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Mendocino County Today: Monday, March 27, 2023

Rain Tonight | 101 View | Variety Show | First Iris | Homekey Not | Public Records | Anemones | Legal Advice | Science Retreat | Tommy Augur | Ukiah Valley | Who Scored | Swine Bill | Sioux Group | Modoc Book | Yesterday's Catch | Talbot Documentary | Arm Brace | Water Supply | Crossbred | Past History | Mostly Peasants | Taj Mahal | Deck Building | Stand Alone | Silicon Valley | Bedtime Liars | Ukraine | Iraq Again | Pistol Mouth | Another Rasputin | Biden Warning | 1955 Menu

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A STRONG STORM SYSTEM will spread rain, strong winds and heavy snow across the area this afternoon. will impact the region Monday through Wednesday, resulting in heavy snow occurring across the interior mountains, as well as strong gusty winds developing over exposed ridges and coastal headlands. After Wednesday, an additional period of wet weather is forecast to develop across Northwest California next weekend. (NWS)

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Caught these pink blossoms in the corner of my eye driving down 101 just north of Cloverdale, Northern California. Had to stop to get a picture. (Todd Gregory)

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A lot of the performers in this year’s Variety Show weren't born when the first show hit the boards, and a lot of the past performers have gone on to that big stage in the sky. It's the way of the world folks, and we got to roll with it. The heart of the show is still strong however, that being a celebration of community.

For a while back in the early 2000's word was spreading beyond Mendocino County. Though we welcome acts and audiences from all over, it seemed we were in danger of losing that critical feeling of Anderson Valley in Mendocino County.

Somebody writing a book on odd events in California wanted to add a chapter on the Variety Show. No thank you. We met a very nice lady from the New York Times at Lauren's who came to the Valley to do an article. Again, no thanks. This is our show, real and live.

Acts are signing up, there's still room for your performance though. Even if you only have an idea for an act maybe we can help to make it happen. We have lighting effects, a grand piano, a fabulous pit band, plenty of mics, a well appointed dressing room and a tech rehearsal the weekend before the show where each act can have 20 minutes working on the stage with lighting, sound, entrances and exits, etc. And what tops it all off is the best audience imaginable. No kidding, they have welcomed every act on that stage, they are pulling for you, we all win in this game.

The show is Friday and Saturday, May 12th and 13th with the tech rehearsal the weekend before. Give Abeja a call at 707/621-3822 or Cap Rainbow 707/472-9189. And as always we love animal acts, skits and demonstrations of skill or artistry, (we've had chain saw sculpture, a large free form group painting, big Doug throwing a vase on his potters wheel, a basketball dribbling demo, unicycle riders, a soccer ball trick balancing act, karate and gymnasts, trapeze, not to mention the silks floor to ceiling out over the audience). Hey, Anderson Valley and beyond time to get back in the saddle we got a show to do!

Captain Rainbow

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The first wild Iris - well the first one I'€™ve seen. (Jennifer Smallwood)

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COAST LODGING PROPERTIES ARE HOT, Newsom’s Homekey Not, in Fort Bragg

by Frank Hartzell

Mendocino Coast motels have been changing hands since the pandemic at an unprecedented pace, a review of county files shows. Numerous lower and higher priced hotels and inns have sold recently in Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Little River and Albion. 

But none of those hospitality properties were purchased with “free” money provided by California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Homekey, which has been buying motels all over the state to convert to permanent supported housing for the homeless.

On April 3, the 65-room Seabird Lodge will be on the auction block, a rare opportunity in rural Northern California real estate. The realtor in charge of the sale, which requires a $1.8 minimum bid, says there will be no delays in the sale. The starting bid price would make the motel, which continues to operate (although without cleaning staff), a bargain based on other recent sales. The motel would seem to fit the criteria for Homekey and sits close to social and medical services.…

Seabird Lodge

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We agree with the many people, including county officials elsewhere in the state and experts in public sunshine law, who are calling out our county supervisors for enacting a county ordinance hiking the price of getting information out of them.

State law allows local authorities to charge the actual cost of reproducing documents when asked although under the law many of these transactions are minimal. The state law does not allow local authorities to charge for staff time. The idea is that the people deserve access to all documents stored at local offices, especially those the local authorities would rather we didn’t see.

Now we’re hearing the county is charging thousands of dollars to people who are interested in finding out the county’s activities on a certain subject. Under the law, the best way to quickly get a document that informs you on the subject that interests you, is to know exactly what document you’re looking for and name it. For instance, you might want to see the agenda staff report on a certain date on a county conversation about cannabis. That’s easy to find. On the other hand, you might want to know the county’s history of policy development on cannabis and ask for a series of documents relating to the development of cannabis policy. That’s something the county will say requires a staff research project and will cost a lot of money.

That’s not relevant according to the law, and the county just needs to do its best to comply. They do have, under the law, the ability to take some extra time to get this done. The law isn’t really aimed at requiring research projects, just the pulling of records — and sometimes that can take time. However, with computerization, it seems to us that the county should have a pretty good outline of where it has filed documents and what subject those documents address. To claim that staff has to spend hours, at $20 an hour, to find documents tells us that their filing system is pretty random.

Supervisor John Haschak has said he regrets his vote for this and we appreciate that. But the county will undoubtedly find itself in court over this and those attorneys charge lots more than $20 an hour.

(KC Meadows, Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal)

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(photo by Jainned Boon McDonnell)

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LEW CHICHESTER: I am beginning to wonder if many of the perceived bottlenecks and snafus presently encountered in all kinds of county government actions might be a function of the quality of legal advice and direction received from county counsel. I have been following a trend of which I was first aware with the non-enforcement of Measure V (I believe that was the label) regarding the voters’ initiative to halt the “hack and squirt” method of commercial timber management. That initiative went nowhere, after years of delay. Now we have all these complex and time consuming reviews of ministerial cultivation permit applications in an attempt to comply with a badly written, flawed local cannabis ordinance from a few years ago. Why was that ordinance so messed up? It is my view now that some of the problems were with county counsel and how the ordinance was crafted. How about abatement of the leftover trash from illegal grows which were busted? There is no effective coordination between Code Enforcement and County Counsel to follow up on clean up. Just a “Notice of Violation” and no further legal work such as a judgement, fines, liens and eventual forfeiture. That’s how you get this place cleaned up, but is that too much work for county counsel? And then there is the completely wrong policy of charging fees for public records. And how about these expensive settlements for interdepartmental squabbles? Who is running the county anyway? Who is in charge here? Is county counsel following the direction of the Executive Office, or the Board of Supervisors, or just creating these expensive, debilitating situations all on their own volition?

MIKE KALANTARIAN: Interesting questions … In the case of Measure V non-enforcement, I suspect the real problem is the money power that MRC (Mendocino Redwood Company) wields, which ends up translating as threat of legal bullying from a well-heeled force (owner Fisher scions are billionaires). The Fisher family is also well-connected in state politics. Hence, after making us wait two-and-a-half years, the California State AG’s office refused to offer an opinion on the matter “in order to avoid a risk of a conflict of interest arising.” How’s that for backing out on a mealy mouthed exit? Then Mendocino County Counsel Curtis surprised many of us by writing an opinion that countered and dismissed the legal noise MRC attorneys proffered (after they lost the vote) suggesting they were exempt from the people’s initiative. However this wasn’t enough for our Board of Supervisors, who, I think, are afraid of the economic/legal power of MRC, and have chosen to let their constituents suffer the consequences instead. For anyone who follows the news, this will not come as a surprise, as it’s simply business as usual in America.

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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

Absent much of the past couple years, I too late realized I’d never taken full advantage of employment opportunities while in Mendocino County.

The mistake was trying to fit my squaresville employment existence into the round hole of an “alternative lifestyle” population. So many of my neighbors not only didn’t work, but didn’t know how to work. Or care to learn.

I should have joined them. Instead, my jobs always began at, say, 8 a.m., toiling for bosses expecting me to wear shoes and not smoke dope during the morning break, and also to return to work after the morning break. Those dead-end jobs demanded I show up again the following morning and do it again, five days a week!

On top of that employees were expected to accomplish something of value while on the job, be it stock store shelves, rotate a few tires, break rocks in the hot sun, wash dishes or shingle a roof. But looking about I saw swarms of fellow Mendo-ites who never pounded a nail, punched a time card or owned a pair of shoes. Yet they did quite nicely.

An entire sub-strata had found a way to survive and thrive without ever hearing an alarm clock or the rantings of a boss. The word “commute” was foreign. Our free-spirited sorts danced barefoot to the beat of a different bongo drum by morphing themselves into astrologers, chakra analysts, oracles, visionaries, tarot card professionals and other lesser divinities.

It’s not like they had to attend night classes to begin advertising themselves as spiritualists, clairvoyants or dog whisperers. And today, much too late, I mutter: “I could have done that!” All I would had to have done was follow the oft-repeated wisdom of the Anderson Valley Advertiser regarding reinventing oneself every morning, and providing the world a new history, a new past, a new name.

Thus, into a land of palm readers, goo-goo voodoo, sorcerers and crystal ball gazers, I am now an Augur.

What better vocation for a lazy old guy, and where but Mendocino County to offload my teachings? I was once mystified at the people who believed woo-woo nonsense in an age of airplanes, the internet and Xtra Spicy Doritos. Now I see opportunity.

If alchemists, scientologists, financial advisors and TV evangelists are free to prowl the land, why not an Augur? Mendocino County remains plump and receptive to any earnest proponent’s illogical quackery.

Enter Me. Draped in ermine robes and sporting fancy headgear, an Augur should find lush harvesting in a land where an Albion thrives and a Greenfield Ranch persists.

Already a steady parade of aura gazers, herbal pharmacists, soothsayers and healers of every sort imaginable, and a few that are not, prey on credulous half-wits longing to make sense of their confused lives.

Entrails, contrails, fox tails and tall tales should be irresistible to those eager to consult an Earth Mama spiritual advisor, but not a clergyman. In this context an accomplished Augur, appeaser of obscure gods and also a Board Certified tea leaf analyst, would be hard-pressed to keep the barefoot flocks from his door.

Will agents of good fortune grant a hopeful customer lottery winnings? A consultation with an Augur specializing in goat entrail interpretations shall reveal all. One dollar, please.

Will planetary movements bode ill and fill a life with woe? Let’s dunk a young maiden strapped to a chair into the Eel River for the answer. This may take a while.

But if she remains silent when she surfaces, your troubles have only begun.

East Perkins is hurtin’

I only served 40 years in Ukiah so don’t take my word, but has East Perkins ever looked more forlorn, more deserted and abandoned than here in 2023? Can it be that the cleanest, most inviting buildings are gas stations?

The ex-Savings Bank satellite office at the corner of Pear Tree Plaza looks (especially backside) like a bombed victim of the Watts riots. Across the street, a series of shops rotates among manicurists, travel agents, massage parlors, recruiting centers, now a DMV storefront, tomorrow a realty agent, next month a tattoo parlor, next year a vape shop. Or three.

Further west, the old Lido Club / Sunset Grille is boarded up, a BBQ restaurant is gone and forgotten. The biggest furniture store Ukiah ever had, Curry’s, will wait a long, long time to find a new tenant, unless some government offices are needed for their ever-expanding mutations.

The very last stamped tin building in town has the city’s architecture protection team eager to bulldoze it so something bland and anonymous can be thrown up. Insurance office maybe? CBD outlet?

Bisecting the whole dismal mess is the Homeless Hobo Highway, awaiting many millions more dollars in funding because everyone is very excited about seeing it extended to Calgary.

Of course criminals need somewhere to go. The county jail can’t hold them all.

(Happy is Tom Hine to be back in time for the Iditarod regional competitions held this week in Redwood Valley. He has no pup in the race, but TWK is backing a Huskydoodle named Doritodog. (Special thanks to Kraft Foods Inc., for generous sponsorship endorsements.))

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Looking east in the Ukiah Valley. (Mike Geniella)

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Dear Editor:

I am requesting to run an advertisement in the Anderson Valley Advertiser which requests information regarding Anderson Valley High School soccer.

The background is that I maintain records of soccer for the North Coast Section, to which Anderson Valley belongs. Following each school year I submit to the Section office in San Ramon a summary of results in the NCS soccer tournament. The summary includes who individuals who score goals in NCS championship games. The history is posted on the NCS website,, click on “Brackets And History,” scroll to bottom.

Back on November 9, Anderson Valley defeated San Francisco Waldorf, 2-1, for the NCS men’s fall Division III championship. I have determined that Waldorf scored its goal in the first half, that Anderson Valley scored both of its goals in the second half, and that Randall Ferreyra scored Anderson Valley’s second goal. I have not been able to determine which player scored Anderson Valley’s first goal.

I am requesting to place an advertisement in your newspaper which requests that I be provided with the name of the player who scored Anderson Valley’s first goal. I will, of course, pay your reasonable charge for this service.

I look forward to hearing from you.

John Zugnoni


JOHN TOOHEY replied:

The other goal was scored by Juan Luis Orozco.

GOAL sequence from above video…

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I recently received a “bill” from from Geek Squad for $285.98, an entity I have never used nor agreed to use. I assume that this “bill” is generated from the same swines who, in your recent column called themselves Go-Daddy. Again, neither phone number, unsubscribe button, nor e-mail address were active.

On a happier note, I was pleasantly surprised in that I agreed with much of last week’s “Off The Record” missive. Not to say that I don’t read your paper front to back every week.

Thank you for that!

Richey Wasserman, Ex-City Councilperson, Point Arena

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Sioux group: Iron Thunder, Crow Eagle, Fool Thunder and Slow White Buffalo Dakota, 1880s. Photo by D.F. Barry

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SPEAKING OF THE KLAMATH INDIANS, I left one of my favorite books off my book list last year: “Hell With the Fire Out: A History of the Modoc War” by historian Arthur Quinn. The story of the Modocs’ last stand against the Army and the Klamath Indians under NorCal’s famous lava beds is amazing in its own right, of course. But the book has two unique features that I have not seen much of in conventional histories: Reconstructed dialog (much better than descriptions) and a colorfully annotated bibliography where the author assesses the quality and usability of the various sources of information which he assembled for the book. Highly recommended. (Mark Scaramella)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, March 26, 2023

Armilio, Biggie, Billy, Davila

ANDREW ARMILIO, Fort Bragg. Criminal threats.

ADRIEL BIGGIE, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, battery on peace officer, resisting, probation revocation.

FLOYD BILLY, Covelo. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, failure to appear.

MARCO DAVILA, Point Arena. False ID, failure to appear.

Langley, Miller, Mora, Phillips

MICHAEL LANGLEY, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

KYLE MILLER, Willits. DUI with blood-alcohol over 0.15%, resisting.

MARCO MORA, Fort Bragg. DUI causing bodily injury, great bodily injury in commission of felony, reckless with specified injury, loaded firearm, leaded cane.

DARREN PHILLIPS, Talmage. Failure to appear.

Rayburn, Rodriguez, Searcy

HEIDI RAYBURN, Willits. Paraphernalia, marshall’s warrant.


AARON SEARCY, Ukiah. Burglary.

Sizemore, Stanley, Vargas

AMANDA SIZEMORE, Willits. Pot transportation-sale, false ID, conspiracy, failure to appear.

RAYMOND STANLEY, Chatanooga, Tennessee/Ukiah. Pot transportation-sale, paraphernalia, conspiracy, resisting.


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STEVE TALBOT: Movement and the "Madman”: Tuesday night.

My new documentary, The Movement and the "Madman," debuts Tuesday, March 28 at 9pm (8pm Central) on the PBS series American Experience. It will also begin streaming then on I hope you have an opportunity to watch. Here's a preview -- the opening 12 minutes of the film:

Best wishes,

Stephen Talbot, Producer and Director, The Movement and the "Madman" 

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Brock Purdy (left)

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by Alastair Bland

With the Sierra Nevada smothered in snow, large swaths of the Central Valley underwater and many Californians weary of water, state officials announced today that they are lifting some drought-related provisions on water use.

“Our water supply conditions have improved markedly,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot. 

The state is rescinding its request for voluntary 15% water conservation statewide, which was issued in July 2021, and instead, Crowfoot said, shifting to an approach of making conservation a “way of life.” 

“We need to maintain our vigilance,” he said. “It’s not about going back to normal anymore. It’s really adjusting to a new normal.” 

Some of the state’s emergency provisions were ended and some were left in place. Wasteful uses of water, such as hosing down sidewalks and watering ornamental grass on commercial property, remain banned, according to state officials.

The state, however, is ending its requirement that local water agencies implement Level 2 drought contingency plans, which are locally written water use regulations — such as limits on watering lawns — that are invoked during water shortages.

In total, 81 drought-related provisions were enacted since April 2021. Just 33 remain in place, said Gov. Gavin Newsom at a press briefing today.

State officials also announced today a large increase in the amounts of water that local suppliers will get from the State Water Project, increasing from 35% announced last month to 75% of requested supplies. The water is provided to 750,000 acres of farmland and 27 million people, mostly in Southern California.

The announcements come as some of the state’s reservoirs near capacity, with some of the state’s largest expected to fill by late spring. And the snowpack of the Sierra Nevada, nearing record levels in the southern portion of the range, continues to grow. 

When Newsom issued his voluntary conservation target almost two years ago, many water experts said Newsom should have made it mandatory, as former Gov. Jerry Brown did during the previous drought. They also criticized him for failing to reduce use by farmers, who consume 80% of the state’s delivered water supply.

State officials say even though the 15% target was voluntary, it worked. However, the data does not back that up: Californians used 6% less water from July 2021 through December 2022 compared to 2020 — falling far short of Newsom’s 15% goal. 

Heather Cooley, director of research at the Pacific Institute, an Oakland water supply thinktank, said California must not relax its ethos of water conservation. 

In spite of wet weather, the state’s largest water supply — its groundwater basins — remain depleted. 

“Even though reservoirs are recovering, groundwater aquifers remain depleted. The Colorado River — a major water source for Southern California — is also facing a massive deficit,” Cooley said. “The reality is we don’t have water to waste in California. We need to continue investing in water efficiency to prepare for a hotter, drier future and more intense droughts.”

Mike McNutt, spokesperson for the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District in Los Angeles County, said the retraction of the conservation target “sends the wrong message” to the public. 

“Why put out messaging that says something different, that says, ‘You can conserve if you want to, but you don’t need to’?” said McNutt, whose district serving 75,000 people is totally reliant on water from the state aqueduct. 

“The next drought is certainly just around the corner,” he added. 

Californians did cut their average water use by 600,000 acre-feet in almost two years.That’s almost two-thirds the volume of Folsom Reservoir and enough water to serve 1.2 million households in a year. 

Crowfoot stressed that the drought is not over, noting that drought status “is not a completely binary situation.” In some parts of the state, drought conditions have dramatically eased, but not in others. Crowfoot said the Klamath River basin and the region of Southern California that relies on Colorado River water continue to face “acute water shortages.” 

Thousands of households lack drinking water due to depleted groundwater basins , which have been overdrafted for decades and experts agree they will not rebound in a single rainy winter.

Joaquin Esquivel, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, said the hope is that cities “are not just rebounding” to old ways of water use. 

“Conservation remains a priority,” Crowfoot added. 

Michael Anderson, a climatologist with the California Department of Water Resources, said snowpack is at 278% of normal, with another storm system expected to hit the North Coast and move inland and south from there, starting Monday. The system, he said, will relatively cold storm originating in the Gulf of Alaska, unlike some recent blasts of tropical moisture. This means it will drop more snow in the mountains.

“Not massive accumulations, but could be locally heavy,” he said. 


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I believe people of this country have had enough of the “woke” ideology that is being pushed on us.

In America, especially today, every race of people have an equal opportunity to be successful and live the American dream. What happened in the past is not the white people of today’s fault. We did not do this to the Blacks. I bet if I went back far enough, my ancestors were slaves also (I’m white). Let’s not divide our country more by race; Instead, let’s live in today and all be part of this great country together!

So many opportunities for everyone.

Gayle Kozlowski

Santa Rosa

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That was a good letter by Gayle Kozlowski. While I’m not completely clear on the definition of the word “woke,” I’m in agreement with Ms. Kozlowski’s appreciation for being alive today when there is so much opportunity here in America for so many people of whatever their ethnicity. We are all truly blessed, even if we seem to be coming so near to killing each other over minor differences that a few power-hungry politicians love to harp away on.

While I don’t know who my ancestors were going back many generations, like Ms. Kozlowski stated in her letter, they also were “slaves.” Mostly peasants, albeit in England, France, Germany, Switzerland, or possibly elsewhere in the world. I do know some fought in the American Revolution and fortunately survived it. I passed 80 last year; alive today due to the good care of Kaiser Permanente’s able doctors and staff. I pray for Ukraine. COVID sufferers, and the environment.

Frank H. Baumgardner,

Santa Rosa

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American blues musician Taj Mahal sits on the veranda of his home in Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles, December 1968. (photographer: Baron Wolman)

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by Paul Modic

All I wanted was to build a deck and now there’s this hot-headed carpenter I had to fire who must think it's my fault that he's an unprofessional fuckup.

When I wrote my annual year in review in December I heavily regretted that I had stupidly and unnecessarily planted non-native invasive bamboo years ago down the hill as camo for pot plants. It had been spreading, I wasn’t inspired to try to eradicate it, and also lamented that my deck was falling apart and I was unmotivated to deal with that either.

Somehow I got the bamboo removal started, hired my neighbor’s son for muscle, and after a couple weeks we had dug up most of it. Then we attacked all the huge scotch broom and giant reed and I hired a tree guy to trim branches, cut down a few trees, and take out huge swaths of blackberries. (It's all growing back, alas, my life now is trying to stay on top of it, an impossible task.)

I was on a roll, decided to tear down the old deck, and finally build a replacement. That worn-out thing was leaning and I had trained myself not to walk on certain half-rotted boards over the last couple years. (A friend had tried to convince me five years before to replace it.) I had no carpenters in hand to do the job, all I knew for sure was I wanted to build it out of old growth salvage redwood from the Tosten mill, using the most durable wood, as my goal was a maintenance-free deck. I went out to the mill to look at what Jobey had and he talked me into going with full dimension fir instead. 

I had had good luck finding the tree guy randomly on Facebook, who was recommended by friends and neighbors who had used his services, and when I was looking there for a fence guy a carpenter was recommended who came by to look at the site. (I wanted the fence addition to replace some of the privacy lost after my bamboo jungle had been cut down.)

The kid was just twenty, didn't like the idea of using fir, and wanted to build a stand-alone deck instead of one attached to the house as the original was. “I don't want to make holes in your house,” he said when I asked why he preferred a stand-alone.

He convinced me to go with the redwood after all and I made my order with Jobey. It felt a little weird to be going with a kid though he had been building for years, gave me a reference, I checked up on it, his reference highly recommended him, and sent me a photo of a small deck he had built. He made a materials list, I told him he was hired, and the job would be two months later in early May so I could get out of town to Mexico before it got too hot to drive through the Arizona desert.

I ordered the redwood but kept looking for alternate carpenters, just not sure about hiring that kid for real. A friend recommended his long-time neighbor up in the hills and though I had heard that he wasn't reliable and shirked his road dues I gave him a call.

I had been waiting years until I could find the right carpenter, someone I knew who I could relate to, but after ordering the redwood the clock was ticking and the wood would be ready in a month. He and his partner came by to look at the site, they made a materials list, and I hired them for the job. They had other jobs, kept being delayed, and didn't return my call until days later when he finally called back with excuses about his phone being out of order. He said they’d be by the following Monday to tear down the deck, then come back in a week or so to start building.

I shot that idea down immediately. “No,” I said, “once you start the project I want you there for the duration, no coming and going to other jobs.” My nightmare was to have the deck torn down and flaky carpenters never coming back to build the new one. (Why did I even want the deck? Mostly to pee off, feed the birds, and relax on beautiful spring mornings drinking coffee or eating breakfast.)

The carpenters came by again a month later, revised the materials list, and pushed for having the redwood decking planed. I said it didn't need to be planed but they never accepted that, pointing out that redwood splinters could be very dangerous and not safe for little kids. I said I didn't have little kids and had some kind of a foot issue making it necessary to always wear shoes with good support, like Keens. 

He stopped returning my calls again and I wondered what was up? I decided to stalk them down and went to their current job site in lower Redway to try to find out what the story was—when someone doesn't respond it could mean everything's up in the air, that they are avoiding telling you bad news, or any other combination of delays and unforeseen circumstances.

He had already left the job site and on my way back up the hill I stopped at the friend's house who had recommended him, just to say hi, and there was the carpenter in the living room trying to borrow $300 from Stevie, which should have been a warning.

“You tracked me down!” He said.

“No, I was just coming by to visit Stevie,” I said.

“Here's the deal,” he said. “I've retired, I'm going on to another job being the maintenance guy on a big weed farm up in Ettersburg. So Zack still wants the job and my kid will work with him so you'll save money cause you won't have to pay my kid as much as me. Zack's taking off on his motorcycle to Southern California for a funeral of one of his buddies, who overdosed on fentanyl, and will be back next week to start the job.”

“Can't you do my job first for a week and then go on to the other one?” I asked.

“No I can't, they want me up there now, right away. They said I have to decide now,” he said.

“Are you sure Zack still wants to do it?” I asked.

“He has to do it,” the carpenter said.

I stood there glassy-eyed just accepting whatever he said even though I'd heard that his kid was a fuckup. I was out of my depth, I shouldn't even be trying to get this project off the ground, I wasn't made for this, but I had to persevere as the wood was ordered and the deck needed to be replaced.

Getting the wood down from the Tosten mill would be a big project, a large trailer had to be rented with a big truck hauling it which had to have brakes and lights connected to the trailer. The carpenter assured me that his truck was all set up for that, he’d haul the wood down for me, come by some mornings to check on the job site, and make sure the demolition and construction was proceeding properly. (By this point I was seriously doubting I would ever actually get the deck built and accepted that I may have to just cover up the wood from Tosten's, head for Mexico, and build it later.) 

I went up to the rental place, checked out the trailers, and reserved the big one for the following week, the one called the flatbed which would allow a forklift to easily load it up at the mill. I didn't trust that guy to even get the wood so I wouldn't believe it until I saw it stacked in my parking lot.

I called Zack when he got back from San-berdoo, reconfirmed the start day, and he said he had gotten covid and felt like shit. I called him back an hour later and said,“Why don't you wait till you get well before you start the job, like next week?”

“No,” he said. “I'm not going to start another job then leave that and come back to you when I get well. I wanna start this week.” I thought about it for a few seconds and then reluctantly agreed. (Here I am, the guy who hasn't even been in the food store for two years and now I'm importing a covid victim to my house?)

He arrived on Wednesday and it was very hot, the carpenter's son didn't show up, and Zack said he was going to bring his brother on to the job if that was all right. I said sure, he tore the first half of the deck apart in the blazing heat, and stacked the old boards just off the building site. 

“Why don't you burn all these instead of paying to take them to the dump?” he said.

“Well, it's a little late for that,” I said. “I doubt I could get a burn permit in this weather.”

The next day he returned with a shade tent to work under and halfway through the day his brother showed up, also named Zack. “If you're brothers why are you both named Zack?” I asked.

“Half-brothers,” he said.

I made a couple trips to the hardware store to buy bags of redi-mix concrete and pier blocks and by the end of the day the old deck was reduced to piles of old boards and twenty-year-old concrete encrusted pier blocks. 

The next day the former lead carpenter miraculously showed up with the redwood from Tosten's and all three unloaded it and stacked it in the parking lot. The load of pressure treated underpinnings, beams andjoists,were scheduled to arrive the next day from Eureka.

On Friday, the third day, the carpenter who quit on me came by with his cement mixer and planer. I told them again that I didn't think it needed to be planed, that the rough cut from the mill would be adequate, but they were pushing to plane it and also wanted to smooth the corners on each deck board by routing them. (A friend had also recommended getting them planed.) 

“Those redwood splinters can be really dangerous,” the carpenter said. Within the hour I heard them mention “the planer” at least three times and I'd gone from not needing it to not sure: they were working on me and by the end of the day I was convinced.

The three stood by the truck jawing about some other job they had worked on, or planned to, and then came over to the job site and continued talking and laughing on my dime. I opened the sliding glass door, heard them still talking about other things, almost said something, but judiciously kept quiet. A while later I opened it again, saw them still doing nothing, and said, “You guys are just standing around talking about some other jobs, you're milking it!”

There, I said it, the “m” word, and even I was shocked at my outburst.

Zack stormed up to me, angry and belligerent. “He's lending us the cement mixer for nothing!” he said. “And we're talking about jobs we're planning, we haven't talked in a while, we're catching up!” The other Zack, the mellow one, just stood there while the carpenter smiled.

“Oh, okay, hey, sorry,” I said. How could I have done that, calling a carpenter a milker is one of the worst insults you can say. (It wasn't until later I realized I'd hit the hammer right on the nail, the guy was a milker. He'd seen I was ordering that expensive redwood and probably thought, “Game on!”) 

When you say a carpenter is “milking it” it means he's doing every little extra thing to extend the job and get more hours. For example when both carpenters jump in their truck and drive up to the hardware store to buy a box of screws on the clock: milkin' it. Stand around talking about unrelated shit: milkin' it. Try to get me to plane all the decking? Yup, you got it.

They mixed and poured the cement, set the pier blocks, then built a form and poured a landing pad for the steps. I came around to see how they were doing after all the cement was poured and Zack came through the gate and said, “Now you're gonna see some milking!” I didn't get it.

“What next?” I said.

“Now we wait for the truck from Schmidbaur,” he said.

“But what are you guys going to do until then? It'll be hours till the truck gets here,” I said. It was about noon.

The other Zack got down and brushed the drying cement. “He's got to brush that every half hour,” Zack said.

“Yeah, but aren't you guys going to do anything?” I asked again. Really? They were just going to stand around for $90 an hour and watch cement dry all afternoon? (Only later did I realize they were going on strike for me calling them milkers, in other words proving my point.) 

“Well, I guess I better find something else for you to do then,” I said, trying to salvage some work from the situation. “I'll go get my broken kitchen drawer and you can try to fix that.”

I emptied all the silverware and various spatulas, pizza cutter, and other utensils, and brought it outside. Zack did a few things to get it back in square and soon it was working again, not perfect but way better than before. 

“Okay, well, why don't you go under the house and see if there's a leak under the bathroom sink?” I asked. The floorboards were getting soft, sagging, and the problem needed to be diagnosed and fixed. 

He checked it out and said, “There's no leak but there's lots of tarantulas and black widows under there. You need an exterminator.”

“Oh, I don't know about that,” I said. “I've been going under there for years. Why don't you go check out the cabin down the hill, the roof leaks and I need to re-roof it.” 

They went down, checked it out, and Zack told me how much rolled roofing would be necessary. “Well, maybe you guys should get on that job then,” I said.

“Alright,” Zack said. “We'll go uptown and buy the rolled roofing.”

“No,” I said, quickly backtracking, “that's crazy. We gotta stick to this job before starting some other project. I'll bring my truck around and you guys can load me up for a dump run.”

I had been planning to hire the kid who had helped with the bamboo to load up the old deck debris for $20 an hour, but I had to get something out of these guys. 

After I was loaded up I said, “Okay, why don't you do some dump runs too?” The Zacks drove uptown, came back with Zack’s big truck, loaded it up, and headed to the dump. I was now paying $90 an hour for dump runs which should have been $20 an hour.

When they came back they loaded the truck with the rest of the demolished deck boards and then the Schmidbaur truck arrived with the pressure treated underpinnings which the driver dumped near the site.

Earlier in the day Zack had asked if I wanted to pay them on Fridays or when the job was done and I had said Fridays. “Okay, take this last load to the dump and I'll pay you when you get back,” I said. It was a Friday I will never forget, my weirdest, most stressful day of the year.

I had been suffering from periodic nosebleeds and while they were gone on their two hour, $180 dump runs, plus dumping fees, I had a nosebleed which was hard to stop. When they got back I went out with a tissue pressed against my face and said, “Hey, I can't pay you now, I can't count money out with this nosebleed, Ill pay you next week. But let's get the number's straight, okay? You said I don't pay you for lunch so did you already subtract that? I'm trying to keep track of the numbers here.”

Zack was impatient, hostile, and wouldn't answer my questions. “I just want to get the numbers straight,” I asked again. “Are you still pissed about the milking thing?” 

“Yes!” he said.

“Well, get over it,” I said. “I already apologized.”

“I'm not over it!” he shouted. He was furious, then calmed down and said, “Look, I'm going to give you a deal, I'm not even going to charge you for...”

“No, I don't want any deal,” I said, interrupting him. “Just what's fair, just the correct amount.”

He calculated the number for their wages for three days, as well as the supplies he had bought, and I wrote it down also, still holding the bloody tissue to my nose. Finally they drove away and the first week was over. Damn, I had an angry carpenter on my hands.

The next morning I called my neighbor and told him what happened. “You're going to have to fire them,” he said.

“No, I can't!” I said. “The old deck is torn down, I have all the wood here, the carpenters are on the job, and the foundation is poured. That's my nightmare scenario, to have the deck gone and no carpenters!”

I was starting to realize the psychology: the carpenters get on the job and then you're kind of stuck with them, they know it and you know it. “I just have to try to get through this next week,” I said.

I called another friend and then one who was a retired contractor, my go-to source of advice on all things construction and home repair. After I told him the story he said, “Looks like they have you by the balls.”

“Maybe I just don't understand the culture of carpenters,” I said. “Maybe carpenters just normally fuck off a certain amount of time each day or hour. When you were running job sites how often did you and the carpenters just jaw about other shit?”

“Never,” he said. “You probably have to fire those guys but it's your decision.”

I thought about it, wrote some “fuck-off” messages, and finally came up with something more neutral-sounding which wouldn't inflame matters. I ran it by my contractor friend and he said it sounded good.

I called my neighbor, told him what was happening, and asked if he'd come by as a witness when Zack came by to clear out his tools and machines. He said he would when he returned home in a couple hours and when I saw him driving by I called Zack, fired him, and he said he’d come right down and get his tools. (He didn’t sound surprised.)

My neighbor came over as a witness and for moral support, and the guy showed up in his big truck soon after. I approached him with my list and money but he waved me off with a snarl. “First I’m going to load up,” he said.

There was a lot of stuff: tools, the cement mixer, the planer, and more. He was fuming and angry, threatening to come back and rip down the deck after it was done, and to turn other contractors against me.

I stayed cool, waited him out, and didn’t take the bait. At one point my neighbor asked if he needed help loading the lightweight mixer, he ignored him and another time snapped at him, “What are you looking at?!” The neighbor snapped back, I told him to cool it, and finally the carpenter from hell was loaded and drove away.

A couple hours later a friend called and said the guy had trashed me on the local community Facebook page. He named me, said where I lived, and warned anyone against working for me. Everything he said was a lie, twisting reality into his sick version of it, and I wondered if he really believed his own bullshit or was knowingly fabricating his case. After a few hours he took it down, someone must have told him it wasn’t a good look.

I had my nightmare scenario after all: the deck torn down, all the lumber delivered and ready to go, and no carpenter, but at least the guy with the bad attitude was gone. I made a few calls, tried to track down another contractor (misnomer: the cowboy crew I had fired weren’t officially “contractors.”), and got a lead or two.

A week later Zack texted me, apologized, and said he didn’t want to leave a customer unsatisfied. I wonder who put him up to that one? I didn’t believe him and thought about asking if he would go back on that Facebook page, apologize there also, and admit that his previous post had been all lies.

A week after that he dropped by unannounced trying to get the job back. “Your friend said you were going through a lot of anxiety, with the nosebleeds,” he said.

“So what?” I said. “Everyone has anxieties. Who told you that?” He identified the guy, the one who had referred me to the lead carpenter in the first place. (When I had told him the general story I said not to say anything to anyone, not to get involved, but I had also said, “But how will you remember not to say anything?”)

The nerve and desperation of that guy: going on strike, trashing me on Facebook, and now just dropping by. “It’ll just be me,” he said.

“No, I can’t have angry energy around me,” I said, after I heard him out. (When he walked back to his car I wondered if I should’ve also told him not ever to come back.)

A guy I know in Redway gave me the number of a contractor friend of his who he said was the real deal, one he would hire if he needed some building work. He was a local guy about fifty who grew up around here and said he’d stop by the next week to check out the job. 

On the day before he was coming he called and said his girlfriend was sick and he’d contact me when he could make it by. A week later I texted him and he said he was on the way to Florida to bring her back. I told him he’d come highly recommended and I would wait, and also told him that the foundation work was done and all the lumber was on site.

When he got back he called and said he’d be by the next morning. I showed him the materials and some hardware I had bought, some of which he liked and some he didn’t. He gave me a list of changes for my trip to Eureka the next day and I told him I wanted the decking planed also.

He hesitated, then said, “My planer is up in Fortuna, but why do you want it planed?”

“Well, I didn’t originally,” I said, “but everyone talked me into it.”

“Those other guys wanted to milk it,” he said. “it doesn’t need to be planed. Why did you even get this full dimension wood anyway?”

“Because I’m really bad with maintenance,” I said, “and once this deck is done, that’s it, it will outlive me.”

He went to work by himself, only helped an hour or so when his girlfriend came by to hold the tape measure while he was running the string lines for the project. 

This guy was a pro, no bullshit, and when there was a discrepancy he told me. “The building’s settled so everything’s off half an inch so we’ll adjust for that,” he said. And later he said, “We don’t have enough posts for the railings, I’ll just make them a few inches shorter if that’s all right?”

When he was done installing the underpinnings, the pressure treated beams and joists, there were twenty-six, sixteen foot long 2 by 8’s left over, about a thousand dollars worth. “Why would the carpenters tell me to order all this extra wood, all these joists?” I asked. 

“Maybe they were planning to take it,” he said.

Schmidbaur came back and got it but charged me a $300 restocking fee. The bozo crew had also had me order a $250 piece of good redwood for the jacks, which hold up the steps, which should have been a $50 piece of pressure treat. They cost me over $500 in order snafus, as well as the last afternoon when they went on strike over being called milkers, so I paid about a $1000 penalty for hiring the wrong guys, but it would have been way more if I’d let them stay and have their way with me.

The new guy did a great job, billed me fairly, and total labor costs, even including the scammed afternoon by the psycho carpenter, came in a few thousand less than what the original crew had estimated.

I was lucky to get Brenden to finish building the deck, when I look back on it now it seems like a miracle that it got done! A week later he said he was over California and was moving to South Carolina where he had a contracting job and a house lined up. 

The four month slog was over. 

* * *

* * *


by John Lanchester

Picture the following age-old scene: a writer sitting at a kitchen table, pretending to work. Set it 40 years ago. The Reagan/Thatcher Conservatives are in power and everything is broken, but our subject is the writer’s stuff. On the table is a typewriter; to one side is a radio, to another is a phone; also in the room are a fridge, an oven, a hot plate, a toaster, a set of car keys and a vacuum cleaner. Now fast-forward to the same scene 40 years later. The Conservatives are in power again and everything is broken again; the room (and perhaps the writer) is a little shinier, but the stuff in the room is more or less the same. At least, it serves the same functions, if you swap laptop for typewriter, mobile for landline, Dyson for Hoover.

One big thing, however, is different. In 1983, that kitchen contained just a handful of transistors, all of which lived in the – there’s a clue in the name – transistor radio. In 2023, every item on that list of domestic objects uses microchips which are each made up of thousands, millions, billions of transistors. Ovens, fridges, vacuums, car keys, radios, speakers: all of them now contain microchips. An ordinary car contains dozens of them. A posh car contains a thousand. And those are just the standard consumer items of the mid-20th century. As for the things we think of as being this century’s new technology, they are some of the most complicated and beautiful artifacts humanity has ever made, mainly because of the chips they contain. 

This writer’s phone is an iPhone 12, which uses a chip for the modem, a chip to control Bluetooth, a chip to detect motion and orientation, a chip for image sensing, chips for wireless charging and battery management and audio, and a couple of memory chips. All of these are bought by Apple from other companies, and all are simple beasts compared to the principal logic chip in that phone, Apple’s own-designed A14, which contains 11,800,000,000 transistors. 

This writer’s laptop, a MacBook Air, uses another “system on a chip,” Apple’s M2. That single chip contains 20,000,000,000 transistors. The laptop contains so many transistors that if the writer travelled back in time to 1983, he could give every single person on the planet a transistor radio and still have a billion of them left over.

If you want a guide to how we got here, you won’t do better than Chris Miller’s comprehensive, eye-opening new book ‘Chip War.’ Insofar as we work, live and think differently from 40 years ago, we do so thanks to the revolutions in economics and communication whose enabling technology are those microchips, which have been both the necessary and the proximate cause of humanity’s pivot to the digital. This process began with the vacuum tube, a lightbulb-like metal filament enclosed in glass. The electric current running through the tube could be switched on and off, performing a function not unlike an abacus bead moving back and forth across a wooden rod. A tube turned on was coded as a 1 while the vacuum tube turned off was a 0. These two digits could produce any number using a system of binary counting – and therefore could theoretically execute many types of computation.

Vacuum tubes could allow systems to be reprogrammed; they could be used repeatedly and flexibly. The tubes made complex computations possible, but they were unwieldy, both prone to breakage and laborious to repair. ENIAC, the US army’s world-leading computer, introduced in 1946, used 18,000 vacuum tubes to calculate artillery trajectories faster and more accurately than any human. That made it revolutionary, but its utility was limited by the fact that it was the size of a room, and that whenever a single tube failed, which happened on average every two days, the whole machine broke down.

The man who improved on the vacuum tube was the London-born American physicist William Shockley. After the war, Shockley was employed at Bell Labs, the research branch of the US telephone monopoly, AT&T. He realized that certain chemical elements could perform a similar function of encoding and transmitting 1s and 0s. Conducting materials conduct electricity; non-conducting materials don’t; semiconductors both do and don’t, and that ability to be in two different states makes binary computations possible. Shockley worked out first the theory of semiconduction, and then set his colleagues John Bardeen and Walter Brattain to work on a practical device to manipulate electrical current on a semiconductor. On 23 December 1947 they demonstrated the first working transistor. That invention won the three men the Nobel Prize for physics in 1956.

Shockley seems to have been peeved that it was Bardeen and Brattain who created that first circuit. Because Shockley ran the lab, he was able gradually to stop them working on transistors. Bardeen left for the University of Illinois, where he went on to do foundational work on superconductivity, becoming the first and only person to win a second Nobel Prize in physics. Shockley set out to be rich. He quit Bell Labs with his Nobel in his pocket and set off to found a new company, Shockley Semiconductor. 

And this is where his mother comes into it. May Bradford Shockley, who grew up in back-country Missouri, was the daughter of mining engineers; in 1904 she had become the only female deputy surveyor of minerals in the US. Her affection for Palo Alto – she had gone to university at Stanford – led her to retire there. That fact in turn led Shockley in 1956 to found his company down the road in Mountain View, now better known as the home of Google. In those days that part of the world was called the Santa Clara Valley. It goes by a different name today. May Bradford Shockley, who spent the latter part of her life as a rather good painter and who died in 1977 at the age of 97, is the reason Silicon Valley is where it is.

There’s no way around the fact that the founder of Silicon Valley was an outstandingly horrible human being. Shockley was a terrible manager and a passionate racist, who devoted his post-Nobel decades to publicizing home-brewed theories about “dysgenics” or genetic degradation and racial differences being a form of natural “color-coding” to warn about low intelligence. It is striking that the National Academy of Sciences’ official memorial of him, by his old friend John Moll, contains not a single example of kindness or charm or goodwill, or indeed any anecdote which reflects any human credit on its subject. Instead Moll observes that Shockley’s “technical insights were counterbalanced by his lack of insight into human relations.” That had consequences.

(London Review of Books)

* * *

* * *


Russia and China are not creating a military alliance and are hiding nothing in terms of their military cooperation, Russian President Vladimir Putin says.

Ukraine says Russia is holding Belarus as a “nuclear hostage” after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the deployment of tactical nuclear weaponsto ally Belarus.

The US Pentagon says there are no indications that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons after Moscow’s announcement of stationing tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

Kyiv will no longer resort to “dangerous” monetary financing to fund the war against Russia, its central bank Governor Andriy Pyshnyi has said in an interview. 

(Al Jazeera)

* * *

THE WESTERN WORLD is solemnly commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Iraq invasion by blindly following the US into more conflict and militarism while repeating all the same kinds of mass media malpractice.

— Caitlin Johnstone

* * *

* * *

EVERYBODY NOW KNOWS that I have taken the necessary steps to make permanent my retirement. I quite see leading comrades cannot run the ship if the former captain, supposedly in his wheelchair in an old sailors’ home, keeps leaping aboard a tug to halt them in mid-ocean and correct their navigation. In a way, I wish Nadya could give out that I’m dead and gone, then I could read my obituaries and, much more vital, see who fills the vacuum I’ve felt.

I’ve done my best, though feeling increasingly awful, these last few days to leave as little as possible to chance. I have written a really smoking letter of red-hot criticism to Stalin about his bullying treatment of Nadya and told him he has to go. I have written to Trotsky, confirming the basic agreement of our views, and asking him to speak in both our names on the Georgian and other questions. I have written Mdivani and the other Georgians emphasizing that Trotsky and I are on their side against Stalin. I have asked Nadya to convey personally to Kamenev that I expect him and Trotsky and my former colleagues to use my authority to the utmost in the struggle to suppress Stalin. If he can carry on, after all these attacks, then he is another Rasputin. 

Lenin, as channeled by Alan Brien

* * *


Coming your way in the near future will be Senator Joseph Biden, one of the many awful Democrats planning to seek the presidential nomination of his party. Since you may have only glimpsed Biden on prime-time network newscasts posturing in some congressional committee hearing for the benefit of the TV cameras, you may be wondering who he is.

Biden is the senator from Delaware who took over chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee when Senator Edward Kennedy chose to lead the Labor and Human Resources Committee instead. Thus, if a seat on the Supreme Court becomes vacant, Biden will be bathed in the limelight as he grills any Reagan nominee. The Senate Judiciary Committee — Democrats included — has over the past six years been mostly complaisant about Reagan’s appointments.

As to Biden’s world view, it was adequately represented by a speech he gave in early February at Northwestern University in which he hailed the “triumphs” of the invasion of Grenada and the bombing of Tripoli. He said the Democrats must now “cure the paralysis of the Vietnam syndrome” and “must not cringe at the use of force to protect American lives.” Biden is still making the Democratic Party safe for the Reagan era.

What else? Biden assured his audience he would “not stand idly by while tyrants impose their will” in Nicaragua. He hailed the way Kennedy defied international law in the case of the Cuban missile crisis. In other words, Biden is another cold war Democrat proving he’s got hair on his chest and sawdust in his brain. You have been warned.

— Alexander Cockburn, 1987

* * *

Savarin Commuters Bar, Long Island Concourse, Pennsylvania Station, N.Y. (1955)


  1. George Hollister March 27, 2023

    Power is responsibility. Money is not power. Money is a proxy for power, and can be and is easily abused.

    That is something to keep in mind anytime we hear that the distribution or redistribution of money will solve a problem of power in society.

    • Chuck Dunbar March 27, 2023

      It’s also something to keep in mind when we read, for example, of the many billions of oil company profits during these hard times for average folks. There is huge power there, and it is for sure a problem of power in our society.

      • George Hollister March 27, 2023

        Power is also taking responsibility for how you spend, and invest your money. Power is taking responsibility for how much energy you consume, and the least expensive source of your energy. How many packs of cigarettes do you smoke a day, or how many six packs of beer? Is money invested on a vacation, or invested in oneself, or in an energy company with all those profits?

        • Chuck Dunbar March 27, 2023

          Power is also larger in scope: Decent governments making laws against children in the work place for profit, laws against corrupt business practices for profit, laws that guard against banks chasing profits and risking failures (right now!), laws against sex trafficking for profit–this list of decent governments using power to responsibly act to take care of the least of us, and the vulnerable among us, as well as the community at large, goes on and on, a mile long….

          • George Hollister March 27, 2023

            Being responsible for decency, and acting with decency does not, and should not require government, and never has. The most effective, least abused and efficient forms of decency are done directly, and not with government money. Neither money, or government can define decency. People taking responsibility for themselves, their families, their communities, and their government do that.

            • Chuck Dunbar March 27, 2023

              “The most effective, least abused and efficient forms of decency are done directly, and not with government money.” Have to mostly agree with this, George.

              “Neither money, or government can define decency. People taking responsibility for themselves, their families, their communities, and their government do that.” Don’t agree with this.

              I wish the second sentence above spoke the complete truth, but it does not. A few notable examples of when American government (with money allocated for enforcement via police, district attorneys and court systems) has stepped-in and spoken clearly with laws regarding “decent” human behavior: Anti-lynching laws in the south: anti-child abuse laws over the entire country; anti-animal abuse laws; laws preventing environmental pollution in its many forms. It’s self-evident that we require some kind of government with power funded by money, to establish guidelines of order and decency. Without that, things get pretty far gone in short order and community life falls apart, humans being darn imperfect.

              • George Hollister March 27, 2023

                True. But defining poverty, or wealth by a money standard, has never defined poverty, or wealth. Raising a minimum wage never makes it any easier for low wage earners, they remain low wage earners. Giving money to the “underserved” never reduces their numbers. Money never brought justice to those who have experienced social injustice. Money can be used as a substitution for an economy, because that is all it is, a substitution, like saline is a substitution for blood. Money is a needed useful tool of modern society, but it can easily be, and is often a prop for power or responsibility.

    • Harvey Reading March 27, 2023

      Money has been power since the human monkey has existed. How else would relative idiots, like our robber barons, have it? Guys like you prefer to downplay and cloud over that simple fact.

  2. Stephen Rosenthal March 27, 2023

    3 children dead, more wounded in an elementary school shooting in Nashville. Just another day in America.

    • Harvey Reading March 27, 2023

      In how many schools were there NOT, NOR NEVER HAVE BEEN shootings in the US? This fearmongering needs to stop! It’s mainly a way to justify having more and more cops in schools…to condition the kids to fascism early on…

      • Bruce Anderson March 27, 2023

        Boonville Unified. Never had one here. But seriously, Harv, the reasons for mass shootings go a lot deeper that fearmongering and fascism site-prep.

        • Harvey Reading March 27, 2023

          Yeah, there are always nut cases, particularly in the US. But, the propaganda, press and governmental, over these relatively infrequent incidents is overpowering, to the extent that the public thinks it is a much bigger problem than the numbers reflect…and they respond with demands for yet more policing, which, while it won’t stop the shootings, has the desired effect of making people feel less offended, or not offended at all by the police state this country has become. We have roughly a third of a billion people in this country. Some are bound to be disturbed, if not complete nut cases, no matter how many cops are placed in schools, and on the streets for that matter.

        • Lazarus March 27, 2023

          I watched Joe Biden’s remarks concerning the killings in Nashville this afternoon.
          Biden opened with a comedic act about chocolate chip ice cream, and back-slapped some politician, before addressing the killings.
          I personally thought his opening remarks were bizarre and inappropriate.

      • Stephen Rosenthal March 27, 2023

        That is one of the more ridiculous comments you’ve ever posted.

        • Lazarus March 27, 2023

          Who the fuck are you addressing Sir?

          • Stephen Rosenthal March 27, 2023

            Harvey Reading. Watch your tone, Laz.

            • Lazarus March 27, 2023

              Then be clear with who you are addressing.
              Thank you, and my apologies.

              • Stephen Rosenthal March 27, 2023

                I clicked to reply to Reading’s comment, but it somehow got misdirected. Maybe it was my mistake. At any rate, apology accepted. It’s all good. Thanks.

        • Harvey Reading March 27, 2023

          You, Mr. Rosenthal, are a true believer it seems.

          • Stephen Rosenthal March 27, 2023

            Your’s is a world filled with bitterness and hate. I’m glad I don’t live in it.

            • Harvey Reading March 27, 2023

              So now, according to you, seeing things for what they are is a bad thing. By the way, look around you, with your eyes wide open, your head not stuck in your ass, and you will see that the world–especially the US–is bursting with bitterness and hate, to an extent that is extraordinary, even for us empire builders and destroyers of all who disagree with us.

    • Marmon March 27, 2023

      BREAKING: The deceased mass shooter of the Christian school in #Nashville has been identified as #trans person Audrey E. Hale. The shooting comes amid a surge in far-left death threats in Tennessee over the state banning the medical transitioning of minors. Hale’s art page featured LGBTQ+-themed work.


      • Marmon March 27, 2023

        If we treated mental illness instead of celebrating it, 6 people may not have died today.


        • Harvey Reading March 27, 2023

          Maybe if the likes of you learned to distinguish between mental illness and natural genetic variations among individuals, those people would not have died. Your kind is a largest part of the problem.

          • Harvey Reading March 27, 2023

            “…THE largest part of the “problem”…”

  3. Marmon March 27, 2023

    What do you think progressives will push next after the trans stuff?


    • Bruce Anderson March 27, 2023

      Single payer? Tax on the rich? Mass transit?

      • Marmon March 27, 2023

        It looks like it’s pedophila. After all, Hunter Biden in his book referenced a nickname he had for the big guy “Pedo Pete”. His daughter, in her diary, said that she had to sneak into the shower because the big guy would try to join her. Secret Service said that while the big guy was VP, he would make them stand by while he swam naked in the pool.


        • Bruce Anderson March 27, 2023

          I don’t get the MAGA obsession with deviant sex? Latent pervs, or what, James?

        • Chuck Dunbar March 27, 2023

          The perv stuff won’t work, James, ’cause your Trump has that one nailed, and he may go to jail for it. One can hope…

    • Harvey Reading March 27, 2023

      You off a cliff?

    • pca67 March 27, 2023

      It’s really funny, Marmy . Trans has been around forever but it’s you right wingers trying to lather everybody up about it. Why are they you may ask? Because they have zero else to offer our society outside of their billionaire funders. Distraction, faux outrage, red herrings. The right-wing perfected these to prevent discussion of the issues that really truly matter. 120,000 overdoses last year. 560,000 homeless people. Declining life expectancy the past three years. There’s a reason we’re talking about trans and drag, instead. It serves the interests of the Christofascist movement in this country., and globally.

      • Chuck Dunbar March 27, 2023

        “Distraction, faux outrage, red herrings. The right-wing perfected these to prevent discussion of the issues that really truly matter.”

        Thanks for this post. That’s the truth of it, for sure. James just parrots some of these issues here for us, hoping to blind us from what’s real.

      • Marmon March 27, 2023

        Mental Health was my concentration in both my undergraduate and master’s course studies. I did several internships in psychiatric settings and after graduation worked as a mental health specialist for several years. To me Gender Identity Disorder will just be what it is, a mental illness.

        DSM-IV-TR Diagnostic Criteria For Gender Identity Disorder

        Published Online:18 Jul 2003

        A. A strong and persistent cross-gender identification (not merely a desire for any perceived cultural advantages of being the other sex). In children, the disturbance is manifested by four (or more) of the following:

        1)repeatedly stated desire to be, or insistence that he or she is, the other sex

        2)in boys, preference for cross-dressing or simulating female attire; in girls, insistence on wearing only stereotypical masculine clothing

        3)strong and persistent preferences for cross-sex roles in make-believe play or persistent fantasies of being the other sex

        4)intense desire to participate in the stereotypical games and pastimes of the other sex

        5)strong preference for playmates of the other sex

        B. Persistent discomfort with his or her sex or sense of inappropriateness in the gender role of that sex.

        C. The disturbance is not concurrent with a physical intersex condition.

        D. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.


        • Chuck Dunbar March 27, 2023

          Sorry, still this is a just distraction, as pca67 noted so clearly. Who cares about your back- in- the- past expertise, or about DSM diagnostic criteria. What on earth does any of this have to do with the poor dead? We all know that people of all colors and sexual orientations and all sorts of other features, sometimes turn to killing. The right-wing just wants to villify “the other” and tie them somehow into “radical left” ideology. It’s a farcical and nasty thing, and it should be beneath you, James.

        • Harvey Reading March 28, 2023

          You should have concentrated on the REAL world, not the babbling of Freudians.

      • peter boudoures March 27, 2023

        I don’t thing right wingers are hiding the fact of overdoses and homelessness, they usually point to boarder control and liberal cities as examples of those issues. Zero resistance to trafficking drugs, acceptance of drug use on public streets in front of kids. Terrible economy under liberal presidents leads to more homeless. Last two major school shootings happen to be trans, is what it is.

        • Chuck Dunbar March 27, 2023

          James has been on this thing with trans folks, as well as others like lesbians, for a long, long time. It’s one of his pet themes, a special deviancy just made for him.

        • Marmon March 28, 2023


          The Colorado Springs shooter identified as non binary.
          The Denver shooter identified as trans.
          The Aberdeen shooter identified as trans.
          The Nashville shooter identified as trans.

          One thing is VERY clear, the modern trans movement is radicalizing activists into terrorists.


          • chuck dunbar March 28, 2023


            James tries to terrify us with his vision of hordes of trans shooters out there, ready to kill. It’s just BS. As usual, the issue is multi-faceted, and has no particular cause in one small group of our diverse citizenry:

            “Two Professors Found What Creates a Mass Shooter. Will Politicians Pay Attention?”
            Politico 5/27/22

            “…Professors Jillian Peterson and James Densley compiled detailed life histories on 180 shooters, speaking to their spouses, parents, siblings, childhood friends, work colleagues and teachers. As for the gunmen themselves, most don’t survive their carnage, but five who did talked to Peterson and Densely from prison, where they were serving life sentences. The researchers also found several people who planned a mass shooting but changed their mind.
            Their findings, also published in the 2021 book, The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic, reveal striking commonalities among the perpetrators of mass shootings and suggest a data-backed, mental health-based approach could identify and address the next mass shooter before he pulls the trigger…
            (Professor Peterson notes the typical shooter profile they’ve discovered):
            There’s this really consistent pathway. Early childhood trauma seems to be the foundation, whether violence in the home, sexual assault, parental suicides, extreme bullying. Then you see the build toward hopelessness, despair, isolation, self-loathing, oftentimes rejection from peers. That turns into a really identifiable crisis point where they’re acting differently. Sometimes they have previous suicide attempts.
            What’s different from traditional suicide is that the self-hate turns against a group. They start asking themselves, “Whose fault is this?” Is it a racial group or women or a religious group, or is it my classmates? The hate turns outward. There’s also this quest for fame and notoriety…”

  4. Chuck Dunbar March 27, 2023

    Man, the Israeli’s know how to get their government to fucking pay attention when injustice is planned. Impressive, courageous, righteous. May we in America learn some lessons from them.

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