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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, March 9, 2023

Rain Ahead | Bell Springs | Skatepark Meeting | Live Music | Gardens Work | Hazardous Weather | Video Magazine | Snow Story | Geyserville View | Alpine Symphony | Movie Memories | Proudmobile | Ed Notes | PG&E Mobilizing | Yesterday's Catch | Decline/Collapse | Popular Bernie | Gold Fever | Funicular Cars | Fiat Information | Jupiter | About Race | Abduction | Ukraine | 50,000 Years | Homeopathic Killer | Ruinous Master | Owl Gaze

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AN ATMOSPHERIC RIVER storm will bring heavy rain, rising snow levels and strong winds today. The heaviest rain is forecast to occur this afternoon through early Friday morning. Rain intensity and amounts will fall off through the day on Friday. Additional light rain is forecast to occur over the weekend, followed by another period of heavier rain and gusty winds early next week.

WIND ADVISORY in effect until 10 pm pst this evening.

FLOOD WATCH in effect from 1 pm pst this afternoon through Friday evening.

(National Weather Service)

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Bell Springs Road (photo by Mark Oneill)

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Community members' last chance to help design skatepark and surrounding park features

Frontier Skateparks head designer Mike Greenwald met with students and community members in Boonville on February 16th to gather design ideas for our very own custom-designed skatepark. (Check out photos from the event here!) Mike and Frontier graphic designer Justin Le will meet virtually with community members again on March 9th to present initial draft designs and gather feedback before finalizing the design.

During this meeting, we will also solicit input on design and placement of other park features in the skatepark perimeter. This includes benches, shade coverings, pathways, entranceways, fencing and gates, a water fountain and more! Please join us if you'd like a hand in the design.

Thurs March 9, 4:00pm @ AV High, Room 6

Or join virtually via zoom, with passcode 424242

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GARDENS WORK: Spread the word! Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is seeking one experienced Horticulturist for a full-time year-round position with benefits. We are also hiring part-time seasonal Store and Cafe Staff to welcome our summer crowds. View the full job description and application instructions at:

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JIM SHIELDS [early Thursday]: It rained and snowed five days out of the seven this past week, there are folks stranded in their homes up in higher elevations with 5-to-6 feet of accumulated snow, and the immediate outlook is for hazardous weather of a wintry mix, high winds (gusts up to 65 mph), potential of flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations. Other than those few minor inconveniences, things couldn’t be better. So be careful out there as there are too many people who don’t have a clue how to deal with wintry weather and navigating through it behind the wheel of a vehicle.

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SNOW STORY: I have a story of my own to share… I currently work at & live near the Peg House in Leggett. When the snow started really coming down, I took it upon myself to venture over to the public & well used bathrooms (as they are the ONLY public restrooms in Leggett) to make sure they were stocked well & whatnot. I met a very nice family who pulled in shortly after I showed up, heading back to Arcata after a long trip attending a family emergency. As the kids were playing in the snow & their dog running zoomies back & forth across the yard, I had a very nice chat with the mom about their trip & about how hectic the rds were getting and that they couldn’t wait to get home. The Dad finished up in the bathroom & joined us at which point he addressed his concerns about barely making it thru to there as the rds were getting bad. I told them I’d lived in this area since I was a kid & what I do know is the rds get hit with debris from trees when it just rains hard, without factoring in the weight of the snow. At this point I asked them to listen…I’d already been listening to the wilderness & wanted them to understand the pitch I was about to make to them. What we heard was the cracking of limbs, the falling trees, one after another! It was incredible. Then I turned to them asking that they be extra, extra alert & be careful driving home! I asked Dad to not be a hero & try getting them all home, reminding him he had precious cargo in that truck! I told them they were more than welcome to ride out the storm here. They got into their vehicle & drove off. As I walked away I had a terrible feeling in my gut. Perhaps I should have been more verbal about my concerns… maybe I should have done this or that. I ventured back home for a warmer jacket & walked back over to the store. Several vehicles had pulled in & were sitting idling apparently keeping themselves warm. I walked up to one of them & a gal was telling me how the rds were terrible South of us & to the North were several accidents as well as vehicles hit with branches & falling trees! I was like OMG I just sent a family of 4 out of there minutes before & I suddenly felt sick. The lady pointed behind me at one of the other vehicles & said that there was a family in that one… right then the passenger door opened & Mom gets out, arms spread wide & states “we stopped & turned around!” Let me tell you we both ran towards each other and embraced! Tears in both our eyes as she tells me it was the best hug she’s ever had! Apparently they’d just come back from grandma’s funeral & had had one heck of a week. They’d decided after leaving the store it just wasn’t worth flirting with disaster just to get them home a little sooner than not at all. At this point numerous cars had pulled in, all expressing how 101 was shutting down in both directions. I opted to go ask the owners if they wanted to open the store, that I’d sit there & help whomever I could. They were grateful as they had no idea that all of this was going on. The boss & I opened the doors to way more people than I expected. We fed them, sold them blankets, socks, sweatshirts, whatever we could provide them with for an evening stranded in their cars… in Leggett! Apparently the fire dept kept bringing folks to us as they rescued car after car getting them to a safe destination & of the hwy. We closed up about 8:30, left coffee out front. When I walked home I was surprised just how many folks were stranded here. Vehicles lined up everywhere it seemed. Most had their headlights on because their motors were running keeping them all warm. Boss reopened about 4am. I arrived at about 7:30 and most everyone was gone. I’m gathering everyone made their way thru before the rds were officially closed in both directions not long after. The section between Leggett & Confusion Hill was hit hard & the 1.5 miles between Leggett & Peg House was demolished & was the last section to reopen. Apparently they opened the rds South of us sending everyone to the closure at hwy 1 & 101 in Leggett! Unfortunately we are NOT in a position to accommodate that many people! Please note… there are NO public restrooms in Leggett! Cars were lining the roadways, blocking driveways it was a mess. When they finally re-opened hwy 101, there was controlled traffic all the way to Confusion Hill and was a long long wait in-between. Luckily everybody was so nice & grateful & I’m so glad we were able to make a scary situation for so many, safe & warm for them. I’ll never forget the winter of 2023!

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East Of Geyserville (photo by Virginia Sharkey)

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VIRGINIA SHARKEY [Mendocino]: On the way to Berkeley to hear Strauss’s Alpine Symphony with 150 musicians on stage in the Vienna Philharmonic Tuesday night and those gazillion horns and busy percussionists. This was programmed after the first all-string piece of Schoenberg’s ‘Transfigured Night.’ I love the late romantics and the Alpine Symphony is one of my most beloved pieces. I listen to it on CD a lot when I’m working in the studio. It’s expensive to put on and rare to hear. Strauss really brings you right into the experience of climbing a mountain in the Alps with thunderstorm and all. The audience seemed to be as enthralled as I was. But after three enthusiastic curtain calls we were forced to sit through an encore “mit schlag” a waltz probably by the other Strauss. So the fabulous Alpine landscape we’d been traveling through was deleted in an instant. I believe we may have been clapping not just for the charm of the fabulous string section, which was featured in the Schoenberg, but Strauss’s achievement. Do they take us Californians for the dumb bunnies they must think we are?

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BILL KIMBERLIN PRESENTS ‘Movie Memories’: Sunday, March 19, 2023 AT 4pm at the Anderson Valley Historical Museum.

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Spotted In Clearlake (via Betsy Cawn)

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ANOTHER SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE: Changes to California law next year may make it illegal for public schools to suspend student stoners, as if the schools don't have enough problems with instilling the basics in hordes of feral children raised in wildly dysfunctional homes. What dope advocates seldom seem to point out is that marijuana is a lot stronger than it was in the late Sixties, and the medical evidence overwhelmingly points to heavy toking from a young age directly correlates to adult schizophrenia. I can name a dozen or so kids I watched grow up here in the Anderson Valley who were either all the way batshit as adults or became semi-vegetables, going from daily pot use to the prevalent potpourri of other, harder drugs.

TODAY'S TEMP reached a basebally 70 degrees here in Boonville, but given the big storm on the way Thursday, the total circumstance of deep snow presently in the Triangle's hills followed by massive, warm rains melt all that snow, well, we might be looking at a catastrophe on the scale of 1964, when whole Humco villages were swept down the Eel and out to sea.

I VISITED THE AV HEALTH CENTER Wednesday for a knee shot of cortisone, deftly administered by the always amusing Dr. R, prior to which I had to fill out a lengthy and quite silly questionnaire asking me, among other things, my pronoun preference — he, she, they, her/him polymorphous perverse, and what all, and whether or not I was a heterosexual. (Check one.) The curse of sexuality having been lifted from me some years ago, I am hetero, ret.

HOW MANY gd genders are there for the goddess's sake? Jeez. And I had to mask up at the counter, me a guy who was up to date in all his preventive (alleged) innoculations who still got covid, which has cost me my voice. (Much to the relief of my Sig Other.)

ANYWAY, as a clinic customer all the way back to the barefoot doc days in the Ricard slum, and my wife a former trustee (female, Asian, and another box checked for the H.C's non-profit status), why do I have to answer a lot of purely trendy and, I must say, intrusive questions, devised by the berserkos of the Biden Administration?

(THE ORIGINAL barefoot medico at the first clinic in Boonville was Mark Apfel's cousin, Phranklin (sic), whose eccentric spelling seemed to be his nod to the counterculture then fairly prevalent in The Valley, and the primary supporters of Clinic — “Hell, I might have a lot of fancy qualifications, but I'm a right cool dude.” Phranklin also functioned as doc for the County Jail where inmates immediately rechristened him as "Phucking Phranklin.")

SO I ZIPPED off an e-mail to Chloe Guazzone, the Health Center's impressively competent administrator, who promptly replied: “Great questions and I wish it wasn't so! Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of the federal government's reporting requirements since a large portion of our funding comes from them. Our intake form matches exactly what they ask us for annually and yes, the gender and sexual orientation questions change often, making our lives quite difficult. As for the mask requirement, it sounds like that will change April 1 in CA but for now masks are still required inside health facilities.”

Down The Street

I get these photos all the time, me a senior citizen on the very top of the actuarial tables. This lady sent along a note that said, “I'm just down the street in Boonville, California. Would you like to meet me?” I've fallen off a lot of turnip trucks but somehow I don't think you're in Boonville, Miss. Do your parents know that you're sending out salacious photos of yourself to total strangers? No response, but I'll forward her over to Jim Armstrong in Potter Valley to see if he's interested.

AND this girl — Ashley Valence — says she's in Boonville and also wants to meet me. I'm gonna need some help with all this excitement! 


IN FEBRUARY, only 31% of Americans believed their personal financial situation would improve in the next year, the lowest figure on records dating back to 2010, according top Fannie Mae’s monthly survey released on Tuesday.

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PACIFIC GAS AND ELECTRIC COMPANY (PG&E) is mobilizing personnel ahead of a significant winter storm that will arrive Thursday afternoon and move across much of Northern and Central California Friday, bringing with it significant rain, snow levels rising to 6,000 to 8,000 feet north to south in the Sierra, as well as strong wind gusts.

The incoming adverse weather could result in trees, limbs and other debris falling into powerlines, damaging equipment and interrupting electric service. PG&E’s meteorology department is warning of another challenge for customers and PG&E crews – flooding due to melting snow.

“The upcoming storm will be a strong and much warmer event. Significant rain, which could total three to seven inches in the mountains, on top of the existing snowpack, will present flooding risks,” said Scott Strenfel, PG&E Director of Meteorology and Fire Science. “The wind combined with heavy rain and flooding risks can lead to access issues for our crews if trees fail and roadways flood, which can result in longer outage durations for some customers.”

Poised to respond to outages are PG&E electric crews, troublemen, distribution line technicians and system inspectors who serve as the utility’s first responders, along with personnel who will monitor electric incidents for public safety.

In addition, PG&E has opened its Emergency Operations Center and local operations emergency centers in impacted regions to more efficiently allocate crews, materials and other resources to restoration efforts.

The company is using its storm outage prediction models that help determine the potential timing, location, and number of power outages. The models allow the company to have extra crews on standby to deploy to areas hard hit by the storm. PG&E is also prestaging power poles, powerlines, transformers, and other electric equipment at yards throughout its service area to restore power to affected areas safely and as quickly as possible.

Predictions for Incoming Weather

Warmer and wet conditions are expected to return to the region Thursday as a moderately strong atmospheric river storm takes aim at the territory. Precipitation and wind then look to pick up in intensity Thursday afternoon and evening across Northern California and will spread southeast across the remainder of the state into early Friday.

Moderate to heavy rainfall with breezy to gusty winds and possibly isolated to scattered thunderstorms are expected to continue through Friday. Winds, and thunderstorm threats will then diminish during the afternoon and evening, with scattered precipitation continuing into early Saturday.

Snow levels look to raise above 5,000 feet across the North and possibly up to 8,000 to 10,000 feet across the central/southern Sierra Thursday evening into Friday. This could lead to a major snowmelt event across the state on top of flash flooding threats from new rainfall.

Keeping Customers Informed

Customers can view real-time outage information at PG&E’s online outage center and search by a specific address, by city or by county. This site has been updated to include support in 16 languages.

Additionally, customers can sign up for outage notifications by text, email, or phone. PG&E will let customers know the cause of an outage, when crews are on their way, the estimated restoration time and when power has been restored.

Storm Safety Tips

  • Never touch downed wires: If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it—and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 9-1-1 and then PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
  • Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should ensure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to customers, as well as crews working on powerlines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area.
  • Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights and not candles, due to the risk of fire. And keep extra batteries on hand. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades, animals and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
  • Have a backup phone: If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup. Having a portable charging device helps to keep your cell phone running.
  • Have fresh drinking water and ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer to prevent food spoilage.
  • Turn off appliances: If you experience an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns.
  • Safely clean up: After the storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 8-1-1 or visit at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.

Other tips can be found at: Safety and PreparednessStorm Safety, and Safety Action Center.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Ashline, Dyer, Gandarilla

RICHARD ASHLINE, Ukiah. Trespassing, resisting.

JEWEL DYER, Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, parole violation.

LUIS GANDARILLA-TORRES, Willits. DUI, misdemeanor hit&run, suspended license, failure to appear, probation revocation.

Grimmette, Grivette, Hutchings

RICKY GRIMMETTE, Ukiah. Trespassing, resisting-threatening peace officer.

DARYAN GRIVETTE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

CASSANDRA HUTCHINGS, Ukiah. Attempt to obtain stolen property.

Jacoe, Kidd, Lewis

ALEJANDRO JACOME, Covelo. Under influence.

SHANNON KIDD, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-intoxicated with drugs and alcohol, parole violation.

JAKE LEWIS-CODY, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, failure to appear, probation revocation.

Luna, Rosales, Waltrip

STEVEN LUNA JR., Covelo. Probation revocation.

FABIAN ROSALES-REYES, Ukiah. Stolen property, paraphernalia, false personation of another, parole violation.

JACOB WALTRIP, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

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What’s upsetting is that some scientists, and/or branches of science especially, get/got compromised by government – by politics – by the over-politicization of their fields – and it can end up poisoning the entire well.

That said, I can understand many of those who feel betrayed by the system and just want to throw the entire tub out, along with the baby and the bathwater.

I guess this is what collapse and/or decline looks like from our front-row seats.

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IF I SAY that I’m going to be aggressive at lowering the cost of prescription drugs, you think that’s politically popular? I say that at a time when unions are today more popular than they’ve been in a very long time, I say that I’m gonna take on corporations that are breaking the law — is that popular enough? I say I want to expand health care — is that popular? If I say I want to make higher education tuition-free, at least community colleges, is that popular?

— Bernie Sanders

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by John S. Sutter (1858)

After a few of my hands found a few small gold nuggets around the mill site, I went with Mr. M. on a prospecting tour in the vicinity of Coloma, and the following morning I left for Sacramento. Before my departure I had a conversation with all hands: I told them that I would consider it as a great favor if they would keep this discovery secret only for six weeks, so that I could finish my large flour mill at Brighton, which had cost me already about from $24,000 to $25,000 —the people up there promised to keep it secret for so long. On my way home, instead of feeling happy and contented, I was very unhappy, and could not see that it would benefit me much, and I was perfectly right in thinking so; as it came just precisely as I expected.

I thought at the same time that it could hardly be kept secret for six weeks; and in this I was not mistaken, for about two weeks later, after my return, I sent up several teams in charge of a white man, as the teamsters were Indian boys. This man was acquainted with all hands up there, and Mrs. Wimmer told him the whole secret; likewise the young sons of Mr. Wimmer told him that they had gold, and that they would let him have some too; and so he obtained a few dollars’ worth of it as a present.

As soon as this man arrived at the fort he went to a small store in one of my outside buildings, kept by Mr. Smith, a partner of Samuel Brannan, and asked for a bottle of brandy, for which he would pay the cash; after having the bottle he paid with these small pieces of gold. Smith was astonished and asked him if he intended to insult him; the teamster told him to go and ask me about it; Smith came in, in great haste, to see me, and I told him at once the truth—what could I do? I had to tell him all about it. He reported it to Mr. S. Brannan, who came up immediately to get all possible information. When he returned and sent up large supplies of goods, he leased a larger house from me, and commenced a very large and profitable business; soon he opened a branch house of business at Mormon Island.

Mr. Brannan made a kind of claim on Mormon Island, and put a tolerably heavy tax on “The Latter Day Saints.” I believe it was 30 per cent, which they paid for some time, until they got tired of it. (Some of them told me that it was for the purpose of building a temple for the honor and glory of the Lord.)

So soon as the secret was out my laborers began to leave me, in small parties first, but then all left, from the clerk to the cook, and I was in great distress; only a few mechanics remained to finish some very necessary work which they had commenced, and about eight invalids, who continued slowly to work a few teams, to scrape out the mill race at Brighton. The Mormons did not like to leave my mill unfinished, but they got the gold fever like everybody else. After they had made their piles they left for the Great Salt Lake. So long as these people have been employed by me they have behaved very well, and were industrious and faithful laborers, and when settling their accounts there was not one of them who was not contented and satisfied.

Then the people commenced rushing up from San Francisco and other parts of California in May, 1848: in the former village only five men were left to take care of the women and children, The single men locked their doors and left for “Sutter’s Fort,” and from there to the Eldorado.

For some time the people in Monterey and farther south would not believe the news of the gold discovery, and said that it was only a “ruse de guerre” of Sutter's, because he wanted to have neighbors in his wilderness. From this time on I got only too many neighbors, some very bad ones among them.

What a great misfortune was this sudden gold discovery for me! It has just broken up and ruined my hard, restless, and industrious labors, connected with many dangers of life, as I had many narrow escapes before I became properly established.

From my mill buildings I reaped no benefit whatever, the mill stones even have been stolen and sold,

My tannery, which way then in a flourishing condition, and was carried on very profitably, was deserted, a large quantity of leather was left unfinished in the vats, and a great quantity of raw hides became valueless as they could not be sold; nobody wanted to be bothered with such trash, as it was called. So it was in all the other mechanical trades which I had carried on. All was abandoned, and work commenced or nearly finished was all left, to an immense loss for me.

Even the Indians had no more patience to work alone, in harvesting and threshing my large wheat crop out; as the whites had all left, and other Indians had been engaged by some white men to work for them, and they commenced to have some gold for which they were buying all kinds of articles at enormous prices in the stores; which, when my Indians saw this, they wished very much to go to the mountains and dig for gold.

At last I consented, got a number of wagons ready, loaded them with provisions and goods of all kinds, employed a clerk, and left with about a hundred Indians, and about fifty Sandwich Islanders (Kanakas) which had joined those which I brought with me from the Islands. The first camp was about ten miles above Mormon Island, on the south fork of the American river,

In a few weeks we became crowded, and it would no more pay, as my people made too many acquaintances. I broke up the camp and started on the march further south, and located my next camp on Sutter Creek (now in Amador county), and thought that I should there be alone. The work was going on well for a while, until three or four traveling grogshops surrounded me, at from one and a half to two miles distance from the camp.

Then, of course, the gold was taken to these places, for drinking, gambling, etc., and then the following day they were sick and unable to work, and became deeper and more indebted to me, and particularly the Kanakas. I found that it was high time to quit this kind of business, and lose no more time and money.

I therefore broke up the camp and returned to the Fort, where I disbanded nearly all the people who had worked for me in the mountains digging gold. This whole expedition proved to be a heavy loss to me.

At the same time I was engaged in a mercantile firm in Coloma, which I left in January, 1849 —likewise with many sacrifices, After this I would have nothing more to do with the gold affairs. At this time, the Fort was the great trading place where nearly all the business was transacted. I had no pleasure to remain there, and moved up to Hock Farm, with all my Indians, and who had been with me from the time they were children. The place was then in charge of a Major Domo.

It is very singular that the Indians never found a piece of gold and brought it to me, as they very often did other specimens found in the ravines. I requested them continually to bring me some curiosities from the mountains, for which I always recompensed them. I have received animals, birds, plants, young trees, wild fruits, pipe clay, stones, red ochre, etc., etc., but never a piece of gold. 

Mr. Dana, of the scientific corps of the expedition under Commander Wilkes’ Exploring Squadron, told me that he had the strongest proof and signs of gold in the vicinity of Shasta Mountain, and further south. A short time afterwards, Doctor Sandels, a very scientific traveler, visited me, and explored a part of the country in a great hurry, as time would not permit him to make a longer stay.

He told me likewise that he found sure signs of gold, and was very sorry that he could not explore the Sierra Nevada. He did not encourage me to attempt to work and open mines, as it was uncertain how it would pay, and would probably be only profitable for a government. 

So I thought it more prudent to stick to the plow, notwithstanding I did know that the country was rich in gold, and other minerals. An old attached Mexican servant who followed me here from the United States, as soon as he knew that I was here, and who understood a great deal about working in placers told me he found sure signs of gold in the mountains on Bear Creek, and that we would go right to work after returning from our campaign in 1845. But he became a victim to his patriotism and fell into the hands of the enemy near my encampment, with dispatches for me from Gen. Micheltorena, and he was hung as a spy, for which I was very sorry.

By this sudden discovery of the gold, all my great plans were destroyed. Had I succeeded with my mills and manufactories for a few years before the gold was discovered, I would have been the richest citizen on the Pacific shore; but it had to be different. 

Instead of being rich, I am ruined, and the cause of it is the long delay of the United States Land Commission, of the United States Courts, through the great influence of the squatter lawyers.

Before my case will be decided in Washington, another year may elapse, but I hope that justice will be done me by the last tribunal—the Supreme Court of the United States. By the Land Commission and the District Court it has been decided in my favor. The Common Council of the city of Sacramento, composed partly of squatters, paid Aipheus Felch (one of the late Land Commissioners, who was engaged by the squatters during his office) $5,000, from the fund of the city, against the will of the taxpayers, for which amount he has to try to defeat my just and old claim from the Mexican government, before the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington.

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Telegraph Hill Railroad in 1885. Two funicular cars enter passing track. Layman's German Castle at top of hill. (photo courtesy of Taber)

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by Walter Kirn & Matt Taibbi

Walter Kirn: You spoke a couple of weeks ago, or maybe last week, about the new mission of journalism, which doesn’t seem to be uncovering the truth anymore, but managing the information cycle. They act almost like banks that get money directly from the Federal Reserve. I call it ‘fiat information.’ The government prints information and certain favored institutions are first in line to get it, and then they loan it to others for a profit.

Matt Taibbi: You’re right. It’s the exact same model.

Walter: And people begin to doubt it. Its only way to defend itself — because it’s ultimately trust that backs currency and it’s ultimately trust that backs the media — is to print more of it. So now we’ve got fiat information inflation, as far as I’m concerned, because they’re printing more truth about Covid. But it’s probably not the whole truth, since they weren’t ever in the business in the first place, and they’ve got huge reserves of truth and secrets at the info printers that they can dump onto the market.

What are we going to get next? Are we going to find out the election was stolen, and we all knew it? That’s a joke. But what I mean is things that people have been suspecting for a while can be endlessly confirmed by the people who are keeping secrets, as far as I’m concerned. They flooded the market last week on this Covid subject. They made everybody potentially rich in paper information. But it’s useless because the problem is that now Covid really isn’t the central issue in society. We’ve got a big war going on, and we’ve got economic problems, and we’ve got trains blowing up and poisoning towns, and so on. And it’s the truth about those that is most useful to us. But we’re still dealing with this backlog.

Matt: This is a great metaphor. It’s a perfect metaphor because what are you doing if you’re going to manage the money supply, what do you have to do when you inject money into the system? Unless you think the economy is illiquid. You have to have a careful balancing system where you take stuff out as you’re putting stuff in. That’s how the Fed operated for a long time, these open market operations.

So, if you’re putting truths in, you have to take the untruths out. This is a crucial function of media. You can’t just endlessly create content. You have to go back. And if there are wrong things, you have to correct them, and you have to be seen to be correcting them. That’s even more important.

If you don’t go back and say, ‘oh God, we got these 15 things wrong,’ or ‘these stories were wrong,’ then you really do have inflation. Then, the new information that you’re giving out has less worth because you’ve deflated the trust in the information. That trust is the currency. And if you have no understanding of the value of the currency, then putting more information out there doesn’t do anything for you. This has been the big frustration for me during this whole Trump era — they’ll put out 20 things about Trump, and 17 of them will be true. But for those three that aren’t, you have to go back and fix them. That’s what’s frustrating.

Walter: To extend the metaphor that you so beautifully justified there, taking it from my half-assed remark into an actual model, you have to have favored partners in this operation. Just as there are banks that get to take money directly from the spigot you have to have institutions that you speak to, that get it first, that are your disseminators, whether they’re the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times, or NBC or whatever. And their advantage over all of their competitors has to be preserved. And, in some ways, what we’re seeing with this disinformation industry is a way of preserving the prestige and the favored status of these legacy outlets.

They’ve done amazingly well. They’ve got a bad record of reporting the truth. They’ve got a bad record of accuracy. They’ve got a record of falling for some of the biggest hoaxes of all time, but their status is not threatened yet, that I can see, because there is an institutional agreement between them and their sources to keep them always as the first recipients, and now to hobble their competition, to maybe attack its advertising stream and so on.

The privilege of being the first to receive fiat information is being protected by those who issue it. I wonder sometimes if that will become an even more extreme operation. It seems that the Washington Post isn’t doing all that well. It seems that Bezos may be exploring a football team. There was a rumor that he wanted to buy it with money he takes out of the Washington Post by selling it. I don’t know if that’s true. But are we going to see any of these main banks go down? These main information banks go down? Will we have the equivalent of a financial crisis in the media?

Matt: I think so. It’s kind of amazing to me how perfectly this metaphor works, which is interesting because did you ever read Secrets of the Temple? Bill Rider’s book? There used to be a standing bet at Rolling Stone that anybody who could shoplift that book would get a free lunch because it was so big. In that book, Bill Ryder talks about how the Fed is structured almost exactly like the Catholic Church. It has a pope, it has cardinals and then it has individual dioceses. And, from there the metaphor extends, but you see from a bureaucratic standpoint it’s structured very much the same way, and with the same kind of secrecy.

They issue encyclicals in the same way. They also do things like hint about who’s going to be the next Pope, they have the same kind of thing where people are kind of looking to see what color the smoke is going to be. That happened with Paul Volker. There used to be a thing where people would decide there would be a rate hike if he was holding his cigar in one hand, as opposed to the other. But, this idea of the privileged media institutions, the people who are first in line now in the Fed, those are called primary dealers, and I can read you here the list of the current primary dealers of the Federal Reserve. Just a sample:

ASL Capital, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, BNP Paribas Securities, Barclays Capital, Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., Citigroup, Credit Suisse AG, Goldman Sachs, HSBC Securities, and then another American one, Wells Fargo.

So why is that important? Because being a primary dealer of the Federal Reserve is just free money. There is a direct subsidy that comes from being the person who does these operations for the Fed who monetizes its liquid injections, its capital injections, and they’re sustained endlessly by their relationship to the Federal Reserve in the same way that these media organizations like the Washington Post, the New York Times, CBC, NBC, ABC, historically have all subsisted off this steady stream of access to information.

And what would happen to those institutions if they suddenly didn’t have access? Well, they would have to do their jobs. That’s why there was such panic and Jim Acosta threw a fit when Donald Trump was going to revoke their White House press privileges. ‘What are we going to do? How are we going to do our jobs if we can’t be inside the rope line?’ when the job is to be outside the rope line and these people have forgotten. They do not know how to do the job without being on the teat of the informational fed. They’re so far removed from how to actually do the work and they’ve depreciated the currency of their business to the point where it’s essentially worthless. That’s what happened to Pravda Izvestia. People used it to line bird cages, because why did you need the newspaper? Is that happening here? To us? It feels like it.

* * *


* * *


by Sam Smith

The most important fact about race

It doesn't really exist. At least not the way many Americans think it does. There is simply no undisputed scientific definition of race. What are considered genetic characteristics are often the result of cultural habit and environmental adaptation. As far back as 1785, a German philosopher noted that "complexions run into each other." Julian Huxley suggested in 1941 that "it would be highly desirable if we could banish the question-begging term 'race' from all discussions of human affairs and substitute the noncommittal phrase 'ethnic group.' That would be a first step toward rational consideration of the problem at hand." Anthropologist Ashley Montagu in 1942 called race our "most dangerous myth."

Yet in our conversations and arguments, in our media, and even in our laws, the illusion of race is given great credibility. As a result, that which is transmitted culturally is considered genetically fixed, that which is an environmental adaptation is regarded as innate and that which is fluid is declared immutable.

Many still hang on to a notion similar to that of Carolus Linnaeus, who declared in 1758 that there were four races: white, red, dark and black. Others make up their own races, applying the term to religions (Jewish), language groups (Aryan) or nationalities (Irish). Modern science has little impact on our views. Our concept of race comes largely from religion, literature, politics, and the oral tradition. It comes creaking with all the prejudices of the ages. It reeks of territoriality, of jingoism, of subjugation, and of the abuse of power.

DNA research has revealed just how great is our misconception of race. In The History and Geography of Human Genes, Luca Cavalli-Sforza of Stanford and his colleagues describe how many of the variations between humans are really adaptations to different environmental conditions (such as the relative density of sweat glands or lean bodies to dissipate heat and fat ones to retain it). But that's not the sort of thing you can easily build a system of apartheid around. As Thomas S. Martin has written:

The widest genetic divergence in human groups separates the Africans from the Australian aborigines, though ironically these two 'races' have the same skin color. ~ There is no clearly distinguishable 'white race.' What Cavalli-Sforza calls the Caucasoids are a hybrid, about two-thirds Mongoloid and one-third African. Finns and Hungarians are slightly more Mongoloid, while Italians and Spaniards are more African, but the deviation is vanishingly slight.

Well, it sure feels like race

Regardless of what science says, however, myth can kill and cause pain just as easily as scientific truth. And regardless of what science says, there are no Japanese players in the NBA or, as anthropologist Alice Brues told Newswek, "If I parachute into Nairobi, I know I'm not in Oslo."

In fact, give or take a few thousand years, it's unlikely that those of a Nordic skin complexion would stay that way living under the African sun. Similarly, the effects of a US diet are strong enough that the first generations of both European and Asian Americans have found themselves looking up at their grandchildren.

In such ways adaptation mimics what many think of as race. But who needs science when we have our own eyes? If it looks like race, that's good enough for us.

Further, we are obsessed with the subject even as we say we wish to ignore it. A few years back, a study of urban elections coverage found five times as many stories about race as about taxes.

We can't even agree on what race is. In the 1990 census, Americans said they belonged to some 300 different races or ethnic groups. American Indians divided themselves into 600 tribes and Latinos into 70 categories.

The real reason race is important to us

Even as we talk endlessly of race and ethnicity, we simultaneously go to great lengths to prove that we are all the same. Why this contradiction? The answer can be partly found in the tacit assumption of many that human equity must be based primarily on competitive equality. Listen to talk about race (or sex) and notice how often the talk is also about competition. The cultural differences (real or presumed) that really disturb us are ones of competitive significance: thigh circumference, height, math ability and so forth. We accept more easily other differences -- varieties of hair, degree of subcutaneous fat, prevalence of sickle cell anemia -- because they don't affect (or affect far less) who gets to the top.

Once having decided which traits are important, we assign causes to them on the basis of convenience rather than fact. Our inability to sort out the relative genetic, cultural, and environmental provenance of our differences doesn't impede our judgment at all. It is enough that a difference is observed. Thus we tend to deal neither with understanding what the facts about our differences and similarities really mean -- or, more importantly, with their ultimate irrelevance to developing a world where we can live harmoniously and happily with each other. We don't spend the effort to separate facts from fiction because both cut too close to our inability to appreciate and celebrate our human differences. It is far easier to pretend either that these differences are immutable or that they don't exist at all.

The Catch-22 of Ethnicity

And so we come to the Catch-22 of ethnicity. It is hard to imagine a non-discriminatory, unprejudiced society in which race and sex matter much. Yet in our efforts to reach that goal, our society and its institutions constantly send the conflicting message that they are extremely important.

For example, our laws against discriminatory practices inevitably heighten general consciousness of race and sex. The media, drawn inexorably to conflict, plays up the issue. And the very groups that have suffered under racial or sexual stereotypes consciously foster countering stereotypes -- "you wouldn't understand, it's a black thing" -- as a form of protection. Thus, we find ourselves in the odd position of attempting to create a society that shuns invidious distinctions while at the same time -- often with fundamentalist or regulatory fervor -- accentuating those distinctions.

In the process we reduce our ethnic problems to a matter of regulation and power, and reduce our ambitions to the achievement of a tolerable stalemate rather than the creation of a truly better society. The positive aspects of diversity remain largely ignored and non-discrimination becomes merely another symbol of virtuous citizenship -- like not double-parking or paying your taxes.

Martin Luther King said once:

Something must happen so as to touch the hearts and souls of men that they will come together, not because the law says it, but because it is natural and right.

Sorry, Martin. Our approach to prejudice and discrimination is not unlike our approach to drugs: We plan to simply rule them out of existence. In so doing, we have implicitly defined the limits of virtue as merely the absence of malice.

* * *

illustration by Walter Molino

* * *


The battle of Bakhmut continues to dominate news out of Ukraine this week, with all eyes on the fate of the city in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

The leader of Russia’s mercenary forces fighting in Bakhmut said Wednesday that his private military company, the Wagner Group, had taken full control of the eastern part of the city. CNBC was unable to verify the claims.

Ukraine gave a military update Wednesday in which it noted that Ukraine had repelled over 100 attacks on the Donetsk region over the past day, including on Bakhmut. But it said Russian forces were “continuing their unsuccessful offensive operations” in the area.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of the Wagner Group of mercenaries fighting in Donetsk, said that the best of its fighters are “waiting in the wings.”

Prigozhin said on his official Telegram that some of Wagner’s units with “all possible modern weapons and intelligence means” have not yet joined the fight in Ukraine.

He also said, according to an NBC News translation, that the Wagner forces fighting in Bakhmut had taken full control of the eastern part of the city.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv to discuss the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased Russia’s naval blockade and saw three key Ukrainian ports reopen. The deal is set to expire later this month.

More than 23 million tons of grain have been exported from Ukrainian ports so far under the agreement.

The deal has “contributed to lowering the global cost of food and has offered critical relief to people, who are also paying a high price for this war, particularly in the developing world,” Guterres said.

He added that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index has fallen by almost 20% over the last year. Guterres stressed that exports of “Ukrainian as well as Russian food and fertilizers are essential to global food security and food prices.”

“I want to underscore the critical importance of the rollover of the Black Sea Grain Initiative on 18 March and of working to create the conditions to enable the greatest possible use of export infrastructures through the Black Sea, in line with the objectives of the initiative,” Guterres said alongside Zelenskyy.

Three ships carrying 62,700 metric tons of grain and other food products have left Ukrainian ports, the organization overseeing the export of agricultural products from the country said.

The vessels are destined for Spain and are carrying corn and wheat. 

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased Russia’s naval blockade and saw three key Ukrainian ports reopen. The deal is set to expire on March 20.

So far, more than 780 ships have sailed from Ukrainian ports.

The beseiged city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine could soon be fully captured by Russian forces, NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday, but it’s unlikely to represent a turning point in the war.

Russian forces, he said, had “suffered big losses but at the same time we cannot rule out that Bakhmut may eventually fall in the coming days and therefore it is also important to highlight that this does not necessarily reflect any turning point of the war and it just highlights that we should not underestimate Russia. We must continue to provide support to Ukraine,” he said as he attended a meeting of EU defence ministers in Stockholm.

“Russia’s war of aggression grinds on against Ukraine and over the last weeks and months we have seen fierce fighting in and around Bakhmut and what we see is that Russia is throwing in more troops, more forces and what Russia lacks in quality, they try to make up in quantity,” he added.


* * *


In a groundbreaking study by Posth, et al. (2023), DNA from the remains of 357 ancient Europeans was analyzed, and researchers have pieced together much about the different early peoples and migrations. The story is complex - there were multiple waves and at least eight populations, some more genetically distinct from each other than modern Europeans are from Asians. Here are just a few of the learnings from the study:

1) The oldest European DNA, dating back to 45k years, is from a people that didn't survive and who disappeared along with the Neanderthals. We already knew from Slimak, et al. (2022) of an earlier group that made it to France about 54k years ago, but they didn't last either (perhaps for as little as 40 years!)

2) The Gravettian Culture which arose about 33k years ago (and is known for their full-bodied Venus figurines) was practiced by two very distinct groups. The Fournol people lived in what's presently France-Belgium-Spain, and they survived the cold period from 26k-19k. The Vestonice occupied the Italy-Czech-Germany area, and they did not survive. The genetic gulf between these two groups suggest that they migrated into Europe in separate waves.

3) When the first farmers arrived in Europe from Turkey about 8000 years ago, they encountered light-skinned, dark-eyed people to the east, and dark-skinned, blue-eyed people in the west.

* * *

* * *

I BELIEVE THAT WE ARE ENGAGED IN COMMITTING SUICIDE: intellectual suicide, moral suicide and physical suicide. If there is anything as important as stopping us poisoning our seas and destroying our forests, it is stopping us poisoning our minds and destroying our souls.

Our dominant value — sometimes I fear our only value — has, very clearly, become that of power. This aligns us with a brain system, that of the left hemisphere, the raison d'être of which is to control and manipulate the world. But not to understand it: that, for evolutionary reasons that I explain, has come to be more the raison d'être of our — more intelligent, in every sense — right hemisphere. Unfortunately the left hemisphere, knowing less, thinks it knows more. It is a good servant, but a ruinous — a peremptory — master. And the predictable outcome of assuming the role of master is the devastation of all that is important to us — or should be important, if we really know what we are about.

Even if we could, by some miracle, reverse the course on which we are set, unless we change our way of thinking, of being in the world — the way that is destroying us as we speak — it would all be in vain. This is why I have written the last long book I will ever write: The Matter with Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World.

— Iain McGilchrist

* * *


  1. Marmon March 9, 2023


    Matt Taibbi will be testifying before Congress this morning on C-SPAN at 7:00 AM. Must see TV.


      • Stephen Rosenthal March 9, 2023

        Taibbi is everything that’s wrong with what currently masquerades as journalism – print and broadcast. Bunch of made up stuff and personal agendas. With the exception of a few Smart News headlines and The AVA, that’s why I don’t read or view the news anymore. And with the AVA it’s strictly for local Mendo news and Bruce’s and The Major’s contributions.

        • Marmon March 9, 2023

          Today’s hearing is a good example how democrats will eat their own if they appear to sway from the party line. Neither one of the journalist who testified are republicans, and one admitted he voted for Biden. I think they did a good job today. Clinton operative Wasserman Schultz’s treatment of these two journalists was disgusting as was the rest of the democrats on that side. Did either of the two commenters above watch the entire hearing or just selective clips on CNN?


          P.S. Musk didn’t vote for Trump either.

  2. Kirk Vodopals March 9, 2023

    Sutter mentioned Mr. and Mrs. Wimmer… My mom’s side of the family stems from Wimmers from the Central Valley, but, as she was adopted, the genetic details die out quickly. I have a photo of a distant relative, William Wimmer, who apparently led Ansel Adams through the Sierras. Wish I could piece together the details

  3. Stephen Dunlap March 9, 2023

    ED – I think I saw those ladies at the Buckhorn the other night ?

  4. Eli Maddock March 9, 2023

    Thanks for the new “back to top” button, it’s a good addition for your online readers!

    • Stephen Rosenthal March 9, 2023

      Speaking of good additions, how about a “fast forward scroll past this drivel” button, programmable and automatically actuated for certain writers and topics?

  5. Eric Sunswheat March 9, 2023


    RE: (Check one.) The curse of sexuality having been lifted from me some years ago

    —> February 26, 2023
    Researchers have found that men who engage in regular sex and ejaculate frequently are less likely to develop prostate cancer. It is not quite clear on how frequent ejaculation provides protection against prostate cancer.

    One reason could be that ejaculation helps to release toxins from the body and promote healthy functioning. Another possible factor could be that men who ejaculate more may have healthier lifestyle habits.

    • Bruce Anderson March 9, 2023

      Viva, Onan!

      • Chuck Dunbar March 9, 2023


        Re those enticing photos of young ladies—and so close-by in your very own town:

        For many of us old guys, even Jim A., the following may be a better fit:

        “Here’s my meditation and joy: Weeding. Yard work is perfect for mediation and remembrance. My hands are on autopilot, my mind is free to soar and time travel, backward. It’s really the best part of my day, except for the late afternoon naps.”

        • Chuck Dunbar March 9, 2023

          “Love may blind you, but lust will cripple you.”
          ― Matshona Dhliwayo

  6. Jim Armstrong March 9, 2023

    Thanks, Bruce, but I sent those beauties to you.
    They both gave you good reviews.

    • Kathy Janes March 9, 2023

      All this, one day after International Women’s Day? Pretty tacky.

      • Chuck Dunbar March 11, 2023

        Point well-made and taken, Kathy.

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