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SHOWERS WILL CONTINUE affecting the area through tonight. Significant snowfall is also expected to continue affected elevations above 1,500 to 2,000 feet. Showers and isolated thunderstorms with small hail likely along the coast through tonight. Drier conditions will return on Wednesday with cold overnight low temperatures later this week. A weak shortwave may clip the northern portion of the region on Thursday, bringing light rain or drizzle North of Cape Mendocino. More active weather is expected for the weekend due to a strong upper low approaching the area. (NWS)
FIRE CHIEF ANDRES AVILA, MONDAY AFTERNOON: Needless to say, we have been busy in Yorkville for the last few days. The rest of the district has held up fairly well with falling trees being the biggest impact. To date, no storm related injuries or significant traffic accidents have occurred. CalTrans and County Roads have put in a tremendous amount of work during this storm to get our roads usable again without injury. Wylatti Construction has now been contracted to take over the storm debris cleanup on Hwy 128 in the Yorkville area. This can be dangerous business so we are keeping our fingers crossed for the crews still working out there. In addition to Wylatti Construction, I also saw a company by the name of California Tree Solutions working in the area. Road crews are making good progress on clearing the Highway 128 with a follow-up crew moving east and working the highway shoulders to remove hazard trees and other brush still impacting safe commuting. Power is still out at this time in Yorkville but the PG&E crews are getting close to the end of the grid near the base of Haehl’s Grade (near MM 46.16), so it would be likely that power restoration is coming soon for the main corridor in Yorkville. Private ranches and property owners will have weeks of cleanup and repair work before getting back to normal.
A PEACHLAND RESIDENT REPORTS: “We can get out, but the road is a huge mess. There are sightlines where there were not before due to all the trees that have come down. Neighbors did initial clearing on Friday afternoon and the fire department plus residents have continued to make it better bit by bit but it is still gnarly … broken branches/trunks beside or spilling onto the road that you have to squeeze around. Lots of work to do and lots of fire fuel once it all dries out.”
TERRY AND BOB SITES check in from deep Yorkville: Power went out last Thursday at around 8 PM. There have been many estimated restoration times. The latest is Wednesday March 1 at 6 PM. If you want something that will cramp your style, a week’s power outage will fill the bill. A humbling experience to say the least. We have no generator, so it’s dark except for flashlights after 6:30. Tedious. We do have a wood stove in one room so we are avoiding frostbite. Also, our propane stovetop can be lit with a match so we can eat hot food. Thinking about people in Ukraine where it is way colder with no services and bombs bursting in the air. How privileged we are. A wake-up call in every sense. Will this make us better people. I sure hope so. It’s gotta be good for something!
CREWS WORK SWIFTLY TO REOPEN MOST OF MENDOCINO COUNTY MAJOR ROADS—More Snow Expected Tonight
by Matt LaFever
Sunday night and Monday morning brought blizzard-like conditions to Mendocino County’s higher elevations closing multiple major highways. As the sun sets this evening, the majority of those roads have reopened due to the fast work of Caltrans and other road workers. But, we’re not out of the woods yet. Conditions will likely change quickly tomorrow morning with heavy snow predicted this evening.’
Closures bogged down Mendocino County residents stretching from the coast to the Lake County border. At one point, 80 miles of Highway 101 were closed from Redwood Valley to Garberville.
As of 6:00 p.m., all major roads have been cleared and reopened. The following major roads are still closed throughout the county:
- State Route 128 from Robinson Creek to the Sonoma County line
- Highway 1 from Highway 271 to Cottoneva Creek
- State Route 271 from the Reynolds Overcrossing to Highway 101
Mendocino County’s Department of Transporation announced the following county roads are closed due to snow:
- Mina Rd
- Poonkinny Rd
- Bell Springs Rd
- Spy Rock Rd
Mendocino County residents that live about 1,000′ should prepare for the possibility that the same roadways crews worked diligently to clear today could once again be closed tomorrow morning.
The US National Weather Service in Eureka is predicting heavy snow overnight and small hail along the coast.
For the latest information about road conditions, check out the Caltrans Quickmap which provides a real-time, interactive map of road conditions.
UPDATE 9:06 p.m.
The first and most certainly not the last road closure has been made official this evening as forecasted high-elevation snow begins to accumulate throughout the county.
As per Caltrans District 1, State Route 253 between the Ukiah Valley and its junction with State Route 128 in Boonville is closed due to snow.
FROM MONDAY AFTERNOON'S Area Forecast Discussion for Northwest California: As a deep trough settles in aloft, strong showers have continuously moved onshore today. Snow amounts well in excess of a foot have been observed above 2000 feet, especially in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. Wet, slushy snow has fallen as low as 1200 feet with much of Clear Lake waking up to a white ground. Some thunderstorms have been reported along the coast with brief periods of small hail. Of particular note, a brief waterspout, that moved on land to become a weak tornado, was documented near Shelter Cove around noon today. This waterspout was likely formed with some terrain influenced shear as the current environment is not very conducive to waterspout formation. (NWS)
COLLEGE AND CAREER FAIR TONIGHT AT 5:00
School Is Open Today. Yorkville Bus The Last Run Is Hutsell Road.
Looking forward to hosting you at the High School for our first in a long time family College and Career Fair starting at 5!
Terri and Steve Rhoades are cooking a great dinner served up in the cafeteria and then come find a seat with your food in the gym. Mr. Moran will give a presentation about graduation requirements and then we have break out sessions for you and your student with all different career possibilities.
Rain Or Shine (Or Snow), The Event Is On. If You Signed Up, Don’t Miss It!
Thank You Cal Trans, Av Fire And All Of The Other Agencies!
Louise Simson, Superintendent
WINTER SNOW EVENT - UPDATE
The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting Moderate to Heavy snow above 1,500 feet today, Monday February 27, 2023, through Tuesday, February 28, 2023. Another winter storm is expected for the weekend.
Dangerous travel conditions may exist from wet/icy roads, high winds, snow, and the potential for downed trees and powerlines. Watch for Black Ice. Black ice is difficult to see and makes roads very slippery, especially on bridges and overpasses. Please remember to stay off roadways unless travel is necessary. Remember to pull over and allow safe passing for road crews and first responders. Chains may be necessary to travel safely on the icy roadways. Never drive through closed roads and ALWAYS slow down.
For additional preparedness information, residents can visit www.mendoready.org and follow the County of Mendocino Facebook page for situational updates.
Online resources to assist with checking road conditions in Mendocino and Lake County:
CHP Traffic: cad.chp.ca.gov
Department of Transportation: http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov
State Routes: tinyurl.com/State-Routes
SNOW AND A TIPPED OVER BIG RIG closed Highway 253 for almost four hours this morning, while heavy snow closed 101 at the Willits Grade. Highway 20 was closed for most of the day by a combination of snow and downed trees. 128 remains closed, as does Mountainview Road. Fish Rock Road, the wildest, least settled path to the Pacific from the Anderson Valley, has been opened but the County recommends that only 4-wheel drive vehicles should attempt it.
AS WE WRAPPED up last night, it was cold and rainy at the lower elevations of the Anderson Valley. 101 and 253 were clear at 8pm, but given all the weather givens, we have no idea of conditions this morning. Call CalTrans.
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: Mendocino County Department of Transportation is actively clearing roadways with crews working extra long shifts. The rapidly changing conditions make the publication of road conditions problematic. By the time crews open a road and leave to inspect another, trees fall, and status becomes stale. If your travel isn’t necessary, staying put until the storm concludes is safest.
AVA PEOPLE were kicking this big subject around today: Why are there no protest songs like the 60s & 70s?
Lazarus of Willits popped up out of his grave to offer his opinion: “Completely different scenario. In the 60s/70s, the draft was still in effect. The military was forging an active war in Vietnam. Americans were being killed in what turned out to be a pointless war… And the 60s were in a renaissance. And that only happens every 400 years, or so I’ve read. The young were better educated, there were more of us (Baby Boomers) and the media was becoming the message.”
EXCEPT FOR his odd riff about the 60’s being a renaissance I agree with Laz. I don’t know about “better educated,” but we were still pretty much print-based with music and movies the only distractions from SERIOUS PURPOSE. Print people can focus, cyber people can’t. These days, distractions are a way of life. Also, the draft forced the young to make some serious choices in the context of a huge section of the population fully aware that the War On Vietnam was based on a lie — the claim that a North Vietnamese little boat attacked one of our big boats. That lie was as big as the lie about Iraq’s non-existent nukes, and then there was the lie about those 18th century Afghans representing a threat to everything good and true to 21st century shopping malls. Re-institute the draft for all 7 (?) genders, no exceptions, and the barricades would go right up. But I think we’re going to go as the poet predicted, “Not with a bang but a whimper.” (My phone! For god’s sake where’s my phone!)
WHICH REMINDS this gaffer about a German kid I met in ‘67. He was barely able to speak English but I think he’d applied for citizenship when he got a draft notice. “What I do now?” he lamented. Very simple, my young kraut, get on a plane back to your motherland. All the jokes about Germans being authoritarian-oriented seemed to be wrapped in this one guy. A direct order from a government, any government, and his every instinct was to obey. The American instinct is to figure a way around anything ordered by the government. Last I heard was that he reported for duty.
I’D GONE directly into the Marines in ‘57 straight out of high school. By the time Vietnam jumped off I was in the jive reserves, whose comic weekend meetings I attended so seldom I got threatened with Vietnam if my attendance didn’t improve. Just as the Corps seemed ready to move on me, I signed up for the Peace Corps, and was no longer a lean, mean fighting machine by the end of ‘63. If I’d been born in, say, ‘43, I’d certainly have been fodder for that murderous debacle. (Funny thing about the Peace Corps was I got held up a couple of weeks in training while my background was vetted because (1) my military background — furriners might think I was a CIA agent and (2) I had a FBI file because, I supposed, I’d been hanging around “subversives.” The Peace Corps was worried I might be a Communist. Which I was, but a small ‘c’ commie, as several million of us certainly were by ‘67.
California Controller Malia M. Cohen will be a guest at the Women’s History Gala Celebration on March 5th at the Saturday Afternoon Club in Ukiah. Doors open at noon. Program begins at 12:30 pm. She was elected in November 2022, following her service on the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), the nation’s only elected tax commission responsible for administering California’s $100 billion property tax system.
As Controller, she continues to serve the Board as its fifth voting member. As chief fiscal officer of the world’s fifth-largest economy, Controller Cohen’s primary responsibility is to account for and protect the state’s financial resources. Controller Cohen also independently audits government agencies that spend state funds, safeguards many types of property until claimed by the rightful owners, and administers the payroll system for state government employees and California State University employees. She serves on 70 boards and commissions with authority ranging from affordable housing to crime victim compensation to land management.
Controller Cohen chairs the Franchise Tax Board and serves on the boards of the nation’s two largest public pension funds, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) Boards, which have a combined portfolio of $750 billion. The Controller is one of eight statewide constitutional officials who are elected every four years in California
— Mendocino Women’s Political Coalition Chair Val Muchowski
POISSON D’AVRIL event at the Larry Spring Museum in downtown Fort Bragg
Our second annual Poisson d’Avril event is Saturday, April 1st, and we’d love you to participate!
12 PM Gates Open beside 225 E Redwood Ave beside the Larry Spring Museum. We’ll host Paper Crafts: Fish hats, masks, and paper fish pranks. There will be Automatic Portraits, a Vintage Photobooth, Carnival-style Games, a Rotten Egg Race, Music, and the Crowning of the April Fool.
2 PM Parade around downtown Fort Bragg
3 PM Puppetry with Theatre de la Liberte
We are looking for mermaid costumes and/or mermaids to participate. You can find updates here as we formalize our schedule: larryspringmuseum.org/calendar/2023/4/1/poisson-davril
Thank you Visit Mendocino for your financial contribution to the event. We are still raising funds, so if you can donate, come by the Museum.
Anne Maureen McKeating
707 962 3131
THE LATEST EUREKA PRODUCTIONS ON-LINE VIDEO MAGAZINE (#32)
LAPSED CATHOLIC AT LOOSE END
Important Message to Postmodern America
Warmest spiritual greetings, Following morning ablutions at Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center, walked south on Ukiah, California’s State Street for a free lunch at the Plowshares Peace & Justice Center. Then took a bus northward to Raley’s Supermarket for a Peet’s coffee. Bussed back southward, and am now on a public computer at RespecTech on Perkins Street. Watching the weather change in Ukiah, California is all that I am doing at this point. I am available for frontline spiritually based social revolution on the plant earth. I am ready to head out of the homeless shelter after one year of sleeping there, as of March 1st. I am accepting money at Paypal.me/craiglouisstehr. I am not identified with the body nor the mind, but only with the Immortal Self, or Pure Spirit, or whatever you define the Divine Absolute as being. I may be reached vial email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The homeless shelter receives telephone messages for me at (707) 234-3270. This sums it up for now at 4:14PM on Monday February 27th, 2023 Anno Domini.
SUPERVISOR MULHEREN (Facebook post): “Take time for YOU. Find your CALM. Breathe in. Breathe out. Let go of the things you’re worried about. Recharge. Take time just to be more yourself, your priority.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, Monday, February 27, 2023
ZARAGOZA AMBRIZ, Sacramento/Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale.
CUAHUTEMOC CARLOS-VARGAS, Clearlake. False ID.
ANDREW CEDILLO, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, violation of protective order, offenses while on bail.
ANGEL CORIA-PENA, Yuba City/Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, transportation between two counties, no license.
BRYAN GONZALES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
SIERRA MAYFIELD-UNANGST, Willits. Domestic battery.
JAVIER MORALES-VAZQUEZ, Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
MICHAEL PARKER, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JOSEPH RIFFIS, Willits. Domestic battery.
MOLLY VISSER, Ukiah. DUI, resisting.
‘DREAM BIG’: Cannabis Workers Search for New Futures as Emerald Triangle Economy Withers
by Alexei Koseff
GARBERVILLE — Leann Greene’s rose-colored glasses are scratched, cracked, sitting askew, but still firmly planted on her face during her latest monthly open house for the Humboldt Workforce Coalition.
For three hours this Wednesday afternoon in a sunny conference room at the public library, apprehensive cannabis workers, lured by a segment on the community radio station KMUD, trickle through, seeking a potential refuge from their collapsing industry. Greene is their counselor and confidante, a relentless cheerleader promoting new career opportunities.
“So dream big. It’s your life, right?” she tells one young man looking for help connecting to job possibilities in a place where there don’t seem to be many right now.
It’s a mantra for Greene.
“You’re kind of reinventing your life here, so dream big,” she tells Daniel Rivero, who fears he could lose his job at any moment after his hours were cut back at the small warehouse where he manufactures cannabis products for $17 an hour.
A crash in the price of weed over the past two years has sent California’s cannabis market reeling — and with it, the communities that relied economically on the crop for decades, even before the “green rush” of commercial legalization.
In the Emerald Triangle — the renowned Northern California region of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties that historically served as the hub of cannabis cultivation for the state and the country — growers who can no longer sell their product for enough to turn a profit are laying off employees and shuttering their farms. The cascading financial impacts have left local residents with broken dreams and a daunting question: If not cannabis, then what?
“We just need to reassess this whole situation as a community of what we can do to evolve with it instead of trying to go against it,” Rivero said.
The 39-year-old, who has lived in Garberville for more than a decade, earned his solar installation certification a few years back, but never bothered to pursue it because the pay would have been lower than what he could make in cannabis. Now he’s trying to put other options back on the table, even as he hopes that he can just hold on until the market stabilizes.
“I’m more the school of thought you go for what your heart tells you,” said Rivero, who like so many others around here, believes that cannabis is more than a profession, it’s a culture that provides medicine for people. “So I think if I can hold out as long as I can, I would, where it’s not affecting my health or my well-being because of my financial situation.”
“Do you keep on struggling or do you go for something that’s more secure?”
That’s the increasingly urgent dilemma for residents of the Emerald Triangle, in the cannabis industry and beyond.
Weed has flourished here for more than half a century, from its seeds as a countercultural back-to-the-land movement in the 1960s to the predominant economic engine of today.
Prime weather and remote locations made it a great place to grow cannabis, while the illegal nature of the business made it highly lucrative. A whole other world — independent but insular, secluded but self-sustaining — developed in communities such as Garberville, a hippie town of about 800 people along the Eel River and Highway 101 near the southern edge of Humboldt County.
“Out here, we’re like an island,” said Anson Wait, a server who estimates that he has lost three-quarters of his income in recent months as the local restaurant industry has been wiped out.
It’s hard to quantify just how central cannabis is to local life, but one academic study more than a decade ago projected that the industry was responsible for at least a quarter of all economic activity in the county. The figure is assuredly far higher in southern Humboldt, where the majority of growers are based.
That reliance on cannabis was once a windfall to a rural expanse without many major commercial sectors, supporting main street boutiques and the sports program at the local high school. But it has also made the region particularly vulnerable to the downturn since California voters legalized recreational use and sales in 2016 with Proposition 64.
With the nascent licensed cannabis market unable to absorb a surplus of product, prices have tumbled over the past few years to a fraction of their former highs — a few hundred dollars for a pound of weed that would have sold for more than $1,000 a couple of years ago. Disappearing profits for growers means there’s simply less money moving through the community.
“It’s like a perfect storm that came through,” said Humboldt County Supervisor Michelle Bushnell, who represents Garberville and the southern county.
Bushnell owns a downtown clothing store that has lost more than half its revenue. Things got so bad last year that she reduced the hours and cut back from six to just two employees. In September, her worst sales month, she gave herself an ultimatum: one more year to pull out of the slump or close the store.
“It’s gut-wrenching. I know I have to make the choice if it comes to that,” she said.
‘It took a huge toll’
No longer able to make ends meet with cannabis, cultivators and workers are contemplating, perhaps for the first time, what else they might do.
Brandon Wheeler, 39, a third-generation farmer from Mendocino County whose grandparents moved to the area in the 1960s as homesteaders, is preparing for his first cannabis season without growing since 2002.
After starting simple with six plants in his mother’s vegetable garden when he was 18, Wheeler eventually expanded to a quarter-acre farm in Hopland and cultivated under the medical marijuana system that existed in California for two decades before recreational legalization.
But trying to become a licensed operator under Proposition 64 was an endless cycle of frustration, crashing into a local bureaucracy that made it nearly impossible to get certified. As prices dropped, leaving ever smaller profits after his farming expenses and county fees and state taxes, Wheeler spent two years debating whether he could afford to keep going.
“I’m working my ass off making $2 an hour and the state is taking $1.90,” Wheeler said. “I could make more money flipping burgers at McDonald’s, literally, and not have to deal with the bulls–t.”
Finally last summer, Wheeler took a job as a horticulturist for the city of Ukiah. The transition has not been as rough as he expected.
It pays only about $50,000 per year, less than he made from the farm at its peak, which has required some cutbacks at home. He’s also commuting now, so he gets less time with his family. But he’s freed of the financial and emotional burdens that he worried might kill him. He started taking martial arts classes with his daughter, and he’s back in better shape than he’s been in more than a decade.
“It’s like 2% the amount of stress. It took a huge toll on my physical and mental health,” Wheeler said. “In some ways the 9-to-5 is more restrictive. But at the same time, when I’m done at the end of the day, I’m done.”
‘I don’t want to see things go down the drain’
There are still plenty of obstacles for workers seeking to transition away from cannabis.
In southern Humboldt, opportunities are scarce outside of low-paying tourism and hospitality jobs. There are more prospects at the northern end of the county, where Cal Poly Humboldt is expanding and offshore wind projects are planned, though many people don’t have the means to commute more than an hour each way.
The cannabis industry also generally relies on specialized and limited skills that do not necessarily translate to other jobs.
That’s what Greene of the Humboldt Workforce Coalition is trying to address. She was hired last summer as a liaison in the southern part of the county for the organization, which manages funds for federal job training and career development programs. She refers to upheaval, naturally, as an opportunity for southern Humboldt to reinvent itself again.
With her rose-colored glasses on, Greene endeavors to bridge a workforce whose primary experience is in cannabis to other local skilled jobs that pay a living wage. She helps write cover letters and resumes, practices hiring interviews and tracks down retraining courses that the government will pay for. An on-the-job training program can cover half the wages for a new employee for the first three months while they learn the skills they need, removing some risk for an employer that might otherwise be reluctant to hire them.
“I’m invested in keeping community members in my community,” Greene said. “I don’t want to see things go down the drain. I freaking love living here.”
But she’s also up against the inertia of stereotypes. Historically, when the cannabis industry was strong, many workers picked up other jobs to hold them over through the winter, then went right back to the farms at planting or harvest time, where they could make far more money. That churn frustrated employers and contributed to a stigma that residents of southern Humboldt were unreliable.
“I think it’s going to take a few years for business owners and employers to kind of wrap their head around the fact that these are hard-working people, that they do actually have skills that are good for a lot of jobs in our area,” Greene said.
“The unfortunate side of that is a lot of our community residents can’t wait for that to change,” she added. “They need to put food on their table now. They need to keep the roof over their head now. They need work now.”
‘We have been made into fools’
That creeping desperation is real for Gabriel Ferreira and Ya Reinier, longtime cultivators in Mendocino County who have yet to figure out their future after concluding last year that growing was no longer viable.
Like many small farmers in the region, Ferreira and Reinier, who first started cultivating cannabis near Covelo in 2007, eagerly sought a license after Proposition 64, believing it could offer greater financial stability, an end to traumatic enforcement raids and the respectability that has always eluded the industry, even here. They purchased a second farm in 2017, aiming to scale up to compete in a rapidly crowding market.
But constantly changing regulatory demands, alongside competition from proliferating illegal growers who had none of the new taxes and fees and paperwork, made it virtually impossible to thrive, they said. Ferreira compared it to a slaughter — legacy farmers betrayed by a government that he believes was determined to see them fail.
If they had just been facing economic challenges, the couple could have allowed time for the market to sort itself out. And if the county had just been putting obstacles in their path, they would have fought through, as long as there was money to be made. But combined, the challenges felt impossible, a tunnel with no light at the end.
“We have been made into fools,” Reinier said. She has maxed out credit cards and cashed out a retirement account over the past three years trying to hang onto the farms and cover their living expenses.
“We’re in debt. We’re woefully in debt,” she said. “We simply had to stop.”
The couple now live in Eureka, the largest city in Humboldt County, so their 10-year-old son can be closer to school. They have been looking for work since last summer without success. Ferreira, 57, who has some previous experience in communications, contemplates developing his own company because the prospect of finding a job feels increasingly demoralizing.
“It’s spiritually a little bit difficult to go from owning your own business to then having to re-enter a market where you’re doing it at entry level,” he said.
Reinier, 53, has been frustrated to find that she can’t get a foothold anywhere, despite having a degree in anthropology from Harvard University. Few of the jobs around town pay enough to cover their bills. She recently applied to work at the local food co-op, something she did in San Francisco when she was younger, but she never even heard back.
She wonders whether her age and her resume, where 15 years of cannabis cultivation is her most recent experience, are holding her back.
“I do feel like there is the stereotype of if you’re a pot farmer, you might be a lazy, irresponsible pothead, too,” she said. “I’m just getting the door closed over and over.”
Perhaps that’s why the couple holds onto a shred of hope of returning to cannabis. Staring down a depressed market, they have yet to put their farms, which still await final permit approval from the county six years later, up for sale. Maybe, they fantasize, if the state would allow growers to sell directly to consumers, that would be the saving grace — and then reality sinks back in.
“I’m heartbroken. I’m heartbroken,” Ferreira said. “I wanted to be part of an industry. I wanted to move out of, you know, being a criminal into being a productive member of society… And mostly what I’m heartbroken about is that I don’t have my community anymore. I go back there regularly and every time I go back, it just tears it open again.”
‘Do I move? Do I stay?’
The situation has grown painful for those outside the cannabis industry as well. The main drag through Garberville, a quaint stretch of motels, cafes and a historic theater, may have more empty storefronts than open businesses.
“It’s been a struggle. It continues to be a struggle every day,” said Suzanne Van Meter, who owns Milt’s Saw Shop, which sells and services handheld power equipment used by homesteaders, farmers and tree-clearing crews.
Sales bottomed out last January, down 66% compared to the year before. Van Meter laid off two employees and cut back the hours for another. She has since reduced her stock, turned to online sales and started pursuing government contracts to stabilize the business.
“This used to be a store where people would just come in and be able to get all brand-new equipment every season,” Van Meter said. “And that’s not an option anymore. So now they’re having to figure out where the stuff is that they had the season before or the season before that or the season before that, bring it all in, try to get it repaired.”
Three blocks away, fewer than half as many people are visiting Sweet Grass Boutique as when Jolan Banyasz bought the women’s clothing and gift shop seven years ago. On some days, only one customer ever comes through the door.
Banyasz laid off three employees in the last year and now largely staffs the store herself. She considered moving her shop to more populous Eureka up north, but thought it would be too much of a hit to community morale.
“I couldn’t pull the trigger. I couldn’t pull my roots out of the area,” she said. “I wish I had the answer because I’ve been racking my brain of what to do for months, and it’s been extremely exhausting trying to figure out, do I move? Do I move? Do I stay? Do I move? Do I stay?”
Next door, sitting untouched as though waiting to open for another day of business, is a coffee shop where Wait worked as a barista until it closed in November.
He still has another restaurant job in the evenings, but those hours have also been cut and tips have dwindled along with the customers. Other opportunities have yet to materialize, so Wait gave up a $300-per-month storage unit and sold some of his possessions — a vintage bass guitar, an old laptop, a television — to scrape up additional money.
“It feels like it’s this downward spiral,” said Wait, who cannot cover all of his bills, even with help from some public assistance programs like food benefits. He hasn’t paid rent in three months and he’s pondering whether he might have to move to northern Humboldt to find work, though he doesn’t want to leave his community behind. He’s not even sure he could afford to relocate anyway.
“I don’t really have enough to sustain myself right now,” Wait said. “I’m just in gratitude that I’m living with some people that have a heart and that they understand that people go through tough times.”
He enrolled in the Humboldt Workforce Coalition program and is reflecting on what could be a satisfying next act at 47. Lately he thinks he might want to get a degree in counseling and become a therapist, perhaps incorporating the music that is his passion. In more bustling times, Wait often busked on the sidewalks of downtown Garberville, playing Beatles covers on his mandolin.
“I’m getting to a point in my life where I’m like, well, I need to maybe switch over to something that’s just a little bit more secure,” he said. Counseling is “something that people are going to need around here, obviously, because there’s a lot of people who have a lot of pain with the transitions that they’re going through.”
‘I don’t want to just scrape by’
In the final hour of the Humboldt Workforce Coalition open house, Michael Baumann arrives, apologizing that he’s late though there is still more than a half hour left in the session.
The 25-year-old was a student of Greene’s the one year that she taught high school Spanish. Now he works at a local warehouse that manufactures pre-rolls and other cannabis products, a long-desired job that he expected would be the first step on his way to eventually starting his own farm.
But Baumann was furloughed last summer and then recently had his hours reduced because there was not enough product to package. It has sent him urgently scrambling to find other ways to support his girlfriend and his three children, the youngest of whom is just three months old.
“I’m willing to do anything that I can right now, just to kind of, like, make ends meet,” Baumann tells Greene. “I’ve tried to apply everywhere in town, but no one is hiring.”
Baumann shows up enthusiastic — he stopped smoking a month and a half ago in preparation for any drug tests he may need to take in his job search — and loaded with his own research. He is leaning toward pursuing a class A license required to drive a big rig, because has three years of previous experience with package delivery.
“I have goals,” he said. “I want to be able to buy a house. I want to be able to buy a nice vehicle, a nice truck or something like that. Something for my lady. I mean, I want to be able to live comfortably. I don’t want to just scrape by.”
Like so many who have been drawn to southern Humboldt, Baumann once believed that cannabis was his path to those goals.
“I know it’s a stupid dream,” he admits to Greene, who tries to reassure him.
“No, it’s a classic around here.”
Greene tells Baumann if he’s willing to jump through eligibility hoops, she can help him with retraining. As much as he might like to return to school for a construction certification, he’s looking for a quick transition so he can get back to earning money. Hence the appeal of the commercial driver’s license, which could get him on the road in a few months.
“Keep your money in your pocket and let me spend the government’s money,” Greene says.
They look online for truck driver training courses that begin sooner than the program at the community college in Eureka, which isn’t scheduled until the summer. There’s one in Sacramento, where Baumann could stay with family, that has potential.
Greene sends him off with a list of documents that he’ll need to compile — driver’s license, social security card, proof of income and residence, EBT receipt — and advice to talk with his girlfriend about what sacrifices they’re willing to make in this transition period. And, always, a bit of a rose-colored encouragement.
“Dream big. Tell me exactly what you’re looking for.”
WHAT TO SAY AFTER WORLD WAR THREE
by Joel Schechter
Alice the Anarchist stopped in San Francisco’s Cafe Valencia the other day to offer me some classified documents she received in the mail. The pages displayed a Presidential seal and a “Top Secret” stamp.
“Someone in the White House or a writer with its stationary has been drafting post-nuclear war speeches,” she said before downing a triple espresso.
“This document wasn’t mislaid by the President,” Alice declared, “unlike other classified papers.” She preferred to see it as the work of a dissenting staffer in Washington who regarded her as the new Daniel Ellsberg, or Chelsea Manning, and thought Alice’s connections were the best way to share alarming government secrets with the public. Unfortunately, I was her best press connection, an alternative weekly columnist whose paper folded years ago.
While Alice checked her I-Phone for publishers receptive to classified documents, I looked over the texts. One of them would have the President saying: “The decimation, the blinding and fiery blasts, the terrible burning, the suffering of millions meant to end our way of life have not completely succeeded. I don’t know if you can hear me, maybe all systems are down again today. But do not despair. Soot has blotted out the sun, and outdoor temperatures have dropped well below normal levels; but it is possible to survive nuclear winter by staying underground for at least six months. Do not leave your bunker too early.”
“I don’t have a bunker, do you?” asked Alice as she typed an email query to the editors at Last Times. I noticed she had a new tattoo on her arm: “Smash War with Peace!” surrounded by a covey of doves.
“It’s no secret that our government is prepared for a nuclear exchange, with all those missile silos and armed submarines,” I told Alice as she continued typing queries.
“But who knew they’re rehearsing postwar speeches already?” she wondered, “and who’s going to hear that speech if all our communications networks are destroyed? No more television, no more text messages, not too many people alive to read them, either.”
Then a message arrived. Alice looked at her email and told me: “Last Times isn’t interested in the story; they want something upbeat.”
She had read an upbeat Times article the other day about how European companies and some American investors were lining up to rebuild the Ukraine after war ended there — even before it ended. ”One of the few benefits of the current war in Ukraine is the promise of postwar construction contracts,” according to Last Times.
We left a tip for the surly waiter (“Buy an underground bunker”) and walked out onto Market Street. Two new skyscrapers were under construction a block away. Our city didn’t need war as an excuse to build up; there was no end to high end real estate funds, although office occupancy rates were falling since Google, Twitter and friends gave out pink slips.
“A lot of money can be made on war damage,” Alice lamented. ”First there’s a profit from war if you sell weapons, then there’s profit repairing the damage done to buildings and roads. It would be more efficient to take the funding spent on weapons, and give it directly to building contractors. Cut out the middlemen, the armies and the weapons manufacturers, just knock down the old buildings and construct the new. Congress could spend the billions not used for weapons to reduce housing shortages, give war refugees and our homeless places to live. Unneeded soldiers retrained as home builders, doctors, solar energy farmers, poets, would save lives instead of taking them.”
Alice and I agreed to run her proposal past the Better Business Bureau, and the International Chamber of Commerce if one existed. But the weapon makers weren’t going to like it; their business was booming, with a promising future, if it survived nuclear winter.
(Joel Schechter’s most recent book is Satire (Methuen).)
DUCK & COVER: America’s First Lockdown Drills
by Carol Bergman
When danger threatened him, he never got hurt. He knew just what to do. —Bert the Turtle
In 1950 Mayor William O’Dwyer announced a plan to protect New York City school children, not from active shooters, but from the atomic bomb. The plan—which continued for a decade—included the use of the basements of school buildings as air raid and/or fall-out shelters. Teachers handed out a booklet: “STAY CALM,” it said in big red letters. And it showed a picture of a little boy and a little girl smiling and staying calm. A year later, the Federal Civil Defense Administration released a cartoon, a record album, and a book featuring Bert the Turtle, who ducked as soon as he saw a “flash of light” and then covered his head and neck with his arms, against a wall, or under a table. At least once a week at noon, an air raid siren would go off. This was the signal for students to slide under their desks and “duck and cover.” Sometimes, there were “sneak attack drills.” “Drop,” the teacher would say, and students had to drop under their desks.
Dog tags were given out in the second week of October each year. “Just in time for Halloween,” our teacher said, cheerily. “You can dress up as soldiers.” Modeled after military dog tags, they were made of a lightweight aluminum, stamped with each child’s name, address and phone number. With their long chains, they dangled right down to our belly buttons.
What fun! In the event of a catastrophe, we could be easily identified, just like on a battlefield.
Or could we? Wouldn’t the aluminum be incinerated?
I rushed home in a panic on those sneak attack drill days, which my parents, who were Holocaust refugees, said reminded them of war. My mother, a psychiatrist, went to speak to the principal. “These drills are not good for the children,” she said. “America is at peace. Let the children live in peace.”
Like all parents everywhere, and throughout time, a committee was formed. A minister’s wife, Mrs. W.H. Melish, mother of two, formed the Parents’ Committee to Safeguard Children From War Tension in the School. “Dear Parent,” she wrote in a letter circulated widely and subsequently published in the New York Times. “Were you shocked when your children came home and reported that they had A-bomb air raid drills? Is your child one of those who is waking up in terror because of these drills?”
The newspaper of record then went on to report Mrs. Melish’s address in Brooklyn, insuring harassment by irate citizens. Some accused her of being a communist.
I am sure the principal was polite when my mother was escorted into her office, but her admonitions, based on her professional assessment, went unheeded. The nonsensical, pointless drills were mandated by the government, a government that had unleashed an atomic bomb on a civilian population—the first and only time so far—and knew full well what it could do: evaporate us. No wonder so many suburban families were building bomb shelters in their back yards. Magical thinking, we’d say today.
These memories came back to me recently when Putin threatened the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Well, just tactical, the pundits reassure us. This is not another Cold War, it is something else, perhaps worse: a geopolitical realignment. More damage is being done to Ukraine by the continuous pummeling of infrastructure with “conventional” weapons, so why worry about nukes? But the missiles cannot see the children down there, and even if they did, what would it matter? The war continues regardless, with no end in sight.
Because so many Ukrainians have evacuated and are living in exile, it’s easy to forget that many remain, including children, who are forced into air raid shelters when a siren sounds, often in the middle of the school day. They sing, or continue with their lessons, they move quietly in well-disciplined lines, and sometimes they cry, the reporters on the ground tell us. They may emerge from their shelters unscathed, or they may not, as in Mariupol. Or their wounds may remain invisible for years to come. Their fathers are mostly soldiers now and will return with their own wounds, or in body bags. Their mothers are sustaining life away from the front lines as best they can until they, too, have to take shelter.
Grown-ups usually have well-intentioned plans, but they can’t always protect their children. Survival in a war zone is day-to-day. Even in schools in a safe-enough country, such as the United States, there is a war mentality. With lockdown drills and school shootings, our schools have become war zones. The absolute safety of our children during the school day is an illusion.
There was a fallout shelter where my friend Diane lived. A yellow and black radiation sign was tacked to the front of her building. One day we persuaded the building superintendent to let us see it. Though these shelters had been de-commissioned, many were still intact. This one contained: dark gray metal cans without labels, jars of peanut butter, dried fruit, jugs of spring water, tinned candies, tinned cigarettes, cots and blankets, candles, a table and chairs, a radio, a gasoline lantern, a gasoline stove and a large medicine kit filled with Band-Aids and iodine.
Diane wanted to stay and play, but I said no. I was scared. The shelter was a tomb.
“You kids,” the superintendent said affectionately as he escorted us back upstairs. “Get outside into the sunshine. Jump rope or something.”
So that’s what we did.
(Carol Bergman was an Adjunct Associate Professor of writing at NYU, College of Applied Liberal Arts from 1997 - 2020. She is one of the founding faculty at Gotham Writers Workshop. “Objects of Desire,” appearing in Lilith and Whetstone Literary Review was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in nonfiction. “Another Day in Paradise; International Humanitarian Workers Tell Their Stories,” with a foreword by John Le Carré, was nominated for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize. Her articles, essays, short stories, reviews and interviews have appeared in numerous publications all over the world. Resident in London for a decade, she was a regular contributor to the Times Educational Supplement. She and her journalist husband returned to the United States so that their London-born daughter could experience an American childhood. But that’s another story.)
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Having a sensitive and well maintained Bullshit Meter, the more ridiculous something becomes the more powerfully motivated I feel to oppose it. This particularly applies to all of the newly coined “genders,” sexual mutilation of confused adolescents, mandated obeisance to “preferred pronouns,” and the like.
In the past few years rational people have been intimidated into silently pretending that these things are reasonable and should be respected. But lately, when I call bullshit on that stuff, I am seeing a few timid souls start to blink their eyes and say “Wait! Is it ok to start pushing back?”
Yes. It is past time to push back. A generation from now young people will rightly ridicule this stuff and those who acquiesced in it. Better to be remembered as one of those who overthrew the woke regime than as one of its acolytes.
UKRAINE, MONDAY, 27TH FEBRUARY
At least two people were killed after Russia launched drone attacks targeting Kyiv and parts of Ukraine surrounding the capital, Ukrainian authorities said Monday.
Ukraine reported heavy Russian shelling in the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions over the weekend, while forces are locked in brutal urban combat in the flashpoint city of Bakhmut.
Russia’s invasion has triggered the “most massive violations of human rights,” unleashing “widespread death, destruction and displacement,” the head of the UN said Monday.
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan vowed there would be “real costs” for China if it provides lethal aid to Russia in its war on Ukraine.
FROM CARTER TO M.T.G.: WHAT A PEACH STATE PLUMMET
by Maureen Dowd
When Jimmy Carter was president, I was a lowly clerk at The Washington Star. I saw him mostly through the eyes of Pat Oliphant, our brilliant, biting cartoonist. As Carter came to be seen as uncool and fumbling, Oliphant drew the president smaller and smaller in relation to his tormentors —including that killer rabbit.
It taught me an early lesson in the brutality of dwindling power.
Four decades later, I went one weekend to interview Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in Plains, Ga., along with my friend Jerry Rafshoon, who was Carter’s media wizard.
I watched Carter teach Sunday school at the Baptist church his friends started in the 1970s, after his original church refused to integrate. Some in Plains, disdaining his views on integration, tried to boycott his peanut business, but most came back. “I had the best peanuts,” he told Rafshoon.
I sat with the former president as he celebrated his 93rd birthday with a concert; he asked the pianist to play “Imagine.” Wearing jeans and a belt with a big “JC” buckle, he showed me the four-poster walnut bed he slept in with Rosalynn, which he had carved himself.
The man was a marvel. The starchiness and righteousness were still there. He had not mellowed, thank God. He remained, to use the descriptor favored by one of his sons, intense. He still felt the sting of being dissed and held at a distance by his successors Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
As a postpresident, Carter’s decency and honesty shone. Unlike Clinton and Obama, he didn’t go Hollywood. Through the Carter Center, he worked tirelessly to eradicate diseases like Guinea worm and supervise elections in more than 100 countries.
He cared so passionately about peace that he even offered to go on a mission for a Republican president with very different values, Donald Trump, to talk to Kim Jong-un in North Korea.
Carter cared about building — furniture and relationships. The nasty new face of Georgia politics cares about dividing.
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene followed up her furry catcalls to President Biden during the State of the Union by proposing secession.
“We need a national divorce,” she tweeted on Presidents’ Day. “We need to separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government. Everyone I talk to says this. From the sick and disgusting woke culture issues shoved down our throats to the Democrat’s traitorous America Last policies, we are done.”
Georgia is purplish now, with two Democratic senators, as well as a governor and secretary of state willing to stand up to the Trump election lies that Greene helps spread. So it’s not clear if some states would have to be — what’s that word again? — segregated into blue and red bastions.
Georgians could be proud of Carter, who worked prodigiously to bring peace to the Middle East. Now they have a congresswoman, a creepy confidante of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who talked gibberish about Jewish space lasers and called A.O.C. and the Squad the “Jihad Squad.” Greene said Black people “are held slaves to the Democratic Party” and labeled Black Lives Matter “the most powerful domestic terrorist organization within inside the United States.”
Carter, a brainiac, is a former nuclear engineer with a soaring I.Q. Greene, a maniac, ranted to Tucker Carlson on Thursday about “this war against Russia in Ukraine.”
When Carter became governor in 1971, many hoped we had begun to move past the kind of hatred and racial struggles that defined the South in the 1950s and ‘60s. He placed Martin Luther King Jr.’s portrait in the State Capitol and said in his inaugural speech: “I say to you quite frankly that the time for racial discrimination is over.”
Time magazine hailed the New South on its cover, saying Carter had triumphed over the South’s “demagogic past” and Confederate ghosts. Now, thanks to the likes of Trump and Greene, we’re back in the toxic soup.
“Marjorie Taylor Greene is following in the footsteps of racist old bigots like Lester Maddox and George Wallace,” Rafshoon said.
Greene is the apotheosis of those who love hating so much, they no longer have any interest in collaborating for the good of the country and the world. Carter is the apotheosis of the mantra “We’re better than this.”
“Jimmy Carter represents all that is good and decent in public life,” said Jonathan Alter, the author of “His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life.” “And Marjorie Taylor Greene represents all that is sinister and despicable in public life.”
Alter has been fielding calls from around the world from people writing stories about Carter since the 98-year-old started hospice a week ago. (Those who know Carter joke that he’s so competitive, he has no doubt asked his doctor the record for hospice care, so he can break it and add to his list of accomplishments.) He wanted to be at home with his wife of 76 years, Rosie, as he calls her. The two were introduced when Carter was a toddler by his mother, Miss Lillian, a nurse, a couple of days after she delivered Rosalynn, which sort of makes them sweethearts for 95 years.
“He’s en route to becoming an American Gandhi,” Alter said. “He went from obscurity and zero percent in the polls to lead an epic American life by offering a positive, inspirational message.” A message that is a rebuke, Alter said, “to what is twisted and wrong about MAGA America.”
So who do we want to be? Marjorie Taylor Greene or Jimmy Carter? Destroyers or builders?
THE NIGHT TEX COBB SAVED MY LIFE
by Pete Dexter
(In November 1982, Philadelphia Daily News columnist Pete Dexter went to Houston to watch his friend Randall “Tex” Cobb fight Larry Holmes for boxing’s heavyweight championship. This is the first part, originally published on Nov. 23, 1982.)
The first time I ever brought up the subject of retirement, Randall Cobb had just stopped Earnie Shavers in the eighth round of a fight that ruined appetites all over Detroit. He’d broken Shavers’s jaw with a short left uppercut, but before that happened he and Earnie had stood in the middle of the ring 7 1/2 rounds throwing punches. There could have been six or seven that missed, but I didn’t see them.
We were sitting in the dressing room; Randall was sucking down Coca-Colas. His face looked exactly the way a face is supposed to look after Earnie Shavers has been beating on it half the night, and the sound of the inevitable throwing up afterward still hung in the air.
The dressing rooms in Detroit have the best acoustics in the world.
He looked over at me with that one eye he could still look out of and said, “You feeling better now?” And, while I’m admitting here that it wasn’t Randall who threw up, I would also like to point out that it wasn’t Randall who had to watch the fight.
His body was rope-burned and turning black and blue, and the end of his nose was red like he was four days into a bad cold. I said, “I wish you wouldn’t fight Earnie Shavers anymore.”
“I absolutely promise,” he said.
But I meant more than Earnie Shavers, and later that night, back at the hotel, he tried to relieve me of my obligations. He said, “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but if you can’t watch it, then don’t.”
I took that the wrong way, of course. I’d only known Randall a year then, but it could have just as soon been my own brother in there, as far as not watching went. He said he understood that. “I know it isn’t easy watching somebody you love fight Earnie Shavers,” he said.
I said, “It’d be a damn sight easier if somebody would keep his hands up.”
And that’s as much talking we did then about retiring. Randall had made $75,000 or $80,000 for that fight, and he was on the way up. He’d taken Shavers on short notice after Gerry Cooney had backed out of the fight—if Cooney hadn’t backed out, by the way, he never would have ended up in the ring with Larry Holmes earlier this year for $10 million. A lot of people saw Randall that night, and liked what they saw.
And a lot of people didn’t.
In the bars, they told me Randall couldn’t fight at all. Guys still bragging about five amateur fights 20 years ago went out of their way to tell me all the things Randall couldn’t do. They said any decent South Philly street fighter would kill him, they said he better get a job driving a truck while he still could.
I never said much back. When they talked about him getting hurt, I thought about it. The difference was, they didn’t care.
The first fight he lost was against Ken Norton, a split decision in San Antonio, Texas. He walked into the hardest single punch I’ve ever seen that night, a straight right hand that Norton threw from the bottom of his heart.
I can close my eyes and still see Randall’s face in the half-second after it landed. For that little time, he was lost. He was coming forward when it hit him, and for half a second he stopped.
Then he went back to work, and in the dressing room afterward I heard Norton tell him, “You beat the bleep out of me, man.” Norton had fought his best fight since the night he lost his title to Larry Holmes. He’d been braver and stronger than he’d been in four years.
It had been that way with Shavers, too, and later it would be that way against Bernardo Mercardo. I have seen Mercardo quit in his corner when he was winning, but against Randall he stayed there 10 rounds, taking one of the worst body beatings I’ve ever seen.
We talked about that after every one of them. After Mercardo I said, “You know, you’re giving them something out there. You spend the whole round proving they can’t hurt you, you throw 150 punches to their 25, and then at the end of the round, just when they’re sure you’re not human, you pat them on the ass and give them something to come out with in the next round. You’re taking away their fear.”
“It’s a bad habit, all right,” he said. And in his next fight, at the bell ending the fourth round against Jeff Shelburg earlier this year—a round in which he landed at least 100 punches—I heard him say this: “Hang in there, Jeff. After this is over we’re going to go out and get drunk.”
Between Mercardo and Shelburg, of course, there was supposed to be a fight with WBA heavyweight champion Mike Weaver. That fell through in December, when a kid with a tire iron broke his arm. He was standing over my body at the time, fighting off a lot of kids with tire irons and baseball bats.
I was already unconscious—hit five or six times square in the head—and it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what would have happened if he’d left me. And it doesn’t matter how good you are in a fight, if you see 25 or 30 people coming at you with bats and crowbars and reinforced iron, you’ve got to think about leaving.
When I woke up he was shouting, “If he’s dead, every one of you is dead, too.” And it must have scared them off—it scared me—because the next thing I knew he was picking me up.
He said, “Pete?”
I said, “Any time you’re ready to leave…” They’d broken one of my hips and the leg attached to it wouldn’t move. I said, “Randall, this leg won’t move.”
He said, “We don’t have time for that leg not to move.” And somehow he got me in the truck and drove me to the hospital. He never said anything about his arm.
On the way, we talked things over. There was blood and swelling everywhere. It was a lot like a dressing room. I said, “You know, we could of planned this better.”
He said that Gen. George Pickett had planned it better at Gettysburg.
There is one other thing he said that night that stays in my mind. It was when the place was filling up with baseball bats and tire irons, and all of a sudden you could see how many of them there were, and what they meant to do, and how bad the night was going to turn out.
He leaned over to me and said, “I hope that’s the softball team.”
He lost his first chance with Weaver over that, and his second chance when Weaver hurt his back, and his third chance when he got cut in training a few days before the fight.
And I was sure he would beat Weaver, but the fight scared me. I was in Knoxville the night Weaver took the title from John Tate, and 10 minutes after Weaver had knocked him out, they brought Tate out of the ring, hidden in the middle of 10 or 15 of his people.
Tate’s eyes were open, he seemed to be talking, but then I looked down and saw the toes of his shoes dragging along the floor. John Tate was never the same after that fight, and I wasn’t interested in seeing Randall prove he could take the same shots and beat Weaver anyway. And that’s what he would have done.
And that’s what he’ll do against Holmes. He’ll take the jabs and the right hands, and then he’ll throw jabs and right hands back, mostly to the body. Two and three punches to one. And in the eighth or ninth round, I think Larry Holmes will lose his title.
And Randall probably will be cut, and I’ll be throwing up in the dressing room, and the guys still bragging about five amateur fights from 20 years ago will turn away from the television set at the bar and tell each other he still can’t fight.
I guess it doesn’t need to be pointed out here that the damage a punch does comes partly when it lands and partly later, when it accumulates with the other punches. The accumulation goes on as long as you keep getting hit, and sometimes it catches up with you and sometimes it doesn’t.
I don’t want to be there if it ever catches up with Randall Cobb. I remember that fractured moment when he was lost after Norton hit him with the right hand, and the only thing that saves me from that moment is remembering that half a second later he was all right.
I don’t want to be there to see him lose again, but I will be if it happens. As long as he wants to fight, I’ll be there. Not because he didn’t leave me one night last December, not because he needs me there—he doesn’t.
I’ll be there because it can’t be as bad watching him fight as it would be, being too afraid to watch.
This letter from February 23, 1942 from an out-of-work coal miner to the editor of the Harrisburg Telegraph asked why the recently abandoned Williamstown Colliery was not being scrapped to benefit the American war effort in World War II.
Editor of the Telegraph:
After hearing on the radio and reading in the paper of real shortage in steel, I cannot understand why the coal company known as Susquehanna Collieries Company, of Williamstown may abandon the mines here and allow to remain hundreds of tons of steel rails in mines to be buried underwater to remain there forever.
If our government needs steel so much why may such companies do such a thing when our sons are crying for weapons made from such steel. I do not know if this will do any good, but as you are an honest paper and the only place I can think of, I hope you can do something.
I remain a father with two sons in the United States Army and a Telegraph reader for years.
A COAL MINER
by James Kunstler
“It’s Coming.” That’s what Elon Musk said a while back apropos of the Twitter files that show all the US government suppression of Covid-19 information mis-labeled as “misinformation.” Think of whatever the truth is as mis-misinformation. Get it? You might have to read that sentence more than once to comprehend what went wrong with the American consensus the past three years. And then you’ll begin to understand why the operation is called mind-fuckery.
“It” comes out in weird ways now. For instance, Woody Harrelson’s little prank on Saturday Night Live. The A-List actor opened the show acting stoned, talking about how much he likes weed and getting stoned, and, at the very end of his routine, spoke of a “movie script” that spun out in his stoned head:
The Biggest drug cartels in the world get together, and buy up all the media and all the politicians… and force all the people in the world to stay locked in their homes… and people can only come out if they take the cartel’s drug… and keep taking them over and over. I threw the script away. I mean, who’s gonna believe that crazy idea?”
One can also imagine the NBC lawyers’ iPhones lighting up and emitting a cacophony of ring-tones in the late-night hours following Woody’s little gaucherie. After all, this is the TV network that still employs the likes of Rachel Maddow, Misinformation-Informer-in-Chief of the whole USA who, for years, has performed as the icon representing how the political Left thinks of itself, and what it thinks. What the Left thinks of itself, of course, is that it’s collectively the smartest person in the world. And what the Left actually thinks is exactly what Woody’smovie script implied: believe everything that the government, the news media, and the drug companies tell you, and act accordingly, and destroy anyone who says otherwise.
Woody’s gag offended the news media hugely and instantly, said media being scaffolded on the Internet. The response was wildly censorious. Vanity Fair’s insta-bulletin said, “Uncle Woody… taking the stage to float conspiracy theories disguised as provocative humor is both intellectually dishonest and tedious.” Tedious? As if you’ve heard that come out of A-list actors’ mouths a thousand times? I doubt it. Who is being “intellectually dishonest” exactly?
Rolling Stone, likewise headlined: “Woody Harrelson Spreads Anti-Vax Conspiracies During SNL Monologue.” (Just how anti-anti-establishment now is the old counter-culture rag I once worked for?) The Daily Beast, The Left’s house organ, echoed that: “Woody Harrelson Spews Anti-Vax Conspiracies in Rambling SNL Monologue.” Notice, “spews,” as in the most vile and disgusting bodily function imaginable, you revolting piece of filth….
Now, what Woody actually didn’t say in that little riff, if you’re paying attention, is that the vaxxes in question are ineffective and dangerous. Yes, he actually left that part out, though there were enough dots in the monologue to connect that message, if you were of a mind to. The problem for the smartest people in the world is that their minds stopped working about five years ago — mainly when a certain DJT stepped onstage to declare that the Left’s management of national affairs was corrupt, depraved, and dangerous. This enraged the management class to the max
Graduates of Yale, Brown, Harvard, and the rest of the elite service academies went nuts over that and, in a bizarre switcheroo for the ages, became the staunchest defenders of anything the government decided to impose on the people of this land, starting with a series of political hoaxes — RussiaGate, Ukraine phone call impeachment — cresting with the Covid-19 hysteria and its vaccination cherry-on-top. The smartest people in the world were all-in on all of that, and knocked themselves out enforcing and defending it.
And now… its coming… out. They were played. Absolutely snookered. All. These. Brilliant. Morally unassailably upright. Good. People. Taken for a ride. Spoofed. Put-on. Conned. And they sold out their country in the process. And now they cower on the verge of being unmasked for the mendacious fools they are. One might empathize at how horribly painful this is, the ethical wreckage of a whole social demographic! But don’t confuse empathy with sympathy. They are about to sink in historic disgrace and ignominy, and that’s why their official interlocutors react so harshly.
Another part Woody left out is what happens after the suckered people take the cartel’s drug over and over. They get sick and many of them die. We are just getting started with that chapter of the story and, as statistical investigator Edward Dowd said recently, the mRNA “vaccines” have already killed more Americans than all the wars this country ever fought. This is the kind of mis-misinformation that the managing elite really don’t want to face. But get ready. It’s coming.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
A CALL FOR AN AMERICAN REVIVAL - from Nord Stream to East Palestine
by Dennis Kucinich
I delivered this speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. at the 'Rage Against the War Machine' rally on February 19, 2023
Brothers and Sisters,
We gather here this afternoon, before this national shrine dedicated to an apostle of healing, with the recognition that we are at an epoch of American history no less fraught than that faced by Abraham Lincoln, but with the knowledge that our nation has survived times of division by invoking the power of spirit, the light of truth and, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, through “making justice the measuring line.”
We are here in painful recognition that our government does not have the capacity to heal the divisions in this nation, nor the willingness to use the basic science of human relations, sincere diplomacy, to avoid violent conflict, and is, in fact, unwilling to end conflict peacefully.
Its greatest talent is to craft misinformation and disinformation to subvert the media, to misuse it as an instrument to incite fear and hatred among our people, exciting partisan divisions at home through crass politics and stirring ancient hatreds abroad through lies, deceit, false flag operations and provocations which profane the very essence of democracy.
In blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines, this government has deliberately circumvented Article One of the US Constitution, the authority of Congress, to make war; it has violated international criminal law by conspiring to commit acts of sabotage and violence on the high seas.
It has used illegal and unconstitutional means to destroy the energy resources needed to protect millions of people in Europe during winter and then to profit from its illegal actions by selling energy to Europe at a four to six times markup.
It has done so blatantly, cynically, simultaneously taking credit for the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines, and then denying any role in it.
I speak directly to those responsible: Thanks to a courageous journalist, Seymour Hersh, we know what each of you did at the Nord Stream Pipelines, Mr. President, Mr. Secretary of State, Mr. National Security Advisor and Madame Under Secretary of State. And we will not rest until you are held accountable by Congress, by the International Criminal Court, and by the American people at the next election for your reprehensible conduct which has debased our Constitution, undermined the Rule of Law and, in our name, committed an Act of War that threatened the peace of the world and the stability of our own nation.
No amount of balloon militarism will distract us from your profoundly lawless, reckless conduct. Even intelligence professionals are aghast at the White House’s incompetence and have lost trust in your ability to defend America.
Oh yes, you want to hold Russia to account. That will ultimately be up to the Russian people. But it is up to us, the American people, to hold you to account, to affirm that we are a nation of laws, not of men or women, to hold those in high office to the highest of standards of national and international law.
If we fail to do this, we have only ourselves to blame while our government descends into depravity and frogmarches us directly into a nuclear war. Under the pretense of the pursuit of national security, our government’s aggressive nature has alienated many nations of the world and caused them to withdraw from commerce with America, with long-term implications for the value of our dollar and our financial security.
Our government has ceded our sovereignty in matters of commerce to the World Trade Organization to the detriment of American industry and American workers.
It has ceded our national sovereignty in matters of peace to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which prefers military escalation to peace and is content, together with this Administration, to use the good, courageous people of Ukraine as pawns in a vicious and deadly geo-political chess game which began well before the illegal Russian invasion. And it is now planning to do for the people of Taiwan what it has done for the people of Ukraine, portraying China as the aggressor while surrounding China with about 200 military bases.
At home our government has supported devastating gain-of-function research which loosed the scourge of a pandemic across our land.
It has perverted social media to suppress legitimate debate over COVID policy, to the detriment of the health, welfare and the will of Americans.
Our government has enabled federal law enforcement to be weaponized against political opponents and has injected itself into social media organizations to impose political and ideological censorship in a manner characteristic of totalitarian rulers, attacking the patriotism of those Americans who dare ask questions.
Such a government is neither deserving of the trust of the American people, nor worthy of our tacit consent to make decisions in our interests.
This passage from The Declaration of Independence is compelling:
“ ….That when any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
We must change this government, before it destroys our nation. And we must change the way we are governed, insisting upon a government dedicated to peace, at home and abroad. Strength through Peace ensures our defense and our readiness by not wasting our resources on ideological warfare.
I speak not as a partisan, but as an American who believes that we are being led to the brink of annihilation by individuals lacking in self-control, obsessed with the exercise of global power, and incapable of invoking the power of nonviolent persuasion.
As a congressman, I warned America about going to war after 9/11. I led the effort against the Iraq War, saw the lies that took the lives of at least 4,491 American men and women, cost this nation more than $3 trillion dollars, laid waste the country of Iraq, killing at least one million innocents -- all because our leaders lied about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction and provoked great fear across the land. For fear is also a weapon of mass destruction. Hatred is a weapon of mass destruction.
Our nation used to lead the world in making steel, cars, and ships. Now we lead the world in making enemies, confusing defense with offense, arming ourselves to the teeth, spending trillions of dollars to advance an aggressive empire through the promotion of war.
But the wars, my dear friends, have come home. While our nation spends one trillion dollars, every year, to prepare for war, millions of Americans are ill–fed, ill housed, ill-clothed, ill-educated, without hope for the future.
We cannot fuel wars across the world and pretend there are no consequences. The wars inevitably come home. The carnage is now in the streets of our cities as millions of Americans are overwhelmed with anger, despair, hopelessness and unrelenting mass violence.
America’s destiny, in its founding, was to be the light of the world, a free and independent nation among nations, not a nation above nations, not a military juggernaut roaming the world conjuring dragons to slay.
We were to be the land of the free, the home of the brave, not continually locked into fear by a government made of fearful people who are afraid of balloons, but instead need to be really afraid of the American people, as we come to a realization that our government has been turned into a racket by corrupt, incompetent leaders.
This, then, is a call for an American Revival. A revival of courage, of authenticity, of a willingness to participate in the work of rebuilding our nation politically, economically and spiritually.
America longs for a return of government of the people, which focuses on taking care of things here at home. We, as a nation, cannot hope to favorably influence the conduct of other nations while at least 30 million Americans are food insecure, a half-million homeless people struggle every day to have a roof over their heads. American communities do not have clean water, while our nation has shown itself incapable of even responding to the urgent needs of the those affected by the derailment disaster in East Palestine, Ohio.
This government’s chilling lack of compassion and empathy is on full display, not only in East Palestine, Ohio but across the globe. Policies that lack human sympathy portend greater and greater destruction.
It is time to revive the Spirit of America, so that each one of us truly believes in the ability of the nation to function for the benefit of all of us. It is time to make real the dream of prosperity for all. It is time to make real the dream of education for all, health care for all, jobs for all, retirement security and safe neighborhoods.
It is time to revive the Spirit of Patriotism, which reflects a daily celebration of freedom where Americans are free from government prying and spying into their personal lives and where each of us is free to make decisions about our own lives, our own health, our own beings.
It is time to revive the Spirit of Peace. The Scriptures say, “Blessed are the Peacemakers.” It is time for America to establish a new role in the world, where we demand of our leaders the ability to reconcile with other nations, to make peace with our brothers and sisters.
We must coalesce as a nation, to seek and to find the underlying unity which binds us as Americans. Love of Life binds us. Love of Peace binds us. Love of country binds us. Brotherhood and sisterhood binds us. Love of children binds us. Love of family binds us. Love of home binds us. Love of church, synagogue, temple and mosque binds us. Love of work binds us. Love binds us all in a union of hope.
And as we revive our oneness as a nation, we proclaim the deeper meaning of our first national motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” ‘Out of Many We are One.’ It is then we can truly unite with the rest of the world.
For human unity is the ultimate truth. We are interconnected and interdependent with people everywhere, and as nations strive for self-sufficiency, so, too they must strive for cooperation. It is human unity that will save our planet from destruction and enable us to achieve a heaven on earth.
It is the realization that we are, all of us, created equal and entitled to self-determination, and self-fulfillment individually and collectively. This our county, this land that we love, to whom Americans pledge allegiance, must in turn pledge its allegiance to We the People, allegiance to Truth, to One nation, under God, Truly with Liberty and Justice for All.
Let us proceed, then, guided by these words from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural, “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right….”