watering twice weekly from March through October and once per week the rest of the year. This ordinance, Eliason said, is permanent.
“We wanted to make sure water conservation is a way of life,” Eliason said.
For many Californians, it already is. The state’s residents have streamlined their water use and reduced waste for decades. Daily residential water use statewide in October decreased to 88 gallons per capita, compared to the five-year average of 97.
Jeffrey Mount, a senior fellow with the Public Policy Institute of California, said California’s overall water consumption has remained the same since the 1980s even though the population grew from 30 million to 40 million.
“That is a good indication that adjustments can be made as things get drier,” Mount said.
An even steeper trend toward conservation has been logged by the East Bay Municipal Utility District. The customer population has grown by 35% since 1970 while overall water use has declined by 45%.
In recent years, residents have increasingly swapped out grassy lawns for drought-smart landscaping, and they are currently limited to watering outdoors no more than three days per week. These measures have reduced water use during the ongoing drought by 14 to 15% — what Pook describes as “conservation on top of conservation.”
Lawns go dry but trees are protected
Green grass will go brown next year, and in the long run, vast areas of lawn will probably disappear permanently as Californians adjust to aridification.
“I see communities prioritizing socially functional turf versus non-functional turf,” said Dan Drugan, a spokesperson for the Calleguas Municipal Water District, which supplies, among other towns, for Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley.
In October, the Metropolitan Water District passed a resolution encouraging communities “to reduce or eliminate irrigation of non-functional turf with potable water.” This followed a May, 2022 emergency order from the State Water Resources Control Board banning non-functional turf irrigation with potable water on commercial, institutional and industrial properties statewide. The Pacific Institute has calculated that such efforts could save California as much as 400,000 acre-feet of water annually.
But no matter how tight the state’s water supplies get, keeping urban trees alive will probably be a priority.
“We’re seeing, in all urban areas, a frantic effort to conserve urban forests,” Mount said, noting that urban trees provide shade, reduced ground-level temperatures and natural water treatment services.
Even in communities served by Las Virgenes, where much of the water under current restrictions is designated for health and human safety uses, spokesman McNutt expects residents will hand-irrigate with buckets of shower water and pots of kitchen water to keep trees alive.
“The last thing that anybody wants – anybody – is for the trees to die,” he said.
Mount, who recently eliminated most of his own backyard turf — sparing just a narrow strip for his dogs — said he takes some solace in the fact that green grass remains a prominent feature of institutional landscaping, for it means there is still room to improve.
“That makes me more sanguine than most about the future,” he said.
RAMP UP PURDY MANIA, 49ers beat Seahawks 21-13 to clinch NFC West
by Eric Branch
First, Brock Purdy came off the bench to win a home game against a team that was on a five-game winning streak.
Next, Purdy won his first career start at home by 28 points by outplaying iconic Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady.
And then came the San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback’s third and greatest challenge: On the road Thursday night, in an ear-splitting environment, in prime time, while playing with multiple injuries that made him questionable to start a game with massive postseason implications.
Yeah, nothing to it.
Purdy’s improbable success story reached another level of you’ve-got-to-be-kidding at Lumen Field. The 262nd and final pick of the draft made the Seahawks hurt while playing hurt in a 21-13 win that clinched the NFC West title with three regular-season games remaining.
“It was definitely another level,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It was another level for me just watching someone do it.”
What did Purdy do? Let’s start with what he didn’t. His injuries prevented from throwing a single pass in practice during the week. Shanahan said he wasn’t sure Purdy could play Thursday morning, but he managed to throw a few passes in a walkthrough in a ballroom at the team hotel.
Then, after watching Purdy struggle through pregame warmups, even skipping some drills, he wasn’t sure the QB could finish the game. In fact, Shanahan didn’t call certain plays due to Purdy’s injuries.
“We were going to see how long he could last and we were ready to go with (backup) Josh (Johnson),” Shanahan said. “He got comfortable. He got better as the game went. It was pretty unbelievable.”
Said running back Christian McCaffrey: “He’s tough as nails. I know that. That guy’s tough as nails. He keeps surprising me every day with a lot of the stuff he’s doing.”
The 49ers (10-4), winners of seven straight, will host a wild-card playoff game at Levi’s Stadium on Jan. 14 or 15 by virtue of winning the division title, their first since 2019.
Purdy, who had a 105.2 passer rating in his previous two games — performances that made the season-opening third-stringer an overnight NFL sensation — outdid himself Thursday. He completed his first 11 passes and finished 17 of 26 for 217 yards with two touchdowns. Passer rating: 117.0.
Purdy became the first 49ers QB since Jeff Garcia in 2001 to complete all of his first-quarter throws while making at least nine attempts. And he became the first QB since Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers in 2008 to have at least 175 passing yards, two touchdowns and passer rating of 115 in each of his first two starts.
“In warmups, I sort of had to work though some pain.” Purdy said. “Once the game started, I was ready to roll. I felt a little something throughout the game on some throws.”
The wunderkind QB became an honorary defensive linemen Thursday. Defensive tackle Arik Armstead said Purdy was “hurting” when he received treatment alongside him on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. And pass rusher Nick Bosa said he knows from experience how agonizing rib injuries can be.
“It’s brutal,” Bosa said. “So for him to not show any pain in his face and just his mannerisms? It says a lot about who he is.”
Fittingly, Purdy helped put the Seahawks (7-7) away after they’d trimmed an 18-point third-quarter deficit to eight on an 8-yard touchdown catch by tight end Noah Fant with 3:39 left.
On 3rd-and-1 from the 49ers’ 34-yard line, Purdy scrambled around right end and slid for a 1-yard gain to extend a game-ending drive. Purdy, who was injured divining at the end of scramble against the Buccaneers, said he considered leaping headfirst Thursday. However, his decision was in keeping with a game-long strategy to play four quarters.
“I think (diving) was sort of going through my mind,” Purdy said. “This whole week was thinking in terms of getting the ball out, and try to stay safe and not to take any unnecessary hits.”
On Tuesday, when Purdy was receiving treatment he’d suffered four days before Thursday’s kickoff, he said the challenge inspired teammates to offer some variation of the message: Welcome to the NFL.
And Purdy responded by looking right at home at the 49ers’ house of horrors, a stadium where they had lost 10 of the previous 11 meetings.
Shanahan gets an assist for Purdy’s first touchdown pass, which began with Purdy pump-faking two screen passes.
Purdy faked left to wideout Ray-Ray McCloud, pivoted and pumped right to McCaffrey and then tossed an over-the-middle pass to all-alone tight end George Kittle, who wasn’t touched as he ran the final 17 yards to complete a 28-yard touchdown.
Purdy’s second scoring pass, on the opening drive of the second half, gave the 49ers a 21-3 lead. Purdy began by looking right before finding Kittle by himself behind three defenders on the left side. Kittle caught the ball at the 35-yard line and did the rest on a 54-yard score on which he dismissed arm tackles by safety Quandre Diggs and linebacker Cody Barton around the 10.
“He struggled to move a little bit at times,” Shanahan said. “But there at the end on that 3rd-and-1, for him to be able to run and be able to move the chains? I had a lot of respect for him before the game. I have a lot more now.”
The 49ers entered with 12 takeaways (and just two turnovers) during their six-game winning streak - the most in the NFL since Week 7 - and they did it again with Greenlaw’s momentum-shifter just before halftime.
With the 49ers leading 7-3, Greenlaw whacked running back Travis Homer in the back at the end of a 6-yard catch, forcing a fumble that cornerback Charvarius Ward returned 40 yards to Seattle’s 6-yard line.
Two plays later: McCaffrey’s 1-yard plunge provided an 11-point cushion with 49 seconds left in the second quarter.
It was the latest impactful play by Greenlaw (nickname: “Big Play Dre”), whose goal-line, last-second stop of tight end Jacob Hollister in Seattle in the 2019 regular-season finale secured the NFC West title.
In his past five games, Greenlaw has 46 tackles, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries (one returned for a touchdown) and an interception.
“‘Big Play Dre’, baby,” said All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner, who has been lobbying for Greenlaw to earn Pro Bowl honors. “I could keep going on and on about him. But he just continues to write the script himself with how he plays out there.
“You can’t deny it. Making big-time plays at big-time moments. He continues to ball out. One of the best. I’m more than happy to share the field with him.”
Greenlaw was among a host of defensive standouts as the 49ers limited the NFL’s sixth-ranked scoring offense to two field goals in the first 56 minutes, 16 first downs and 277 yards.
Quarterback Geno Smith spent much of the evening attempting to dodge defensive linemen in the backfield. The 49ers had three sacks and nine QB hits. Bosa had a sack - giving him 15.5 this season - and three hits on Smith.
Bosa said the 49ers’ 27-7 win over Seattle in Week 2 gave him confidence they could overwhelm its front five.
“I think just the first time we played them we knew we had an advantage,” Bosa said. “And we were going to have to take full advantage of it. And, yeah, we definitely did our job.”
McCaffrey rushed for 108 yards on 26 carries, the third-most of his 72-game career, and added a team-high six catches (30 yards). And Mason had three of his four carries in the final 2:16 with the game in the balance.
The result: Mason had gains of 6, 2 and 55 yards to allow the 49ers to run out the clock.
Shanahan indicated he called on Mason, 5-foot-11 and 223 pounds, to have a power back finish against a weary defense.
“I called him Mariano Rivera. The closer,” McCaffrey said. “It was awesome. He runs so hard … I had a big workload and to get some fresh legs in there and to close it like that was really cool.”
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Half of Twitter is appalled that Musk is even attempting to allow free speech (which is now universally termed “hate speech” if it isn’t in the NYT) on the platform.
“We need that regulation for our safety!”
“Govern me harder, Daddy!”
The other half finds the whole thing hilarious. Really an interesting dichotomy in the country right now. The strangest part to me is that some of the supposed smartest among us are the least mentally malleable when it comes to forming their own actual opinion.
Overnight, the name Musk has become synonymous with Trump in a large part of my peer circle. No matter what the story is about him, he’s an alt-right, racist, homophobic POS now. I have no expectation that these folks will ever change that stance, until the NYT tells them to. Or until their cush jobs dwindle and they have worry for things the real world historically poses as a problem to humanity.
WHEN ALLEN GINSBERG CAME TO TOWN
Let’s take a moment to contemplate President Biden signing that new law requiring federal recognition of same-sex marriage. After all, we don’t get to reflect on good news all that often.
Bipartisan approval! Supreme Court can’t mess it up! Culmination of a public battle that began, arguably, in 1969 with the Stonewall riots at a Greenwich Village bar, led by L.G.B.T.Q. New Yorkers who were tired of being harassed by the police when they were out socializing. (“Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad,” The Daily News famously announced.)
A battle that was still very far from being won in 1996, when Bill Clinton signed an anti-gay law specifically defining marriage as a union between male and female. At the time, only about a quarter of the public approved of same-sex marriages.
Now, 70 percent of Americans say they’re OK with the idea of men and women marrying someone of either sex. According to Gallup, the nation has almost completely changed its mind over the last three decades. What happened?
The public wars were brave and critical, but I think the most important change, as far as opinion goes, was the discovery by average Americans that folks they knew — often including loved ones — were L.G.B.T.Q. I remember my own suburban Catholic mom, the product of a totally conservative upbringing, getting to know Jerry, a gay man who came in to take care of her after my dad died. Not sure what, if anything, she knew about homosexuality before, but he became her best friend and in a couple of years she was sitting on a float in the Cincinnati Gay Pride Parade.
As the product of a Catholic girls’ school in the 1960s, I truly grew up with no idea. I was in college and found myself organizing a gay rights protest before I fully understood what gay rights meant.
Let me tell you that story, which started at one of those student-leaders-gather events, this one at the University of Illinois. A couple of us were there from Marquette, a Jesuit university in Milwaukee, and we happened to meet the poet Allen Ginsberg.
At the time, Ginsberg was famous as one of the founders of the Beat movement and the author of “Howl” (“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked. …”). Being near-illiterate when it came to poetry, I didn’t totally appreciate the opportunity.
Nevertheless, it was easy to see he was a friendly guy — ready to chat with utterly insignificant college students like me. By the end of our get-together, we’d invited him to come and read at Marquette, and he’d agreed.
The whole thing was set up when suddenly the dean of students, Father Richard Sherburne, got some background information on Ginsberg that he apparently didn’t like and announced that the reading had to be canceled.
The reasons were a little unclear. To be fair, Ginsberg had a history of drug use and of taking off his clothes in public, at least once. But the fact that he was gay did seem to be the real problem. “As I remember things, homosexuality was the reason the administration gave for canceling Ginsberg’s appearance,” said Con Lehane, a leader of the student rebellion we organized on behalf of free speech.
Con, who’s a novelist in Washington, has been my pal through all the years since. At Marquette, we didn’t know anyone who was gay — OK, of course we did, but none of them had come out at the time. Con was far more involved in the political left than me, and he told me he was later chastised for recruiting a lesbian into the Young Workers Liberation League.
But about Ginsberg. We held a sit-in at Father Sherburne’s office to protest the cancellation, to no avail. Eventually, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee agreed to host the poetry reading and a bunch of us demonstrated, marching across town to the event.
“We will all go upon the same cross ultimately — there is no need for anger,” I remember Ginsberg telling the crowd. Still didn’t have much of a grasp of poetry, but I knew a good comeback when I heard one.
And I’ve got to tell you, it was a turning point in my life. Always saw myself as a moderate-works-within-the-system person before. Thinking back, I wonder how much longer it would have taken me to figure out I was against the war in Vietnam if I hadn’t been a veteran of the Ginsberg censorship fight.
My alma mater has changed a lot since then, too. A while ago I was invited to give a talk at Marquette — I think it was on the books I’d written about women’s history. As I spoke, pictures of my time at the school flashed in the background, an unusual number of which seemed to involve sit-ins at Father Sherburne’s office. Really, I did do other things, but a good time was had by all.
— Gail Collins, NYT
MUSK BOOED WHILE ON STAGE WITH CHAPPELLE
Greeted by plenty of boos — and some cheers — Musk, who wore a Twitter T-shirt and what looked like a Twitter work badge dangling from his front pocket, stood by awkwardly but with a wide smile.
“It sounds like some of them people you fired are in the audience,” Chappelle said, referring to how Musk, after purchasing the SF-based social media company in late October for $44 billion, quickly laid off as many as half of the company’s 7,500 employees.
In a video by an attendee now removed from Twitter but reposted on YouTube (cell phones and smartwatches were required to be secured in Yondr pouches prior to entry, though a few people managed to pry the magnetically locked bags open to capture footage), Chappelle could be seen bantering with the audience while Musk stood nearby.
“Dave, what should I say?” Musk asked while the boos continued.
“Don’t say nothing. It’ll only spoil the moment,” Chappelle replied.
But during his brief appearance, Chappelle did have Musk scream “I’m rich, bitch!” — a callback to his famous “Chappelle’s Show” skit where the comedian impersonates funk master Rick James.
“Times like this, I think we’re in a simulation,” Musk said. “Like, how can this be real?”
He then added, “Thanks for letting me onstage.”
“Are you kidding? I wouldn’t miss this opportunity,” Chappelle replied. “The first comedy club on Mars, that should be mine. A deal is a deal, Musk.”
By early the next morning, the SpaceX founder responded via Twitter, noting that getting booed on stage was “a first for me in real life.” He even attempted to clarify that “it was 90% cheers & 10% boos (except during quiet periods) … it’s almost as if I offended the SF’s unhinged leftists … ”
Indeed, audience members expressed mixed reactions to Musk’s appearance. Since taking over the social media company, Musk has fired moderation teams and rolled back many of the rules previously in place that were meant to combat misinformation. He has also welcomed back many divisive figures who were previously barred from the service, including former President Donald Trump and rapper Kanye West, and has been leaning into transphobia, according to his recent Twitter tirades. Musk also scrapped Twitter’s enforcement policy against COVID-19 falsehoods.
“My jaw dropped,” Ashley Sison-Seaman, 35, of Mountain View told The Chronicle as she walked through the Thrive City campus after the show. “I just heard a lot of boos, then a whole lot of cheers. … That was ballsy for Dave Chappelle to do for sure.”
Chappelle fans know his comedy shows are full of surprises. But the estimated 18,000 who packed the arena on Sunday didn’t seem totally prepared for the kind of jokes — and controversy — Chappelle and Rock had in store.
“We’re trying to do the show tonight without offending anyone. We’ll try, because you never know who might be triggered. … You gotta say the right thing or the Woke Police might get you,” Rock said at the start of his set, clarifying that it’s really “selective outrage” that he’s against.
Had Chappelle not brought out Musk, the biggest buzz of the evening would have centered on Rock’s comments about Smith.
Rock, outfitted all in white, appeared revved up to take on the topic, calling the actor a “pussy ass motherf—er.”
“People (were) like, ‘Did it hurt?’ You goddamn right it hurt. Me and Will Smith are not the same size,” Rock said after less than 30 minutes onstage. “He played Muhammad Ali; I played Pookie in ‘New Jack City.’ You’re goddamn right it hurt.”
Rock, who noted that people like Smith with “selective outrage” are the problem, then went on to summarize the drama that had been made public before Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, appeared at the Academy Awards show. Pinkett Smith had admitted to having an affair with their son’s friend, singer August Alsina, but Smith slapped Rock because of a joke the show presenter made about Pinkett Smith’s bald head. It has been widely reported that Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia, which causes hair loss.
“I’m not spilling no tea,” Rock said to a wave of laughter. “That’s right, everybody was talking about it. Every DJ, every rapper, everybody called this motherf—er a bitch, except me. … (But) who’s he hitting? Me, the smallest motherf—er he can find.”
Rock didn’t dwell on the incident too long, but it was a moment many fans in the audience were waiting for — and he didn’t disappoint.
“I expected him to bring that up, and he did it in a way that was very just very natural,” Sison-Seaman said. “He did it in a very classy way, in my opinion.”
That was about as classy as the night was going to be.
“Oh, we goin’ there tonight,” Rock said.
No ethnic or cultural group was spared by the two comedians — who often made callbacks to past controversial jokes about Jewish, LGBTQ+, Asian American Pacific Islander and other marginalized communities — and it seemed no topic was taboo.
When Chappelle addressed the night he was attacked in May by an audience member during a standup performance at the Hollywood Bowl, he acknowledged the backlash he received after his comments about transgender people in his 2021 Netflix comedy special, “The Closer.”
“Do not believe that for a second everyone from that community hates me. … There is no way that (the trans) community is doing all this to me. It’s gotta be the Jews,” he said, doubling down on the controversial monologue he gave as host of “Saturday Night Live” last month, which some critics deemed antisemitic.
Other notable moments of the night included fights in the audience that stopped Chappelle mid-joke a few times (he requested his staff deliver a new drink to one woman in the front row who had a drink thrown on her) and show openers Black Star rappers Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey, also known as Mos Def. A staple of Chappell’s Bay area appearances, Bey was celebrating a birthday — while Kweli, Chappelle quipped, was trying to get reinstated on Twitter.
Richmond resident Ronnie Collins, who came to the event with his wife, said that if anyone was offended by the jokes of the evening, “maybe you shouldn’t show up.” Collins, 50, said people have to remember Chappelle’s purpose as an entertainer.
“He’s a comedian and I take him as that. He’s not a politician, he’s a comedian,” Collins said. “He’s here to tell us jokes, to make us laugh, to bring some levity to our lives. That’s what he did tonight.”
(SF Chronicle staff report)
I LIKE MEN WHO HAVE KNOWN THE BEST AND THE WORST, whose life has been anything but a smooth trip. Storms have battered them, they have lain, sometimes for months on end, becalmed. There is a residue even if they fail. It has not been all tinkling; there have been grand chords.
— James Salter
YOUR RULERS DO NOT CARE if you're a Democrat who hates Republicans or a Republican who hates Democrats, as long as you're plugged in to one of the authorized reality tunnels.
— Caitlin Johnstone
I KNOW QUITE A FEW PEOPLE who like the Grateful Dead, and I know quite a few people who hate them. But I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like the Honeymooners.
I mean that would be dumber than not liking the Ramones or something.
Well, maybe this is old news, but I just stumbled across this memorable episode of the Honeymooners featuring a guest appearance by none other than the Grateful Dead!
And if that’s not enough for you, they made a return visit: https://youtu.be/2nENlcXIipE
Apologies in advance to anyone who’s easily offended.
— Lawrence Livermore
LAW OF POWER 4: Always Say Less Than Necessary. Power is in many ways a game of appearances, and when you say less than necessary you will inevitably appear greater and more powerful than you are. Your silence will make other people uncomfortable. Humans are machines of interpretation and explanation; they have to know what you are thinking. When you carefully control what you reveal, they cannot pierce your intentions or your meaning. Your short answers and silences will put them on the defensive, and they will jump in, nervously filling the silence with all kinds of comments that will reveal valuable information about them and their weaknesses. They will leave the meeting with you feeling as if they had been robbed, and they will go home and ponder your every word. The extra attention to your brief comments will only add to your power.
— Robert Greene, 1998; from “The 48 Laws of Power"
UKRAINE, THURSDAY, 15TH DECEMBER
Congress passed a massive defense spending bill that includes $800 million in support for Ukraine.
The US issued new sanctions targeting Russian proxies in Ukraine, Russian governors and an oligarch close to President Vladimir Putin.
The move came as the Pentagon announced an expansion of training for Ukrainian armed forces in Europe and pushed back on Moscow’s warnings over the possible shipment of Patriot missiles to Kyiv.
The eastern occupied region of Donetsk suffered its worst attack since 2014, a Russian-installed official said. CNN cannot independently verify the claims.
KEEP THE HOME FIRES BURNING
On making a place in a maelstrom
by Paul Kingsnorth
I was chatting to the log man as we unloaded chunks of dried beech into my driveway from his trailer. Usually he brings me ash, but ash is becoming harder to find now that ash dieback disease, imported into Ireland from Europe, is killing many of the nation’s trees. Our little home plantation, laid down five or six years ago for our own coppice cycle, is not yet mature enough to keep us going for the whole winter, and we need help to make up the shortfall. So, beech it is this year.
‘Not easy to get it now though’, he said to me, as we threw the logs into the growing pile. ‘And there’s a lot of demand this year. Everyone’s worried about the winter.’ Given the likely lack of Russian gas across Europe, people are getting nervous and stockpiling heating fuel before autumn. We’ve been stocking up on winter logs this way for years - but the log man doesn’t know how much longer it will continue.
‘I’ll just keep going till they tell me to stop’, he said. ‘I know I could get a phone call any day and that would be that. It’ll happen soon enough. Ridiculous it is. But what can we do?’
The log man knows that his days of delivering little loads of cut timber to households like ours are probably numbered. The Irish government is currently campaigning against households which burn turf or wood, the former on the grounds of CO2 emissions, and the latter on the grounds of air quality. As ever, the campaign is driven from Dublin, and mostly takes Dublin sensibilities into account. Rural households in Ireland have been burning turf and wood forever, with little significant impact on ‘air quality’ - or at least, no impact comparable to that which Ireland’s ‘Celtic Tiger’ modernisation has had. Suddenly, though, the media is full of scientists armed with ‘studies’ demonstrating how getting a fire going in your cottage in winter will lead to cancer and lung disease on a widespread scale.
This new tilt against household fireplaces is not just an Irish phenomenon: it is suddenly popping up everywhere. Woodstoves are, curiously, becoming the number one air pollution villain. Never mind mass car use, accelerating air travel or industrial pollution. Never mind the emissions caused by the massive increase in Internet server farms, which within just a few years could be using up an astonishing 70% of this country’s electricity. These days, if you want to demonstrate your social responsibility (after you’ve had your fourth booster, of course) you should be all aboard with the abolition of the traditional fireplace and its replacement with ‘green’ alternatives.
Speaking as a former green myself, I’m not without sympathy for at least part of this argument. The mass burning of peat in power stations here, for example, has long been an ecological disaster; one which is, thankfully, coming to an end. Many peat bogs in Ireland have been ravaged over the centuries, and some are now being restored for wildlife, and for use as ‘carbon sinks.’ This is certainly no bad thing. Humans recklessly burning anything in sight on a vast scale has been the story of the Machine age, and it’s not a story to be defended, no matter how hard some are currently trying.
Something else is happening here, though. The campaign against warming your own house with your own fire is not quite what it claims to be. Sometimes it looks more like a displacement activity; as if a government and a nation which has no interest in actually cutting its consumerist lust down to size is going for an easy target. But it is also something with more symbolism, more mythic meat, than any discussion about ‘carbon emissions’ would suggest. The fireplace, whether our dessicated urban authorities know it or not, has a primal meaning, even in a world as divorced as ours from its roots and from the land.
In his short essay ‘Fireside Wisdom’, the esoteric writer and modern English eccentric John Michell suggested that the ‘displacement of the hearth or fireplace’ from the home was one of the many reasons for the craziness of the modern world which his life was spent playfully exploring. The fireplace at the centre of the home, he wrote, was both an ancient practicality and a device of ‘cosmological significance’ across cultures and time:
Within the circumference of the wall, representing a limited universe, the hearthstone is the body of the earth, with four corners and four directions, and it is the seat of Hestia the (h)earth goddess, whose energies are concentrated in the central fire. The chain is the world-pole, the link between heaven and earth and the means of intercourse with gods and spirits. Conversation is directed into the fire while dreams and images are drawn out of it. It is too smoky to read or look at pictures. Eyes and minds are concentrated upon the focal point. In that situation, sitting in friendly company around a fire on which a pot is simmering, one is likely to feel ‘centred’ and at ease.
In the past, the act of sitting staring into the smoky fire with family or neighbours was the genesis of the folk tale and folk song which tied the culture together. Now we stare at digital fires hemmed into boxes manufactured by distant corporations who also tell us our stories. No song we can dream up around a real fireplace can compete with what these boxed fires can sell us. ‘Thus’, wrote Michell, ‘the traditional cosmology is no longer represented by its domestic symbols, and a new, secular, restless, uncentred world-view has taken its place.’
Focus, Michell explained, is ‘the Latin name for the central fireplace. The fire not only warms but, as a symbol, illuminates the corresponding images of a centre to each of our own beings and of a world-centre which is divine, eternal and unchanging.’ Lose your fires, and you literally lose your focus as a culture. In this context, a government spokesman telling his population, as one minister here recently did, that they should ‘get over’ their ‘nostalgic’ attachment to the hearth fire and install ground source heat pumps instead is more than just a nod to efficiency. It is an assault on what remains of the home and its meaning. It is an attack on the cultural - even the divine - centre.
Not that you will get very far explaining that to your local MP.
‘Not everyone can afford one of these fancy ground source pumps’, said the log man, as we emptied the last of the trailer. He was right, of course, and many of my neighbours, who at this time of year are hauling tractor trailers full of dried turf back from the bog, would be just as dismissive of the new dispensation. But this is not the real significance of the dying out of the household fire. The real significance is that it represents just the latest blow against the home as the centre of the universe: of the domestic as the cosmological, of the parlour as the place of story. Strip the last remaining fires from the last remaining hearths, and you are one step closer to what is perhaps the ultimate ambition of the Machine - the abolition of home.
The Machine exists to create dependency. It is, as I have written here many time over this last year, essentially a project of colonisation. The history of modernity is the history of the spread of the Machine mentality to all corners of the Earth, as the Black Ships of the Western traders and moneymen, having enclosed the lands of their own people and forced them into the mines, factories and slums, sailed out to do the same in what would become known as ‘the colonies.’ In this way the Machine has, by now, colonised us all - our lands, our hearts, our minds. Externally, we see the results in the chaotic climate, the dissolving cultures, the spiralling rates of extinction, the infernal destruction of nature. Internally we see it in the loss of our stories, in our broken-hearted confusion about who and where we are. Locally, we see it in the loss of our self-sufficiency and agency in the place where all human stories begin: the home.
Take the potential firewood ban. When you can no longer grow your own wood or cut your own turf to heat your own parlour, you are made that little bit more dependent on the matrix of government, technology and commerce that has sought to transmute self-sufficiency into bondage since the time of the Luddites. The justification for this attack on family and community sufficiency changes with the times - in seventeenth century England, the enclosures were justified by the need for agricultural efficiency; today they are justified by the need for energy efficiency - but the attack is always of the same nature. Each blow struck against local self-sufficiency, pride and love of place weaves another thread into the pattern which has been developing for centuries, and which is almost compete now in most ‘developed’ (sic) countries.
Wendell Berry’s 1980 essay ‘Family Work’ is a short meditation on the meaning of home, its disintegration under the pressures of modernity, and how it might, to some degree at least, be restored. Like so much of Berry’s work, it locates the centrepoint of human society in the home, and explains many of the failures of contemporary Western - specifically American - society as a neglect of that truth. The home, to Wendell Berry, is the place where the real stuff of life happens, or should: the coming-together of man and woman in partnership; the passing-down of skills and stories from elders; the raising and educating of children; the growing, cooking, storing and eating of food; the learning of practical skills, from construction to repair, tool-making to sewing; the conjuration of story and song around the fire.
Universally, across the world and across cultures, the family and the home, however they were quite constituted, have always been the heart and root of culture. It follows, therefore, that the Machine must uproot both in order that culture may be destroyed and replaced with a marketplace in which we can buy and sell products, identities and ideologies while our ground source heat pumps maintain a constant and inoffensive temperature around us. Self-sufficient people, skilled people, independent people, thinking people: these are anathema; these are a threat. The home must go, so that the Machine might live.
In my lifetime, in my part of the world, the notion and meaning of ‘home’ has steadily crumbled under this external pressure until it is little more than a word. In a Machine anticulture, the ideal (post) modern home is a dormitory, probably owned by a landlord or a bank, in which two or more people of varying ages and degrees of biological relationship sleep when they’re not out being employed by a corporation, or educated by the state in preparation for being employed by a corporation. The home’s needs are met through pushing buttons, swiping screens or buying-in everything from food to furniture; for who has time for anything else, or has been taught the skills to do otherwise? Phones long ago replaced hearth fires. Handily, a phone, unlike a fire, can be kept under the pillow in case something urgent happens elsewhere while we sleep. We wouldn’t want to miss anything.
Even back in 1980, Berry recognised that the home had become an ‘ideal’ rather than a practical reality - and it had become an ideal precisely because the reality had been placed out of reach for many:
I do think that the ideal is more difficult now than it was. We are trying to uphold it now mainly by will, without much help from necessity, and with no help at all from custom and public value. For most people now do seem to think that family life and family work are unnecessary, and this thought has been institutionalised in our economy and in our public values. Never before has private life been so preyed upon by public life. How can we preserve family life - if by that we mean, as I think we must, home life - when our attention is so forcibly drawn away from home?
What killed the home? Three things, said Berry, back then: cars, mass media and public education. The first - ‘automobiles and several decades of supposedly cheap fuel’ - meant that both work and leisure could, for the first time in history, happen a long way from home. The second - ‘TV and other media’ - have played a role, since the mid-20th century, in luring us all into a fantasy world of freedom from obligation, and a limitless, fun consumer lifestyle:
TV and other media have learned to suggest with increasing subtlety and callousness - especially, and most wickedly, to children - that it is better to consume than to produce, to buy than to grow or to make, to ‘go out’ than to stay home. If you have a TV, your children will be subjected almost from the cradle to an overwhelming insinuation that all worth experiencing is somewhere else and that all worth having must be bought.
Finally, says Berry, the school system - a machine of its own - is designed ‘to keep children away from the home as much as possible. Parents want their children kept out of their hair; education is merely a by-product, not overly prized.’ Much public education, says Berry, is more like ‘a form of incarceration.’ Schools exist to train children to fit into the Machine world being built for them; to internalise and normalise its ethics and goals, and to prepare for a life serving its needs.
What could we add to this list now? Supermarkets, for one, and the whole panoply of long-distance shopping and global supply chains that go along with them. Back in 1980 it can’t have been common to buy avocadoes in winter in the northern hemisphere, let alone endless streams of screen-based gadgets put together by slave labour in China. It wasn’t common either to ship the resulting waste to Turkey or West Africa, where the poor would sift through it for pennies. It’s not only the homes of Western consumers that are devastated by the global supply chain of the Machine.
We could add ‘careers’ too: and perhaps this is the main culprit. What the Luddites called the ‘factory system’ (we should maybe call it the ‘office system’ now that all the factories have been shipped off to China) was the main reason that the home was broken into in the first place. The pre-modern home was, as few homes are today, a workplace. The Luddites, to stick to my example, were handloom weavers running literal cottage industries, and their rebellion against the rise of industrial capitalism was a rebellion in defence of the home as a place of work as well as domesticity. That work was shared by men and women, who would both have their domestic spheres of influence whatever the particular business of the home was.
In this sense there is a case to be made that the pre-modern woman, working in her home with her husband and family, had more agency and power than her contemporary counterpart whose life is directed from outside the home by distant commercial interests. Certainly the feminist movement, in at least some of its iterations, has either been hijacked by or has morphed into Machine capitalism. The ‘liberation’ of women has often translated into the separating of women from their self-sufficiency, as men were separated before them, and their embedding instead into the world of commerce, whether they want it or not. ‘Freedom’, the highest prize, is to be sought and won away from home, family and place.
My point, by the way, is not that women should get back into the kitchen: it is that we all should. Machine modernity prised the men away from the home first, as the industrial revolution broke their cottage industries and swept them into the factories and mines, where their brute strength could be useful to the Machine. Later the women, who had been mostly left to tend the home single-handedly, were subject to the same ‘liberation’, which was sold to them as a blow struck against inequality. Perhaps it was, but it was also a blow struck against the home, for both sexes. In the modern West today, most men and women are driven by economic necessity to spend the day away from both home and their children, who are raised instead by paid strangers.
In this context, the accelerating attack on traditional family structures, ‘gender roles’ and more recently even gender and biology themselves, which I wrote about last time, while presented as yet more liberation from the tyranny of both tradition and biology, can also be seen as propaganda in the interests of the Machine. Making a home requires both men and women to sacrifice their own desires for that of the wider family - but this kind of sacrifice does not feed the monster. Only by unmooring the human being from his or her roots in community and place can the emancipated individual consumer and self-creator be born. Only by promoting the fulfillment of individual desire as the meaning of a human life, can the selflessness that we once prized as a cultural ideal be transmuted into the selfishness that the Machine needs to thrive.
I thought about this most recently when I came across this BBC story about ‘the limitations of motherhood’. Here we meet the screenwriter of a new TV show, The Baby, who explains how ‘excited’ she was ‘about the possibility of exploding cultural ideals around motherhood’ in her work. A true child of the culture of inversion, she tells us how the traditional way of thinking about motherhood ‘reinforces the idea that “the mother” is cis, female, straight, middle-class, white, caring and nurturing.’ The job of writers like her is to ‘explode’ such outdated notions. Caring, nurturing mothers? Female mothers? Perish the thought. Could it be, after all, that motherhood itself is problematic?
It is, of course. Biology and family and home and place and anything at all with borders and limits always will be. Reading that article took me back to the days when I had a TV and I found myself watching an episode of the British current affairs blatherfest Newsnight, also courtesy of the BBC. Some talking head or other was arguing that the government should give all women the ‘right’ - which sounded more like a veiled obligation - to put their newborn children into paid childcare at just six weeks old and get ‘back to work’ to help ‘grow the economy.’ What the children might grow up to feel about this was never considered. Nor was the notion that any mother might be horrified at the thought. Liberation and profit, as ever, were proving a seamless fit.
Oh, well. Maybe this is all misplaced nostalgia; or at least, the shutting of the stable door long after the horse has been turned into dogmeat. Perhaps people leave homes, or don’t make them, because they just don’t want them much anymore. Maybe we are all loving our liberation. When I was a teenager, I certainly wanted to escape my family and its values - as we mostly do - and I did in the end. But I suppose I always assumed there would be something to come back to. That the act of rebellion, of leaving, would not somehow diminish or demolish the thing being rebelled against. That I in my turn would grow up to be the thing that was pushed out of the way so that the world could be opened up before the young. This is how it should be, after all.
But I wonder if we can make that assumption now. I wonder especially if young people can. How does it feel to grow up in a society whose young can barely afford anywhere to live, let alone dream of owning a family home? In a world in which mothers should not be assumed to be female, and ‘chestfeeding’ is something that daddy can do too? Among the manic promotion of radical individualism, with greed and lust and pride not warned against but sponsored? With a generational fear of the future which leads increasing numbers not to want families at all? With everything pointing, always, towards movement away, towards not looking back, towards progress?
The loss of the security of a home is, in some way, the loss of the heart of things, and the most local and personal manifestation of triumph of the Machine. But it is also - and here comes the good news - potentially the most reversible. The war against home manifests on the human scale, which means we can reverse it, at least to some degree, under our own steam. In these times, any blow struck for the survival, or the revival, of the home and the family is an act of resistance and of rebuilding.
Back in 1980, Wendell Berry ended his essay by suggesting some actions that could be taken in this direction. As well as the obvious - amongst which ‘get rid of the television set’ took pride of place - he suggested that we should ‘try to make our homes centres of attention and interest’; to make them as productive and nurturing as we can. Once you rid yourself of the propaganda of the corporate media-entertainment complex (‘a vacuum line, pumping life and meaning out of the household’), you will see new possibilities begin to open up. You will see, in Berry’s words, that ‘no life and no place is destitute; all have possibilities of productivity and pleasure, rest and work, solitude and conviviality that belong particularly to themselves’, whether in the country, the city or the suburb. ‘All that is necessary’, he suggests is ‘the time and the inner quietness to look for them.’
The ‘all’ in that sentence is doing quite a lot of work - more than ever, perhaps, forty years on. Where is time and inner quietness to be found now? It is hard; but perhaps it always was. Even so, it is worth searching out. Home work is, perhaps, the most important work of all, and it will certainly teach you things. Since we moved to our place eight years ago, I’ve learned - sometimes from choice, sometimes from necessity - a whole suite of new skills, from construction to tree planting, chicken-keeping to breadmaking, hedging to unblocking drains. I’ve learned how to know my neighbours properly, how to stay in a place and begin to really understand it. The choice to homeschool our children has changed our lives and theirs; I see this now as the most important thing any parent can do to resist Machine culture. Certainly our children are more self-sufficient already than I was by the age of about 25.
Home-making, it turns out, is not something to flee from in pursuit of freedom, as I wanted to do when I was younger. It is a skill, or a whole set of them: a set I have come to value maybe above anything else I do. I am still not very good at it; but even so I feel, on my best days, that I could walk with some of my ancestors and be recognised by them as a fully-qualified human being. Maybe this will turn out to be my greatest achievement, in the end.
Back in the day, John Michell concluded that the loss of the fireplace from the heart of the home had driven society mad without it quite knowing. ‘We knocked the centre out of it’, he wrote, ‘and ever since we have been fumbling around looking for it, mistaking our own or other people’s obsessions for the real thing.’ The Machine’s war against home knocks the centre out of our lives in the same way. It throws us all off balance - but we can begin to regain our footing in the place we all came from, and should know how to build and maintain.
The home can be a friction against the Machine. If this is a war, it is long past time to begin fighting back. I recommend starting with the TV, and working out from there. You might be surprised what emerges.