Warming | Spume Line | Short Outage | Bragg Fireworks | Open-Mic Poetry | Ukiah Buildings | AV Events | Shields Observations | Pet Tundra | County Comments | Grant Funding | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Marco Radio | Oystercatcher | Nuclear Waste | Juneteenth | Dam Deconstruction | Liston Training | Free Burger | Russian Rebellion | Graduation Photo | Prigozhin Halt | Ukraine | Bukowski Grammar | Trump Religion | First Scumbag | Night Window | Save TCM | Handspun Shake | Free Assange | Tangy Ketchup
COASTAL CLOUDS will persist through much of the week. Across the interior, isolated to scattered thunderstorms are expected again today, with decreasing storm chances occurring during early to mid next week. Temperatures along the coast will remain slightly below normal, while across the interior, much warmer weather is expected during mid to late next week. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A still strong fog bank brings us another foggy 54F on the coast this Sunday morning. "Gradual clearing" is the forecast for today & tomorrow, we'll see. Then sunnier days starting about Tuesday they say.
BOONVILLE LOCAL, Saturday morning: "So I’m one of those people that questions myself if I paid the bill when the power goes off. Lol. I called in and the outage didn’t even show up in PG&E’s system until I had been talking to them for 10 minutes. I kept saying FB was blowing up with outages all over the Valley and your system shows nothing?! Finally, just before I hang up, oh, I see an outage in your area. Really? No kidding! Guesstimation power back at 2:45 pm. We’ll let you know if it will be after 9 pm. "
* * *
POWER WAS OUT IN BOONVILLE from about 10:20 to 11:15 Saturday morning. Early attempts to get restoration info produced mixed results until PG&E finally acknowleddged the outage, said it was “being investigated” and would be back on by 2:45pm. But power was restored pretty quickly. So far nobody has any information about the cause.
POETRY ON THE RIVER, Sunday, June 25th, 1-3pm, Slack Tide Cafe, Noyo Harbor, Fort Bragg
Calling all poets, writers, and literature lovers: This is an invitation to the next Poetry On The River open-mic reading at the Slack Tide Cafe on Noyo Harbor, sponsored by the Noyo Center for Marine Science. This is a monthly series, held on the last Sunday of the month. The June 25th reading will be open-mic with no featured poets. Poets, writers, and lovers of literature of all ages are invited to attend as readers and/or listeners. Thank you and look forward to your participation on Sunday, June 25th. Marine/ocean-themed poems encouraged, but not required. Joe Smith will be the MC for the June reading.
Slack Tide Cafe
32430 N. Harbor Drive,
Fort Bragg, Ca
ANDERSON VALLEY(ish) EVENTS TODAY
Whitesboro Grange Pancake Breakfast
Sun 06 / 25 / 2023 at 8:00 AM
Where: Whitesboro Grange #766, 1.5 Miles from HWY 1 on Navarro Ridge Rd, Albion , CA
More Information (https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/3259)
The Anderson Valley Museum Open
Sun 06 / 25 / 2023 at 1:00 PM
Where: The Anderson Valley Museum , 12340 Highway 128, Boonville , CA 95415
More Information (https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/2918)
Sun 06 / 25 / 2023 at 4:00 PM
Where: Lauren's house
More Information (https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/3355)
JIM SHIELDS OF THE MENDOCINO COUNTY OBSERVER:
This week’s Observer has a great front-page photo of Nicole Mann, a Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes.
We did a feature on her last Fall when she become the first Native woman in space when she launched to the International Space Station as a part of NASA's SpaceX Crew-5 mission. A true, honest-to-God inspiration for all girls. Every school district in this county and country should have her poster on permanent display. She obtained a bachelor's of science degree in mechanical engineering in 1999 from the Naval Academy. In 1999, she was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. She realized she could be a fighter pilot and a Marine simultaneously while riding in a F/A 18, a fighter and attack aircraft, in the summer before her senior year at the Naval Academy.
After earning a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University in 2001, she went to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Mann has more than 2,500 hours in 25 different aircraft, 200 carrier landings and 47 combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq under her belt. During test pilot school, she started looking at options for what to do next. Becoming an astronaut fell on the list.
She applied to the 21st astronaut class. Mann was selected with seven others in the 2013 cohort out of more than 6,100 applicants. At that time, it was the second largest number of applicants NASA had received. She was a 35-year-old major in the Marine Corps when selected. Go AstroChick!
* * *
Comments On The Uptick Of Weed Production
by Jim Shields
In last week’s column I wrote a short item about weed and water, and also gave a longer report on my Saturday KPFN program, “This & That.”
Those reports generated a number of responses from readers and listeners. In a moment, I’ll share a couple of representative comments on what I said. What I told readers and listeners was that it’s apparent to me that weed production is on the rise. I know that to be the case for two reasons.
First of all, growers — these are mostly the mom and pop variety — have told me that after a year or two of fallowed grows, they’re once again tilling the soil. Secondly, the Laytonville County Water District for the past several weeks has been operating on a peak-demand basis. Remember, you can’t grow weed without water.
I’m told that, depending on the quality, pot is fetching prices ranging from $300 to $900 per pound. In fact, Bruce Anderson, of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, reported recently that a grower told him he received $1,000 a pound. Of course, these are black market prices but that’s really the only market that counts. Hopefully, this trend will continue, since state and local governments have wrecked rural economies by creating unworkable, hideously complex pot laws and regulations.
A year ago marked the exit of most of the outsider, big-monied pot businesses, it also resulted in the current economic crisis visited on long-established local businesses, especially those in the unincorporated areas of this county. Almost all small businesses are hurting, some worse than others as suppliers and vendors demand cash on delivery. The real estate market is saturated with homes and properties abandoned by people who have cut a trail to parts unknown. Newspapers are full of legal notices advertising foreclosure sales on mortgage defaults.
Even though everyone — growers, non-growers, businesses, and local governments — have historically benefitted from “pot dollars,” no one seems to know or has any ideas about what to do about this mess we now find ourselves in.
If not for the state of California subsidizing this county’s failed pot program with a combined $17.5 million in grant funds, the situation would be even worse, if that’s even imaginable.
Also this week, the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) said they’re sending $4 million in cash relief to 18 local jurisdictions (sorry, Mendo didn’t make the cut) that will be establishing cannabis retail licensing pathways for the first time in their city or county. Fourteen of the 18 jurisdictions selected for grants are proposing equity programs to support and assist the licensure of cannabis equity retail businesses, a critical component to further equity in the legal cannabis market.
So the state of California continues to subsidize a pot program that Gov. Gav Newsom says is the most successful in the nation. Huh? It’s such a rousing success, Governor, you have to infuse it with taxpayer cash to keep it afloat? It’s supposed to work the other way around. Regulated weed was guaranteed by you, other politicians, and pot lobbyists to subsidize general government and various environmental and public health programs and services.
Naturally, government officials have done nothing other than look the other way, as rural community economies continue to nosedive.
This disastrously botched experiment with pot regulation has run its course because there’s just no place left for it to go now except the Black Market.
Here’s the way two people looked at my comments:
“Mr. Shields, do you seriously believe that most growers actually till the Terra firma for their Devil’s lettuce? Maybe a select few who sew their seeds naked during the bright full moon.. but the majority is still running with imported soil and large inputs of non-estate fertilizers. Hopefully there are fewer water trucks this year.” — Kirk Vodopals
“The soil industry is a scam, From short loading to over charging but the carbon foot print isn’t what people think. Most soils are green waste (wood chips) mixed with organic amendments.” — Peter Boudoures
Here was my response:
I apologize Kirk and Peter for not fully explaining the ramping up of water production as it relates to weed. The increase in water production to which I referred, is the water being consumed by our Water District customers who reside within the District’s town boundaries (which includes the Cahto Reservation), not the water used by growers who live outside of our jurisdictional boundaries.
This increase in water production we’re experiencing now, totally results from the water that is delivered through our transmission/distribution system that then flows through each customer’s water meter.
Water that is sold to people who live outside district boundaries, i.e., “trucked-in water,” is non-existent at this point because their wells and springs were recharged by this year’s heavy rains that also extended into April and May. So we’re not expecting to sell much water to them until probably toward the end of Summer. Approximately one-half (conservative estimate) of our town’s water district customers cultivate weed. The water they use is delivered through their residential meters.
But in any event, pot production in our town’s area is definitely on the rise, and these folks are almost exclusively mom and pops, which is a good thing, don’t you think?
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Tundra has the most striking markings of any dog we’ve seen (and we’ve seen a LOT of dogs!) What a handsome boy. Tundra is a Husky, and a guardian familiar with the Husky breed would be ideal. Huskies are not couch potatoes, and Mr. Handsome will need daily exercise and lots of time with his family. Secure fencing is a must. Tundra seems to prefer being outside rather than in, but has nice indoor manners. Tundra’s had some training and knows sit, shake and can catch treats in the air. Although he came in with a canine buddy, at the shelter he can be reactive with dogs. He will need to meet any potential dog housemates. Tundra is 2 years old and a swooningly handsome 67 pounds. For more about Tundra, head to mendoanimalshelter.com. You can begin the adoption process on our website. For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453. Our new facebook page is up and running--take a peek at facebook.com/profile.php?id=100093510460862
 In Mendo the BOS takes direction from the incompetent and corrupt County Counsel and CEO both of whom got huge pay raises last year just before starting salary negotiations with the employees. Ted Williams was loudest in telling the employees there was no money.
They negotiated a one year deal telling the employees they’d get them a COLA next year. Now, a year later, Williams is still saying they have no money. But they paid out over $500,000 for attorney’s because on advice of County Counsel and the CEO they picked a losing fight with the Sheriff over his budget. And the legal fees are over $600,000 just for their attorney in a fight with the former Ag Commissioner. And they illegally tried to charge for Public Record Act requests but backed down when threatened with legal action.
Now County Counsel and the CEO are illegally trying to shut down the First Amendment rights of Librarians? The Mendo BOS keeps following County Counsel and the CEO over a cliff. You wonder if they’ll ever start paying attention or will they just keep cashing their own inflated paychecks?
 Basically stealing from the people who actually do the work to keep our county running while the supervisors, CEO and counsel all give EACH OTHER AND THEMSELVES pay raises… The CEO makes over $10k per month and does not sweat or do any physical labor. We need a county mayor who is elected, not a corporation style government where the corrupt appoint the next corrupter.
 Just when you think Mendocino can’t get any shadier… they have a library run mafia problem. It’s funny but really it’s never funny when people of power abuse their power (Deb) and purposely give employees bogus legal advice and dish out retaliation for legit concerns and complaints by employees. I mean, is there an abundance of folks yearning to work at libraries these days? Maybe they should treat the few who still are with respect. And the Brown act? Library employee? Yeah no.
THE ONLY ELECTED Mendo supervisor in recent history to enjoy a broad base of support — libs and conservatives — was Johnny Pinches of the Third District. The libs liked him for his hands off approach to marijuana, the conservatives liked him for his hands off approach to land use issues. I liked him because he was miserly with public money, generous with his own. And he paid more than lip service to campaign reform by limiting political contributions to himself to $49.
THE PRESENT SUPERVISORS have been elected by lib blocs in their districts. At election time, the local professional Democrats beat the tom-toms for their boy, seldom a girl incidentally, and presto-magico we get Williams; Gjerde; Haschak; McGourty; and Mulheren, although ‘Mo’ doesn't seem to have any political opinion either way beyond Niceness, which isn't a political stance so much as it is a kind of Zen non-presence, but a stance that goes over boffo with Ukiah's large liberal voting population of bliss ninnies, aka NPR zealots. What was that movie starring Vincent Price wherein he, whenever he's berated by people unhappy with him, and to the gentle plucks of a harp, zones totally out, mentally drifting off, a big smile on his face, until the unpleasantness is over. Mo always reminds me of Vincent Price in that movie. Of the five, I'd say Haschak is the most responsible, but with this board the bar couldn't be lower.
WHEN'S the last time you read a page-turner of a biography? I read a lot of bios and histories these days, having given up on fiction. But with a lot of biographies it’s a hard slog through five-, even six-hundred pages, of turgid academic prose, with only a passage here and there of any interest. But Gellhorn, A Twentieth Century Life by Caroline Moorhead is a veritable thriller, as was Martha Gellhorn, usually the only female war correspondent in war zones ranging from the Spanish Civil War, World War Two, the Chinese Civil War, to Vietnam, to El Salvador. Unfortunately for her, she is primarily remembered as one of Hemingway's wives. (The great man doesn't come off too well in Gellhorn's accounts of him, to no surprise to readers who've read biographies of him.) Not only is she a uniquely vivid writer among war correspondents, she's a uniquely vivid writer period. Reading her life story is also reading a history of twentieth century conflict, and to come away amazed at the range of her friendships — Eleanor Roosevelt to Leonard Berstein to writers and soldiers all over the globe. I hope someone will read this one and report back. It kept me up at night reading it.
ONE OF THE MANY MENDO PERKS are the used book stores in Fort Bragg, Ukiah, Willits and last time I looked, Mendocino. Book stores, like weekly newspapers, are endangered species. Years ago I collected Modern Library editions from ML's best years of the forties and fifties when they came with brilliant cover art. I had delusions of possessing a rare complete collection, and would make used book stores my first priority to visit wherever I went, from Nevada City to Eugene. But I gave up when I learned that a movie star, I forget which one, had cornered the market. He had them all, the only known complete collection, including several that were extremely rare.
A PARTICULARLY difficult book store guy owned Books Etc. in the Castro District of San Francisco. He was Mr. Big in all of the United States for Modern Libraries. This guy was something of a collector’s item himself, being a cranky old Englishman who looked and talked like the late Alfred Hitchcock. I was delighted one day when he gave me change for a ten when I had given him a twenty, the first time I’d been shortchanged in years. I felt young again! On another occasion he whispered conspiratorially to me to join him at the locked cabinet behind the counter where he kept the rare Modern Libraries. “Only $38 for this one,” Alfred said, holding a mint condition copy of Man’s Fate in front of my face. “A little steep for me,” I demurred. “Man’s Fate is a pretty common M.L.,” I said, trying to let Al know I wasn’t the complete fish he knew me to be. But any M.L. with a pristine cover sent me into a kind of acquisitive psychosis. “I've got to have it!”
SEVERAL of the books in that locked case haunted me. I wanted them all. I didn't have any of them in the perfect condition Books, Etc. had them locked away. I thought about breaking in some late night, maybe even holding Mr. Hitchcock at gunpoint. “Gimme all those books in the locked case, and be quick about it, you limey crook.” He knew me, though, so all I could do is bargain with him. And I never won. A week later I was in the store again. Hitchcock wasn't there. A young guy was at the cash register. Haunted by the prospect of the books getting away from me, I asked the clerk to open the magic cabinet for me; he pulled out the same verbally-priced $38 book which was actually pencil-priced $16 on its inside jacket. This place had real personality. The nerve of that fat bastard trying to get $38 out of me for a $16 book. But he knew I lusted after it. This kid didn't know me.
A WEEK LATER, determined to get the book or die trying, I went back. After a fifteen-minute hunt I found a parking space a couple of blocks off Castro and footed it on down the block between 18th and 19th where Books Etc. has been for years and years and had been exactly one week prior. I couldn’t find the store. I walked up and down the block about five times looking for it, perhaps arousing the suspicions of several trim young men lounging in doorways that I was shopping for one of them. I finally went so far as to cross the street for a panoramic search of the block and its vanished stock of precious books.
BUT BOOKS ETC. was no more. In a week its thousands of books had been moved out and its premises transformed into some kind of chi-chi kitchen appliances outlet. I went inside the blasphemous new store’s operating room brightness. Gleaming carrot juice machines glared back at me where quite an intriguing array of my beloved MLs once rested in their original jackets. I asked the clerk, a middleaged man with several ear rings and green hair, “What happened to the book store?” Looking over my shoulder, and in the voice of a death camp guard, he replied, “Book store? What book store?”
CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, June 24, 2023
TEODORO ACOSTA-CAMARA, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse, false imprisonment, disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
JAMES BELDEN III, Ukiah. Protective order violation, unlawful vehicle operation without license, bringing controlled substance into jail.
WILLIE BROWN JR., Petaluma/Ukiah. DUI.
CORINNA FAHEY, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
DAKOTA GIMPLE, Willits. Resisting, probation revocation.
GASPAR GOMEZ, Little River. More than an ounce of pot, resisting.
PATRICK LEE, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, shoplifting, trespassing, public nuisance.
JOHN LESTER, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI, concealed weapon in vehicle, fabrication of firearm from parts.
ELLE MARTEENY, Ukiah. Stolen vehicle.
PATSY MOORE, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
ANTONIO RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
ERNEST SALO, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
SAMUEL SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Indecent exposure. (Frequent flyer.)
JENNIFER SUMPTER, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.
MEMO OF THE AIR: Children of all ages.
"Okay! This is it! Don't be nervous! Backs straight, boobs out, and don't forget to smile!"
Here's the recording of last night's (2023-06-23) 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-0546
This cold is the first time I've been sick since some time in 2019. There were a few times in the show where I didn't get to the mic knob fast enough to not cough or sneeze right in your ear, but I listened a bit to the recording, after, and it's not that bad. I had to quit early; the show is not even seven hours long, but it has all the regular announcements and features and local (and psychically local) writers. At the end you'll hear an episode of Captain Midnight from 1940, and then Firesign Theater – Waiting For The Electrician Or Someone Like Him, from January, 1968.
Email your written work on any subject and I'll read it on the very next Memo of the Air.
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:
Driving around L.A. in the 1940s and 1950s, colorized, stabilized, sharpened, and sound added. https://theawesomer.com/driving-through-los-angeles-in-the-1940s-and-1950s/708979/
20-speed truck transmission stick-shift pattern. People can get used to anything and have it become second nature, but imagine running competently and confidently through the gears here, without looking at the chart, as unconsciously as you might do a three-speed manual. Difficulty, though: no synchromesh. Now hear this: when you brake-check a giant truck that riding up on your back bumper, he doesn't just tap a pedal and re-accelerate the way you do. It's a problem for him, especially on a hill. I'm not excusing the logging truck driver who tailgates, or who passes you on an outside curve (!) and blasts his air-horn and shakes his fist in the air at you and swears loud enough for you to hear over the road noise because he's /that pissed off/ that you're not going fast enough to please him. Just, a little understanding. You're on your way to or from the beach or the store or your stupid job. He's losing his bonus because a car the size of one of his tires is in the way, a car with a /goddamn libtard pussy piece of shit/ driving it. A little sympathy. Imagine what it must be like for him. When he's far enough ahead of you to see you in his side mirror, wave a happy wave and smile with all your teeth. Let him know you're a brother of the road. https://tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com/2023/06/20-speed-transmission-shift-pattern.html
And a road-trip with the Amalgamation Choir. (via MyOneBeautifulThing.com) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LYBi9PoR24
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
THE RADIOACTIVE ROSE GARDEN
by John Mills
My young friend Katharine is studying to be a doctor. When I told her that a number of public places in the San Francisco Bay area have unusually high levels of nuclear reactor waste, she thought for a moment and said, “The only thing worse than knowing is not knowing.” She is right about that.
Nuclear reactor waste contains some of the most dangerous and long lasting substances that mankind has ever created. They are the even-numbered atomic weight isotopes of uranium, plutonium, and curium. If atoms can be called monsters, then these are the ones. They are born inside nuclear reactors when some of the fuel becomes supercharged with energy.
Think about blowing up a balloon. It takes more and more air until it becomes unstable and then explodes. These monster atoms are just like that, except that they explode with the force of an atom bomb on a one atom scale. They are tens of thousands to billions of times more likely to do this when compared to natural radioactive atoms. This is called spontaneous fission. Back in the day students were taught that spontaneous fission was a rare event and of little consequence. Those days are long gone. What started as few milligrams of man-made plutonium in 1940 has now become many tons. If you are around nuclear waste you will inhale dust. This will allow these rogue atoms to enter your body, and that is not good.
Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California, began operating in 1854, For 39 years from 1956 to 1995 they constructed, overhauled, and refueled nuclear powered vessels. In his two-part AVA article, ‘Working the Mare Island Nukes’ Fred Gardner quotes shipyard workers who recall routinely discharging radioactive material into the Napa river. The Navy closed this shipyard in 1998 and is responsible for its clean up. Recent soil sampling of a 2.2 mile section of the city of Vallejo on the eastern side of the Napa river suggests that the Navy has left something behind. Sixty percent of the samples show significant levels of reactor waste. How could this dangerous material wind up in residential areas of Vallejo?
During the clean up the Navy tested thousands of samples but for the wrong substance. Somewhere along the line a decision was made to use cobalt-60 as an indicator of radioactive waste contamination. Perhaps they wanted to save taxpayers some money or speed up testing. Cobalt-60 has a short lifespan so, over a 50 year period most of it will disappear. Testing for cobalt-60 can suggest that a clean-up is going well and that radioactive contaminants are decreasing when in fact, the long-lived monster atoms are building up to hazardous levels. Simply put, the Navy never did thorough testing for transuranic isotopes like plutonium. When reactor waste was discharged into the Napa River it mixed with silt, settled to the bottom and was dredged up and used as landfill in the city of Vallejo. This brought the monster atoms into residential neighborhoods.
The radioactive rose garden in Livermore, California illustrates another way that reactor waste can build up to hazardous levels in an urban environment. For years Livermore lab personnel poured waste containing plutonium down the drain where it entered the city waste treatment facility. Later, treated solids from this facility were used as fertilizer and soil amendment in city parks and other areas. The logs showing where this stuff went have been lost but, if we look for it, it can be found.
It was a hot summer day as I walked past the historic Carnegie library and toward the little rose garden beyond. Andrew Carnegie was an interesting guy. Born in 1835, son of a weaver, in a one room cottage in Scotland, he emigrated to Pennsylvania at age 12. This kid was a fast learner and bright. He started as a bobbin boy in a textile mill and became America’s richest man. It was his belief that a person should spend the first half of their life becoming educated and making a living and the second half helping the common man. To this end he founded over 3,000 libraries throughout the English speaking world. Just beyond the rose garden there is a small plaza and on this Saturday senior citizens were setting up tables for some event. Two older women eyed me suspiciously as I scooped up a little soil. Perhaps they thought I was stealing roses. Neither of us knew at that time that this little garden had been contaminated with nuclear waste.
Later, a city police car drove up as I was taking a sample from just outside the Lawrence Livermore lab fence line. The officers wanted to know what I was up to. When I told them they said, "If you want to find radiation you should go up to the old hospital.” They gave me directions and, with their blessing, I was on my way. The hospital is south of the city, situated on a hill, surrounded by trees. It has a great view of the valley and was deserted except for a security guard and a car full of tourists taking pictures. The officer asked me why I was there and then declared that no soil sampling was allowed. I told him that the Livermore police had sent me there for that purpose and he replied, “They may be the law down there but I'm the law up here.” I never did get a sample and to this day I wonder what was going on. Was that place contaminated? Was something being hidden? Was this officer the one at greatest risk?
Nuclear waste in our neighborhoods is a serious national problem. If you live in a city with a Naval facility that services or has serviced nuclear powered vessels or where laboratories or firms use nuclear material you may be at risk. So what can we do? Honest and appropriate testing is the first step. This defines the problem. Second we need to support the Navy to ensure that they have the resources necessary for a thorough clean up. After all, Naval personnel, their dependents, and civilian workers are likely to be the ones at increased risk. Most importantly, in the spirit of Andrew Carnegie we need an independent soil testing laboratory to locate problem areas and provide independent test verification. This will help the public gain confidence in clean-up efforts. Lastly we might want to reconsider the whole idea of nuclear power. Every reactor we build provides energy for about three generations but creates waste that will somehow, have to be managed for over 1,000 generations. We can do better.
(John Mills lives in Ben Lomond)
A JUBILANT JUNETEENTH IN SAN FRANCISCO, 2023
by Jonah Raskin
“It’s Juneteenth everybody,” Kevin Dublin, an African American poet, said to the downtown poetry enthusiasts at the upscale Kimpton Alton Hotel in San Francisco near Fisherman’s Wharf. Indeed, it was June 19th, time to celebrate Juneteenth, a national holiday since 2021 that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. I first heard about the day when I lived in Austin, Texas, once a slave state in the Confederacy and where Major General Gordon Granger proclaimed freedom for enslaved people in Texas on June 19, 1865, two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Dublin, the founder of The Living Room SF —a reading series and salon— had assembled a group of eight impassioned Black Bay Area-based poets who performed work on the theme of freedom. All acutely aware that The City’s Black population is in decline.
Davion Marshall, the youngest poet to take the stage, welcomed everyone. “We’ve all been in some kind of struggle, white, Black, Mexican,” he said and explained that he’d gone from being a troublemaker to a thoughtful young adult who participates proudly in 826 Valencia’s Black Literary Achievement Club, an organization that centers on youth literacy and mentorship. Up next, Ashia Ajani whose work focuses on environmental issues. Evoking Fanny Lou Hamer, the civil rights and women’s rights activist and organizer, she said, “I echo apocalypse.”
In the spirit of Allen Ginsberg’s poem “America,” Karla Brundage addressed the nation itself: “America, you make me sick, but I keep loving you.” Nazelah Jamison called herself “a Black militant revolutionary” and suggested that “racism should make all of us uncomfortable.” Jeanne Powell, probably the oldest of the poets that evening, read a non-fiction piece titled “Reverend Jackson’s Tears,” a chronicle of Black history excerpted from her book Carousel.
Ladi Rev wore a T-shirt with an image of Malcolm X. She noted that there was a “thin line between revolution and treason.” She asked, “What be the price of penance,” and added, “Every f—–’ thing.” Shawna Sherman, who works at the African American Center in the San Francisco Public Library, read a series of epistolary poems inspired by ads for runaway slaves. Darius Simpson who said that he lived “just East of a contradiction,” closed things out with a performance from memory of a narrative poem with the assertion “it’s okay to shoot back at cops.” He ended with a plantitive, “Will you cry for me?”
If there were tears, there were also cheers and applause for him, for Kevin Dublin and for the assembled tribe of poets who showed that San Franciscans know how to celebrate Juneteenth and how to honor those who have put their bodies on the line to end slavery, police brutality and racism, from the days of Malcolm X and Fanny Lou Hamer to right now.
Audience members, tourists and locals, the angry and the reverential filed into the dusk, bound by an unspoken notion expressed by the poet Dylan Thomas and doubly potent for Juneteenth: “Do not go gentle into that good night.”
DECONSTRUCTION of the Klamath's smallest dam underway
LISTON SPARS WHILE ALI SPEAKS
by Rob Sneddon
How different it all might have been.
Over the summer and fall of 1964, as the press remained focused on the superficial and the inconsequential, Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali charted a course for a fascinating return bout.
Their roles had reversed. Liston was now the one who had something to prove. He had bottomed out in March, with his latest arrest, and his weight ballooned to 235 pounds. And then he got serious. Aside from a $16 speeding ticket in June, Liston remained in seclusion and largely out of the news. He ditched many of the hangers-on from the Miami fight—or they ditched him. “One day you are the king,” Liston said later. “Your friends—or the guys you think are your friends—are all around you. They give you, ‘Yes, champ. No, champ. You got no worries, champ. No one in this whole world can beat you, champ.’ Then all of a sudden you're not the champ and all of a sudden you are alone. The guys with the big mouths are out talking about you, not to you, and what they say ain't what they said the day before. It’s a big price to pay.”
And so Liston bid good riddance to all those who had contributed to his false sense of security in Miami. One of the few who remained was his trainer, Willie Reddish. But their relationship had changed. Because so many people—including Liston himself—had blamed a lack of conditioning for his Miami defeat, Reddish became defensive. When Sports Illustrated’s Mark Kram asked if Liston had been out of shape in his last fight, Reddish snapped, “What you tryin’ to do, put me on the spot with that question? Forget about the last fight. Right now only counts.”
Reddish was no longer Liston’s only trainer—or even his primary one. That role now fell to an unpaid volunteer, 41-year-old Stanley Zimmering, who had a second-degree black belt in judo. He and Liston worked out at Zimmering’s studio, the Amid Karate & Judo Club, in south Denver. Zimmering focused on rehabbing Liston’s injured left shoulder. “I’ve been working with him on a certain exercise for three months,” Zimmering told Kram, “and [his shoulder is] as good as ever.”
Liston also did extensive roadwork, running five-and-a-half miles a day in the high altitude of the Rocky Mountains. And there was greater specificity to his sparring sessions than in the past. One partner, Foneda Cox, did nothing but provide a target for Liston’s left jab, as the former champ tried to restore the weapons-grade punch that had defined him as a fighter for so long. Another partner, Leroy Green, mimicked Clay’s shiftiness. “I’m kinda special,” Green said. “Ain’t nobody hits me.”
Amos “Big Train” Lincoln had the worst assignment. He had to absorb Liston’s best body shots. “I wouldn’t wanna be Clay,” Lincoln said after taking another of his many poundings.
Liston kept up this regimen until late October, when it was time to decamp. By then his weight had melted to 214 pounds. And he wasn't finished yet. As he relocated to the White Cliffs Hotel in Plymouth, Massachusetts, overlooking Cape Cod Bay, for the final weeks of training before the November 16 rematch, he intended to go harder still. Said Reddish, still stung by the blame heaped upon him in Miami, “We gonna take ’im in at 210 or 212.”
Said Liston, stung by everything that had happened in Miami, “Ain’t no playin’ this time.”
He didn’t like how it felt to be a former heavyweight champion. “That title—my title—is there and I’m going to get it and I’m going to keep it a long time,” he said.
(From “The Phantom Punch: The story behind boxing’s most controversial bout.”)
PUTIN IS AT RISK OF LOSING HIS IRON GRIP ON POWER
by Nick Paton Walsh
This just does not happen in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Especially in public.
The Russian president is facing the most serious threat to his hold on power in all the 23 years he’s run the nuclear state. And it is staggering to behold the veneer of total control he has maintained all that time – the ultimate selling point of his autocracy – crumble overnight.
It was both inevitable and impossible. Inevitable, as the mismanagement of the war had meant only a system as homogenously closed and immune to criticism as the Kremlin could survive such a heinous misadventure. And impossible as Putin’s critics simply vanish, or fall out of windows, or are poisoned savagely. Yet now the fifth largest army in the world is facing a weekend in which fratricide – the turning of their guns upon their fellow soldiers – is the only thing that can save the Moscow elite from collapse.
So accustomed are we to viewing Putin as a master tactician, that the opening salvos of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s disobedience were at times assessed as a feint – a bid by Putin to keep his generals on edge with a loyal henchman as their outspoken critic. But what we are seeing today – with Putin forced to admit that Rostov-on-Don, his main military hub, is out of his control – puts paid to any idea that this was managed by the Kremlin.
It is likely however Wagner’s units have planned some of this for a while. The justification for this rebellion appeared urgent and spontaneous – an apparent air strike on a Wagner camp in the forest, which the Russian Ministry of Defense has denied – appeared hours after a remarkable dissection of the rationale behind the war by Prigozhin.
He partially spoke the truth about the war’s disastrous beginnings: Russia was not under threat from NATO attack, and Russians were not being persecuted. The one deceit he maintained was to suggest Russia’s top brass was behind the invasion plan, and not Putin himself. Wagner’s forces have pulled themselves together very fast and moved quickly into Rostov. That’s hard to do spontaneously in one afternoon.
Perhaps Prigozhin dreamt he could push Putin into a change at the top of a ministry of defense the Wagner chief has publicly berated for months. But Putin’s address on Saturday morning has eradicated that prospect. This is now an existential choice for Russia’s elite – between the president’s faltering regime, and the dark, mercenary Frankenstein it created to do its dirty work, which has turned on its masters.
It is a moment of clarity for Russia’s military too. A few years ago, Prigozhin’s mild critiques would have led to elite special forces in balaclavas walking him away. But now he roams freely, with his sights openly on marching to Moscow. Where are the FSB’s special forces? Decimated by the war, or not eager to take on their armed and experienced comrades in Wagner?
This is not the first time this spring we have seen Moscow look weak. The drone attack on the Kremlin in May must have caused the elite around Putin to question how on earth the capital’s defenses were so weak. Days later, elite country houses were targeted by yet more Ukrainian drones. Among the Russian rich, Friday’s events will remove any question about whether they should doubt Putin’s grip on power.
Ukraine will likely be celebrating the disastrous timing of this insurrection inside Russia’s ranks. It will likely alter the course of the war in Kyiv’s favor. But rebellions rarely end in Russia – or anywhere – with the results they set out to achieve. The 1917 removal of Tsar Nicholas II in Russia turned into the Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin and then the Soviet Empire.
As this rare Jacobean drama of Russian basic human frailty plays out, it is not inevitable that improvements will follow. Prigozhin may not win, and the foundations of the Kremlin’s control may not collapse. But a weakened Putin may do irrational things to prove his strength.
He may prove unable to accept the logic of defeat in the coming months on the frontlines in Ukraine. He may be unaware of the depth of discontent among his own armed forces, and lack proper control over their actions. Russia’s position as a responsible nuclear power rests on stability at the top.
A lot more can go wrong than it can go right. But it is impossible to imagine Putin’s regime will ever go back to its previous heights of control from this moment. And it is inevitable that further turmoil and change is ahead.
KARKIV, UKRAINE high school graduation photo taken in the ruins of her high school.
WAGNER GROUP BOSS Yevgeny Prigozhin has confirmed he has ordered his mercenaries to halt their march on Moscow and retreat to their field camps in Ukraine to avoid shedding Russian blood. 'We are turning back our columns and leave in the opposite direction to the field camps according to the plan,' an audio message on his Telegram feed said. The announcement from Yevgeny Prigozhin appeared to defuse a growing crisis. Moscow had braced for the arrival of the private army led by the rebellious commander. And President Vladimir Putin had vowed he would face harsh consequences. Prigozhin said that while his men are just 200 kilometers (120 miles) from Moscow, he decided to turn them back to avoid 'shedding Russian blood.' He didn't say whether the Kremlin has responded to his demand to oust Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. There was no immediate comment from the Kremlin.
UKRAINE, SATURDAY, 24 JUNE
The outlines of a deal that appeared to defuse a rapidly evolving Russian security crisis began to come into focus late Saturday, as the Kremlin announced that a Russian mercenary leader, who for nearly 24 hours led an armed uprising against the country’s military leadership, would flee to Belarus and his fighters would escape repercussions.
The announcement capped one of the most tumultuous days in President Vladimir V. Putin’s more than 23-year rule in Russia and followed an apparent intervention by the leader of neighboring Belarus, who stepped in to negotiate a solution to the crisis directly with the head of the Wagner private military company, Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, who was leading the revolt.
President Vladimir V. Putin hasn’t been seen publicly since his video address on Saturday morning, in which he accused the mutinying Wagner fighters of committing treason and stabbing Russia in the back.
For years, Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the Wagner mercenary leader who conducted a brief rebellion against the Russian military, had been a loyal supporter of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
In recent months, he continued to steer clear of directly criticizing Mr. Putin, even as he increasingly used social media to lambaste Russia’s military, accusing its leaders of treason and blaming them for failing to provide his forces with enough resources.
(Times of London)
“I DIDN’T PAY a hell of a lot of attention to grammar, and when I write it is for the love of the word, the color, like tossing paint on a canvas, and using a lot of ear and having read a bit here and there, I generally come out ok, but technically I don’t know what’s happening, nor do I care.”
— Charles Bukowski
HARI BABA DON
I wonder why Donald Trump doesn’t give up politics and start a religion, instead. Plenty of people are willing to believe anything he says, and he would probably enjoy more legal protection and make more money.
HUNTER BIDEN could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and still get invited back into the Presidential fold. America's disgraced First Son was once again thrust into the center of White House festivities on Thursday night, dressed in a flashy tuxedo and hobnobbing with the most powerful people in the world at a state dinner in honor of India's prime minister. In attendance were celebrities, powerful politicians, global leaders and — most pertinently — Attorney General Merrick Garland, who leads the Justice Department that just handed Hunter no more than a pathetic slap on the wrist for tax and gun crimes. That's right, buried amid tragic news about the Titanic Five, it emerged that — following an arduous five-year investigation — the President's only surviving son cut a deal with prosecutors. You'll forgive me for saying it is how it is: we're dealing with an elitist scumbag, the ultimate product of nepotism.
— Megan McCain
SAVE TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES
by Maureen Dowd
I co-starred with Sir Alec Guinness in a movie where a submersible travels down to the Titanic, springs a leak and implodes.
Co-star might be a bit strong. I walked around for a second in the background of “Raise the Titanic,” a 1980 film about a superpower race to retrieve a superpowerful mineral locked in the ocean liner’s vault. One scene was shot in the newsroom of The Washington Star, where I worked.
It was cool to do because my father had a ticket for the Titanic when he was a teenager. His mother cried so much, he sold it to a young woman. She survived, but her hair turned prematurely white. My Irish dad immigrated to America the following year.
“Raise the Titanic” pops up on Turner Classic Movies sometimes, along with other sagas like the 1953 “Titanic” with Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb, the 1958 “A Night to Remember” and James Cameron’s epic 1997 “Titanic” with Jack and Rose clinging to that notorious wooden door.
Some in the Twitterverse have complained that we shouldn’t have lavished so much attention on the Titan submersible tragedy, dismissing it as rich people with their toys. But thanks to books and movies, the Titanic is one of our primal stories, and the Titan echoes were stunning.
“I think that there is a great, almost surreal irony here,” James Cameron told Anderson Cooper, “which is, Titanic sank because the captain took it full steam into an ice field at night, on a moonless night with very poor visibility, after he had been repeatedly warned.”
Just like Captain Edward J. Smith, Stockton Rush, OceanGate’s C.E.O., ignored warnings, this time from the deep-submergence community, that his uncertified, experimental design was, as Cameron put it, “completely inappropriate.”
In an email exchange in 2018, Rush snapped back at one OceanGate consultant who claimed passengers were in danger: “We have heard the baseless cries of ‘you are going to kill someone’ way too often.”
Given my father’s near miss (and by extension mine), I have studied the Titanic disaster for decades on TCM. Before we experience life, how do we learn about life? Novels, plays, TV, dance, music and movies teach us how to live by giving us examples of experiences we have never had and some that we’re not likely to have. Movies are a great expander of horizons.
I have never had a stylist, interior decorator, life coach or psychiatrist. I have used TCM for all that, and it has gotten me through bouts of sickness, stress, mourning and insomnia. Studying the channel’s film noir femmes fatales taught me that women could be tough and play the game better than any man. Watching screwball comedies taught me the value of a zany streak.
So naturally, when news broke this past week that Warner Bros. Discovery had jettisoned the top five executives at TCM and the specter was raised that the channel might be in jeopardy, I was distraught.
TCM is more than a cable channel. It’s a public good, like libraries or the Smithsonian. It enshrines our cinematic past. Anyone in power in Hollywood should feel it is a matter of honor to protect this legacy.
I knew that David Zaslav, the C.E.O. of Warner Bros. Discovery, loved TCM and watched it all day long in his office and on weekend mornings. He had texted me while watching “Annie Hall” and “Miracle on 34th Street.”
He tried to reassure jittery Hollywood titans who, like me, believe TCM is part of their identity; he had a Zoom meeting with Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Paul Thomas Anderson on Wednesday.
“We need TCM as a singular source of inspiration and history that is accessible to everyone,” Spielberg told me later.
I called Zaslav on Friday, too, just to make sure my femmes fatales weren’t getting taken away.
“YOU HAVE MEDDLED WITH THE PRIMAL FORCES OF NATURE, MR. ZASLAV,” I said, “AND YOU WILL ATONE.” He laughed at the line from “Network.”
“Let me start with this,” he said. “This is my favorite channel. I think it’s critically important. It’s like a trust. It tells you where America was and where America’s going. It defines how people see this country. This is a beautiful living history.”
We can learn everything from how Cary Grant gets dressed for a date, he said, to why it’s better to be the white hat in a western than the black hat. (I learned that when my older brother showed me “Shane.”)
Zaslav said he was keeping Ben Mankiewicz and the other TCM hosts and wanted to spend more money on the channel and market it better. He has a vision of people like Spielberg, Scorsese, Anderson and Guillermo del Toro getting involved in programming and curating, and he would love to see actors like George Clooney talking about the movies that inspired them.
“I think it could be bigger and more powerful with more reach,” Zaslav said. “This is going to be a magical thing.”
I’ll be watching.
WHY ASSANGE MUST BE FREED
by Matt Taibbi
At Parliament Hill in London Saturday, there was a demonstration on behalf of jailed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Present was the famed rendering of Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden made by sculptor Davide Domino. The statue includes an empty chair for the next whistleblower. I had the honor of standing on that chair to give a short address:
I have a confession to make. Once. like a lot of journalists, I didn’t like Julian Assange. It wasn’t just that Wikileaks was breaking one huge story after another. He had fab hair. He wore skinny jeans. He even modeled at fashion week!
What can I say? I was jealous. We’re in London, so I can quote Shakespeare, can’t I?
Beware the green-eyed monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on.
Jealousy, that monster, impairs one’s thinking. It impaired mine. I didn’t have a reason to dislike Assange. So I invented one. I decided I didn’t like the concept of “radical transparency.” I thought: “You can’t just dump all of those secrets on the public. That’s irresponsible!”
I was so brainwashed that I forgot, as many people do, that secrets do not belong to governments. That information belongs to us. Governments rule by our consent. If they want to keep secrets, they must have our permission to do so. And they never have the right to keep crimes secret.
I’m an American. Many of you are from the U.K. In our countries, we’re building skyscrapers and huge new complexes to store our secrets, because we don’t have room to keep them all as is!
Why do we have so many secrets? Julian Assange told us why. From an essay he wrote:
“Authoritarian regimes give rise to forces which oppose them by pushing against the individual and collective will to freedom, truth and self realization. Plans which assist authoritarian rule, once discovered, induce resistance. Hence these plans are concealed by successful authoritarian powers.”
When governments become authoritarian, they inspire resistance. Techniques must then be developed to repel that resistance. Those techniques must then be concealed.
In short: the worse a country is, the more secrets it has. We have a lot of secrets now.
Julian Assange became famous as we were creating a vast new government-within-a-government, a system of secret prisons, extraordinary rendition, mass surveillance, and drone assassination. Many of these things we know about only because of Wikileaks. Ostensibly, all this secrecy was needed to fight foreign terrorism.
The brutal irony now is the architects of that system no longer feel the need to hide their dirty tactics. My government, openly, wants to put this man in jail for 175 years, mostly for violations of the Espionage Act. These include crimes like “conspiracy to receive national defense information,” or “obtaining national defense information.”
What is “national defense information?” The answer is what makes this law so dangerous. It’s whatever they say it is. It’s any information they don’t want to get out. It doesn’t even have to be classified.
What is conspiracy to obtain such information? We have a word for that. It’s called journalism.
My government wants to put Julian Assange in jail for 175 years for practicing journalism. The government of this country, the U.K., is going to allow it to happen.
If they did this to Andrei Sakharov, or Nelson Mandela, every human rights organization in the world would be denouncing this as an intolerable outrage. Every NGO would be lining up to lend support. Every journalist would be penning editorials demanding his release.
But because our own governments are doing it, we get silence.
If you’re okay with this happening to one Julian Assange, you’d better be okay with it happening to many others. That’s why this moment is so important. If Assange is successfully extradited and convicted, it will take about ten minutes for it to happen again. From there this will become a common occurrence. There will be no demonstrations in parks, no more news stories. This will become a normal part of our lives.
Don’t let that happen.
Free Julian Assange.