Interior T-Storms | Starflower | Spaghetti Grange | Arena Weekend | Action Needed | Supe Pride | Shoplifting Scuffle | Needs Work | Irvine Lodge | Nine Busts | Brazilian Dinner | Ha Gets 30 | Log Truck | Police EV | Leaf | Ed Notes | Beacon Fans | Media Savvy | Silly Hats | Yesterday's Catch | Rental Moratorium | Witch Dunk | Anarcho-Syndicalism | Rhetorical | Marco Radio | Prez Library | Saints Respond | Trump Indictment | The Left | Flat Earth | Bad Tummyache | Ron Cobb | Recognition | Protecting Journalists | Werewolfing | New Toy | Ukraine | This Week
ISOLATED TO SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS are expected each afternoon and evening across the interior through Monday. Drier conditions are expected later next week. Seasonal temperatures are forecast through early next week, followed by a period of above normal inland temperatures from mid to late next week. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): Yesterday's morning drizzle brought .07" of grass growing moisture. A foggy 52F on the coast this Saturday morning. If you liked the weather last week, you're gonna like next week also.
SPAGHETTI NIGHT AT THE WHITESBORO GRANGE THIS SATURDAY!
Everything costs more these days. Why, you can't even get a decent meal at a restaurant without spending close to $50 for two people. But you know where you can get a great all you can eat dinner for two people for $20?
You guessed it - right here at Whitesboro Grange at our bi-monthly Spaghetti Dinner Nights! All you can eat spaghetti (either meat or vegetarian), salad, garlic bread, beverage and dessert all for just $10 per adult, $5 for kids 6-12 and FREE for children under 6!
We're serving from 4:00 to 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 10, and in case you need to grab and go - we offer carry out! Whitesboro Grange is located at 32510 Navarro Ridge Rd. in Albion.
Whitesboro Grange is a member of the National Grange, officially known as the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry - a social organization in the United States that encourages families to band together to promote the economic and political well-being of the community and agriculture.
PATRICK HICKEY (Service Employees International Local 1021 rep):
I appreciate Mark Scaramella’s detailed and incisive list that provides the Board of Supervisors with a roadmap of how to get us out of the current mess they have made for themselves and us.
On Tuesday, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors rushed through a County budget, setting limits on public input, with few questions from Supervisors and very little discussion on the plans for most of the departments, which could well have serious negative impacts on the County’s ability to carry out its mandated services. If we have trouble recruiting sheriff’s deputies now, this budget will make it much worse. If we have 40% vacancies in Child Protective Services and 60% in some parts of the Assessor’s office, this budget will cement those vacancies.
We need more journalists like Mr. Scaramella to call out the Board of Supervisors and the CEO’s office out for their lack of leadership and failure to plan and prepare for moving the County forward. The CEO’s office and the Board of Supervisors have been oddly passive and seemingly sitting on their hands as this situation has developed. To many employees they appear to act like deer in the headlights. There are steps they can and should take to make sure that the funding is there to support the necessary staffing for the County. The CEO’s office and the Board should always be projecting a few years out to make sure they are doing what is necessary to fund services. There are resources available to get help. But the Board needs to do more than talk. They need to act. If they identify a funding stream that is not being collected, take the actions necessary to collect it. The Board has been floating ideas as if it is not their job or within their power to make these things happen. The time for excuses is over, County residents expect results.
More and more, the County is finding itself in a dangerous spiral. There are high vacancy rates in some instances because they don’t pay enough. They are slow in collecting revenue or not able to bill for services because of the high vacancy rates, which in turn leads to reduced funds to offer market rate wages. The Board has fretted about this predicament, but done little to address it.
Instead of proposing solutions, the CEO’s office and the Board present excuses. Rural counties throughout California struggle with many of the same challenges that Mendocino faces. There are examples out there about what Mendocino can do. We need the CEO’s office and the Board to put forward a real plan that puts the County on a path of sustainability with market rate positions to carry out the mandated services provided by the County.
SUPERVISORS WILLIAMS AND MULHEREN celebrate Pride Month in Ukiah
ASSAULTED IN UKIAH
I didn't want to share this for a bit, but now that I've healed I would like to tell my story.
I was assaulted on May 20, 2023.
I own a small business in Downtown Ukiah, by the name of Bhoomi Herbs.
On May 20, three teenage girls entered my shop. They left without purchasing anything, and an item was missing (a jar of spice mix). They had gone to a cafe' a few doors down from me. I went inside and said "You were just in my shop and an item is missing. Return it." They denied it and were very rude to me. The cafe' owner asked them to leave.
I followed them out and proceeded to reason with them. I said "You are not just stealing from a shop, you are stealing from me, personally. I am a mother of two small children. Give it back." They began acting belligerent and continued to walk away from me.
For whatever reason, I wasn't willing to let it go that day. I knew which girl had taken the spice mix. I could see it at the top of her bag. I grabbed her bag and took my item. It dropped. As I picked it up, she landed a sucker punch right between my eyes. All three girls then attacked me at once. Luckily, my adrenaline response had kicked in and they did not land any more hits on me. I did throw a kick and a couple of hits to defend myself.
During the fight, their bags had dropped and spilled out onto the street. They were full of small items the girls had been stealing from downtown shops (candles, journals, jewelry and clothing).
Then, all three of them pulled out their phones and began filming my bloody face, laughing. Each of them posted these videos on their Instagram pages. My nose was most likely broken (although I did not see a doctor). My black eye (or eyes, rather) remained for 2 weeks.
The Ukiah Police were called, and they arrived 45 minutes after the incident. They told me that my options were to press charges or get a restraining order, but that neither option would work out well for me. The police report listed the incident as "mutual combat."
I have since learned that the girl who punched me is named Deja (16 years old), and one of the others is her younger sister (13 years old, named "Shai"). The other was a friend of theirs (also 16, goes by the name "Lina").
I have learned that Deja and Shai are constantly between foster care and juvenile hall. They attack people, film it, and post it on their Instagram accounts. They advertise that they sell pills on their Instagram accounts. They do hard drugs, like Meth. I feel very, very sorry for these girls and I have been praying for them daily.
Their friend, on the other hand, is just hanging out with the wrong crowd.
There are SO many things wrong with this situation!
Our kids and teens are in a terrible state. To steal from someone, attack them and then humiliate them shows a person in a very bad way, mentally and emotionally.
I am incredibly let down by the Ukiah Police Department. They did nothing to help me.
The theft in Ukiah downtown businesses is out of control. Small businesses can't take the losses caused by shoplifting. Some consider closing due to this issue. The Ukiah Police do not help us.
Instagram allows acts of violence to be posted! This has to stop!
What can we do as a community to work on these problems? How do we help our teens? How can we come together and look out for one another?
If you see this as a pressing issue, please share this post.
Also, I want everyone to know that I am ok. I have taken this as a learning experience and have held my head up high through this ordeal. I am proud that I stood up for myself, and that the shoplifting spree ended with me that day.
Thank you for reading, and please share.
Q: Anyone know the history of Irvine Lodge (rest stop now) on 101 south of Laytonville ?
A: Ida Irvine bought the property in 1930 as a motel and restaurant. It was famous for her blackberry pie. It added three additional cabins in 1940. It was pretty much destroyed by the 1955 flood. The state bought the property in 1959-60 and all the buildings were demolished. She made most of her money on the sale of pie and coffee.
I continue to receive calls regarding illegal marijuana related issues in Mendocino County. Although we have been seeing a decline in illegal marijuana cultivations in many areas, it continues to be a problem.
We are continuing to combat several issues directly linked to illegal cultivations including Violence, environmental damage and general intimidation of residents in our communities. Many folks who have come to our county to make a quick buck aren’t concerned with being good neighbors nor good stewards of our resources. Drug trafficking organizations are not good for any community.
This week the Mendocino County Marijuana Enfrocement Team served search warrants on 9 locations in Mendocino County.
The locations of the search warrants ranged from Redwood Valley and Willits to the Bell Springs area in Northern Mendocino County.
Working with our state and local partners we seized over 22,500 marijuana plants along with 1,656 pounds of processed marijuana. Also seized were 17 firearms.
Serious environmental damage including stream alterations, trash in the waterways and water diversions were documented and investigations into these matters are continuing.
One arrest was made and several subjects were detained. I anticipate several more charges will be filed against others following further investigation.
I am currently working with state and federal partners to put more resources on the issue. I am optimistic we are making headway.
Sheriff Matt Kendall
BRAZILIAN DINNER & LATIN BEATS
Tickets are still available for Brazilian themed Buffet Dinner accompanied by LIVE music by La Onda (Lincoln Andrews on bass, Gabriel YaÃ±ez on drums, Carlos Hernandez playing trumpet, Mario Vela on percussion and Drew Louden on guitar.
When: Thursday, June 15th
Music: 5:30 - 8:30 PM
Dinner: 6 - 8 PM
Where: Party on the Patio at Cucina Verona (side entrance)
Advance Tickets Only: Call Jane 707-228-8234
This is a fundraiser for Sinead Bermudaz’s rotary student exchange to Brazil. Ordem E Progresso
HA GETS 30
Prolonged court proceedings due in part to the pandemic notwithstanding, a Las Vegas-area defendant who slipped into Mendocino County in September 2020 disguised with others as law enforcement officers to ambush two Southern California marijuana money couriers on Covelo Road resolved his case In May and appeared this past Wednesday, June 7th, for sentencing, the day before his 30th birthday.
Defendant Roy Ha, of Las Vegas, Nevada, stands convicted of attempted murder and robbery in the second degree. Ha also admitted a sentencing enhancement that he personally and intentionally discharged a firearm during the commission of the attempted murder.
To make his then fast-approaching May trial go away, the defendant accepted a state prison sentence of thirty (30) years, the stipulated sentence that was imposed on Wednesday by Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Victoria Shanahan.
As part of the negotiated disposition, defendant Ha also waived his appellate rights and all pre-sentence good time/work time credits that he normally would have “earned” from sitting in jail from the 2020 date of his arrest up to the date of sentencing, meaning just over three years’ worth of credits.
Because the defendant’s crimes are characterized as violent in the California Penal Code, the early release credits defendant Ha may attempt to earn moving forward while he is serving his time in state prison is capped by current state law at no more than 15 percent of the overall sentence, meaning he should be required by prison authorities to serve 25 ½ years of his 30-year sentence, absent deductions made by prison authorities, if any, due to in-custody violations of prison rules.
The law enforcement and other agencies that assisted in the initial response and follow-on investigation were the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, Cal Fire, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, the Ukiah Police Department, MedStar Ambulance, the Potter Valley Fire Department, the Las Vegas Police Department, the FBI, and the District Attorney’s own Bureau of Investigation.
The attorney who has been handling the prosecution of this defendant from 2020 to the present is District Attorney David Eyster.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Victoria Shanahan accepted in May the defendant’s negotiated guilty pleas and admissions. Judge Shanahan presided over what turned out to be a very brief sentencing hearing this past week.
(presser from the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office)
FORT BRAGG POLICE DEPARTMENT UNVEILS THEIR FIRST FULLY ELECTRIC POLICE VEHICLE
On Monday, June 12, 2023, Fort Bragg Police Department will take delivery of the first of four fully outfitted electric police vehicles.
Through grants and the vehicle replacement budget, Fort Bragg Police department purchased four 2023 Ford F150 Lightning Special Service Vehicle (SSV) police trucks. This will represent half of the patrol fleet and the beginning of the transition to electric vehicles in the police department.
The trucks were ordered last fall and the first two arrived in April. They needed to have graphics and the standard police equipment added prior to going in service.
Chief Neil Cervenka said, “The Fort Bragg City Council made clear their desire for the City to move to electric vehicles. We have a responsibility to care for the beautiful area we are in. These trucks are a step towards that.”
Besides saving on annual energy costs, they will also represent a substantial savings in maintenance costs as they contain thousands less parts than a traditional gasoline powered vehicle. It is expected they will last several years longer than standard police vehicles, reducing the cost of vehicle replacement. Additionally, trucks offer more utility and a better service to our community.
**The media and public are invited to attend an introduction on Monday, June 12, 2023 at 5:15 PM near Town Hall in Fort Bragg. The first FBPD Lightning will be on display.**
This information is being released by Chief Neil Cervenka. All media inquiries should contact him at email@example.com.
THE DEATH of Ukiah's Dr. Werra reminded me of how much we've lost in basic, accessible medical care. I met Dr. Werra long before the Adventist octopus ate Mendo-Medico. Call up his office and you were in. Everything medical in the county is now routed through the vegetarians.
A COUPLE of years ago I was medically curious about suddenly urinating great rivers of blood, complete with clots. Nothing painful, but I thought I might be melting, so rather than go all the way to the city, I tried to make an appointment with a Ukiah urologist, of which there are several. The receptionist just laughed. Literally. “Maybe in three months,” she said.
I'D sign up with the VA if I hadn't been hauled off to St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco twelve years ago when I nearly bought the store from sepsis. I liked the no bullshit efficiency of the emergency room on Stanyan and the hospital above it, and I liked Dr. Yoss, who became my regular doctor. No pursed-lipped piety about diet and drink from him.
PRIOR TO ST. MARY'S, the last doctor I remember seeing were the old guys who did high school and college sports physicals. Cigarettes dangling from the corners of their mouths, and often smelling of whiskey, they'd give your nut sac a cursory chuckety chuck-chuck, hit your knees with a little rubber hammer, and, “You're good to go, kid.”
FORTUNATELY FOR ME, I've always enjoyed robust health because, I think, as an obsessive-compulsive personality type, I've always demanded of myself routine exercise, which in my case has always meant at least an hour first thing every morning, including mornings with bad hangovers.
AND I WAS RAISED by a mother, a registered nurse, who took the austere position that if you weren't bleeding, you weren't hurt. I never saw a doctor as a kid. My mother hated them. “Don't tell me about doctors,” she'd say. “I work with the bastards, and I can tell you they're all a bunch of drunks and drug addicts. Nurses do all the work.”
THE GREAT red rivers only lasted a few days, but they made for exciting trips to the bathroom while they lasted, and by not getting an appointment over the hill I probably eluded endless medical trips to Ukiah.
TRUMP'S INDICTMENT. Don't get me wrong. He's got everything he gets coming to him, but I think this is nothing more than the Democrat's pursuit of the great orange whale, Trump and sex changes being their sole issues.
SERIOUSLY. It's a well-known fact that Trump has your basic flea's attention span. He undoubtedly delegated the sorting job of those mounds of official papers, including the so-called secret ones about bombing Iran. (For which the Iranians have been preparing for years, so where's the secret?) Trump wouldn't have the patience. He probably told a team of lawyers, whose functioning level is at about the level of the Mendocino County Counsel's office, “Get the stuff that makes me look good.” Prediction: The Great Whale skates.
NOT TO GET bogged down in legal discussions, a morass in the case of a career criminal like Trump of endless dimensions, but out of the box, isn't the chain of custody of the docs going to be opaque unto unprovable?
THE LATEST TRUMP saga isn't funny. It's a measure of how far gone this country is. There's no way to reconcile all the warring parties. The situation is more dire than the lead-up to the Civil War. The basic social fragmentation underway means years of violent decay, and probably the end of US as one nation, under god or not.
MY OWN great white, a furtive little fellow I'm pursuing all the way to his new home in New Zealand, Mike Sweeney, car bomber and retired Mendocino County bureaucrat, presented me with a major chain-of-custody problem. I was planning to mug Sweeney and grab a handful of DNA hair that I thought would definitively link the cold-eyed little psycho to key case documents, but a cop told me, “Don't do it. You'll go to jail for assault and, as evidence, the hair you grabbed won't be any good because you aren't a legally-sanctioned person like a cop or an attorney.”
NOT BEING a particularly sentimental kinda dude, but every time I read about Ishi, the last Indian, as I did the other day when we ran that long passage about him, I've got to stand up and walk around for awhile until I've beaten back the sadness his story never fails to evoke. The irony is that Ishi himself managed somehow to put his own enormous sadness aside as he went on to function pretty well as a living anthropological exhibit in San Francisco.
AVA, another very good, packed issue today. I like making the little extra effort reading R.D. Beacon's one period pieces. He's mostly correct about the usurpation of original character in the area. With the financialization of everything throughout the land, the highest bidder takes hold. Also enjoyed Jonah Raskin's "A Yippie Review of Not Too Late." Where are the Paul Krassners and Abbie Hoffmans of today?
We do have the beautiful Mendocino County scenery: Inland storm clouds East of Willits and Muir Mill Rd roadside Daisies. Also a funny Meme. Windward course and all.
ED NOTE: I enjoy R.D. hugely. I chant his observations to myself for double the fun.
ASSEMBLY BILL 873, introduced by Assemblyman Marc Berman of Menlo Park is being touted by the California edu-establishment for its focus on providing students with the ability to “Recognize fake news, be savvy about social media and resist cyberbullying.”
The bill “would require the Instructional Quality Commission [did you know there was such a “commission”?] to consider incorporating the Model Library Standards into the next revision of the English Language Arts/English Language Development (ELA/ELD) curriculum framework after January 1, 2024,”
It would “also consider incorporating media literacy content at each grade level. The bill would require the commission to consider incorporating media literacy content into the mathematics, science, and history-social science curriculum frameworks when those frameworks are next revised after January 1, 2024.”
If kids were media savvy, this guy probably wouldn’t be in office.
Nevertheless we went to the State Education Department’s “Model Library Standards” webpage.
We found a large collection of the usual edubabble which sounds about as likely to occur as numerous other education reforms that have had no discernible effect on “our nation’s future.” But if anyone can show us where we’re wrong, we’d be happy to see it.
PS. The Instructional Quality Commission (one of a number ill-defined “commissions” making up the State Edu-apparatus for which we could find no cost or salary information) is an amorphous mass of 18 or so self-selected happy-face educrats headed by a Mr. Mike Torres EdD who is also Director of Curriculum Framerworks and Instructional Resources which is part of the Instruction, Measurement and Administration Branch of the State Department of Education which is headed by Cheryl Cotton, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction.
“EVERY YEAR thousands of you kids put on these silly, fucking hats to hear some other kid in a silly, fucking hat tell you that you are the future, but there’s not enough future to go around. If you want to know your real future, look at your folks in the stands. Fat butts and sagging tits, that’s your future. If you had any sense you’d give back your diplomas and silly hats and stay 18 the rest of your lives. You don’t want the future because the future sucks! Hell, most of you assholes can’t even read!”
— Bruce Dern as “Bobby Lee Burnett” giving a commencement address to a Texas high school in 1980’s “Middle Age Crazy.” (Screenplay by Carl Kleinschmitt who died last December at the age of 85.)
CATCH OF THE DAY, Friday, June 9, 2023
TIMOTHY FISCHER, Ukiah. Disoderly conduct-alcohol&drugs, shopping cart, resisting.
JESSICA FLOWERS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
LAWRENCE LAWSON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance, county parole violation.
ROBERT MORENO, Ukiah. Saps or similar weapons, controlled substance, resisting.
DARIN NATHANIEL, Ukiah. Fugitive from justice.
ADAM PEARSON, Ukiah. Vandalism, controlled substance, paraphernalia, parole violation.
MICHAEL PIERCE, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
RICKEY PHILLIPS III, Willits. Parole violation.
CARMELLA ROSEVEAR, Camino/Ukiah. Domestic battery.
NORMA VERDUZCO, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
LYDELL WILLIAMS, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
HUMBOLDT COUNTY SUPERVISORS APPROVE SHORT-TERM RENTAL MORATORIUM
by Jackson Guilfoil
On Tuesday, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors narrowly approved a moratorium on new short-term rentals within unincorporated parts of the county for 45 days.
The approval — which came four to one with 2nd District Supervisor Michelle Bushnell as the only dissenting vote — was enacted in advance of an ordinance county staff will bring to the Humboldt County Planning Commission meant to more tightly regulate short-term rentals, almost all of which operate without permits. The moratorium was meant to prevent a surge of new short-term rental applications, which the staff report notes has happened in other counties whenever an ordinance meant to regulate them more strictly comes through legislative pipelines.
“The core of why these emergency ordinances happen around short-term rentals … is trying to not make people homeless, or to lose where they live, because property owners are trying to rush to convert into short-term rentals because they see a potential cap coming,” 3rd District Supervisor Mike Wilson said.
The ordinance being constructed will, if passed by the planning commission, come before the Board of Supervisors for discussion.
Humboldt County Planning and Building Director John Ford said that there are an estimated 1,000 short-term rentals operating in Humboldt County. Many rental operators pay transient occupancy taxes, which in fiscal year 2021 to 2022, made up roughly 30% of the total among collected by the county. Of the $3.2 million collected that fiscal year, about $989,000 was paid in a lump sum via voluntary collection agreements with Airbnb and HomeAway.
Bushnell said that, while she understood the housing crunch is made worse by the proliferation of short-term rentals in many parts of the county, the situation is not the same in her district because of the cannabis industry’s downturn.
“I really feel it’s going to be detrimental to Southern Humboldt right now where we have a bunch of empty homes, and people are getting ready to start losing their homes, and that this is going to be their option,” Bushnell said. “People aren’t lining up down there to rent houses, we have an apartment complex that is 50% empty for the first time ever.”
Both Ford and 5th District Supervisor Steve Madrone said that they receive complaints weekly about short-term rentals, which in addition to taking up housing stock that could be used by long-term occupants, cause road damage related issues due to the number of occupants and noise complaints.
Madrone cited Trinidad, which is in his district, as an example of how the proliferation of short-term rentals can impact a region.
“They (the city of Trinidad) acted too late in their minds. They acted once about 33% of the town had become short-term rentals, and I think the ordinance brings it back down to 25% or something like that,” Madrone said. “What they have is a clause that if you have a short-term rental and you sell the property, then you lose that short-term rental license.”
The ordinance has not been introduced or circulated publicly, meaning details about it are still scant, but 1st District Supervisor Rex Bohn expressed a desire to see a “happy medium” between regulating short-term rentals while allowing operators who pay transient occupancy taxes to stay viable.
The discussion about the moratorium was not generally about the taxes short-term rental owners pay and do not pay, but Madrone addressed the county’s projected $17 million deficit regarding how funds from short-term rentals could reduce it. He said that with 1,000 short-term rentals making an average of $300 per night taxed at 12% and renting 200 nights out of the year amounts to $7.2 million for the county.
“I’ve had folks (in his district) be evicted because a house was sold for a price predicated on its ability to generate income through a short-term rental conversion,” Wilson said.
(Eureka Times-Standard/Ukiah Daily Journal)
Letter to the Editor
Please tell us what “anarcho-syndicalism” is, and why you prefer it as a system of social organization. Please list any references that have influenced you on this subject. Please explain why abolition of tenure will cause a social revolution. Etc.
ED REPLY: Without consulting Professor Google, which would be cheating and you asked ME, boiled down working people destroy capitalism AND the state to produce necessary goods and services as collectives. If the great tenured theorists were suddenly all fired there would be serious trouble in the land. A little joke was intended, Harry, suggesting that armchair radicals rattling their teacups in lush faculty lounges would actually have to act. The Bolsheviks knocked off a lot of anarchists as undisciplined and impractical. We seem headed for street anarchy in this country out of which may emerge capable LEFT leadership.
MEMO OF THE AIR: Live on KNYO from Franklin St. all night Friday night!
Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is like 5:30 or so. Or send it whenever it's done and I'll read it on the radio next week.
I'll be in the clean, well-lighted back room of KNYO's 325 N. Franklin studio. To call and read your work in your own voice, the number is 707-962-3022. If you want to come in and perform in person, that's okay, but bring a mask to put on.
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via KNYO.org. Also the schedule is there for KNYO's many other terrific shows.
As always, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find plenty of things to mess with until showtime to keep your fingers and ears and eyeballs from going crazy, such as:
The trailer for Alien if Wes Anderson had made it.
Canada before European contact.
And I guess they didn't like them anymore. This reminds me of one time I went to Walmart for boxer shorts and a thumb drive. I took a shortcut through the ladies' undergarments section and discovered that somebody really didn't like the underwear models in the cardboard signs. Their eyeballs and crotches were all ruined by being poked through with a pen.
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
God is very busy with more important issues than mine. I come from a lapsed Catholic family where we lost most of the dogma, but we were all raised to ask particular saints to intercede for us. I won’t go into details here, because you might conclude that I’m demented, but I’ve personally experienced responses to my requests for intercession that are as close to literally impossible as could be imagined. I can actually document several of these in specifically material ways, but I don’t discuss them outside of my immediate family and husband. It isn’t possible to give one’s experiences to other people, and I’m not inclined to proselytize; we all believe as we see fit and in accordance with (mostly subjective) experience. That’s fine with me.
FULL TEXT OF THE TRUMP INDICTMENT
CALL ME AN AMERICAN revolutionary Marxist, socialist, and/or communist. Just don’t tell me I’m “on the [US-American] left.” Part of the problem here is that the dominant US media politics culture has let the neo-McCarthyite right dilute the term “the left” so far as to mean anything from hot yoga and wind farms to Madonna, drag queen story times, M&M mascots without high heels, organic vegetables, academia, the Brookings Institution, the AFL-CIO, and the dismal, dollar-drenched corporate-imperialist Democratic Party. The term has been watered down almost beyond recognition.
— Paul Street
MEGHAN McCAIN: America wakes up this morning to a new reality. Where do we, as a country, go from here? The unsettling truth is that no one knows. Yes, of course, we've weathered momentous - even traumatic - moments before. Richard Nixon's resignation showed the country that their president was, in fact, a crook. The September 11th attacks revealed our powerful nation to be incredibly vulnerable. The January 6th riots exposed the gaping rifts that had torn open between us all. But in these instances, a great majority of Americans rallied together and recognized common cause. Republicans joined with Democrats to force Nixon from office. Patriotism surged after 9/11. No serious person condoned the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol. This feels different. It is hard to understate the significance of what has just happened. Never before in my lifetime has the ground under our feet seemed so shaky. I feel it in the pit of my stomach. If this reported seven count federal indictment against Trump does not reveal a crime so shocking that it unites Americans in universal condemnation of him, then I fear there may be no coming back.
Although now best known for his design work on several films that defined the appearance of the future in the imagination of a generation, Ron Cobb was, for many years, a noted countercultural figure whose political cartoons appeared in the pages of influential underground newspaper The Los Angeles Free Press.
After experiencing a childhood epiphany prompted by the work of space artist Chesley Bonestell, who taught him that “art must always be in service to discovery and one’s best grasp of reality,” Los Angeles native Cobb began his career working at the Disney Studios in Burbank, where—despite possessing no formal training—he rose through the ranks to become a breakdown artist on 1959’s Sleeping Beauty. Once the film was finished, Cobb was laid off, and worked a variety of odd jobs before being drafted into the U.S. Army. Upon returning from a stint that included a year working as a draughtsman for the Signal Corps in Vietnam, Cobb’s first cartoons began appearing in the Free Press in 1965, and by the end of the decade they were being syndicated to over eighty counterculture publications worldwide. He remained the Free Press editorial cartoonist for the next five years, moonlighting as a cover artist for Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine to make ends meet.
Cobb’s combination of muscular draughtsmanship and scrappy underground sensibilities gives his work a powerfully dramatic quality, even in the context of a small cartoon frame, and underlines his talent for distilling an issue down to its basic paradox. A savant-like ability to evoke credible futuristic realities and an avoidance of relying on caricatures of the day’s politicians (“scapegoating individuals seemed too predictable and far too easy to dismiss”) means that his work has dated far less than many of his contemporaries, as has the fact that many of the issues he tackled—politics, nuclear brinkmanship, industrial culture, gun violence, ecology (Cobb created the well-known ecology symbol for the Free Press in 1969), racism, and fundamentalist religion—remain absurdly pertinent today.
As opposed to pointing fingers, his work often focuses upon on “the plight of the common man caught up in our history of cleverness, belief, creativity and folly,” and the melancholy results of humankind’s inability to foresee the future hells to which its recklessness and arrogance condemn it, be they nuclear wastelands or anodyne police states. The work of an illustrator who had “always been uncomfortable around people who are very certain about their world and their values, no matter how defined,” Cobb’s Free Presscartoons—collected in Mah Fellow Americans (1968) and My Fellow Americans (1971)—manage to be both incisive and thoughtful without ever being shrill.
In addition to his cartooning, Cobb also provided covers for several LPs, including Jefferson Airplane’s 1967 After Bathing at Baxter’s and Doctor Druid’s Haunted Seance, a 1973 album of spooky nonsense recorded by makeup artist Verne Langdon. Increasingly disillusioned with cartooning and with the American counterculture—which he found “too faddish, emotional and self-indulgent (read, American) to really fit the complex mix of world events“—he became involved in the production design of 1974’s Dark Star and, consequently, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s aborted Dune project through acquaintance Dan O’Bannon. He subsequently moved into the field full time, going on to provide enduring work for Star Wars (1977), 1979’s Alien (for which he also devised the idea of the xenomorph’s acid blood), Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981), Conan the Barbarian (1982), The Last Starfighter (1984), Back To The Future (1985), Real Genius (1985), Aliens (1986), and The Abyss (1989).
Like George Lucas—another visionary whose extrapolation of the social realities of the day became the compellingly prescient dystopia of 1971’s THX-1138—Cobb reacted to political disenchantment by throwing himself into science fiction and fantasy. Today, when some of the films he helped shape have metastasized into monolithic franchise industries and lightning rods for reactionary nostalgia, it is strange to reflect that the visual (and sometimes textual) roots of these cultural artifacts spring at least in part from Ron Cobb’s thoughtful, politically engaged aesthetic.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE DOJ’S NEW PROTECTIONS FOR JOURNALISTS
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
More than seven months ago, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland formally approved a Justice Department policy that expressly prohibits federal prosecutors from using subpoenas and other investigative tools to demand records from or of members of the news media, including journalists who possess and publish classified information obtained in newsgathering, with only narrow exceptions.
Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce Brown called it a “watershed moment,” noting that “the new policy marks a historic shift in protecting the rights of news organizations reporting on stories of critical public importance.”
To help journalists, media lawyers, and others make sense of the revised news media guidelines, Brown and Gabe Rottman, director of the Reporters Committee’s Technology and Press Freedom Project, recently authored an in-depth, two-part analysis for Lawfare.
In Part I, they provide a user guide to the new policy, explaining everything from how it draws a bright line around protected newsgathering to when the attorney general would be required to weigh in on a particular case involving a member of the news media. In Part II, they explore how the updated guidelines would have likely applied in past cases of Justice Department overreach, offering some insight into how they could be applied in future difficult cases.
“The rule isn’t just there to protect reporters,” Rottman told Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes during a conversation about the two-part series for The Lawfare Podcast. “It’s there to protect the democracy-enhancing function that public-interest journalism brings, particularly when it comes to government transparency.”
The Gazette and the Invisible Institute are taking their fight for access to a police certification database to the Colorado Supreme Court. The two newsrooms, represented by Rachael Johnson, the Reporters Committee’s Local Legal Initiative attorney for Colorado, argue that the records they requested years ago from the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training Board should be disclosed under the Colorado Open Records Act.
They are asking the state’s highest court to review a court of appeals and lower-court decision that concluded instead that the POST Board could shield the records from the public under the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act, a much more restrictive public records law.
Tennessee Local Legal Initiative Attorney Paul McAdoo appeared in Shelby County Criminal Court on behalf of a coalition of media outlets challenging two orders preventing the disclosure of certain information related to the criminal cases of the five former Memphis police officers charged with the murder of Tyre Nichols. In a story published after the hearing, the Associated Press noted that the judge appears to be open to releasing at least some records in the case.
McAdoo is also representing journalist Marc Perrusquia in a new lawsuit access to records that would help the public better understand how the city of Memphis and its police department assess and evaluate an early intervention program that seeks to improve the performance of troubled police officers. The lawsuit comes more than two-and-a-half years after Perrusquia originally requested the records.
In his latest column for The Tennessee Press, McAdoo answered some questions reporters may have about the right to access courtrooms in Tennessee — and provided a few tips for reporters who ever find themselves shut out of one.
The Philadelphia School District settled a public records lawsuit with the Philadelphia Inquirer over access to aggregated school attendance data. The settlement was reached after the newspaper, supported by a friend-of-the-court brief filed by the Reporters Committee, received a favorable ruling in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania affirming a lower-court decision ordering the district to turn over the requested records.
Kara Andrade, editor-in-chief of Carolina Public Press, spoke with the North Carolina Open Government Coalition about how her nonprofit newsroom has benefited from the legal services offered through ProJourn, the Reporters Committee’s partnership with Microsoft, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to provide local journalists and newsrooms free legal help with pre-publication review and public records access. “It can only make your reporting better and more rigorous she said.
“Bad Press,” a documentary chronicling the fight for a free press on the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation in Oklahoma, will make its Washington, D.C., premiere on June 16 as part of the 2023 DC/DOX Film Festival. Check out the film festival’s website for ticket information. Later this year, the Reporters Committee will recognize Rebecca Landsberry-Baker, the co-director of “Bad Press” and executive director of the Native American Journalists Association, at our 2023 Freedom of the Press Awards with the Freedom of the Press Local Champion Award, which honors a journalist, attorney, or organization whose work has had a significant impact locally.
Across The Nation
On behalf of The Financial Times, Global Investigations Review, and The Guardian, Reporters Committee Deputy Executive Director and Legal Director Katie Townsend appeared before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit earlier this week to challenge the secrecy surrounding sentencing records and proceedings related to an oil executive who pled guilty to his role in a decades-long bribery scheme.
The Reporters Committee and 21 news organizations recently urged a California court to deny the city of Los Angeles’s attempt to force a local journalist and community advocacy group to return and/or destroy lawfully obtained police records. A judge rejected the city’s request during a hearing last month.
In our latest friend-of-the-court brief challenging warrantless pole-camera surveillance, Reporters Committee attorneys argue that such targeted, persistent surveillance threatens First Amendment freedoms, including the freedom to gather news.
The Reporters Committee, joined by The Baltimore Banner and The Washington Post, is recommending that a federal district court in Maryland make changes to a proposed rule to better protect the public’s right of access to criminal records.
The Reporters Committee is supporting the Bakersfield Californian’s fight against a subpoena that seeks the disclosure of reporting materials related to a jailhouse interview one of its journalists conducted with a man charged with murder.
We recently wrapped up a newsletter series analyzing press freedom violations documented by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker in 2022. In case you missed it, check out our blog post to find links to all four parts, which cover some of the most egregious press freedom violations from last year and explore notable trends gleaned from the Tracker’s data.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press provides pro bono representation, amicus curiae support, and other resources to protect newsgathering and the legal rights of reporters. We serve news organizations, reporters, editors, documentary filmmakers, media lawyers, and more.
THE GREAT DOJ WEREWOLF HUNT
by James Kunstler
“Whenever Biden says ‘I’m not joking,’ he’s lying. Whenever he says, ‘I’m joking,’ he’s telling the truth.” — Margot Cleveland
At long last you know what those plangent cries of Russia! Russia! Russia! ringing across the land signify: America has been turning into Russia, Joe Stalin-vintage, since 2016, just as Lon Chaney turned into a werewolf on-screen back in 1941. Trump Derangement turns out to be an extreme presentation of mass Species Identity disorder, a national altered state that (Wikipedia says): “…typically involves delusions and hallucinations with the transformation only seeming to happen in the mind and behavior of the affected person.”
Clinical lycanthropy is a very rare condition and is largely considered to be an idiosyncratic expression of a psychotic or dissociative episode caused by another condition such as Dissociative Identity Disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or clinical depression. It has also been associated with drug intoxication and withdrawal, cerebrovascular disease, traumatic brain injury, dementia, delirium, and seizures…. However, there are suggestions that certain neurological conditions and cultural influences may result in the expression of the human-animal transformation theme that defines the condition.”
So, now we are to have a grand show trial, in the Stalinist mode, of presidential candidate (and werewolf) Donald Trump on charges actually concocted off-site in the Lawfare laboratory of Commissar for Werewolf Activities Andrew Weissmann and sidekick, Brookings Institute fellow Norm Eisen, late counsel to the House Committee that impeached the werewolf with disappointing results over a telephone call to Ukraine in 2019. And, yes, that would be the same Andrew Weissmann who previously (but surreptitiously) led the team of intrepid Lawfare werewolf exorcists fronted by dementia victim Robert Mueller. Mr. Weissmann’s previous two-year-long werewolf hunt was a bust, too, of course. The werewolf slipped off into the moonstruck night to gnaw on Democrat loins again!
This time Mr. Weissmann’s front-man is federal attorney Jack Smith, new to the werewolf hunting scene, packing a seven-shot indictment of silver bullets, aiming to show America how it’s done. And just in case he misses those shots, he’s got another gun strapped to his ankle chambering silver bullets engraved with “Jan 6” on the slugs. If you think our world has gotten interesting, better buckle into your Big Boy lounger because this werewolf movie is going places like none before.
You may have noticed the timing of this new werewolf hunt has a near-magical synchronicity with oddly identical circumstances shimmering around the current occupant of the White House — another case of misplaced official papers. Unlike the Donald Trump werewolf hunt, the “Joe Biden” classified-docs-in-a-garage case is moving at the speed of an Amtrak train with a broken Johnson rod stuck on a sidetrack outside Joppatowne, Maryland, in a snowstorm on Christmas Eve. But those purloined classified papers may be the least of “Joe Biden’s” concerns. Why, just the other day a single “whistleblower” document turned up in the House Oversight Committee’s SCIF — a special room for the performance of secret rituals — suggesting that “JB” was on the receiving end of $5 million gratis from some generous soul connected to a Ukrainian natgas company. That payday, for services left murky, when “JB” happened to be Barack Obama’s vice-president, came around the same period as yet other multi-million-dollar gift parcels from China, Russia, and Romania flew into a long list of companies operated by “JB’s” son Hunter, with no known business other than receiving large sums of money and then writing checks to various Biden family members. “Well Sonofabitch…!” as the president himself once said apropos of legal doings in Ukraine.
You understand, the US Department of Justice — the outfit that employs werewolf hunter Jack Smith — got a hold of that “Joe Biden” Ukraine “whistleblower” receipt a good three years ago, and somehow AG Merrick Garland has been unable to take any action on it since then. It’s been mouldering in some remote FBI file, out of sight and mind until Rep. James Comer (R-KY) subpoenaed it. Apparently, not even the most preliminary inquiry. Nothing to see there. May have been a shortage of federal attorneys not already assigned to the odious Jan 6 “insurrection” incident that so scarily endangered our democracy. Why, they are still rounding up suspects from sea to shining sea for that treasonous caper, so deep, broad, and dark was the conspiracy!
Springing the werewolf trap on Mr. Trump in the Miami federal district court is sure to intoxicate the, let’s say, thirty percent of the public gripped by lycanthropic hallucinations. You can hear cheers ring out in Santa Monica and the Hamptons today as the “blue” demographic prepares to watch the glorious ordeal of Donald Trump’s legal vivisection. They are forgetting one thing, though: werewolves have powers unknown to mere men who hunt them. Trapping a werewolf is one thing, but holding onto him is another. There are seventeen full moons between now and the next election. A lot can happen, especially among the, let’s say, seventy percent of the public, who disapprove of all this werewolf craziness. The hunters might even find themselves flipped, horrifyingly, into the hunted.
UKRAINE, FRIDAY, 9TH JUNE
The death toll rose to five Friday in Ukrainian-controlled flooded regions affected by the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam, according to Kyiv. It’s still unclear whether the dam collapsed because it was deliberately targeted or suffered structural failure.
Residents are dependent on donations for clean water, according to charities, while irrigation issues could plague the country’s agriculture industry for years. Officials have warned that mines may have been dislodged and could threaten Ukraine’s coastline.
A Kremlin-backed official in the Zaporizhzhia region told Russian state media that there is “fierce fighting” on Ukraine’s southern front, amid questions about whether a Ukrainian offensive is underway there.