Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022

Cloudy | Young Petrolians | King Tides | Russ Bank | Local Emergency | Collapsed | Quake Comments | Kitchen Mess | Alerts Off | Free Trees | Farm Life | 1906 Ferndale | Shellfish Book | Amaryllis | Offended | Ed Notes | Piment d'Ville | Developer Fees | Old Eureka | Kindle Warning | Yesterday's Catch | Growing Food | Rustler Shoes | The Knower | Under Construction | Death Wish | Wrestlers | Wildfire Season | Water Test | Insecure Men | Birdman | Clarkson's Dream | Mind Gap | Bottle Problem | Musk Poll | Russia-Gating | Chemical Rearmament | Ukraine | Sinclair Broadcasting | Ceaseless Wars | Video Magazine

* * *

LIGHT RAIN will taper off this morning with another round of drizzle on track for late Thursday. Cloudy and muggy weather will continue to build into the weekend. (NWS)

* * *

Middle Union School, Petrolia, 1890

* * *


New and full moons from late November through early February are unique. At this time of the year, the Earth is closest to the sun in its yearly orbit (early January is perihelion), so gravitational pull is strengthened. At this time we see the year's highest tides. And among these are some extreme high tides: those that come on a "perigee moon" — a new or full moon that falls at or near the moon's closest approach to Earth. These super high tides or "King Tides" help us foresee the effects sea level rise will have on coastlines around the world.

And we have two coming this week. Friday's new moon arrives will bring a King Tide with the moon's perigee the following day, so both Friday and Saturday’s high tides will be king sized.

King Tide, Navarro Beach, Dec. 22, 2014 (photo by Elaine Kalantarian)

Here are local times and heights on the Mendocino coast (source:

Arena Cove

• Dec. 23, 2022 - high tide 7.49 ft. at 9:49 am

• Dec. 24, 2022 - high tide 7.48 ft. at 10:38 am

Mendocino Bay

• Dec. 23, 2022 - high tide 7.34 ft. at 9:56 am

• Dec. 24, 2022 - high tide 7.33 ft. at 10:45 am

Noyo Harbor

• Dec. 23, 2022 - high tide 7.81 ft. at 9:54 am

• Dec. 24, 2022 - high tide 7.81 ft. at 10:42 am

For those outside of Mendocino County, you can check the tide charts at NOAA's Tides & Currents. Groups around the world are soliciting photos of the King Tides to help pinpoint areas most at risk of flooding as sea levels rise. One such group is the California King Tides Project — collecting photos and data from locations throughout the state.

— Elaine Kalantarian

* * *

Russ Bank Building, Ferndale, 1891

* * *


Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal has declared a Local Emergency as a result of today’s 6.4M earthquake and widespread damages sustained throughout Humboldt County.

The declaration allows for the county to seek state and federal reimbursement for damage repairs and other associated impacts. The amount of funding depends on the agencies that assist, including the State of California and federal government.

The County of Humboldt is requesting all available response and recovery assistance from the State of California and its agencies, including the California Public Utilities Commission, and the United States government and its agencies, as deemed appropriate by the Governor of California, including funding under the California Disaster Assistance Act and the federal Stafford Act.

* * *

The collapsed second story porch of a house is seen after a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern California, in Rio Dell, California, U.S. December 20, 2022. (Reuters/Fred Greaves)

* * *

QUAKE REPORTS on Tuesday morning's big 6.4 west of Petrolia

(1) Holy Moly that was a big one!! Definitely heard some things fall on my crystal shelf, but we are safe! I will have to check for actual damage in the daylight as we unfortunately just lost power. Everyone please be safe, check on your loved ones in the mountains and otherwise please! Wow USGS is saying 6.4 and it absolutely felt like that, my farm dog sensed it right before it hit, she started crying all crazy which is abnormal and I was worried so I went to check on her in her bed and then BOOM. Was literally holding on to the doorway to stand up during it. Definitely felt like I was riding the earth beneath my feet. So powerful.

(2) First place I looked right after USGS. You guys rock! Here near Weaverville it started out as a sharp shake and transitioned to a more gentle roll. I got a warning on my phone about 10 seconds before it started, that was actually helpful. I didn’t actually take cover or anything, grew up in so cal, seemed like this was a weekly thing when I was a kid. First real earthquake I’ve felt in decades. Hope everything is ok over there and no major damage has occurred.

(3) I live in a geodesic dome between Arcata and Blue Lake. The house usually has little movement except hopping up and down but this time it rolled kinda side to side and creaked like my joints. The dog embedded herself in my armpit and wouldn’t get out of bed. Power is out but my generator is up so I can have extra- early morning coffee. Everybody stay safe and pray no one was injured.

(4) My smart speaker sent an alert a minute before the shake. And the cat was sitting upright in the dark watching me for quite awhile afterward. That must have been the aftershocks she was following. In Fort Bragg.

(5) Hank Sims in Eureka: Well, that was quite a ride. Seriously, probably one of the top two or three this reporter has ever experienced in his 50+ years.

The good news is that there seems to be no major structural damage in Eureka following the early morning 6.4 quake that rocked the county and woke everyone up for a spell. Caltrans currently has Fernbridge shut while they inspect it for damage, but apart from that there don’t seem to be any major concerns.

The city of Eureka asks that you report structural damage to your Eureka building, if you find any such damage at this number: 707-441-4155.

Aftershocks are coming in hot and heavy, none of them particularly exciting. So far. Knock on wood.

Power is out all across the county, and the PG&E outage tracker — never a particularly reliable guide — is currently forecasting it’ll be out until 10 p.m. today. We’ll see.

Schools are closed across the county. Humboldt State is open to essential personnel only. 

We’ll be posting updates here. Stay safe, everyone!

(6) Kirk Vodopals: Called Mother just now to check on her and the family homestead in Ferndale. No answer. Phoned brother and he picked up and said she walked down the hill to the neighbors last night and is sleeping now. Apparently a slide on the driveway blocked the way out for the car.

Sounds like a mess up there, but not as bad as the 6.9 in 1992. Earthquakes during a wet winter are a double-whammy, though. Lots more slides when the ground is saturated.

(7) What a lovely arabesque my ceiling-hung lights did this evening! I sure do enjoy all the local entertainment post-COVID we have hereabouts. Even the raccoons applauded!

(8) I'm three miles up Airport Rd. in Little River. It shook the bed, rattled the wall a little and woke me up.

(9) I heard the alarm but never felt a thing in Little River.

(10) My cats picked up on it, when they freaked out and departed the bed ... I awoke and had a clue, but ... I haven't felt EQ or aftershocks. The aftershocks seem to be ranging across the southern end of multiple fault zones. Look to the top of the Juan de Fuca plate for future activity. IMHO ... earthquaker watcher for ... many years.

* * *

The kitchen in David Wrisley's house after the quake. (Reuters/Fred Greaves)

* * *

RONNIE JAMES: How to turn OFF the alerts…

At the risk of exposing my technology illiteracy, here are the instructions for turning OFF the alerts on the iPhone. I personally don't want a 2-second warning for an earthquake loudly startling me in the middle of the night or when I'm driving. My windows rattle and I hear the rumble before the jiggling starts.

Go to settings (looks like a little silver gear on the bottom of the home screen). Go to notifications (scroll down the list). Scroll to the bottom where emergency and government alerts are. Turn them all off.

* * *


I am sure they will be gone today, but I thought this was cool

I was at Friedman’s in Ukiah this morning [Tuesday] buying a couple of space heaters for Mr. Ballantine’s shop, and I saw a sign that said “Free trees”. I confirmed with the clerk the cut trees are free, while supplies last.  No guarantees here. I know times are hard, and I just wanted to pass that along. I thought that was very kind of Friedman’s.

— Louise Simson

* * *


Petit Teton Monthly Farm Report - December 2022

I spent a rainy day last week sitting next to the fire going through a box of saved papers from childhood and college, mostly drawings, but also some essays from college poetry and literature classes along with some heavily corrected French papers from HS which I no longer could translate. It’s a familiar exercise to some of you I’m sure, both nostalgic and in who was/is this person? How did she get from there to here? And why did it take so long? None of these questions were answered but a different one was: Is this where she belongs? The answer, a resounding yes, came on a scrap of paper on which I had scribbled notes for the essay I was required to write when applying for entrance to RISD. The question was something like “What was your favorite experience so far?” My shorthand answer was “...none stands out as brightly as the summers I spent on a working farm. The memories of those months are my happiest”. I was 15 and went off to college at 16 and I had no idea how the experience resonated in me.

That short scrawl brought up a wealth of memories that have returned to me on occasion over the years. I was 10 or 11 when, on one of our summer vacations in New England, my family stopped at a dairy farm offering lodging. I believe we ended up staying awhile because we were all loving it. The farm family had several children around my brother’s and my ages. It was mid summer and haying season and we rode at the top of the hay wagon, jumped and swung from ropes hanging from the barn rafters down into mountains of hay, caught frogs in the cow pond, ran away from a charging bull, and ate like piggies all the farm fresh goodies served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was heaven and it touched my core.

It took many many years from then to now but I never forgot. And now that I’m here, after going on 19 years, and I know how much work farming is, I’m still in love with it, it’s wildlife and the animals we raise. We keep the farm open to visitors daily and many exclaim at how beautiful it is, how good the food is, how peaceful and quiet the landscape, how happy all the animals, including the humans, seem...essentially how idyllic it all looks and feels. There is another side. After about a year here I switched the old saw Life on the farm to Death on the farm for a reason. Our first experience with the trauma of violent death was with our first 6 chickens. Their screams in the middle of the night had us running naked from our bed grabbing for flashlights and finding bodies flung about the coop area and a raccoon slinking off with one. It was followed by many more, one of the worst being when our young male yak took ill over Easter weekend and the vet couldn’t come until Monday. On Monday morning we found him dead in the field next to the house and when the vet came he did an autopsy instead of a cure. 

The reason was never discovered but in the course of these events, I cried rivers. There was a crow that I needed to mercy kill because he had a wound on his chest filled with maggots. The various dogs have had their go at domestic and wild animals over the years some of which we could save. The most recent was a duck they somehow got out of its enclosure which I found at dusk still alive being licked lovingly by one dog. Our hot tub and dinner rituals were forestalled by the need to mercy kill, skin and gut the suffering bird so it could be saved in our freezer.

I chose farming because it is real; life and death are real; fixing one’s own plumbing, electrical, broken tools is real; designing and building human and other animal enclosures is real; planning and executing a production garden is real; keeping accounts is real; meeting and greeting visitors at the farm and the markets as the actual farmers is real; and some of reality’s most important demands are to think ahead, plan and design carefully, but in the inevitable occurrence of accident or disaster act accordingly and with “no waste” which is why we were gutting a mauled duck at dusk and will be eating it someday when the memory of its demise softens.

Have wonderful holidays and give a toast to really no waste.

Nikki Auschnitt & Steve Krieg

PS. Our newest addition to the yak family, Lupita, showed up on the 12th by Kayak's side umbilical cords still dangling, and as usual we didn't even know she was pregnant. She's about 15 years old now and the life span is around 20. Impressive.

* * *

Ferndale, 1906

* * *


The red abalone is an icon of the Mendocino Coast. It’s a coveted, gourmet delicacy and its shiny, iridescent shells decorate yards throughout the county. It’s also critically endangered along with six other abalone species found in California. Ann Vileisis’ new book is a fascinating and moving biography of the abalone. The book documents the biological history of the abalone and the complex relationship between the mollusk and humans. It’s an emotional rollercoaster filled with joy, loss, despair and hope. You’ll never look at abalone shells the same again. $22.95 at the Noyo Center for Marine Science.

* * *

(photo by KB)

* * *


To the Editor of the Independent Coast Observer,

I was appalled at the comic [in last week's Independent Coast Observer] depicting Herschel Walker. It looks blatantly racist even though cartoonist Mr. Fagan may depict other politicians in a similarly deprecating way. I think the Independent Coast Observer needs to use discretion in this area. It is disturbing that Mr. Fagan may not have enough checks and balances given his position at the Independent Coast Observer.

Please refrain from using racially suggestive material. I am sure this community leans toward racial equality, inclusion, acknowledgment, and celebration of diversity. And knowledge of spelling has nothing to do with intelligence or ability to perform as an elected servant of the people of the United States.


Ronna Frost

Point Arena

* * *



I deeply apologize to anyone who might have been offended by my cartoon last week depicting Herschel Walker.

My intent was definitely not racist. It was to portray Walker as ignorant and incompetent, something for which he has been repeatedly criticized. By the time this letter is published it is my fervent hope that his African-American opponent, the Reverend Raphael Warnock (to whose campaign I have made substantial monetary donations) will have been reelected senator from Georgia.

Had the candidate been Caucasian, I would have done the same cartoon. Cartoonists should not be held to a double standard of depicting white candidates in a "deprecating" way, but not African-Americans. My caricatures of other politicians have certainly been unkind, and I have had Donald Trump misspell a number of words while in other cartoons I have shown several African Americans in a positive light including Kamala Harris, Ketanji Brown Jackson, George Floyd and Martin Luther King.

Again my apologies to those who might have been offended. I am a strong believer in racial equality and harmony and have fought for it all my adult life. My cartoons are intended to provoke, not offend.

Drew Fagan


* * *


IS THIS CARICATURE of Herschel Walker racist? 

The placid waters of the Independent Coast Observer were roiled a couple of weeks ago when Ronna Frost of Point Arena wrote in to the paper to denounce Drew Fagan's depiction of Walker, a public figure caricatured similarly and much more harshly in all kinds of media here and abroad. I don't have a BIPOC ethicist handy to weigh in, but I'm going to say Mr. Fagan's drawing of Walker is not racist. If he'd drawn a generic black person with the same caption we'd have a case for racism because it would be saying that all black people are stupid. Herschel Walker isn't stupid either, but he was clearly not prepared for the job as he proved by saying all kinds of dumb things as he campaigned. He was shoved forward by cynical white fascists as a well-known sports figure to run against a black incumbent senator, obviously a racist move by career racists in the Republican Party, people like the odious Lindsay Graham. Clarence Thomas, often caricatured as a primitive reactionary was, like Walker, put forward as a Supreme Court Justice by white Republican racists because they correctly thought that liverish “liberals” of the Biden type would also support Thomas out of fear they would be denounced as racists. Biden, as we know, voted to seat Thomas, humiliating Anita Hill, a black woman, in the process. I see this denunciation of Mr. Fagan by Ms. Frost as, in its own way, as racist as the drawing she condemns because it assumes that certain public people, because of their race, should not be criticized which, of course, also assumes different categories of people, a racist notion. I was sorry to see Mr. Fagan apologize to Ms. Frost's wrongheaded bullying.

THE BIG DEMOCRAT MEDIA — Washington Post, NYT, MSNBC, WOLF BLITZER in the Situation Room — still haven't said a word about The Twitter Files, which began on December 2nd when Musk promised to release the company's internal dialogue regarding the suppression of the New York Post's Hunter Biden laptop story. Musk released unvetted documents to journalists Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss and Michael Shellenberger. The leaks have now gone beyond the Hunter Biden story to show how Twitter worked with the FBI to suppress free speech. The most recent reveal showed how Twitter was paid $3.5 million by the FBI for the company's constant work in suppressing accounts and tweets at the request of the Bureau. Leaks also show that Twitter's deputy chief legal counsel was made aware of the Hunter Biden laptop story, and its legitimacy, a month before it was published.

TRUMP is clearly guilty of inciting the January 6th riot, which the Boonville weekly — get back! — still says was a riot and not an “insurrection,” as Jan 6th is routinely characterized by those pillars of integrity, Liz Cheney and Adam Schiff, not to mention Biden and his puppeteers. An insurrection would have seen armed Magas with a definite plan for attacking then holding the capitol. There was no plan, no armed attack. What we saw was an ugly riot incited by a coward and a bully getting other cowards and bullies to riot. It was an ugly riot, but have you ever seen a riot that wasn't ugly? 

* * *

FOR THE SPICE FREAK – Boonville Barn Collective’s Piment d’Ville 

Just when you think pinot noir is the most popular export from Anderson Valley, meet Piment d’Ville. This sassy, spicy, and sweet chili powder is crafted with Boonville grown Espelette chiles, a signature ingredient of the Basque region in France. This “farm-to-jar” spice is sold at gourmet markets nationwide. Piment d’Ville is a great seasoning spice. Use it on avocado toast, eggs, french fries, grilled corn, a seafood or poultry seasoning, or toss popcorn in it with a touch of olive oil. Grab a two pack directly from the Collective (keeping one for yourself, of course), or buy it at your local speciality market. A two-pack is $23.99 at the Boonville Barn Collective.

* * *


During their regular board meeting on Dec. 15, Ukiah Unified trustees approved Resolution 09, 2022-23, adopting their Developer Fee Justification Study, and Resolution 10, 2022-23, establishing the imposition of developer fees.

Developer fees are fees developers pay to school districts to mitigate the impact of new development on the school facilities.

In February 2014, the Ukiah Unified board directed the administration to cease collecting developer fees temporarily. Since then, the district has not collected developer fees on any new development within Ukiah Unified boundaries. During the 2021-22 school year, Ukiah Unified trustees asked administration to commission a new developer fee study. Over the last several months, King Consulting has developed several drafts of the study.

Several public hearings and public meetings have been held to discuss the developer fee study and reinstatement of developer fees:

Aug. 11, 2022: Public hearing at the regular board meeting

Aug. 29, 2022: Public meeting regarding the draft developer fee study

Sept. 26, 2022: Public meeting regarding the draft developer fee study

Nov. 10, 2022: Agendized for discussion at the regular board meeting

The district will begin charging developer fees on Feb. 13, 2023, which is 60 days after their adoption of the resolution. As defined in the King Consulting study, fees would be $4.79 per square foot for residential construction, $0.78 per square foot for commercial/industrial construction, and $0.09 per square foot for mini-storage construction.

There are some important exemptions from Ukiah Unified developer fees:

Additions to existing homes up to 500 square feet are exempt from developer fees

New dwellings up to 500 square feet are exempt from developer fees

Any home that is being rebuilt because it was destroyed in one of the fires is exempt from developer fees on the previously-permitted square footage plus up to 500 additional square feet

Contact Ukiah Unified Communications Officer Doug Shald for more information at (707) 472-5005 or

* * *


* * *


Hello Publisher,

We are writing to let you know that following an assessment of our Newsstand offerings, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue the Kindle subscription and single issue programs. 

For titles with annual subscription offers, new starts and renewal processing will be turned off on March 6th, 2023. On or about September 1, 2023, we will cancel all remaining annual subscriptions, with Amazon covering the cost of applicable refunds to customers. For titles with monthly subscription offers, new starts and renewals will continue to process until the final shutdown date, which we expect to be on or about September 1, 2023. 

We will begin the process of communicating to customers in early 2023 letting them know Amazon will no longer offer Kindle subscriptions and single issues.

Please continue uploading input files to our server or PDFs to feed conversion partners through September 2023. At that point we request that you stop supplying content through your existing process. You will continue to receive payments and reporting through September 2023. 

Best Regards,

Kindle Newsstand

TO BE CLEAR: this warning concerns the weekly Kindle version of the paper only, and has nothing to do with this daily website.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, Monday, December 19, 2022

Amezcua, Banzhaf, Bolton, Carter

RODRIGO AMEZCUA-GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Suspended license.

BRIAN BANZHAF, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

JOHN BOLTON IV, Shoplifting, disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

CIYERAH CARTER, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

Castro, Conde, Gibson

LEONEL CASTRO, Sea Ranch/Ukiah. Hit&Run with property damage.

JUAN CONDE, Ukiah. Pot for sale, false ID.

MARVIN GIBSON, Willits. Controlled substance, felon-addict with firearm.

Lawson, Lopez, Luxford

ZACHARY LAWSON JR., Ukiah. DUI-fourth or subsequent conviction priors in ten years, suspended license, county parole violation.

JOSEPH LOPEZ, Ukiah. Leaving scene of accident with property damage.

SERENITY LUXFORD, Corning/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Travis, Vassar, Warner

JALAHN TRAVIS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

RUSTI VASSAR, Ukiah. Paraphernalia.

MALISSA WARNER, Ukiah. County parole violation.

* * *


If we could just for a few moments turn our attention to something other than cannabis and swapping political insults (don’t worry, we can return to these exciting topics very very soon), let us consider a) the possibility that the market for wine grapes is now saturated, recession or not? There were hundreds of wineries in the — what shall we call it? — the Ruby Quadrangle? — of Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake Counties? And 4700 wineries altogether in California, and 11,053 in the U.S. in 2021, according to Who is buying all this wine? Sure, it’s fun to spend a day winetasting, and everyone with a few million dollars to toss around would love to own a winery, but how much wine do people actually buy? so could it be the demand is shrinking while the supply is growing?? and b) according to the stats cited in this article, FOOD crops are gaining in value while also increasing in production? I don’t know about you, but I find it heartening that our Northcoast California farmers are getting into growing FOOD again. Food! Think about it!

* * *

Shoes invented and used in the 1920s by a cattle thief named ‘Crazy Tex Hazel’ to hide footprints while stealing cows. (Museum of Northeast Nevada)

* * *


The Brahmic Vrittis Take Over

Awoke early at the Building Bridges homeless shelter in Ukiah, California.

Holding fast to "the constant", understanding that the body and the mind change, but "the knower" never changes, there is no interference with the Dao working through the body-mind complex. Neti pot followed by tongue scraping followed by teeth brushing followed by shaving followed by a hot shower. One action flows into the next, effortlessly, the Brahmic vrittis having taken over.

Walked to Plowshares and enjoyed a free pork lunch with apple sauce, pasta, and a slab of German chocolate cake; compliments of those dedicated Catholic Workers. Left there and checked the Powerball ticket, not yet not yet, and purchased another one for the next draw. [The Brahmins at Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, South India said that they play the lottery, because if God wants to give them money to do God's will, they have to get it somehow!] Since 1994, have been playing three major lotteries twice weekly. The winnings have paid for the tickets thus far.

Continued on to the Ukiah Co-op for a small drip coffee enjoyed in the cafe. Energized, walked to the Ukiah Public Library with a brief stop at the Hospice Retail Store. Presently on public computer #4 at the library. A thought arises and is observed by "the knower", and then the thought dissipates. No action is taken as a result of any particular thought. The body remains still. All action is as a result of the Brahmic vrittis, which will dictate for the remainder of this incarnation, all the way back to Godhead. This is the summum bonum of the Sanatana Dharma, or non dualistic vedantic way of life. All other paths are inherently included, because paths are many and the truth is one. It is full and it is complete. The mahavakya from the vedas is Tat Tvam Asi, which translates from the Sanskrit as That Thou Art. The deep, mysterious, divine, absolute is one's true nature. That thou art. Now you know the mystery!!

As this civilization heads into 2023 Anno Domini, (which the yearly prediction issue of The Economist foretells will be an insane hell), I am available to leave the homeless shelter in Ukiah, California and am available for spiritually sourced direct action. I've got $166.81 in the checking account, health is basically good for a 73 year old two-legged, am basically sane, and ready. You are welcome to make contact at your earliest convenience. Happy New Year.

Craig Louis Stehr

* * *

* * *


by Marilyn Davin

I remember standing over the hospital bed in my father’s bedroom, an hour before he died. He couldn’t talk anymore and thrashed from side to side in great agitation, his eyes rolling wildly in his head. His night-shift agency caregiver, a lushly tatted and pierced young woman given to long cell phone conversations on the deck that sounded suspiciously like pharmaceutical transactions, clutched a bottle of morphine in her left hand, eyedropper at the ready in her right. We looked at each other over my father’s bed and she offered that she didn’t think he could last much longer in his current state. I was in a maelstrom of chaotic emotion and frequently reflected on the uselessness of my humanities degree. The ER was out. After his latest visit my father announced that he would never, in either this lifetime or the improbable next, forgive anyone who conspired to get him into the hospital again. I finally left late that night, but as I walked into my own kitchen my phone was already ringing. My father had just died. (Both my parents died at night after family members had gone home for the night, apparently a common occurrence.) 

My much-loved first mother-in-law had a very different experience. After a heart attack at 80, she was administered a life-saving drug in the ER that destroyed her kidneys. For the next three years she would be strapped to a gurney twice a week and taken by ambulance to a dialysis center, the last two years from a nursing home. My ex-husband, only son and oldest sibling (i.e., sole decision maker), believed (possibly in accordance with his linear training as an engineer) that science would somehow come to his mother’s rescue at the eleventh hour; so he unsurprisingly blew off her doctor’s recommendation to take her off dialysis and let her die. She had lived three years past what would have been her natural death from her initial heart attack, so ended up enduring three years of medical Hell. She told me that she felt like an oyuncak, Turkish for “toy,” though in this case she was the plaything of the medical profession.  

Dr. David Jarrett, author of my latest book entitled 33 Meditations on Death, would have considered my mother-in-law’s end-of-life treatment inhumane. The British gerontologist (a label he hates for its narrowness) writes in his book that the medical profession even has an acronym for her treatment: VOMIT, short for Victim of Modern Imaging Technology. Translation: too much technical intervention, too little holistic care, too much ostrich-like denial. 

About his own father, Jarrett writes that in his final years he became a sucker for any new treatment that came down the pike: cinnamon on his toast, vitamins and Echinacea at every meal, no more fatty food or alcohol. He writes about the alcohol prohibition that “family meals were graced by alcohol-free wine, to my mind the equivalent of orgasm-free sex.” And who says doctors don’t have a sense of humor? 

Jarrett’s book perceptively summarizes what he thinks is ailing modern medicine today. Until the latter half of the twentieth century, doctors plied their craft without a lot of oversight. There weren’t many specialties, so GPs with broad knowledge of their elderly patients treated those patients at the end of their lives in a less medical, more palliative way—making them comfortable as they inched toward the end that patiently awaits us all.

Family members, typically with neither medical experience nor training, hold outsized sway over the fates of their dying elders these days. Jarrett cites one of his cases that he found so disturbing that he called a meeting of the patient’s medical team post mortem to discuss it. The frail, elderly patient in question had suffered in agony through three long months in the hospital because her decision-maker (in this case her son), refused all treatment for her, including opiates for her suffering, because, according to Jarrett, the son “…thought it would kill her,” and that he further wanted to keep her around longer because it was “good for him.”

Where I would have been tempted to wring the son’s neck, Jarrett writes that he rarely gets pissed off at family members who stubbornly cling to irrational, nonmedically indicated directives; he assumes they think they’re doing the right thing. But the price, in cases like that of the dying woman just described, is paid in the currency of a patient’s suffering. Few would choose to return to the days when doctors unilaterally determined a patient’s treatment and announced it as a done deal to families. But given modern hospitals’ obsession with their public images and fear of lawsuits, that scale has tipped instead way in favor of what families want instead of what is medically possible or even humane. The last time my father was in the hospital, at the point where he could no longer talk, his doctor told me that he had an infection somewhere in his body. Our conversation went like this:

Doctor: What would you like for me to do?

Me: Would it be painful for my father to undergo tests to determine the nature of his infection?

Doctor: Yes.

Me: Would you do it if he were your own father?

Doctor: Absolutely not.

So I took him home and he died a few days later in his own bed.

Jarrett describes himself as a supreme rationalist uncomfortable with “touchy-feely” exchanges (which he admits have bedeviled some personal relationships). He’s an atheist who believes that religions have blood on their hands for all the turmoil and misery they have unleashed on the world. Yet he also notes that “Studies have investigated the relationship between fear of death and faith,” and that “Atheists and those with powerful intrinsic spiritual belief seem to have the least fear of death.” Jarrett muses that the less spiritual may fear death more “Perhaps because they know their internal religious doubts, safely hidden from external scrutiny, cannot be hidden from the putative diety.” Ingrained religious beliefs routinely defeat science. For example, one of my neighbors, an intelligent and highly educated woman, truly believes that she’ll be reunited with her dead husband in Heaven when she dies herself. When it came down to it, her catholic upbringing trumped her advanced degrees.

What to do about all of this? The only real defense is to be crystal clear in your wishes for your own death – both witnessed and in writing. Jarrett offers up his own document as an example. In it he specifies, among other things, that he not be fed if he cannot swallow, not be put on life support, not be resuscitated, and not be given any medication except opiates to ease his suffering. If there were a heaven my RN-mother would be applauding, since these are things she put in her own “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order. About six months before she died she had me drive her to her doctor’s office and the local hospital to personally deliver her DNR, which she also scotch-taped to the refrigerator and the middle of the dining-room table. You can’t fool those in the medical biz; they know firsthand what artificially prolonging someone’s life really looks like. She died at home in her own bed, just as she wished.   

* * *

by Adolf Münzer (1901)

* * *


by Elena Shao

When a string of wildfires broke out in California this spring, experts saw it as an unsettling preview of another destructive fire season to come — the consequence of forests and grasslands parched by persistent drought and higher temperatures fueled by climate change.

Yet, by the year’s end, California had managed to avoid widespread catastrophe. Wildfires have burned about 362,000 acres this year, compared to 2.5 million acres last year and a historic 4.3 million acres in 2020.

“It’s really just that we got lucky,” said Lenya Quinn-Davidson, a fire advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension.

This year’s relatively mild wildfire season doesn’t mean that the landscape was much less vulnerable, that the forests were in better condition or that climate change had less of an effect on the intensity and behavior of wildfires than in previous years, Ms. Quinn-Davidson said. Instead, a combination of well-timed precipitation and favorable wind conditions seemed to play the biggest role.

The Mosquito fire, this year’s largest, started on Sept. 6 northeast of Sacramento during a record-breaking late-summer heat wave. But unusually early rains unleashed by a tropical storm in mid-September tempered the blaze and helped fire crews contain it.

California has seen larger, hotter and more intense wildfires in recent years, driven by extended drought and climate change. The five largest wildfires recorded in the state have all occurred since 2018. But California’s wildfire record is punctuated with both “good” and “bad” fire years — a result of short-term, natural weather variability.

Warmer temperatures increase the potential for wildfires, once ignited, to intensify rapidly, spreading faster and scaling higher mountain elevations that might have otherwise been too wet or cool to support fierce fires. Extreme heat and drought, worsened by climate change, kill trees and dry out grass and pine needles, providing abundant fuel for a fire to spread over vast stretches of land.

A warming climate increases the likelihood of fires growing larger and more severe, but it’s not a guarantee that it will happen every year, said Andy Hoell, a climate researcher and meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Fires cannot start without a spark. Many are ignited either by lightning strikes or human activity, including untended campfires, unextinguished cigarettes, engine sparks and equipment malfunction. As humans continue to move into the wildland-urban interface, or fire-prone zones on the outskirts of cities, fires started this way will become more likely.

Once a fire is ignited, there are three major ingredients that shape its behavior, experts said: the landscape’s topography, weather (including wind and precipitation) and the availability of fuels. Climate change affects some, but not all, of those elements, said Hugh D. Safford, a fire ecologist at the University of California, Davis and chief scientist at Vibrant Planet, a climate tech company.

Usually, California’s fire season extends into October, and seasonal rain arrives later in the fall. But this year featured unusual storms in the summer and early fall that helped suppress dangerously growing wildfires, including the Mosquito and McKinney fires.

In Southern California, fires are often fanned by fast-moving, hot, dry winds known as the Santa Anas (also called Diablos in the northern part of the state). The winds dry out grasses and brush in the Sierra Nevada and pose the greatest fire risk in the fall, when vegetation is usually at its driest.

“We were fortunate this year that the rain started before the winds did,” said Chris Field, director of the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University.

While the state saw fewer acres burn this year than in the last two years, California still recorded comparable numbers of fire incidents. As a result, this year’s fires were much smaller on average.

In previous years, a number of California wildfires had grown to monstrous scales. When fires get large, they draw on more firefighting resources, which can mean fewer firefighters are available to respond to new, smaller fires when they ignite. Those smaller fires then have the opportunity to spread quickly and grow large, particularly in the early days of a fire’s development, said Robert Foxworthy, a firefighter and public information officer for CalFire, the state’s fire agency.

Experts warned that looking at acreage burned doesn’t tell the full story of fire danger, and neither does frequency, although those are the statistics that are most readily and comprehensively available.

Those metrics do not describe lives lost, or trees, vegetation and buildings destroyed. And it doesn’t capture damage from flash floods like those that followed the McKinney fire, which triggered massive landslides and ultimately killed scores of fish in the Klamath River.

“A lot of times we get focused on the acreage and the fewer acres burned,” Ms. Quinn-Davidson said, adding that it was important not to lose sight of the several deadly and severe fires that did happen earlier in the year. “We still saw a level of severity that is outside of the historical range of variability,” she said.

To address its growing wildfire crisis, California has begun to ramp up plans for more prescribed burning, the practice of setting controlled, low-intensity burns to rid forests of small trees and brush that can end up fueling larger wildfires. However, forest management and fuel reduction practices had less of an impact on this year’s relatively mild wildfire season than fortunate weather conditions, said Dan McEvoy, a climatology researcher with the Desert Research Institute.

While California’s wildfire season was relatively mild compared to other years in recent memory, it was still destructive and deadly, killing nine people. Wildfires also raged at record levels elsewhere in the United States this year, including in Arizona, Nebraska and New Mexico, and around the world.

* * *

* * *


Too many men feel insecure and challenged by women, and too many women have been abused by men for too long. Yeah, take that you scumbags.

The ‘man’ shrivels before the intellectually dominant female, but the ‘man’ rises before the beautiful body.

Best to know the fit, best to rate the potential mate, copulate on many a date, ejaculate and lessen the need to speculate, see if her mind is refined, and designed as well as her behind.

The caveman with the club wants her barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen as the saying goes, with maybe some nail polish on the toes.

Yes, how can you tell, the match made in heaven, or the match made in hell? 

Men have made a mess of things, see them with the earrings and tattooed muscle, attaché case and Wall Street hustle, lies in suits and ties, gridiron brutes or effeminate lads of ill repute, men waging war and wielding law, needing power while wanting to deflower.

Simone de Beauvoir, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem have simply spoken up for themselves and their sex, and in doing so pummeled the insecure male from pillar to post.

Yes, some feminists have gone too far, but many men got what they deserved, a wakeup call as to what a woman is, what a woman wants and what a woman needs.

Dumb fuckers thought it was all about them.

* * *

by Ferdinand Spiegel (1909)

* * *


A newspaper column by Amazon Prime star Jeremy Clarkson, in which he said he was “dreaming of the day when [Meghan Markle] is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant, ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her,” has become Britain’s Independent Press Standards Organization’s most complained about article in history, the regulator has said. The article had received over 17,500 complaints as of 9 a.m. on Tuesday—more than the total of 14,355 complaints the body received in the whole of 2021. The article has attracted criticism from everyone from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to Clarkson’s own daughter Emily, who said: “I want to make it very clear that I stand against everything my dad wrote about Meghan Markle.” Clarkson made a statement promising to be “more careful” in the future but has not apologized.

* * *


In London, there's a woman who goes every day on the underground and sits on the platform just to listen to the announcement recorded by her husband in 1950.

Margaret McCollum after the death of her husband Oswald Laurence, sits on the bench waiting to hear this recording that became one of London's most famous "Mind the gap".

In 2003, Oswald died leaving a huge void in Margaret's heart. So Margaret found a way to feel his presence closest.

After more than half a century, this voice was replaced by an electronic recording. Out of distress Margaret asked for this cassette tape from London transport company so she could continue listening to her husband's voice at home. 

After becoming aware of the moving history, the company decided to restore the announcement at the stop near where Margaret lives, at the Embankment stop of Northern Line, where all passengers can listen today and hear Oswald Laurence's voice and to think that eternal love really exists.

Wonderful gesture by the authorities.

* * *


Earlier I left a whine in here about a feminist ancestor. She started out being active in supporting both the Volstead Act and the Nineteenth Amendment. These were issues important to a lot of people in the 20’s. 

She was a sour and dour Presbyterian fundamentalist. To be a Christian in her mind there was to be no drinking, no dancing, no card playing or gambling, and *especially* no carousing going on around her. Chastity was of utmost importance. Unfortunately for her, she had a situation going on that involved in laws visiting at times who were beer drinking northern Catholics. We’re talking a pack of inlaw uncles here. They had to bring their own beer with them because they were visiting a dry county in the Bible Belt. 

Well, they left a lot of beer bottles behind. Ole granny was afraid that the trash collection guys would see beer bottles in her trash cans. So she had all the bottles stored in a remote area in her huge basement. She went through the trash and pulled out all the beer bottles after the guys had driven off to the North. During her last year alive I was 8 years old and visiting her house. She hired me and one other child to drag all the beer bottles out of the basement and throw them down the steep wooded hillside behind her house. We had great fun as kids seeing how far we could throw them and trying to get them to bust on oak trees. Honeysuckle vines and underbrush hid them rather well at first. Decades later others were mystified as to where all the beer bottles on the hillside came from. They were covered by leaves, but a few still poked their heads out in winter every now and then. I never confessed to my role in throwing the bottles because I was afraid I’d be asked to root around in the woods, find them, and put them in the trash cans where they should have gone in the first place. 

This old feminist woman had cancer and knew she was dying. Yet she was worried about hundreds of hidden beer bottles in the basment. She was worried that after her passing, the house would be cleaned from top to bottom and the hidden bottle stash discovered. And what was much worse, the bottles might end up in the garbage can anyhow, which is why she had them hidden in the basement in the first place. 

She feared that after her death a city worker might discover that somebody in her home had been drinking a hell of a lot of beer. And that they might tell somebody. And it might get whispered around town. Image being a dying person with this sort of shallow minded nonsense going on in your mind. And you swear a couple of kids to secrecy and pay them to solve your problem. A problem that would sound hilarious to anyone today. Those bottles are still there right now, the land is an undeveloped steep hillside, and the leaves have covered the beer bottles up so completely you’d have to dig down a ways to find them by now. Until bulldozers bring them to the light of day, they’ll be there forever as a hidden monument to idiotic ideas and ideals.

* * *

* * *


The suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story shows how the Russian boogeyman is wielded to serve political goals and bury inconvenient facts.

by Aaron Maté

Since 2016, US audiences have been flooded with claims that Russia has waged a "sweeping and systematic" interference campaign to influence them, and that Donald Trump and a bottomless cast of associates were somehow complicit.

No "scandal" in US history has yielded such a lengthy rap sheet of falsehoods, debunkings, and retractions. The Mueller investigation and parallel Congressional inquiries found no evidence for the all-consuming theories of a Trump-Kremlin conspiracy. Allegations of Russian government email hacking and social media operations are equally dubious, most notably on the foundational allegation that Russian intelligence stole Democratic Party emails and gave them to Wikileaks.

Even if we were to ignore the evidentiary gaps and accept each assertion about "Russian interference" at face value, the totality could in no way justify even a shred of the multi-year Russia-mania. With no shame and without end, prominent political and media voices have imbued Russian bots, memes, and hackers — real or imagined — with the power to "sow chaos" in US society, swing election results, and even become worthy of comparison to the attacks of Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

Given the Iraq WMD-esque preponderance of hyperbole and outright lies in the incessant claims of Russian subterfuge, it is reasonable to conclude that the US intelligence officials and political-media actors who have spread them are waging exactly what they accuse Russia of: a politically motivated disinformation campaign aimed at influencing the general public.

The newly disclosed Twitter Files -- a cache of internal communications from the social media giant -- offer new evidence of one of the Russiagate disinformation campaign’s core functions: protecting the rule of domestic elites, particularly in the Democratic Party. 

In two consecutive presidential elections, the Russian boogeyman has been invoked to stigmatize and silence reporting on the Democratic candidate. It began in 2016, when journalists who reported on the stolen DNC emails’ revelations about Hillary Clinton's Wall Street speeches or the DNC's bias against Bernie Sanders were blamed for Trump’s victory and deemed to be unwitting Kremlin dupes promoting "disinformation" – in reality, factual material that embarrassed the pre-ordained winner.

Four years later, that same playbook was deployed for Clinton's successor at the top of Democratic ticket, Joe Biden. In the weeks before the November 2020 election, Twitter and Facebook censored the New York Post’s reporting about the contents Hunter Biden's laptop on the grounds that the computer material could be "Russian disinformation." The Post’s stories detailed how Hunter Biden traded on his family name to secure lucrative business abroad, and raised questions about Joe Biden’s denials of any involvement.

The US media responded to the suppression of the laptop story with indifference or even approval. In one notable case, Glenn Greenwald resigned from the outlet that he co-founded, The Intercept, after its editors attempted to censor his coverage of the laptop controversy. Even stories that had long been public -- such as the unqualified Hunter receiving an $80,000-per-month Burisma board seat just months after his father’s administration helped overthrow Ukraine's government – were effectively off-limits.

There was never a shred of evidence that Russia was behind the laptop story, but that was of no consequence. Dutiful media editors, reporters, and pundits took their cues from a group of more than 50 former intelligence officials, who issued a statement declaring that the Hunter Biden laptop story “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

These intelligence veterans’ claim was in fact a classic Russiagate disinformation operation, as the Twitter files newly underscore...

* * *

Poster text reads: No Chemical Weapons! The USA allocates 10 billion dollars for a chemical rearmament program. Artists: V. Koretskiy, V. Sokolov Editor: L. Malyayeva, artistic editor: Yu. Bogomolov Technical editor: L. Nikitina (C)"Poster" publishing. Moscow, 1984.

* * *


The UK’s defence secretary claims Russia has “failed to achieve its strategic objectives”, highlighting the high casualty numbers as well as all the commanders leaving the army and general public dissatisfaction.

Ben Wallace said in a Commons statement on Tuesday: “Not one single operational commander then in place on February 24 is in charge now. Russia has lost significant numbers of generals and commanding officers.

“More than 100,000 Russians are dead, injured or have deserted, and Russian capability has been severely hampered by the destruction of more than 4,500 armoured and protected vehicles, as well as more than 140 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.”

It comes as Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has made an unannounced visit to the besieged city of Bakhmut, meeting with troops and handing out awards.

Bakhmut has faced months of bombardment and has suffered a lot of damage as a key target for Russia in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. So far Ukrainian forces have held back Russia’s advance.

On the war front lines, a Russian artillery offensive struck 25 towns and villages around Bakhmut, along with Avdiivka and another northeastern town, Kupiansk.

* * *

* * *


by Patrick Cockburn

I have reported on at least a dozen wars in the Middle East and North Africa in the last 30 or more years and they have several features in common. First of all, modern day wars seldom terminate and consequently people in these war-ravaged countries, who see no end to the conflict, choose to leave the country and become refugees, most of them heading for central and western Europe.

Refugees who are at first warmly accepted as victims of tyranny may outstay their welcome and become resented and even hated. This is what happened to the five million Syrians who fled to Turkey and one million to Lebanon after 2011. The wars in Somalia and Yemen are not only endless, but are escalating.

Will the Ukraine conflict become another of these ceaseless wars? It is difficult to see why it should not, since neither Moscow nor Kyiv is likely to win a decisive victory but they still hope to improve their political and diplomatic position on the battlefield. The Russians are using precision-guided missiles and drones to destroy the Ukrainian infrastructure and the Ukrainians are beginning to fire missiles back at ostensibly military targets. It may not be long before they decide that if they are going to sit in the dark, so too will the Russians.

A crucial question is whether or not the progressive destruction of the Ukrainian electrical-generating and transmission system is unstoppable, however many anti-aircraft missiles are sent by the Nato powers.

If the missile barrage cannot be intercepted then we can expect another great exodus of refugees from Ukraine into the rest of Europe with no reason for them to return. Some 4.4 million Ukrainians applied for temporary protection in the EU in the first nine months of the year. Poland alone received 1.3 million. Migration fatigue is visible and is likely to grow. Resentment at the influx will benefit right-wing groups as did the Syrian influx in 2015-16.

Beneath the Radar

Much excitement over progress at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California in harnessing nuclear fusion so as to produce clean energy without too much radioactive waste. A few years ago, I met a Czech professor in Prague who is a fusion expert and had previously worked in the US. He explained to me that progress in nuclear fusion in the US might have been faster had not President Ronald Reagan announced in 1983 his Strategic Defence Initiative, universally known as “Star Wars”, that was designed to flummox the Soviet Union with an effective anti-missile system.

Few thought that “Stars Wars” was feasible, but the Defence Department felt that it should justify its giant budget by at least appearing to do something to give reality to Reagan’s nebulous plan. My Czech friend and other fusion scientists were told to stop thinking about nuclear fusion and start thinking instead about “Star Wars”, and missile defence, about which they knew nothing. My friend and many of his colleagues went back to Europe.

Cockburn’s Picks

For a prize-winning piece of investigative reporting on the great PPE scandal read ‘The PPE Rich List: Covid Firms Unmasked‘.

* * *


  1. Eric Sunswheat December 21, 2022

    RE: IS THIS CARICATURE of Herschel Walker racist?

    —>. Back in time, when I worked in East Bay bulk mail facilities, 95% of the workers were black.

    The term ‘nigger’ was described and used among that work culture, to describe a person of a certain attitude, not race, that is of any ethnicity, as being a bad actor.

    Yet in the outside world, to use that terminology, by others than black people, was considered racist, and were subject to threat of repercussions.

    • George Hollister December 21, 2022

      The cartoon of Herschel Walker could be of any Southerner using any of the various Southern accents, regardless of race. It’s usually more redneck than anything else. A Southern accent is a signal to Yankees that a person is ignorant. That is exactly what the cartoon suggests. There are some lessons there for anyone with a Southern accent. People will judge you on the basis of how you speak, even if you have a Phd. in physics. That prejudice can not be altered.

  2. Stephen Rosenthal December 21, 2022

    Good stuff today by Marilyn Davin, Elena Shao and, as usual, Petit Teton Farm. I really appreciate articles like that, as well as those by Jim Shields, TWK and Mike Geniella. As for the other stuff – Twitter Files, Ukraine, Kunstler, Craig Stehr – I just scroll past without a glance. Can’t be bothered or waste my time with things I can’t control or are simply nonsensical. As younger folks are wont to say “It is what it is.” Problem is it always has been and always will be.

    • Chuck Dunbar December 21, 2022

      Yep, good phrase, “It is what it is.” I read a war novel recently (“Matterhorn,” by Marlantes), and the phrase used time and again by soldiers in tough spots was a close cousin: “There it is.” I like it and think it at times.

      • Bruce McEwen December 21, 2022

        In an abundance of redundance, let Walter Cronkite have the last word with his signature, “And that’s the way it is…”

        A festive weekend to you, Vicar Dunbar, and bless us all!

        • Bruce McEwen December 21, 2022

          Regulars Credibility Ranking

          Esteemed Editor
          Major Mark
          Professor Cosmos
          Friar Stehr
          DA Dave
          Laconic Lazarus
          kind heart
          Master Baiter
          Jesus H. Marmon

          • Lazarus December 21, 2022

            Why thank you, Mr. Bruce M.
            I try not to bore anyone with circumlocutory and circuitous blather/meaningless verbiage.
            Be well, and Merry Christmas!

  3. Chuck Dunbar December 21, 2022

    Thank you, Marilyn Davin, for your thoughtful writing on the dying process. Modern medical interventions near life’s end surely have their dangers, prolonging an agonized existence in a worn-out body ready to move on.

    This perspective is important: In the not-to-distant past, “There weren’t many specialties, so GPs with broad knowledge of their elderly patients treated those patients at the end of their lives in a less medical, more palliative way—making them comfortable as they inched toward the end that patiently awaits us all.”

    If I could be granted one god-like wish in this life, I’d be tempted to ask that all the world’s people have a gentle death with a loved one present for comfort. Life itself can be such a trial and so hard; dying in a better world should not extend suffering but be a graceful leaving.

    • Brian Wood December 21, 2022

      I too appreciated Marilyn Davin’s piece about dying. As far as medical interventions go yours is a valid wish. But the idea of a “good death” is something people sentimentalize a little too much. Books are written about it, people practice for it. It’s sugar coating what can’t be sugar coated, it’s a sentiment that only comfort’s the well-wisher. No amount of wishing will provide a “gentle death with a loved one present” for everyone. Some die gently, some not. Too much is wasted on that one moment when it all ends. When that moment occurs it immediately doesn’t matter any more whether the moments before were good or bad. Better to live well, and help others live well, including at the end, if you can see death coming. Often you can’t.

  4. Marmon December 21, 2022

    BREAKING: House GOP locates emails, texts showing Pelosi office directly involved in failed Jan. 6 security

    “House Republicans gathered a trove of text and email messages showing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office was directly involved in the creation and editing of the Capitol security plan that failed during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot and that security officials later declared they had been “denied again and again” the resources needed to protect one of the nation’s most important homes of democracy.”


    • Marmon December 21, 2022

      Nancy Pelosi is directly to blame for the security failures at the Capitol on January 6th. She blamed everyone else now she must pay the price.


      • Mike Williams December 21, 2022

        That is so funny. Nancy called them to assemble and fight like hell? I did not know that.

    • Marshall Newman December 21, 2022

      Sure they did. They also found a unicorn, Judge Crater and Amelia Earhart.

      Makes sense that House GOP-ers would try to distract from the January 6 Select Committee finishing its work and releasing it final report

      I sincerely hope the Republicans in House of Representatives will focus on handling the nation’s business in the new year. Unfortunately I expect them to spend their time investigating Hunter Biden. Or maybe embarking on a ninth (!) Benghazi investigation

      • Marmon December 21, 2022

        It isn’t about Hunter, it’s about the “Big Guy”. None of us want to see any of Hunter’s drugged out sex orgy videos. We are concerned that the “Big Guy” may be compromised. By the looks of his policies, it looks like he is.


        • Marshall Newman December 21, 2022

          Trump supporters should know about compromised. They don’t, but they should.

  5. Jane December 21, 2022

    Very sweet subway story. Lovely.

  6. Marmon December 21, 2022

    “Governor Zelensky of our 51st State is in da house!”

    -James H. Kunstler @Jhkunstler (1:55 PM)


  7. George Dorner December 21, 2022

    Re Herschel Walker: I’m amazed that a self-proclaimed Texan wasn’t disqualified from running for office in a state in which he didn’t reside.

  8. Donald Cruser December 21, 2022

    I tend to be an “economic determinist”. We have a profit driven medical system. I forget the exact numbers but somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% of all medicare payments are made in the last month of peoples lives when it is obvious they are going to die soon. The Germans send caretakers into the homes to help families and allow people to die at home in a much more natural way. It is also much less expensive.

  9. Chuck Dunbar December 21, 2022


    Someone commented in these pages a while back about these photos. He/she said that something had changed, that these photos were now sharper, somehow more human, worth noticing (my memory is not entirely clear, hope I got the gist of it).

    So, the photos today caught my eye, and I’ve gone back several times to take a better look. They are really kind of extraordinary. Only one or 2 appear to be downtrodden, downcast, and one disgruntled, annoyed. In several can be seen a tad of a smile. Many appear solemn, serious, but not really dangerous in aspect, looking right at the camera lens—“Here I am, as I am, an arrested person, but not ashamed and not all is lost.” And looking right at us as we momentarily survey the work of our deputies in their efforts to keep us safe—and God bless them for this hard work.

    One wonders who the photographer at the jail is. Is he or she a novelist or poet who tells a short, true tale with photos? What is said by our mystery photographer to the subjects posing before they go to a cell? Maybe a word of encouragement or respect: “This is going to work our for you, make the best of it, this is not a terrible place, please don’t lose hope.” Or, “Take your time, show me who you are, how your mother might see you.” Or, perhaps just comments on the weather or a pet or makes a sweet little joke, something that helps the poser-arrestee feel better in the moment?

    Take a look yourself. Do you see what I see, or is it just a rainy day dream I’m having?

    I wonder if Sheriff Kendall might have a story for us about this process.

    • Jim Armstrong December 21, 2022

      Chuck: No daydream, but the photographer seems to have changed several times over the years and the chief of corrections have given them surprisingly free reign.
      I like the overall outcome.

      • Bruce McEwen December 21, 2022

        You and Chuck need to get arrested. The photographer is the Cpl. of the Guard, the duty officer on a rotating shift. You get your mugshot as soon as you prove coherent enough to give your name, rank and serial number and then the corporal instructs you to look at the camera. The corporal asks if you’re ready and if your response is affirmative, the shutter clicks. There’s no great conspiracy, no intent to indulge the vanity of the perp, or some agenda to make any kind of political or artistic statement. You must live in a cushy, insolated dream world to post these kinds of surreal imaginings. I hope it’s a monk’s cell — that is, voluntary confinement — “prisoners of your own device,” rather than a penal one.

        • Chuck Dunbar December 21, 2022

          Dang, Bruce, you made me laugh with this one–the no nonsense truth with little or no poetry present. That opening sentence is beautiful. First glance told me you really wanted Jim and me to be arrested for bad deeds (our comments). Second thought, the right one, was the if we were arrested, we’d see the blunt truth of it in-person. Thank you much.

        • A dude December 21, 2022

          Bruce, your post reminds me how much I miss your court and crime reporting from older editions of AVA. Wishing you a merry Christmas and happy new year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *