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HOT TEMPERATURES are expected to be well above normal across the interior today while the coast will see seasonably cool temperatures. Temperatures will then gradually cool through early next week, but interior temperatures will remain near to above normal through the rest of the period. No rain is forecast to occur during the next seven days. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): It was golf in a t-shirt weather yesterday at the Little River Inn. On the coast this Friday morning I have 48F under clear skies. The satellite looks much like yesterday with fog out there just pulled back from the coast. The forecast is calling for haze later today with smoke from the Oregon fire drifting in. The wind will pick up on Sunday otherwise mostly sunny for a while.
BEFORE, BEFORE, BEFORE…
Sunday-Sunday-Sunday - Pancakes at Whitesboro Grange!
On Sunday (July 23)...Before you go to the Music Festival - Before you go hiking - Before you get your day going - why not start it off with a hearty breakfast at Whitesboro Grange (32510 Navarro Ridge Rd., Albion). Starting at 8AM, we'll be serving up delicious pancakes, eggs your way, ham, along with either maple or delicious homemade berry syrup and beverage for the bargain price of $10 for adults, $5 for kids 6-12 and Free for those under 6. We serve until 11:30AM.
You can't beat that price anywhere!
Once you're done having fun after breakfast, come back later in the afternoon to visit the Albion Farmer's Market, held from 2-4PM every Sunday in our parking lot. Our first market opened last Sunday featuring J.E.T. Microgreens, Albion Soap and locally grown produce. This week we'll be welcoming a few more vendors - including a few local craftspeople!
Our Grange breakfast proceeds are used to support local families in need as well as other community service organizations, including the Albion-Little River Fire Department, Project Sanctuary, Redwood Coast Senior Center and others. Our sponsorship of The Albion Farmer's Market helps promote and support our local agricultural community.
JURY UNABLE TO REACH UNANIMOUS VERDICTS
A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations Wednesday to announce that they were hopelessly deadlocked and would not be able to reach verdicts either way against the trial defendant. As a result, the judge declared a mistrial and this week’s jury was thanked and excused.
Because the split was highly favorable to the People’s theory of prosecution (11-1 on one count and 10-2 on the other), a new trial date was immediately calendared so that the DA can retry the matter before a new panel of jurors.
Defendant Mylz Orion Dykes, age 23, of Willits, remains charged with misdemeanor evading a peace officer in a motor vehicle and misdemeanor resisting or delaying a peace officer.
As with all of us, defendant Dykes continues to retain his presumption of innocence unless and until the contrary is proved in a local court of law beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of all twelve jurors selected from the community.
The attorney who presented the People’s evidence at this week's trial was Deputy District Attorney Chandra Caffery. It is expected she will remain the trial prosecutor for the next go-round.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Patrick Pekin presided over the three-day trial.
I see they're tearing down the Whitmore Lane building the county so generously bought. Will the comedy never end?
SAVE OUR TOWN NAME
Some important business has been taking place since our last updates. The changeourname (CON) group has once again been actively attempting to change the name of the town of Fort Bragg California. Save Our (Town's) Name (SON) has been following and reacting to their recent activity. We have also drafted letters in opposition to the CON activity. Our recent Save Our (Town's) Name (SON) letter sections were posted in the MendoFever News today, July 18, 2023.
We would like to share our original full form letter with the members of our groups.
"Save Our (Town's) Name!" (SON)
Thank you for your understanding and acknowledgement of the importance of considering different viewpoints and engaging in constructive dialogue. It is indeed crucial to create an environment where all sides can express their opinions and present evidence to support their claims.
The significant level of support indicated by Save Our Name Fort Bragg, with a larger number of supporters (846) compared to CON's reported 162, as well as our over 3,000 supportive signatures on our SON petitions, demonstrates the concerns and sentiments of community members, who are advocating for retaining the name Fort Bragg. It is essential to recognize and respect their perspectives. Save Our Name Fort Bragg (SON) wishes to represent and respect, both past and present citizens of Fort Bragg and to honor and respect the proud heritage and history of our diverse multicultural community.
The Changeourname (CON) group attempted earlier to change the name of the Fort Bragg schools. Our group, Save Our Town’s Name (SON), levied a campaign against the CON group and their efforts to change our school’s names.
On May 17, 2023, the Fort Bragg Unified School District (FBUSD) issued an official letter stating: “We do not think it is in the interests of our students and community members to consider a change (of school names) in isolation. It is evident that any such consideration will only bring division to our community and detract from our mission of delivering exceptional, engaging, equitable, and collaborative learning opportunities for all students.”
The decision was made by the Fort Bragg Unified School District to leave the Fort Bragg school names unchanged.
Save Our (Town’s) Name (SON) believe that the wishes of the majority of Fort Bragg residents, who wish to keep the name of the town of Fort Bragg California, should be honored and respected.
John S. Lushenko, Group founder and Administrator
Rus Jewett, Group Administrator
SUPERVISOR TED WILLIAMS:
Discussion and Possible Action to Direct Staff to Initiate Modernization of New Hire and Annual Employee Standards Including Position-Appropriate Physical, Psychological, Moral Character and Computer Literacy
(Sponsor: Supervisor Williams)
Summary Of Request:
Mendocino County has a long history of paying settlements for employee misconduct, high health care premiums, paid administrative leave, and other expenses preventable through prudent screening at the time of hiring and annually. These costs are one obstacle to ensuring market wages and maximum return on taxpayer funds. It is time to update the standards, borrowing from the state and other public agencies.
Where standards cannot be met, for example in computer literacy, the county should develop an internal training program to invest in career development of staff.
The sponsor has been in contact with Sheriff Kendall. While it is the intent of the sponsor to keep the board in its lane, Sheriff is invited to share his vision for increasing standards in his department in hopes of inspiring similar efforts across departments.
MIKE GENIELLA: Harbor House on the Mendocino Coast is again rated two stars by the Michelin guide. It is one of only seven restaurants to receive that high rating in Northern California. Terese and I decided to lunch there last fall for a special celebration. Big bucks. But truly a dining experience not to be forgotten. The setting is awesome.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF MENDO POT: Forty years ago, a pot bust could cost you your property and your freedom. But in those days, hardcore growers were few and far between.
But as marijuana evolved, the “Gold Rush,” as it was known, replaced the environmentally eliminated lumber and logging business in Mendocino County.
And with that evolution, the money, for many, was worth the risk. The “Back to the Land,” Mom and Pop growers were joined by organized crime, sketchy types, and those looking to make a quick and easy buck.
A county vehicle visiting a non permitted building site or illegal structure parcel could be, at the least, a troublesome logistics issue and, at the worst, dangerous to the County representative.
I have heard that building inspectors would refuse to go to areas of known illegal marijuana activity.
But in the current Mendocino County, the pot business has changed, and perhaps it’s time to revisit the inspection styles of the past.
A MENDOCINO REMEMBRANCE circa 1942
by Katy Tahja
When Alvin Mendosa’s long-time friend, Buddy Fraser, passed away in 2018, Alvin received a copy of Buddy’s memoir of town life during World War II. Alvin recognized a little gem when he saw it, and he showed it to the curator at the Kelley House Museum. A few years passed before the document could be published, but recently it rolled off the presses as the museum’s newest historical review: A Mendocino Remembrance, circa 1942, by John “Buddy” Preston Fraser.
Fraser’s recollections of town life have been paired with vintage photos from the museum archives and contemporary color photos of the same scenes by Jamie Armstrong, who spent much of his time in 2019 getting the angles and the shadows just right. If a reader wants to know where the three-quarter-mile oval car racetrack was in 1921, just read Fraser’s text, look at an old photo, and enjoy Armstrong’s view of the site today.
There have been many changes in the area since the 1940s. The cover view looking south down Lansing Street decades ago shows no trees anywhere south of the headlands and the Kent farm barns at Little River plainly visible. The current Armstrong photo shows trees and more trees. Then and now photos of the Stauer Building on the northeast corner of Lansing and Ukiah Streets reveal an amazing array of businesses: a justice court, residential apartments upstairs, a saloon, telephone and telegraph offices, a grocery store, a bakery, and a church.
There’s a sad view of the last commercial building on the south side of Main Street—Quaill’s Meat Market. Built in 1871 to be the Quincy Meat Market, it was last occupied by the Quaill brothers, Tony and Joe, who took it over in 1915 and ran it into the 1950s. The building was owned by the lumber company and, like many of the businesses along Main Street, it had an upstairs apartment for rent. That was occupied by Joe Quaill and his wife, Elenora, until the mid-1950s, when they purchased a home in San Francisco but retained the lease on the upstairs apartment as their summer residence. In August, 1960, after the Quaills moved their remaining furnishings from their upstairs apartment, the lumber company razed the building.
Born on December 7, 1932, John Preston Fraser celebrated his ninth birthday on Pearl Harbor Day. After he graduated from high school, Fraser got his undergraduate degree at San Francisco State University and served in the army in Korea. Then he attended Golden Gate University for his law degree. He was admitted to the California bar in 1964 and practiced for many years in El Dorado County, California.
This new publication will be a delight to any reader who likes history or photography. It can be obtained at the Kelley House Museum, 45007 Albion Street, or online in the Kelley House Store.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MEC? Which translates as the Mendocino Environment Center, Ukiah, where in its salad days, employed three paid staffers whose pay came from mysterious sources. There was also an environment center in Willits, the WEC, funded primarily by David and Ellen Drell, and a second MEC briefly in the village of Mendocino.
THE MEC was located just across the street from the County Courthouse’s north side at 106 West Standley. It was the first environment center in the county and it was organized by Gary and Betty Ball who blew in here from Colorado about the same time as the late Judi Bari appeared with her then-husband, Mike Sweeney, and blew outtahere shortly after Judi Bari's death in '97. Sweeney and Bari made their headquarters at the MEC, from where, in my opinion, Sweeney placed that car bomb beneath the driver's seat of his ex-wife's Subaru.
THE BUILDING housing the MEC was and is owned by John McCowen, who donated use of the space. Perhaps. I think McCowen was well compensated by a federal source but he's always been vague on subjects involving him and money. The scion of an old Ukiah Valley family, a Ukiah planning commissioner and finally a Supervisor where he was non-personed and libeled by his treacherous colleagues and County CEO Mommy Dearest, McCowen these days devotes huge amounts of his time to cleaning up homeless camps along inland waterways, for which unsung labor, risky labor at that, he deserves the highest of high marks.
THE MEC too often confirmed timber industry propaganda that environmentalists were marginal people heavy on nut cases. Bari's genius, and the pure force of her formidable will, was to get the whole enviro mob, including the outpatients, marching against the cut and run corporate timber companies. Major demonstrations at Samoa (HumCo) and Fort Bragg, and finally, Fortuna, “the friendly city,” drew several thousand enviros and seemed to frighten the ruthless boys in the big timber suites, but those demos pretty much brought down the curtain on the movement.
AT THE PEAK of the timber wars period, circa 1990, the powerful San Francisco ad agency, Hill and Knowlton, was hired by the timber industry to create the Yellow Ribbon campaign, pegged to the fanciful propaganda that timber families were honest working people while the environmentalists demonstrating against them were feckless dope heads who didn't even get out of bed until noon.
THAT BIG LIE was effective. Yellow ribbons were everywhere up and down the Northcoast.
THE COUNTY'S environmental community, such as it was at the time, has been pretty much in remission ever since. Rather than a MEC, it would have been more effective to simply assess itself to pay a couple of smart, full-time attorneys to challenge the most egregious timber harvest plans.
THE MEC was never radical in any recognizable political sense except briefly during the pre-bombing period of the Bari meteor. Post bombing, it became a Bari fundraising cum Bari media center, and from there, on into ineffective this, and pointless that.
UNDER THE BALLS, the MEC functioned primarily as an Earth First! clearinghouse. A major prob with the MEC in its Earth First! incarnation was that it was an insider’s game that most environmentally-concerned people chose not to play, which is why, I’m sure, the much more efficient, better informed WEC was established.
IN THE MEC’s march to pre-eminent “activist” headquarters, old-line environmentalists like Ron Guenther and Helen Libeu were shoved aside, or simply ignored, in favor of the show biz antics of Earth First! whose local membership had no roots in the communities EF! claimed to be saving from themselves, and no ability or willingness to engage in the bureaucratic-legal slog which is still the only way to stop the destruction of what's left of the natural world. Although the MEC occasionally paid lip service to other issues, it wasn't missed when it faded away entirely.
I'M LOOKING BACK like this, explained the garrulous old coot, in the hope that if a serious study of the MEC interlude is ever written, it won't be the romantic fantasy some of its principals seem to think it was.
Email Mikhel@wayfinderarchery for more info.
Mikhel at Wayfinder Archery is teaching four half day sessions in our beautiful meadow on Lambert Lane. Come for one session and then stay for open range time and equipment use with instruction after sessions.
Wayfinder has a beautiful collection of vintage and contemporary recurve bows of all sizes and draw weights. We will pair you with a bow that fits your level and teach proper form for instinctive shooting. No equipment or prior experience needed. It’s so fun, embodied, and addictive! email@example.com to sign up!
New Conductor/Music Director at Symphony of the Redwoods!
Symphony of the Redwoods is delighted to announce that Bryan Nies has been named our new Conductor/Music Director!
Previously, Maestro Nies was the Associate Conductor of the Oakland Symphony Orchestra and has held positions at Festival Opera (Principal Conductor), and Principal Conductor of the Oakland Youth Orchestra, which was also the longest tenure in the orchestra's history. Pursuing a career in all genres of music, Bryan has guest and/or cover conducted with musical organizations including Opera Idaho, Opera San Jose, St. Louis Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, and American Musical Theater of San Jose. At an early age, Bryan was deeply inspired by his musical mentors and, after being honored as the Leonard Bernstein fellow at the Tanglewood Institute, he is a focused advocate of music education and has mentored youth, coached developing artists, and presented classes as lecture at Stanford University.
Planning and programming is underway for the 2023-24 season with SOR including special events, concerts, and new series for the symphony's 40th anniversary. "I am thrilled to be given this opportunity with the Symphony of the Redwoods. Most of all, it is my goal to continue and expand the conversation and value that a talented organization like this has in the community it serves. There are exciting things already in the works, and we look forward to sharing it all soon."
Visit Symphonyoftheredwoods.org for more information on our next season and a full biography.
Symphony of the Redwoods Organization is excited to begin this new chapter in its almost 40 year history serving the coastal community of Mendocino. The Symphony will be welcoming Mr. Nies at a Gala in late September to celebrate! Details to follow.
WOODY GUTHRIE’S AMERICAN SONG
Mendocino Theatre Company In association with Gloriana Musical Theatre presents ‘Woody Guthrie’s American Song.’
For the first Kme in their histories Mendocino Theatre Company and Gloriana Music Theatre join forces to present a summer musical for the whole family. It is by far the most ambiKous project to date for Mendocino Theatre Company. A cast of eight actors and eight musicians, three directors, along with designers, stage technicians and crew are on board for the momentous opening Gala on July 1, 2023.
Woody Guthrie’s American Song was created and compile by playwright Peter Glazer and arranger Jeff Waxman in 1988, and has become one of America’s most beloved musical tributes. Directed by MTC’s Elizabeth Craven, Gloriana’s Jenni Windsor and local musician, Dave Alden, the play is composed exclusively of songs (thirty in all) and words (prose and poetry) by Woody Guthrie. A unvarnished celebraKon of American life — our history, struggles and joys — Woody Guthrie’s American Songis a “must-see “ for adults and children alike. The ensemble of five actors and four musicians take us on a journey from California to the New York Island, from the redwood forests to the deep sea waters, from 1920s Dust Bowl to New York City’s 1940s Bowery, this play is made for you and me. The audience follows Woody from his origins in Okemah, Oklahoma all the way to his early demise of HunKngton’s disease at age 50. And oh what a journey that is.
About The Play
Peter Glazer writes on the WGAS website,“I got the idea for Woody Guthrie’s American Song in 1977, reading Robert Shelton’s edited collection of Woody’s writings, Born to Win,which opened with a piece called ‘The People I Owe,’ now excerpted in the opening moments of the show: I have heard a storm of words in me, enough to write several hundred songs and that many books. I know that these words I hear are not my own private property. I borrowed them from you, the same as I walked through the high winds and borrowed enough air to keep me moving.
Woody believed that what he made only came to life in the lives of others. “It is you, the reader of the page, that catches the cannon breath and the drum beat off the written page,” he wrote to conclude this essay. “I am no more, no less, than your clerk that writes it down, like a debt always owed and partly paid. This book is a book of debt and part payment.”
Woody Guthrie’s American Songis very much the same, a work of debt and part payment: to Woody, to all the people who inspired him, and to the thousands of people who have taken this show into their hearts over the years. The score for WGAS contains thirty of Woody Guthrie’s songs that are brilliantly arranged for multiple voices by Jeff Waxman in a complex composition that retains the authentic impact of the original folk music while adding bursts of gospel and blues harmony.
About The Production
Mendocino Theatre Company in association with Gloriana Musical Theatre, of Ft. Bragg, CA has assembled collaborative ensemble of actors, singers and instrumentalists under the stage direction of Elizabeth Craven (MTC) and musical direction by Jenni Windsor (Gloriana) and Dave Alden. Included in the acting/singing ensemble cast are: Byron Greene, Carrie Fishman, Audrey Ferguson, Maria Ramos, Larry Sawyer, Steve Worthen and understudies Bessy Krauss and Sara Rose. The WGAS band includes: Dave Alden (Band Director/guitarist); Dan Coulson and Meghan Miller (acoustic bass); Zoe Berna, Emily Berna & Kathleen Coleman (fiddle); Alex Miller(banjo); Jim Gilbert (banjo, mandolin); Byron Greene (banjo/guitar). The play’s scenery and lights are designed by Jeff Rowlings, sound design by Zach Taylor, and costume design by Susan Collins.
Dates And Times
Woody Guthrie’s American Songopens on July 1 and runs through August 20. Most performances are held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM. Please visit mendocinotheatre.org or telephone the Box Office at 707-937-4477 for more information and to purchase tickets. Tickets are on sale now. $15-$33.
NORTH COAST JUNIOR LIFEGUARDS GRADUATE NEXT MONTH!
Crescent City, Calif. – Come support the 2023 North Coast Junior Lifeguards as they graduate over the next four Fridays! This California State Parks program, running for the 7th year in Humboldt County and the 3rd year in Del Norte County, offers kids aged 8 through 18 a hands-on education in ocean safety and recreation via one and two week sessions.
Throughout the months of June, July and August, a North Coast Junior Lifeguard begins their day with stretches and an assessment of the ocean’s conditions, in preparation for the day’s events. Events can include activities like run-swim-runs, buoy swims, boogie boarding, body surfing, surfing, lectures on topics such as lifeguard skills (rescues and first aid), and shoreline games and activities. Each activity is designed to educate the Junior Guard on how to maneuver the ever-changing conditions of the ocean, the importance of a daily workout, and aim to maximize enjoyment of living along the coast.
Thanks to the success of the Junior Lifeguards program here on the North Coast, a total of 13 instructors this season are former Junior Lifeguards themselves. Four hundred kids from our community will become Junior Lifeguards just this season alone!
As the 2023 program comes to a close, graduation ceremonies will be held over the next month and the public is invited to come cheer on the Junior Lifeguards as they demonstrate their new skills on the following days:
Friday, July 21st, Trinidad State Beach, 11am - 1pm
Friday, July 28th, Trinidad State Beach, 11am - 1pm
Friday, August 11th, Crescent Beach, 11am - 1pm
Friday, August 18th, Crescent Beach, 11am - 1pm
Families that are interested in participating in this program next year can visit the official North Coast Junior Lifeguards page on California State Parks website here for more information.
BORN AND RAISED IN UKIAH
Well, I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town
Probably die in a small town
Oh, those small communities
All my friends are so small town
My parents live in the same small town
My job is so small town
Provides little opportunity, hey
Educated in a small town
Taught to fear of Jesus in a small town
Used to daydream in that small town
Another boring romantic, that’s me
But I’ve seen it all in a small town
Had myself a ball in a small town
Married an L.A. Doll and brought her to this small town
Now she’s small town just like me
No, I cannot forget from where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be
Ooh nah, nah, nah, yeah, ooh yeah yeah
Got nothing against a big town
Still hayseed enough to say
Look who’s in the big town
But my bed is in a small town
Oh, and that’s good enough for me
Well, I was born in a small town
And I can breathe in a small town
Gonna die in a small town
Oh, and that’s probably where they’ll bury me, yeah
Ooh yeah yeah, yeah
Ooh yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah
(via James Marmon)
CATCH OF THE DAY: Thursday, July 20, 2023
SHANKARA CASEY, Redwood Valley. Paraphernalia, evidence tampering, county parole violation.
CHEYENNE CRISMAN, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, disorderly conduct-drugs&alcohol, brandishing, resisting, failure to appear.
ABRAHAM CRUZ-REYES, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
QUINN ELLIS, Bourbonnais, Illinois/Fort Bragg. Brandishing, criminal threats.
TIMOTHY FISCHER, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-drugs&alcohol.
DANIEL GOMES, Lakeport/Ukiah. Arson of property.
SIERRA GRINSELL, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
PEDRO GUZMAN-MARTINEZ, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
TYE HAMILTON, Clearlake/Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, paraphernalia.
GARRIE HOAGLIN, Covelo. Parole violation.
HEIDI HOLLOWAY, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
KATE KUMMER, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JASON MILLER, Fort Bragg. Concealed dirk-dagger.
ANTONIO MUNOZ, Redwood Valley. County parole violation.
COLE PARKIN, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
IVORY PINOLA, Redwood Valley. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
SAMUEL SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, failure to appear. (Frequent flyer.)
PAUL SCHOCK, Philo. Narcotics for sale, paraphernalia, saps/similar weapons.
JOHN STRAUSS-SHEALOR, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation, disobeying court order.
LARRY WOLFE JR., Ukiah. County parole violation.
WAY TO GO, HUFF
As an airline pilot, I’m glad that Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, valued the input of pilots and safety experts and voted in committee against a proposal to increase the pilot retirement age.
International rules prevent airline pilots over 65 from flying outside the United States. Senior pilots, who mostly fly internationally, would be forced back onto domestic flights, displacing pilots already flying those routes, sparking a chain reaction of pilots who must get retrained to continue flying. Airlines are already suffering from a training backlog, and the added costs and time to retrain pilots would be passed directly to passengers who could see higher fares and flight disruptions.
As a pilot, it is my responsibility to always prioritize safety. I depend on the lawmakers who regulate this industry to share that priority. I appreciate Huffman’s commitment to our shared responsibility for safety. According to numerous studies, there is an increased risk of significant health issues associated with increasing age, which could lead to a disaster if they occur on the flight deck.
Daniel J. Logisz
FAIR PLAY FOR SCRANTON JOE
While your Biden-bashing is often warranted, it should be balanced with mention of his strong support for unions, almost unknown in presidents since FDR, and efforts like these described below today by historian Heather Cox Richardson.
* * *
A little more than two years ago, on July 9, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order to promote competition in the U.S. economy. Echoing the language of his predecessors, he said, ‘competition keeps the economy moving and keeps it growing. Fair competition is why capitalism has been the world’s greatest force for prosperity and growth. But what we’ve seen over the past few decades is less competition and more concentration that holds our economy back.
In that speech, Biden deliberately positioned himself in our country’s long history of opposing economic consolidation. Calling out both Roosevelt presidents—Republican Theodore Roosevelt, who oversaw part of the Progressive Era, and Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who oversaw the New Deal—Biden celebrated their attempt to rein in the power of big business, first by focusing on the abuses of those businesses, and then by championing competition.
Biden promised to enforce antitrust laws, interpreting them in the way they had been understood traditionally. Like his progressive predecessors, he believed antitrust laws should prevent large entities from swallowing up markets, consolidating their power so they could raise prices and undercut workers’ rights. Traditionally, those advocating antitrust legislation wanted to protect economic competition, believing that such competition would promote innovation, protect workers, and keep consumer prices down.
In the 1980s, government officials threw out that understanding and replaced it with a new line of thinking advanced by former solicitor general of the United States Robert Bork. He claimed that the traditional understanding of antitrust legislation was economically inefficient because it restricted the ways businesses could operate. Instead, he said, consolidation of industries was fine so long as it promoted economic efficiencies that, at least in the short term, cut costs for consumers. While antitrust legislation remained on the books, the understanding of what it meant changed dramatically.
Reagan and his people advanced Bork’s position, abandoning the idea that capitalism fundamentally depends on competition. Industries consolidated, and by the time Biden took office his people estimated the lack of competition was costing a median U.S. household as much as $5,000 a year. Two years ago, Biden called the turn toward Bork’s ideas ‘the wrong path,” and vowed to restore competition in an increasingly consolidated marketplace. With his executive order in July 2021, he established a White House Competition Council to direct a whole-of-government approach to promoting competition in the economy.
This shift gained momentum in part because of what appeared to be price gouging as the shutdowns of the pandemic eased. The five largest ocean container shipping companies, for example, made $300 billion in profits in 2022, compared to $64 billion the year before, which itself was a higher number than in the past. Those higher prices helped to drive inflation.
The baby formula shortage that began in February 2022 also highlighted the problems of concentration in an industry. Just four companies controlled 90% of the baby formula market in the U.S., and when one of them shut down production at a plant that appeared to be contaminated, supplies fell dramatically across the country. The administration had to start flying millions of bottles of formula in from other countries under Operation Fly Formula, a solution that suggested something was badly out of whack.
The administration’s focus on restoring competition had some immediate effects. It worked to get a bipartisan reform to ocean shipping through Congress, permitting greater oversight of the shipping industry by the Federal Maritime Commission. That law was part of the solution that brought ocean-going shipping prices down 80% from their peak. It worked with the Food and Drug Administration to make hearing aids available over the counter, cutting costs for American families. It also has worked to get rid of the non-compete clauses which made it hard for about 30 million workers to change jobs. And it began cracking down on junk fees, add-ons to rental car contracts, ticket sales, banking services, and so on, getting those fees down an estimated $5 billion a year.
‘Folks are tired of being played for suckers,” Biden said. ‘[I]t’s about basic fairness.”
Today, the administration announced new measures to promote competition in the economy. The Department of Agriculture will work with attorneys general in 31 states and Washington, D.C. to enforce antitrust and consumer protection laws in food and agriculture. They will make sure that large corporations can’t fix food prices or price gouge in stores in areas where they have a monopoly. They will work to expand the nation’s processing capacity for meat and poultry, and are also promoting better access to markets for all agricultural producers and keeping seeds open-source.
Having cracked down on junk fees in consumer products, the administration is now turning to junk fees in rental housing, fees like those required just to file a rental application or fees to be able to pay your rent online.
The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission today released new merger guidelines to protect the country from mass layoffs, higher prices, and fewer options for consumers and workers. Biden used the example of hospital mergers, which have led to extraordinary price hikes, to explain why new guidelines are necessary.
The agencies reached out for public comment to construct 13 guidelines that seek to prevent mergers that threaten competition or tend to create monopolies. They declare that agencies must address the effect of proposed mergers on ‘all market participants and any dimension of competition, including for workers.”
Now that the guidelines are proposed, officials are asking the public to provide comments on them. The comment period will end on September 18.
One of the reporters on the press call about the new initiatives noted that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has accused the Biden administration of regulatory overreach, exactly as Bork outlined in a famous 1978 book introducing his revision of U.S. antitrust policy. An answer by a senior administration official highlighted a key element of the struggle over business consolidation that is rarely discussed and has been key to demands to end such consolidation since the 1870s.
The official noted that small businesses, especially those in rural areas, are quite happy to see consolidation broken up, because it gives them an opportunity to get into fields that previously had been closed to them. In fact, small businesses have boomed under this administration; there were 10.5 million small business applications in its first two years and those numbers continue strong.
This is the same pattern the U.S. saw during the Progressive Era of the early twentieth century and during the New Deal of the 1930s. In both of those eras, established business leaders insisted that government regulation was bad for the economy and that any attempts to limit their power came from workers who were at least flirting with socialism. But in fact entrepreneurs and small businesses were always part of the coalition that wanted such regulation. They needed it to level the playing field enough to let them participate.
The effects of this turnaround in the government’s approach to economic consolidation is a big deal. It is already having real effects on our lives, and offers to do more: saving consumers money, protecting workers’ wages and safety, and promoting small businesses, especially in rural areas. It’s another part of this administration’s rejection of the top-down economy that has shaped the country since 1981.
JOHN OGEE, 96 years old, was born in Morgan City, La., in 1841, the property of Alfred Williams. John ran away to join the Union Army and served three years. He recalls Sherman's march through Georgia and South Carolina and the siege of Vicksburg.
"I was born near Morgan City, Louisiana in a old log cabin with a dirt floor, one big room was all, suh. My mother and father and four chillen lived in that room.
"The marster, he live in a big, old house near us. I 'member it was a big house and my mudder done the cleanin' and work for them. I jus' played round when I's growin' and the fus' work I done, they start me to plowin'.
"I haven't got 'lection like I used to, but I 'members when I's in the army. Long 'bout '63 I go to the army and there was four of us who run away from home, me and my father and 'nother man named Emanuel Young and 'nother man, but I disremember his name now. The Yankees comed 'bout a mile from us and they took every ear of corn, kilt every head of stock and thirteen hawgs and 'bout fifteen beeves, and feed their teams and themselves. They pay the old lady in Confed'rate money, but it weren't long 'fore that was no money at all. When we think of all that good food the Yankees done got, we jus' up and jine up with them. We figger we git lots to eat and the res' we jus' didn't figger. When they lef' we lef'. My father got kilt from an ambush, in Miss'ippi--I think it was Jackson.
"We went to Miss'ippi, then to South Carolina. I went through Georgia and South Carolina with Sherman's army. The fus' battle lasts two days and nights and they was 'bout 800 men kilt, near's I kin 'member. Some of 'em you could find the head and not the body. That was the battle of Vicksburg. After the battle it took three days to bury them what got kilt and they had eight mule throw big furrows back this way, and put 'em in and cover 'em up. In that town was a well 'bout 75 or 80 feet deep and they put 19 dead bodies in that well and fill her up.
"After the war we went through to Atlanta, in Georgia and stay 'bout three weeks. Finally we come back to Miss'ippi when surrender come. The nigger troops was mix with the others but they wasn't no nigger officers.
"After the war I come home and the old marster he didn' fuss at me about going to war and for long time I work on the old plantation for wages. I 'member then the Klu Klux come and when that happen I come to Texas. They never did git me but some they got and kilt. I knowed several men they whip purty bad. I know Narcisse Young, they tell him they was comin'. He hid in the woods, in the trees and he open fire and kilt seven of them. They was a cullud man with them and after they goes, he comes back and asks can he git them dead bodies. Narcisse let him and then Narcisse he lef' and goes to New Orleans.
"I thinks it great to be with the Yankees, but I wishes I hadn't after I got there. When you see 1,000 guns point at you I knows you wishes you'd stayed in the woods.
"The way they did was put 100 men in front and they git shoot and fall down, and then 100 men behin' git up and shoot over 'em and that the way they goes forward. They wasn't no goin' back, 'cause them men behin' you would shoot you. I seed 'em fightin' close 'nough to knock one 'nother with a bay'net. I didn' see no breech loaders guns, they was all muskets, muzzle loaders, and they shoot a ball 'bout big as your finger, what you calls a minnie-ball.
"I come to Taylor's Bayou in '70 and rid stock long time for Mister Arceneaux and Mister Moise Broussard and farms some too. Then I comes to Beaumont when I's too old to work no more, and lives with one of my girls."
— John Ogee, interviewed in Beaumont Texas as a part of the Federal Writers' Project
MAYOR JACOB FREY OF MINNEAPOLIS said he intended to issue an executive order on Friday instructing the city’s police officers to, in essence, look the other way when it comes to the purchase and use of certain illegal psychedelic drugs.
Coming as a growing number of cities, including Denver, Detroit and Washington, D.C., have adopted more permissive stances on psychedelics, Mr. Frey’s order notes that people are increasingly turning to substances like psychoactive mushrooms to improve their mental health.
The widening appeal of psychedelics in clinical and spiritual settings has alarmed some health professionals who say they worry about the rise of an unregulated field of therapeutic interventions through mind-altering compounds. At the same time, efforts to decriminalize and expand access to psychedelics have received a surprising degree of bipartisan political support in Minnesota and elsewhere.
Mr. Frey, a Democrat, acknowledged that some residents might oppose any loosened enforcement of drug laws. But he said he hoped the measure would contribute to a national rethinking of drug laws that date back to the Nixon era, and draw attention to the role plant-based psychedelics can play for people dealing with depression, trauma and addiction.
“We have a mass proliferation of deaths of despair,” he said, citing the nation’s high rates of suicide and opioid abuse. “This is something that is known to help.”
Psychedelics, a class of psychoactive substances that alter mood and perception, have long been illegal. But stigma surrounding their use has receded in recent years as scores of celebrities, military veterans, athletes and entrepreneurs have described psychedelic trips as transformative experiences and opportunities for self-exploration and spiritual growth.…
by Lia Shaw
On 18 July 2003, Johnson & Johnson filed a patent for bedaquiline, a new antibiotic against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. If and when it was approved as a medicine, J&J would hold the exclusive rights to manufacture and sell bedaquiline across the world until 18 July 2023. After that, other companies would be allowed to make generic versions of the drug.
The patent became public in February 2004, and the astonishing activity of bedaquiline was reported in Science in early 2005. Researchers in Belgium led by Koen Andries showed that the compound was effective in the test tube and in mice – killing an order of magnitude more bacteria than previous TB drugs. Andries – not one of the chemists listed as the inventors on the patent application – said it was ‘like a dream come true’ for his team: ‘What drives us most is the medical need for such compounds.’
In December 2007 J&J filed a secondary patent on bedaquiline fumarate, the ‘pharmaceutically acceptable’ form of bedaquiline that’s given as a medicine. It can be made by adding fumaric acid to bedaquiline; a standard chemical manouevre used for many drugs. At first glance, this is strange. J&J’s original patent had already made sure to claim exclusivity not only over bedaquiline but over its pharmaceutically acceptable forms as well, and had listed fumaric acid as an example of what could be added.
The secondary patents were an attempt to extend the exclusivity on bedaquiline beyond the so-called ‘patent cliff’ of 18 July 2023, allowing J&J to control the global supply and price of the drug for another four years, a process known as ‘evergreening’.
Predicting the economic potential of a medicine is an old problem for capitalism. ‘If we speak frankly,’ John Maynard Keynes wrote inhis General Theory, ‘we have to admit that our basis of knowledge for estimating the yield ten years hence of a railway, a copper mine, a textile factory, the goodwill of a patent medicine, an Atlantic liner, a building in the City of London amounts to little and sometimes to nothing.’
J&J came close to cancelling their whole bedaquiline research programme. Andries has said that after initial trials in 2006 went poorly, ‘management gave us the chance to do one last clinical trial with the drug. If it didn’t work out, they would pull the plug.’ When the statistician showed him the results of the next trial, though, Andries saw immediately that ‘we had hit the bullseye.’
TB is usually curable and preventable with a cocktail of four drugs, but around 1.6 million people die from it every year, largely because of a lack of access to treatment. Another growing problem is drug-resistant forms of the bacteria, which undermine the cheap standard treatment and can only be treated with increasingly toxic and painful injections. Bedaquiline, which could be given orally and for a much shorter time, was a revolution.
It was first approved as a medicine in the US in 2012 and is now listed as an essential medicine by the WHO. What should a fair price be for an essential drug? J&J sell bedaquiline at tiered prices around the world: it is more expensive (but easily available) in wealthy countries and cheaper (but hard to come by) where it is most needed. According to Médecins Sans Frontières, in late 2022 it was nearly three times as expensive as it would be in low-income countries if generic forms were available.
India has around 130,000 drug-resistant TB cases a year, but according to the British Medical Journal only ten thousand people have so far received bedaquiline in the eight years it has been licensed for use in the country. Activists and TB survivors lodged oppositions with the Indian Patent Office to the bedaquiline fumarate patent, arguing that it didn’t represent genuine innovation. The IPO decided in their favour in March, which meant that on Tuesday, after twenty years, bedaquiline became a generic drug in India.
The patchwork and messy nature of patent law means, however, that J&J still hold the secondary patents in many countries. Last week, the American writer John Green accused J&J of ‘denying access to bedaquiline to around six million people’ and pursuing a ‘bad business model’. Green encouraged his online community to call on J&J to renounce their patents. A few days later, J&J announced a partnership with the non-profit Global Drug Facility, a negotiating block for generic manufacturers. The details are limited, but under the deal J&J will permit generic versions of bedaquiline to be manufactured in countries with a high TB burden.
Campaigners have welcomed the news but highlighted how the deal falls short: J&J could have renounced their secondary patents altogether. The Treatment Action Group, an HIV/Aids organisation, has called the deal ‘a creative procurement solution’ that does something for the access crisis ‘without solving the larger structural injustices’. There are also notable gaps in the deal. It could have been universal, but instead J&J have chosen to not include some countries (in Eastern Europe, for example) where drug-resistant TB is common.
The big pharmaceutical companies always claim that patent rights are the mechanism to fund new medicines. It’s true that companies develop new drugs because they have an expectation of reaping future profits – though they are always tight-lipped about the precise costs of their research. But it’s also true, as research by the Treatment Action Group shows, that the amount of public money spent on the development of bedaquiline, depending on how you calculate it, was between 1.6 and 5.1 times J&J’s investment.
Meanwhile, J&J has started the process of suing the Biden administration. The company objects to new legislation that will allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices for widely prescribed but in-patent drugs, including one that J&J sells. The first negotiations are due later this year. According to J&J’s filing, the legislation threatens their fundamental constitutional rights: not only its Fifth Amendment right to private property, but also its First Amendment right to free speech, because J&J will be compelled to make ‘false and misleading statements’ that any resulting price is ‘fair’.
(London Review of Books)
“WE GREW UP LIKE HEATHENS, When I was a kid I had nothing but a lot of brothers and sisters, a helpless mother, and a father who didn’t care about a single one of us.”
Charles ‘Sonny’ Liston pictured with his mother Helen aka ‘Big Hela’ to those that knew her. She married Sonny’s father Tobin Liston aka ‘Tobe’ even though there was a huge age gap between the two of about 25-30 years. Tobin was the son of a slave who lived in Choctaw County, Mississippi and who can be found in the 1860 U.S. Census listed among the property of one Martin Liston. Liston’s estate, including his slaves, was valued at $6,825, which placed him far below the planter class. Tobin Liston stood at all of five feet and five inches according to reports yet his size would make no difference as he daily beat on his oversized boy daily with Sonny himself saying “The only thing I ever got from my old man was a beating,” Sonny had a tough life growing up and couldn’t catergory ally state his real age or date of birth. In 1950 Sonny was arrested for robbery and told police he was born in 1928. In 1953 he told golden gloves officials he was born in 1932. In 1960 during the Kefauver hearings as he leaned into a microphone and said he was born in 1933. When heavyweight champion he chose May 8th 1932 as his default DOB yet when questioned on it he threatened that anyone who doubted he was the age he claimed was calling his momma a liar. His momma only added to the confusion saying ‘I think it was January 18th in 1932. I know he was born in January, in 1932. It was cold in January.”
Sonny Liston was the 24th of 25 children, he never knew his real age, nor did he know his birthdate. He was illiterate and unable to read or write. And just like his date of birth we do not know his actual date of death. What we do know is that Sonny was a hugely misunderstood man who was at times a sensitive soul yet could also freeze hell over with that scowling stare and aura of intimidation. Underrated and severely under appreciated.
IN NEW SPAIN OF THE LATTER 1600's, the Utes had the ability to capture and maintain horses. Their horses allowed for movement and hunting over much greater distances.
Around the same time, other Numic speaking people historically known as Comanches soon moved onto the landscape of the Great Plains.
The Comanches (Nummuhnuh) and their Ute kinfolk quickly began a strong relationship as fellow tribesmen. The Spanish authorities noted the ever-growing power of the Utes and their Comanche allies. It was also noticed that the raiders from the North had extreme confidence in their abilities to raid communities. The Comanches and the Utes battled for control of the land and soon expanded their territory.
In the early 1700's, the brethren tribes fought for excellent raiding and trading sites along the Rio Grande River. As both the Apache and Navajo were driven out, they sought help and protection from the Spanish. Over time, the Comanches had come to control the rich grasslands of the Southern Plains and the powerful Utes towered over northwestern New Mexico.
In the 1740's, traders in Navajo country observed that Navajos had to "live on the top of the mesas in little houses of stone. And that the reason for their living in those mountains is because the Yutas and Comanches make war upon them."
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Black bear 1, Human 0. I love black bears. The southern tip of the PNW is full of wildlife as they have thousands of acres of forest beyond the minimally developed, 1 mile inland coastal strip from Little River to points North. They are currently hungry as the salal berries, blackberry, and elderberries are not ripe yet. Hence, it’s time for the younger single bears with only semi viable habitat to venture out and raid the easy pickens (garbage from humans) or harder pickens (uninhabited trailers with kind tasty smells) to tear apart and raid. Cannot blame them, we occupy their space. It is one of the best examples of Natural Selection at work. Lots of those young adult bears will get hit on 101, starve, be shot, or the strongest will survive by moving to prime forest habitat by displacing older, weaker, mature adult bears. Amazingly simple, Natural Selection!
UKRAINE, THURSDAY, 20TH JULY
Russia targeted the southern city of Odesa for the third night in a row since leaving the Ukraine grain deal, killing one person, according to Kyiv. Ukrainian defenses were only able to down just over a quarter of the cruise missiles launched at the country overnight.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Moscow of seeking to cripple Kyiv's ability to export grain by attacking the port infrastructure.
A video emerged Wednesday that appears to show Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin greeting his fighters in Belarus, in what would be his first public appearance since he led an armed rebellion in Russia last month.
The US committed to providing Ukraine with more air defense systems and attack drones in a $1.3 billion aid package announced Wednesday.
FLOWING THROUGH DENVER, the South Platte River appears so insignificant it is hard to believe it is the city’s main water supply, let alone the sustenance of hundreds of thousands of irrigated acres downstream in Colorado and Nebraska. The South Platte is a mere fork of the main Platte, itself a tributary of the Missouri, itself a child of the Father of Waters.
From a plane climbing up from Stapleton Airport, the South Platte is seen to meander forlornly out of town until it is quickly swallowed, as everything is, by the surreal endlessness of the Great Plains. Viewed from a low bluff 200 miles downriver, it still appears of no consequence. The bottomlands are a tangle of shrubs and barbed wire interspersed with cottonwoods, and they are grazed bare by cows, which stare uncomprehendingly from the muck.
It is a river without pretensions, haggard and used-looking, like a bag lady. In August, near the Nebraska border, the river dries up completely; all that reaches Nebraska is the underground flow. The Platte is one of the most hungrily used rivers in the entire world, surpassing even the Colorado. However, as far as Colorado is concerned, it is not used enough.
The South Platte is one of two rivers left in Colorado that isn’t utterly and irrevocably appropriated, now and forever. To a state which is second to California in the arid West in population, industry, and irrigated acreage—but which has at its disposal about one-tenth as much water—the fact that some 7% of its share of the river still escapes to Nebraska is a fact of overarching significance. That the Bureau of Reclamation has offered to build an enormous dam across it to attempt to correct that situation is another.
This last glimmering promise, in the face of a hopeless, non-negotiable finality, has been enough to lead the members of Colorado’s political establishment into a world of fantasy, leaving both their sense and their principles behind.
— Marc Reisner, ‘Cadillac Desert,’ 1986
THE GUY ISN'T TOTALLY WRONG’: The Curious Case of Covid-19 Scientists and Senator Tom Cotton
In a supreme irony, the scientists hired to stamp out the "lab leak" theory may vindicate the politician most tarred as a conspiracy theorist for keeping the theory alive
by Matt Taibbi
When Public and Racket obtained hundreds of pages of communications between the scientists who published perhaps the most influential Nature Medicine paper about the origins of Covid-19, one of the first things we noticed was the scientists’ fixation with hits and Internet traffic. If Heathers had been written for the Instagram age, the script would have read a lot like the Slack chats between Drs. Kristian Andersen, Andrew Rambaut, Bob Garry, and Eddie Holmes...
COVID'S ORIGINS & THE DEATH OF TRUST
Public releases the Proximal Origin documents. What they show, and why they're historic
by Matt Taibbi
Public has just published the cache of communications of the scientists who penned the key article, The Proximal Origin of SARS CoV-2, that was used to dismiss the possibility that Covid-19 was caused by a lab accident. Michael Shellenberger, Alex Gutentag, Leighton Woodhouse, and the rest of the staff of Public can’t be commended enough for doing the hard work to get this material out — you can find it linked here — and I strongly recommend that anyone with time read the docs from start to finish.
If you read the documents up at Public like a novel, and follow the chorus-like Slack exchanges between the four key scientists as a drama with a beginning, middle, and end, it’s hard to miss the brutal lesson. Four people whose job was to divine truth through scientific analysis were waylaid by social and political considerations that you can see attacking each of the characters with ferocity, even in their little digital haven of a private chat. With everything on the line, and millions of lives at stake, they were not only unable in the end to say what they really thought, but as my partner Walter Kirn points out, they joined up with a mechanism that worked to suppress and stamp out the very thoughts they themselves first had.
The problem that’s been threatening Western democracies for years, and which is captured in books like Martin Gurri’s The Revolt of the Public, is the widespread loss of faith in institutional authority. At first this was a technical problem, caused by a monstrous new surfeit of information on the Internet, allowing the public for the first time to see warts that were always there. What’s happening now is different. Even those of us who never trusted leaders before at least trusted such people to act in their self-interest. We thought that in emergencies, even the worst officials would suspend their stealing and conniving long enough to do the bare minimum. As these documents show, however, we can’t even have that expectation. Once people see an institutional malfunction on this scale, it’s like walking in on a cheating spouse, they can’t unsee it. That’s what these scientists were risking when they played around with a lie this big: everything. They may not have been evil exactly — ‘more Three Stooges than Ocean’s Eleven” is how one scientist put it to me — but their bumbling inability to find their consciences under pressure in the first months of 2020 might end up having lasting consequences, for society and science. In any case, conceding that in media we get lost in the moment a lot and often think what’s happening today is far more important than what happened yesterday, what they have over at Public is historic stuff. I hope you find time to discover it for yourselves.
TRY THAT IN A SMALL TOWN
by Jason Aldean
Sucker punch somebody on a sidewalk
Carjack an old lady at a red light
Pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store
Ya think it's cool, well, act a fool if ya like
Cuss out a cop, spit in his face
Stomp on the flag and light it up
Yeah, ya think you're tough
Well, try that in a small town
See how far ya make it down the road
Around here, we take care of our own
You cross that line, it won't take long
For you to find out, I recommend you don't
Try that in a small town
Got a gun that my granddad gave me
They say one day they're gonna round up
Well, that shit might fly in the city, good luck
Try that in a small town
See how far ya make it down the road
Around here, we take care of our own
You cross that line, it won't take long
For you to find out, I recommend you don't
Try that in a small town
Full of good ol' boys, raised up right
If you're looking for a fight
Try that in a small town
Try that in a small town
Try that in a small town
See how far ya make it down the road
Around here, we take care of our own
You cross that line, it won't take long
For you to find out, I recommend you don't
Try that in a small town
Try that in a small town
Try that in a small town