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LIGHT DRIZZLE along the NorthCoast through late in the morning. Cooler temperatures today and Monday, followed by a warming and dry trend for the reminder of the week. (NWS)
DOUG BROWE 1953-2023
Born May 12, 1953 in Elmhurst, Illinois to Harvey and Margerite Congdon Browe, Doug died April 5, 2023 peacefully at home in Elk, surrounded by his loving family.
Doug was an incredible potter, dedicated husband, father, grandfather, brother, maker, friend, artist, teacher, builder, bread maker, gardener, cook and community builder. He was inspired by his passions, eternally curious, tenacious, generous, grateful, encouraging and joyful.
Doug's love of ceramics and making began in the early 1970's with an apprenticeship at age 20, Further undergraduate work in ceramics and a year-long working tour of many British potters followed before Doug started his own ceramic studio, New Richmond Potters, with his wife, Jan Hoyman, in Michigan. In 1982, they moved their life and studio to Northern California, settling in Ukiah. Over the next 30 years, Hoyman-Browe Studio established a national presence in the contemporary ceramic art world, training 24 apprentices from the US and 3 European countries in their signature line of decorative utilitarian earthenware.
A career long passion for locally harvested ceramic materials coupled with his compassion for vulnerable communities led Doug to work with Potters for Peace in setting up a ceramics studio in a Burmese Refugee camp in 2002, and again in 2004 to train the refugees in making ceramic water filters. Inspired by teaching in the camp, Doug returned to school at the age of 50 to complete his Master's degree and began teaching ceramics at Mendocino College in 2007. He was the Head of the Ceramics Department at the time of his death, 1 month before his retirement at age 70.
Doug is survived by his wife, Carolyn Carleton Browe of Elk; son, Aaron and wife Claire of Santa Rosa; daughters, Alanna, Allison and partner Sarah of Portland; grandchildren Madison, Jackson, Seven and Lucca of Santa Rosa; brother, Steve and wife Carol of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, and sister, Margy Felig of Billings, Montana; nephews, Jehremy, Greg, Keenan and David.
A memorial will be held in the Greenwood Community Center in Elk on May 27th at 2:00 PM.
SO PROUD OF DEB PICHLER for creating this trip to Sutter Mill. This doesn't happen in other districts. Incredible!
Louise Simson, Superintendent, Anderson Valley Unified School District
COUNTY NOTES: TURNING POTTER VALLEY INTO A DESERT
by Mark Scaramella
Monica Huettl, reporting in MendoFever.com on an April 13 meeting of the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission (might as well drop the “Power” since there isn’t any anymore) wrote:
“Part of the goal of the Russian River Water Forum is to form a regional entity to take over the Potter Valley Diversion. Finding funds for this will be spread across Mendocino, Sonoma, and Northern Marin water agencies. A group of Upper Russian River water users is attempting to get permission from PG&E to tour the diversion facilities at Scott Dam and has signed an NDA.”
That right there is a classic Mendo formula for inaction and utter failure. First they are “trying” to form a “regional entity” out of various water agencies which are designed to be at cross purposes. Not to mention that the Sonoma County Water Agency calls all the major shots on the Potter Valley diversion, no matter what they call the “entity.” They can’t even tour the PG&E facilities without signing a non-disclosure agreement! (The Editor and I toured those facilities back in the 90s and nobody mentioned a non-disclosure agreement. If they had would we have ignored it. What crap!)
Then Huettl reports that “The State Water Resources Control Board (DWR) has hired Jacobs, an environmental consulting group, to look at groundwater storage and possible well-drilling sites in Potter Valley. There should be a formal announcement coming soon, and a community meeting to discuss results in a few months.”
An “environmental consulting group” is going to “look at” groundwater storage and possible well-drilling sites? Emphasis on “look at.” Hell, a dowser could do better than that. For a lot less. Again, a familiar formula for failure. Environmental consulting groups are the last people we’d ask to “look for” “possible well-drilling sites.” This will be followed by a “community meeting” in “a few months.”
Wow, some serious “trying” going on there.
Apparently, Potter Valley is hoping to find some water to replace the declining volume expected from the Potter Valley diversion in the future, assuming that they will have no say no matter what an amorphous “regional entity” might prefer. But of course they don’t want to pay for the looking on their own. Oh no, not the cheap water mafia. They prefer the state hire an “environmental consulting group” to do it for them, a “group” over which they will have absolutely zero control over content, scheduling or scope.
Huettl also discusses “the possibility of raising Coyote dam…”
“Congressman Jared Huffman’s office notified the Army Corps of Engineers, who manage Lake Mendocino, that funds for a study of the possibility of raising Coyote Dam did not make it into the Omnibus Bill. MCIWPC (the water and power commission) has applied for grant funds for a feasibility study on the possibility of raising Coyote Dam.”
If that sounds to you like something that was reported back in the 70s, you have a very good memory.
Potter Valley residents will be planting cactus gardens where their once there were vineyards before Supervisor Glenn McGourty and his Cheap Water Mafia flock ever get any water from this bumbling assemblage of incompetents and do-nothings.
Full report at: mendofever.com/2023/04/22/owning-scott-dam-looking-for-water-in-potter-valley-is-raising-coyote-dam-feasible-updates-from-the-mendocino-county-inland-water-and-power-commission/
* * *
WE WERE SURPRISED to see the AVA quoted in an upcoming appeal letter to be discussed at next Tuesday’s Supervisors meeting. Attorney Colin Morrow of the Jared Carter law firm in Ukiah wrote:
“Recently, the Mendocino County Planning Commission adopted a deeply unpopular, and inherently pessimistic, resolution to further limit short term vacation rentals in our county. In two separate meetings, numerous stakeholders spoke out against the resolution. After proceedings that the Anderson Valley Advertiser described as "convoluted" and "confusing," (Mendocino County Today, November 20, 2022), the Planning Commission narrowly passed the resolution on a divided 3-2 vote.”
We doubt that the Planning Commission’s recommendation is “deeply unpopular” with anyone but Morrow and his clients because nobody’s paying attention to any of this. Morrow goes on from there to argue, predictably, that restricting short term rentals would restrict economic activity and is therefore really really bad.
Morrow failed to mention that instead of the confusing and convoluted use permit approach recommended by the well-meaning Planning Commission, we preferred the existing Sonoma County approach which simply bans outside-owned commercial airBnB operations.
Morrow also mischaracterizes the Planning Commission’s recommendation as “Putting the kibosh on short term vacation rentals.” It would require them to go through a use permit process — unwieldy perhaps, but hardly a “kibosh.”
The Mendo Planning Department has included a draft pro-forma denial of Morrow’s appeal to be discussed and presumably approved on Tuesday. But not until a few wine-tourism mobsters register their gripes about it.
Either way, the housing issue is far from being resolved. We still prefer the Sonoma County approach which has already passed legal muster and is much less bureaucratic.
If Mendo wanted to do something practical about the housing shortage without having to worry about complaints from Jared Carter’s lawyers they could do three things right now: 1. Follow the Fort Bragg housing model (which includes a ban on vacation home rentals in certain commercial areas), 2. Compile a list of vacant residential buildings with an eye toward a vacancy tax like the one in Frisco, and 3. Require a monthly housing permit report from the Planning Department showing permits that have been applied for, when they were applied, and what’s holding them up. (We’re not holding our breath.)
THE FIRST POST-COVID UKIAH SHELTER DOG ADOPTION EVENT!
The shelter is stuffed with great dogs, and we need to get some of them adopted. If you can't go next Saturday, tell your friends. And please share-o-rama! To see all of the adoptable dogs and cats at the Ukiah and Ft. Bragg Shelters, go to mendoanimalshelter.com. Visit us on Facebook at facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter.
THE EARTH laughs in flowers.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
ATTENTION HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS...Did you know Coast Community - Mendocino County Library has gathered donations for the last eight months so that everyone has access to formal wear? The community has responded with some pretty amazing pieces — many with tags and in all shapes and sizes! Come on down and ask the librarian to show you the formal wear rack. All clothing and accessories are free to prom attendees.
MIKE GENIELLA: The only time I was up on Cow Mountain, a big lump sprawled across the ridge separating the Ukiah Valley from Lake County, I saw bullet casings. Thousands of them were left by some locals who use the mountain mostly as a target range. So I was delighted today to see Ukiah news ace Justine Frederiksen's video of her trek to a mountain waterfall. It is good to see Cow Mountain's natural side.
JUSTINE FREDERIKSEN: I hiked up Cow Mountain near Ukiah this week to check on my favorite waterfall, and found it especially full and gorgeous after all the rain we got this year in California. On the way I saw lovely wildflowers, bobcat tracks and two newts fighting over an earthworm!
GARTH GOT HIS RIDE
Thanks to everybody for the kind offers, suggestions, and well-wishes. It's great to have such broad support from the community. In my mushy-brained state, I haven't been able to respond to each of the replies to my original query. I've been working with coordinators here, Andi (my GF) has been working from home, plus I've spent a few hours on the phone, and it looks like various organizations will be able to provide door-to-door transit tailored to my schedule and covered by my insurance. I filed an application with a group that contracts directly with my insurance for the May 18-20 round trip. While it hasn't been formally approved yet, I think/hope that's just a formality. Knock on wood. They should also be able to cover the two later round trips which don't have firm dates yet. There's also a fleet of vehicles here at UCD Medical Center which should be able to get me home when I'm discharged. It looks like I'll be able to get back and forth OK without complicating the lives of friends and community members. Nothing is final at this point, though. I'll keep the various kind offers on file and in my mind, so that if the institutions fail me, I have a plan B.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, April 22, 2023
SOLAMON, ACOSTA, Talmage. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
SETH COSTA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JEWEL DYER, Ukiah. Stolen property, shopping cart, parole violation.
LATEEFARH GLOVER, Ukiah. Controlled substance, annoying phone calls to 911, resisting.
LAURIE HAYES, Covelo. Paraphernalia, probation revocation.
PJKOKH KEAMOIA-STRICKLAND, Redwood Valley. DUI.
ROSS KIMSEY, Manchester. Failure to appear.
CAMERON NORTON, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ALBERT ONEIL, Point Arena. Failure to appear.
JESSICA OSBORN, Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, failure to appear, probation revocation.
JOEL PONCE-ALVARADO, Boonville. Under influence.
DANIEL SANCHEZ, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance for sale, marijuana for sale, paraphernalia, felon-addict with firearm, county parole violation.
PAITHONE VENMAHAUONG, Fresno/Ukiah. DUI.
COLLEEN WARNER, Gualala. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, false personation of another, contempt of court, petty theft.
MCKENZIE WILSON, Redwood Valley. Tear gas, probation revocation.
LIGHT THE TEAM
by Lindy Peters
I know it’s early. I get that. But there’s enough of a sample size now to be able to predict that this year’s version of the San Francisco Giants baseball team falls somewhere between promising and pathetic. Last night the loudest cheer was when 49er QB Brock Purdy was introduced to the crowd while attending the latest lackluster 4-0 loss to the New York Mets. He even got a standing ovation. I wonder what would happen if Gabe Kapler were introduced to this very same crowd? You think he’d get a standing O right about now? Some fans might stand-up all right, but only to get a better angle to shout an expletive at the guy standing at the edge of the Giants dugout.
Giant manager Gabe Kapler’s analytics-style baseball has taken the fun and passion out our National Pastime and replaced it with all the excitement of an advanced student’s math class. You may have a favorite player on the team, but what guarantee do you have that you will find his name in the next day’s boxscore? The only guarantee with the platoon system is that the line up will be different everyday. And Farhan Zaidi’s thriftstore philosophy when signing players who are either passed their prime or can’t pass a physical has resulted in a baseball team that is guaranteed NOT to fill the stadium. Sometimes, to use an old expression, you can’t tell the players without a scorecard. Honestly. And good thing the farm club is just a bus ride up I-80 to Sacramento because the Giants top brass would sure be racking up a lot of expensive airline miles otherwise. And tell me. Who wants to spend top dollar on a ticket and $12 on a ballpark beer when the players you’re watching aren’t much better than warm lager from last night’s frat-party keg?
So far the product on the field can be summed up in two words: Bore ring. No spark. No fire. No excitement. Something needs to happen. And soon. Would someone or something or some event please put an end to this somnabulance? Keep this up and pretty soon a home game at Oracle Park may look about as empty as the Oakland Mausoleum.
So what do they do?
Sign Madison Bumgarner.
What have you got to lose? Certainly won’t lose any fans. You won’t lose any money either. The Arizona Diamondbacks still owe him $34 million. They’ll even be signing his paychecks for awhile. So the Giants bring him back, they sit him down and they tell him his new role. From now on you are a spot reliever for left handed batters and, drum roll please, potentially our new power hitting designated hitter. Say what?!? Maybe a bit far-fetched but a little time in the batting cage and he probably could do no worse than the current parade of K victims hanging around the Giant’s bat rack. He can hit. He can still find the strike zone with his pitches too. Our current bullpen sometimes can’t. His cutter is still effective against lefties and you know what? He’ll at least bring a little emotion to the mound. Boring is not a word used to describe Madison Bumgarner.
But above all, he’d be the club house leader this team has sorely missed since Buster Posey cleaned out his locker and left the building. From CEO Larry Baer down to the last guy collecting money in parking lot A, just about anyone evenly remotely connected to this organization has nothing but the utmost respect for who he is and what he’s done for the franchise. Not to mention the fans. Imagine if he returns in a Giant uniform and takes the field as an actual player and not just a publicity stunt signing for retirement purposes. If you think the ovation for Purdy was electric, just wait until Renel announces “Now pitching for the Giants… number 34… Madison Bumgarner.” You might even hear the crowd noise in Pacifica.
Yet his biggest contribution may be in the clubhouse. For all his skill looking at baseball spreadsheets, Gabe ‘Mr. Monotone’ Kapler seems to lack the inspirational push necessary to turn these statistics into wins. Where’s the passion? Where’s the emotion? This is a fairly young team and most of these guys are fresh out of Sacramento. Wait. Sacramento you say? So sign Madbum and tell him to do this.
Light the team!
CAN YOU GUESS the familiar Mendo location where this ad was filmed?
IN THE WEST, it is said, water flows uphill toward money. And it literally does, as it leaps three thousand feet across the Tehachapi Mountains in gigantic siphons to slake the thirst of Los Angeles, as it is shoved a thousand feet out of Colorado River canyons to water Phoenix and Palm Springs and the irrigated lands around them. It goes 444 miles (the distance from Boston to Washington) by aqueduct from the Feather River to south of L.A. It goes in man-made rivers, in siphons, in tunnels. In a hundred years, actually less, God’s riverine handiwork in the West has been stood on its head. A number of rivers have been nearly dried up. One now flows backward. Some flow through mountains into other rivers’ beds. There are huge reservoirs where there was once desert; there is desert, or cropland, where there were once huge shallow swamps and lakes.
It still isn’t enough.
— Marc Reisner, ‘Cadillac Desert’
IF PEOPLE HAD SET AND TELL ME that there was hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and thousands of families of people a living around under railroad bridges, down along the river bottoms in the old cardboard houses, in old rusty beat up houses that they’d made out of tow sacks and old dirty rags and corrugated iron that they’d got out of the dumps and old tin cans flattened out and old orange crates that they’d been able to tear up and get boards out of, I wouldna believe it.
— Woody Guthrie in California
NBA’S SUSPENSION OF WARRIORS’ DRAYMOND GREEN FUELED BY PERSONAL VENDETTA
by Bruce Jenkins
If you think you have a clear-cut idea what happens on Sunday between the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors, you’re probably wrong. When both teams are competitive, it’s almost a sure thing that no two consecutive NBA playoff games will bear any resemblance to each other — and the Warriors’ Game 3 win at Chase Center offered proof beyond question.
With that in mind, a look at some of the key names so far:
Draymond Green: Thank goodness he’ll be back on the court with the series still in doubt. For a while there, it looked like the NBA office had ruined everything. Commissioner Adam Silver must be deeply disturbed to think that Green could help the Warriors storm back to win the title.
Did you catch the Joel Embiid-Nic Claxton incident in Thursday night’s 76ers-Nets game? Embiid was on the floor, Claxton stepped over him in a dismissive manner, and Embiid responded with a kick to the groin that barely missed the target. “Same thing as the other night” with Green and Domantas Sabonis, Shaquille O’Neal said on TNT. “It was worse,” argued Charles Barkley.
Except that Embiid was allowed to stay in the game, a terrific development reminiscent of the old-school NBA, when some fairly substantial violence passed without even a foul being called. Green has become the victim of a personal NBA vendetta, but that doesn’t mean a suspension should ever happen to anyone under those circumstances.
Seriously, kicked out of the next game? “Crazy,” the Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard offered on Twitter. “Unfair,” wrote the Clippers’ Paul George.
All right, “victim” clearly isn’t the right word for Green’s plight. We’ve all come to resent his insufferably petulant behavior, and he made a real mess of the aftermath Monday night, shouting down the Kings’ fans and then running off the court in high-fiving delight, as if the first half just ended and he’d been the catalyst of dominance. I can’t imagine that anyone, including his teammates, enjoyed seeing that.
And is it really a “personal vendetta”? Oh, you bet it is. The NBA was sick and tired of Green seven years ago, when he was needlessly suspended during the Finals for just this type of incident (with Cleveland’s LeBron James). The recently revised Collective Bargaining Agreement, designed to punish teams who barely acknowledge the luxury tax, was all about the Warriors’ Joe Lacob, an owner who made the terrible mistake of caring, sparing no expense, hiring the right people and building a dynasty in the classic American-business mold.
It was a fine and decent man, Joe Dumars, taking the credit for the NBA’s suspension of Green, but he was much too kind. Green was a friend of the Dumars family in his youth; the two men absolutely understand each other. No, this was Silver’s doing, deciding that he would be part of this story when the final pages are written.
The problem with Silver is that he has no sense of theater, no idea how it affects the audience when stand-ins replace the stars, or how true-to-life villains represent the vital essence of conflict. Maybe you embrace Green, maybe you despise him, but you’re riveted to the sequel — and you can’t fathom his being expelled over what amounted to past behavior. That’s just downright vindictive. It’s almost as if Silver wants everyone on the court to act exactly the same, as if locked into a precise military drill, with no obscenities, angry gestures, roughhouse tactics (a staple of the league since it was born) or excessive personality.
Without question, Silver is a man of high intelligence, and he stands tall on matters of racism, social justice and other real-life issues. When it comes to dispensing justice on the basketball court, he’s nothing but a fool.
Andrew Wiggins: It shouldn’t have been his shot (he missed) in the final seconds of Game 1. That belonged to Curry, who was unguarded and waving his arms. Curry was on the other side of the court and it might have required two passes, but there were 10 seconds left — enough for the quickest release in basketball. Still, Wiggins has been tremendous in the series. It’s inspiring that he wanted that big shot, and that he contributed 20 points to Thursday night’s victory.
Sabonis: Good man, heck of a teammate, but we’re onto him now. Grabbing an opponent’s leg simply isn’t acceptable. “I would have kicked him,” former NBA forward Richard Jefferson said on ESPN. “I don’t know if I would have stomped on him, but I’ve got to get going. This is the postseason. Sabonis knew what he was doing.”
Klay Thompson: The Kings have guarded him as tightly as any team in memory, but he shot 5-for-14 from 3-point range in Game 1 and 3-for-10 in Game 3. That’s not good enough, and it can’t last much longer. Watch for something special from the man who loves to redeem himself.
MEMO OF THE AIR: The nonstop shrieking steam-calliope of history.
"Given a choice, the vast majority of people prefer to live in a dictatorship, as long as the dictator has the same tastes they do. They like the idea that the HOA controls what color they paint their house, as long as the HOA tells people to use colors they already like. They like the idea that the HOA controls what people do with their property, as long as the HOA says they have to do things they were already going to do anyway. People blather on and on about freedom, but the ugly truth is freedom really means people doing things you personally don't like." -Franklin Veaux
Here's the recording of last night's (2023-04-21) eight-hour-long Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) and KNYO.org: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0537
This particular show has all the features. RD Beacon, Del Potter, Paul Modic, Louis Bedrock, Douglas Coulter, Notty Bumbo, Emjay Wilson, Madeline Hagen, Caitlin Johnstone, Sarah Burris, Kent Wallace, Bruce Anderson, The Major (Mark Scaramella), Mitch Clogg, Ezekiel Krahlin (and Lucky and Flaco), Warren Hinckle (RIP), David Herstle Jones, creepy-eyed pregnant Midge, an entire jokes section, dream journal section, and twenty minutes of rapid-fire creepy-funny lies that mothers all over the world have told their children, all ending with Vincent Ialenti blowing our minds, as Jean Shepherd once did, with a vision of the far future, contemplation of times that will come, when each and all of us, all we care about and argue about and squabble over and build up and tear down and buy and sell and worship and revile, will be long ago and entirely forgotten, and that's a fact.
Email your written work and I'll read it on the very next Memo of the Air on KNYO.
Besides all that, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
There's the endless expansion theory, the big crunch theory, and then there's the /cosmic washing machine theory/, which is gaining adherents. The sound this universe makes can be heard by huffing gasoline. It's kind of whanga-whanga-whanga-whanga-whanga going in and out of a squeezed tinnitus whine.
First generation of human-Gray hybrids, the early carefree days. That thing disguised as a rearview mirror? It's a tiny rectangular interocitor. How happy they are in this image. The world is their oyster, ripe for plucking, even in a month with an R in it, even though you can tell who they are among us today because they can't make that Scottish-Spanish Shakespearean rolling-R sound, nor open and close their nostrils without using their fingers. They have some advantages but they don't have the gene for those specific things. (via Fark)
What's really wrong here is, the glass frame is not fastened down properly and it could fall and shatter. But people who are pissed off because they think this school carnival game is sexually sick and inappropriate and a foot in the door for Satan (!), and who want the whole school staff fired for allowing it, are the ones with a screw loose. Or... wait... maybe the problem is one of disgust quotient. The game contestants' tongues are forever separated, spectators know that, but the lizard part of their brains doesn't know that. This reminds me of something I read years ago about how science has shown that right-wing authoritarian people, Evangelicals, racists, etc., are much more viscerally disgusted by nearly everything than normal people are, and more driven by irrational primal fear in general. Even fear of their own thoughts, their own imagination, however stunted it might be. So they need to control others to keep them from doing and saying things that witnessing electrifies their misunderstanding and hatred of themselves. In a nutshell.
"You wanna take mah firearm, you jes' come and trah ta take it from me. With your warm soft lib'rul hands! You want mah gun? Come kiss me fur it, you weak soft pussy lib'ruls! Spank me fur it, hard, uh, but not hard enough ta hurt me, just enough so ah still feel safe." (via Tacky Raccoons) (You might have to click the sound on. Top-right.)
Marco McClean, email@example.com, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
A GOOD IDEA FROM MISSISSIPPI (All school cafeterias should do this!)
“Students who buy lunches may place unwanted and unopened food on an ice tray. If other students are still hungry after they finish their own lunches, they may choose one item from the share bin. This simple process reduces waste and makes tummies full.”
— Grindstone Elementary
MARSHALL APPLEWHITE was the co-leader of the Heavens Gate cult. They all killed themselves/each other ritualistically in a mass suicide in their San Diego mansion, about the time of the passage of Comet Kouhoutek. They believed they would be raptured to a hidden planet that traveled behind the comet. This was the source material for a very funny SNL bit. Applewhite’s other-worldly bug eyed visage made him into a meme before that term attained common usage. There is a 4 part documentary about this cult, on CNN. You may recall that at the time, nuts and crackpots all over the world were killing themselves in elaborate ceremonies. Aside from outright murder like Jonestown, probably the most bizarre cult murder I recall was that of a large group in Switzerland whose ritual death took place in concentric circles, the dead-to-be wearing robes of different colors, their sequential suicide beginning in the outer circle and moving to the center, where the leaders finally did themselves in. Anyway, find a pic of Applewhite. The resemblance to Biden is very funny, at least to my sense of humor.
(This one is so obvious I cannot claim credit)
— Harry Williamson
IF YOU REALLY want to piss people off, you can do two things: Attain some happiness or tell the truth.
— Tennessee Williams
US politics increasingly revolves around debating whether or not you should be nice to trans people because it's one of the only things the two parties actually disagree on. If you fully agree on war, authoritarianism and capitalist exploitation, there's not much left to debate.
On every issue that affects the interests of real power the parties are effectively in total alignment, while all the intense emotional debate gets steered toward issues the powerful don't care about one way or the other. Only an idiot would believe this happened by coincidence. To quote Chomsky, "The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."
— Caitlin Johnstone
ADD LOOK ALIKES
DESANTIS’S PUDDIN’ HEAD CAMPAIGN
by Maureen Dowd
Back in the more openly sexist days of Hollywood, writers would get notes on their scripts about women characters. The studio suits would ask questions like, “Can they go to a strip club here?” or “Can you chain her to a wall?”
The most common note from male executives was, “Make the girl more likable.”
No doubt Ron DeSantis’s advisers are getting notes from donors these days with the message, “Make the guy more likable.”
As David Axelrod told me, the Florida governor is coming across like “the high school quarterback who throws the geek against the lockers to get a laugh from the cheerleaders — and that’s not a good look.”
He said DeSantis is learning a lesson: “The kind of tricks you use to get elected to other offices don’t work in a presidential race because you get scrutinized so closely.”
Even in a world made crueler by social media and Donald Trump, DeSantis seems mean, punching out at Mickey Mouse, immigrants, gays and women; pushing through an expansion of his proposal to ban school discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity to include all grades, as well as a draconian ban on abortion after six weeks. He even admonished some high school kids during the pandemic for wearing masks. On Thursday, DeSantis signed a bill cutting the number of jurors needed to give a defendant the death sentence from 12 to 8.
DeSantis seems contrived with Tucker Carlson, weak against Robert Iger, robotic against Trump and inept with potential donors and endorsers. The 76-year-old Trump and the 44-year-old DeSantis can both be nasty, but Trump’s base finds him entertaining, with his “DeSanctimonious” and “DeSanctus” nicknames for the rival he deems “dull.”
Trump is so eager to trash DeSantis that he jumped in on the side of woke Disney and later posted an MSNBC headline on his social media site, “Ron DeSantis’ D.C. charm offensive was a massive failure.”
On Friday, speaking at a Heritage Foundation event outside D.C., DeSantis took a shot at Trump, saying he could send Florida workers to finish Trump’s wall.
But as Axelrod dryly noted, “If they’re going to get into a food fight, Trump always comes with more food.”
Trump 2024 put out a slashing attack on DeSantis the same day, describing Florida as tumbling into destruction (even though Trump seems quite happy living there), harkening back to Bush père’s vicious attacks on Massachusetts when he ran against Michael Dukakis.
The bitchy Trump has plenty of ammunition when DeSantis wears white boots redolent of Nancy Sinatra, as Jimmy Kimmel said, to tour Southwest Florida after a hurricane; or when a report alleges (denied by the governor) that DeSantis ate chocolate pudding with his fingers. (Trump backers already have an ad up about that beauty.) DeSantis let Fort Lauderdale go underwater, inundated by flash floods, while he gallivanted around testing the waters.
The word “likable” became a flashpoint for Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, with some women supporters claiming it was sexist to talk about that with women candidates.
But as Jerry Brown once told me: “I think we’re always judged on likability and I think that’s something a lot of politicians don’t want to admit. But I can tell you, when they throw you out, most times they didn’t like you. They got tired of you.”
Ken Langone, a Republican megadonor who gave $200 million to the N.Y.U. medical center, told The Washington Post that he was concerned about DeSantis’s rigid manner and his strict abortion ban. Former Representative David Trott, a Michigan Republican, told Politico’s Playbook that in the two years he sat next to DeSantis on the Foreign Affairs Committee, “he never said a single word to me,” even hello. “If you’re going to go into politics, kind of a fundamental skill that you should have is likability,” Trott said, adding, “He’s just a very arrogant guy, very focused on Ron DeSantis.”
Representative Greg Steube of Florida also told Playbook that the governor had never reached out to him — or replied to his efforts to get in touch — even when he was in the hospital after falling 25 feet off a ladder in January. Trump was the first to call him, he said. Trump has also wined and dined Florida lawmakers at Mar-a-Lago.
On Monday, Steube endorsed Trump (as of Friday, 11 Florida representatives were for Trump and one for DeSantis) and he later tweeted, “Sad to see the Florida House and Senate, two bodies I had the honor to serve in, carrying the water for an unannounced presidential campaign.”
DeSantis had declared himself “kind of a hot commodity” to The Times of London. Now the governor is prowling in that uncomfortable place best conjured by Hemingway in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.”
TAKING BACK OUR UNIVERSITIES FROM CORPORATE APPARATCHIKS
American universities are appendages of the corporate state. Educators are increasingly poorly paid, denied benefits and job security while senior administrators pay themselves obscene salaries.
by Chris Hedges
New Brunswick, N.J. — Here are some of the senior administrators I did not see joining us on the picket lines set up by striking teachers and staff at Rutgers University. Brian Strom, the chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, whose salary is $925,932 a year. Steven Libutti, the vice chancellor for Cancer Programs for Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, who makes $929,411 a year. Patrick Hobbs, the director of athletics, who receives $999,688 a year. The president of the university, Jonathan Holloway, who is paid $1.2 million a year. Stephen Pikiell, the university’s head basketball coach, who has received a 445 percent pay raise since 2020 and currently gets $3 million a year. Gregory Schiano, the university’s head football coach, who pulls in $4 million a year.
Here is who I did see. Leslieann Hobayan, a poet and single mother with three teenage daughters who makes $28,000 a year teaching creative writing as an adjunct professor and could not afford health insurance last year. Hank Kalet, who, by teaching seven courses a semester at Rutgers, Brookdale Community College and Middlesex College as an adjunct professor (a full course load for a semester is normally four courses) as well as teaching summer courses, can sometimes make $50,000 a year. But even he only has health insurance through his wife’s employer. Josh Anthony and Yazmin Gomez, graduate workers in the history department who serve as teaching assistants, and who each struggle to survive on $25,000 a year, $1,300 of which is deducted by the university for library, gym and computer fees.
Rutgers, like most American universities, operates as a corporation. Senior administrators, who often have a Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) with little or no experience in higher education, along with sports coaches who have the potential to earn the university money, are highly compensated while thousands of poorly paid educators and staff are denied job security and benefits. Adjunct faculty and graduate workers are often forced to apply for Medicaid. They frequently take second jobs teaching at other colleges, driving for Uber or Lyft, working as cashiers, delivering food for Grubhub or DoorDash, walking dogs, house sitting, waiting on tables, bartending and living four or six to an apartment or camping out on a friend’s sofa. This inversion of values is destroying the nation’s educational system.
Rutgers, in a questionable campaign to become a national powerhouse in sports, has an athletic department debt of more than $250 million with half of that being loans to cover operating deficits, according to an investigation by NorthJersey.com.
“Even as Rutgers athletics continued to rack up annual operating deficits of $73 million — covered in part by taxpayers and student tuition revenue — athletics showed little restraint as it dropped millions on credit cards to pay for Broadway shows, trips to Disney, meals at destination Manhattan restaurants and other perks for its coaches, athletes and recruits, including a luau and beach yoga at sunset in Hawaii, a guided snorkeling tour in Puerto Rico, ax throwing in Texas, luxury hotels in Paris and London, and chilled lobster, seafood towers and Delmonico steaks back home in New Brunswick,” the NorthJersey.com report reads. “For more than a year, Rutgers University football players enjoyed a pricey perk that few other students had access to — free DoorDash food deliveries from restaurants, convenience stores and pharmacies, paid for by the university, and ultimately by taxpayers and students. And the costs piled up. Football players ordered more than $450,000 [paid by the university] through DoorDash from May 2021 through June of this year, according to a review of invoices and other documents obtained by NorthJersey.com.”
Rutgers football team, with a terrible win-loss record for the last decade, rarely fills its 52,454 seat stadium.
The members of Rutgers American Association of University Professors–American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT), Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union (PTLFC-AAUP-AFT) and Rutgers American Association of University Professors–Biomedical and Health Sciences of New Jersey (AAUP-BHSNJ) represent more than 9,000 faculty, part-time lecturers, graduate workers, postdoctoral associates and physicians. Union leaders, who shut down 70 percent of the university’s classes, are demanding increased pay, better job security, and health benefits for part-time lecturers and graduate assistants. They’re also asking the university to freeze rents on housing for students and staff and extend graduate research funding for one year for students who were affected by the pandemic. Tenured professors, in an important show of solidarity, agreed not to accept a deal unless the lowest paid academic workers’ demands were addressed. On Saturday the unions called for a pause to the strike pending a possible agreement.
I have been teaching as a part-time lecturer, or adjunct, in the Rutgers college degree program in New Jersey prisons for a decade, am a member of the union and joined the strike. We have been without a contract for eight months. The 2,700 adjunct professors, who are usually informed only a few weeks in advance if they will be teaching a course, are responsible for 30 percent of the university’s classes. Adjuncts are paid about $6,000 a course.
A little more than 10 percent of faculty positions in the U.S. were tenure-track in 2019 and 26.5 percent were tenured, according to a study last year by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). Nearly 45 percent were contingent part-time employees or adjuncts. One in five were full-time, non-tenure-track positions. Universities, by radically reducing tenure-track and adequately paid positions, are becoming extensions of the gig economy.
Rutgers laid off five percent of its workforce during the pandemic, throwing many into extreme distress, even as the university’s net financial position — total assets minus total liabilities — “increased by over half a billion dollars to $2.5 billion, a 26.7 percent rise in a single year,” according to Rutgers AAUP-AFT’s review of the university’s financial records. Rutgers savings, which can be used for financial emergencies, grew by 61.9 percent to $818.6 million.
Strikes are taking place at other universities, including at Governor’s State University in Illinois, the University of Michigan, and Chicago State University, and poised to take place at Northeastern Illinois University. The University of California, New York University and Temple University have also seen strikes. The strikes are part of the fight to take back universities from corporate apparatchiks.
These institutions, including Rutgers, often have the funds to pay a living wage and provide benefits. By keeping faculty underpaid and refusing to provide job security, those who raise issues that challenge the dominant narrative, whether about social inequality, corporate abuse, the plight of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and apartheid, or our regime of permanent war, can be instantly dismissed. Senior university administrators, awarded bonuses for “reducing expenses” by raising tuition and fees, cutting staff and suppressing wages, pay themselves obscene salaries. Wealthy donors are assured that the neoliberal ideology that is ravaging the country will not be questioned by academics fearful of losing their positions. The rich are lauded. The working poor, including those employed by the university, are forgotten.
“Rutgers sports programs lose more money than any of the other Big Ten schools,” Kalet, who teaches writing and journalism, said. “This says a lot about the priorities of this administration and previous administrations. It is a large part of the argument we’ve been making, ‘We know you guys have the money, you’re running a big surplus, you have a huge $868 million dollar reserve account which has been growing.’ They’re taking in more money than they’re spending. They have a growing endowment. They’re giving money to the coaches, but refusing to pony up for adjuncts and grad workers who are paid poverty wages.”
And then there is the rank hypocrisy, with universities such as Rutgers purporting to defend values of equality, diversity and justice, while grinding its teaching and service staff into the dirt. Holloway, the university’s first African-American president and a labor historian, called the strike “unlawful” in a university-wide email sent out before the strike began. He has threatened to use the power of injunction to punish, impose fines and arrest those participating in the strike. The lead negotiator for the university is David Cohen, who was the head of labor relations when then-New Jersey governor Chris Christie was engaged in open warfare with the state’s teachers’ unions. Christie referred to the teachers’ unions as “New Jersey’s version of the Corleones,” the Mafia family from “The Godfather,” and suggested that the leaders of the American Federation of Teachers “deserved a punch in the face.”
The nation’s universities have been deformed into playgrounds for billionaire hedge fund managers and corporate donors. Harvard University will rename its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences after the billionaire hedge fund executive and right-wing Republican donor Kenneth Griffin in honor of his $300 million donation. A decade ago, Harvard renamed the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research after Glenn Hutchins, a private equity oligarch who donated $15 million to the institute. Harvard, to save face, said the famed Du Bois Institute was subsumed into the new entity, but the fact that Du Bois, one of America’s greatest scholars and intellectuals, would have his name replaced by a white equity mogul, lays bare the priorities of Harvard and most colleges and universities.
The public defunding of universities, along with their seizure by corporations and the uber rich, is part of the slow-motion corporate coup d'état. The goal is to enforce conformity and obedience, to train young people to fill their slots in the corporate machine and leave unquestioned the status quo. The accumulation of vast wealth, no matter how nefarious, is prized as the highest good. Those who mold, shape, inspire and educate the young are neglected. Rutgers, like most large universities, pours resources into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs that “Corporate America” values. The fundamental aim of an education, to teach people how to think critically, to grasp and understand the systems of power that dominate our lives, to foster the common good, to construct a life of meaning and purpose, are sidelined, especially with the withering away of the humanities.
“When I was applying to grad school and talking to my professors about getting a PhD, most of them told me not to do it,” said Anthony, bearded and wearing a black T-shirt with the word Solidarity and a logo with a raised fist clutching a pencil. “Almost all of them said, ‘This profession is dying’, that ‘You’ll never get a job, you’re going to be paid so poorly while you’re in grad school’ and ‘Make sure you have your funding, what matters most is what your funding package is.’ I thought very, very seriously about not doing this, but I was in love with history. I’m good at it. It’s the thing I’m meant to do.”
“It’s really tough,” he added. “There are a lot of times when you’re looking at your bank account and trying to figure out what you can give up to pay the rent.”
Most adjunct professors and graduate workers hang on because of their students, enduring economic instability and job insecurity for those sacred moments in the classroom.
“I feel like I need to be checked into a mental hospital because I keep teaching despite these poverty-level wages,” Hobayan said as she surveyed the picket lines where strikers were chanting “We’re not a corporation! We’re here for education!”
“I love sharing the knowledge that I have gained with other people,” she went on. “I love seeing what happens when the lightbulb goes off in their head. You see it on their faces. They’re like, ‘Oh this is possible! This is what can exist outside of my bubble of knowledge!' I talk to them a lot about their bubble of knowledge because everyone is in their silos, right? And I say, ‘Have you considered this perspective or have you considered trying this out?’”
She spoke about a student who was a talented writer but who studied engineering because he wanted a job where he could make money. Hobayan steered him towards his passion. He became an English major, got a masters degree and is now an ESL teacher in northern New Jersey.
“He’s happy,” she said. “It sucks that we don’t get compensated for the things we love, the things that change people’s lives, that change the world.”
MY SAD SELF
by Allen Ginsberg
To Frank O’Hara
Sometimes when my eyes are red
I go up on top of the RCA Building
and gaze at my world, Manhattan—
my buildings, streets I’ve done feats in,
lofts, beds, coldwater flats
—on Fifth Ave below which I also bear in mind,
its ant cars, little yellow taxis, men
walking the size of specks of wool—
Panorama of the bridges, sunrise over Brooklyn machine,
sun go down over New Jersey where I was born
& Paterson where I played with ants—
my later loves on 15th Street,
my greater loves of Lower East Side,
my once fabulous amours in the Bronx
paths crossing in these hidden streets,
my history summed up, my absences
and ecstasies in Harlem—
—sun shining down on all I own
in one eyeblink to the horizon
in my last eternity—
matter is water.
I take the elevator and go
and walk on the pavements staring into all man’s
questioning after who loves,
and stop, bemused
in front of an automobile shopwindow
standing lost in calm thought,
traffic moving up & down 5th Avenue blocks behind me
waiting for a moment when ...
Time to go home & cook supper & listen to
the romantic war news on the radio
... all movement stops
& I walk in the timeless sadness of existence,
tenderness flowing thru the buildings,
my fingertips touching reality’s face,
my own face streaked with tears in the mirror
of some window—at dusk—
where I have no desire—
for bonbons—or to own the dresses or Japanese
lampshades of intellection—
Confused by the spectacle around me,
Man struggling up the street
with packages, newspapers,
ties, beautiful suits
toward his desire
Man, woman, streaming over the pavements
red lights clocking hurried watches &
movements at the curb—
And all these streets leading
so crosswise, honking, lengthily,
stalked by high buildings or crusted into slums
thru such halting traffic
screaming cars and engines
so painfully to this
countryside, this graveyard
on deathbed or mountain
never regained or desired
in the mind to come
where all Manhattan that I’ve seen must disappear.
New York, October 1958
I think that the proliferation of airbnbs in single family homes is a destructive force in our county. Why not a simple hard limit of a maximum rental of 10 days per year? Keep it simple stupid.
Yes, the housing crisis is a very serious issue, very destructive and very harmful to our communities. If we don’t act and get on top of this, we will be in worse and worse straits. Governments should move quickly to implements maximum rentals days per year. Simple and effective and so very warranted. And I’ll say this for travelers– please don’t use airbnbs, use motels meant for this purpose and don’t take-up housing meant for families in our communities.
RE: …proliferation of airbnbs in single family homes (Chuck Artigues)
—> April 21, 2023
“Since November of 2022, we have seen the highest percentage of cash buyers since 2019 when looking at closings,” Smith said. “This means that these buyers most likely initiated their purchase at some point in early-to-mid 2022, which would coincide with the consistent interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve.”…
That same upward trend, meanwhile, isn’t holding true for cash buyers of existing homes.
During March, the Las Vegas Realtors association found that 24.5 percent of all local property sales were purchased with cash. That’s down from 31.7 percent one year ago. It’s also well below the March 2013 cash buyer peak of 59.5 percent when investors were gobbling up homes at reduced prices after the housing collapse during the Great Recession…
“It used to be if you bought a second home, it was at the same rate as an owner-occupied residence, but they changed that in April 2022,” Gatling said. “As they’ve changed things and made them more price beneficial for those categorized as first-time buyers or buyers at 80 percent of the median income, it’s made investment purchases more expensive.
Most investors are buying in cash. There’s no way an investor would be able to cash flow a property (with a loan). It would take the rate up to 8 percent or over 8 percent for something doing an investment property even if they have great credit.”
Desantis is toast. Bobby Jr is the dark horse who’s gonna unite all the folks who call everyone else sheeple.
Vote Marianne Williamson.
There has been in depth background reporting re her continued abuse of staff.
The love and light Guru reportedly has anger issues and staff the last time considered advising her to seek treatment.
Polling does suggest a slight majority of Dems prefer an alternative to Biden. 53%
Likely candidates if Joe didn’t run:
Governor Murphy (NJ)
Governor Pritzker (Ill)
Governor Newsom (CA)
Senator Cortez Masto (NV)
Governor Maura Healey (MA)
Ms Williamson may be modeling herself on the Meryl Streep character in the movie Don’t Look Up, smoking Misty menthols and drinking Sky vodka.
My preferences would be to rescind the constitution, give the land back to the indigenous population and go to King Charles and say we’re sorry, please take us back, we’ll never do it again.
Allen Ginsberg’s Poem
“& I walk in the timeless sadness of existence”
A fine line that means more, for sure, to those of us up in years.
Indeed. For me it brings to mind these lines from Dylan’s Dirge
I went out on Lower Broadway
And I felt that place within
That hollow place where martyrs weep
and angels play with sin.
The Chevy Silverado ad looks like the switchbacks on Hwy 1 at Elk Creek. My secondary guess would be the set of switchbacks just east of the mountaintop on Mountain View road.
Correct. Just south of Elk Creek. Very good.
I think Mike Geniella might have been at the Cow Mountain target range.
It is safe, isolated and free.
Universities are teaching our young about the realities of life, one being that the privileged get more. A lot lot more. These same privileged also influence policy, whether consciously or not, toward “a kinder gentler machine gun hand” and “a thousand points of light for the homeless man”. And all the while a guy like Trump steals the lyrics of these songs and mindlessly claims they reflect his philosophy. Such as the ridiculous notion that the former lines from the Neil Young song “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World” make sense to Trump and that Trump relates to “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty, but Trump and his followers don’t have anything of value to hold up, so what would cause them to back down? Ultimately there is nothing there in the first place besides self-interest and chicanery. Ditto the corporate world, ditto the “powers that be” that run our universities. It is hard to see how this can ever be corrected as we have come so far down this road. I salute the adjunct professor who stays for her students and for the joy of teaching. It may be the only way to have any effect.
I heard Professor Carl Yee at Humboldt SU say many times, “Your education begins the day you graduate.”
Gabe Kapler was the first MLB manager with a tattoo on the back of his hand. Look it up.