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WIDESPREAD LOW CLOUDS are in place along the coast with valley fog in some of the interior valleys. Inland areas will see high temperatures mainly in the mid to upper 80s. The coast will see partial clearing this afternoon. This pattern is expected to persist into next week with only small fluctuations. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A really warm 59F in the fog this Friday morning on the coast. The fog is large & in charge. Hence the forecast calls for more of the same morning fog then clearing, hopefully.
CATCH OF THE DAY
WILLITS POLICE ORGANIZATION VOTES NO CONFIDENCE IN CITY MANAGER Amidst Misconduct Allegations Aimed At An Unnamed Officer
by Sarah Reith
The Willits Police Department’s union took an emergency vote of no confidence in City Manager Brian Bender’s ability to lead the city this week. Last night, Britney Ponikvar, the President of the Willits Police Officers Association, told the City Council that Bender has “created impossible odds for the police department and opened the City of Willits to further civil litigation liability.”…
It has been painful to watch the public criticism pf the Auditor-Controller/Treasurer Tax Collector (ACTTC) in multiple forums, not just the BOS meetings. I can’t say if she is qualified or not but it seems like it would a difficult transition for anyone to go from being the second in command of one office to being thrust into running two offices and losing most, if not all, senior management of both offices and the institutional knowledge they held. Since the BOS and ACTTC are both elected offices, they are colleagues. With co-workers like that, who needs enemies? I am surprised that the ACTTC has stuck in there, to be honest.
The Great Redwood Trail Agency (GRTA) did just solicit for a General Manager. Applications closed July 14th. Salary is $120-140k with a good benefits package.
The GRTA board met last week, August 17th, and held interviews in closed session.
SPORTS NOTE: Anderson Valley Boys soccer defeats Lower Lake 3-nil. Small school big noise.
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS RESPONDS to our remarks about what he was doing during the August “recess”:
Upcoming broadband, coastal re-roofing, coastal solar, coastal tents items. Study and planning related to ambulance JPA, department of finance, health plan, market methodology and need for wage philosophy, parks budget vs work completed, golden gate initiative, revisiting passed but not executed agenda items, trips looking at specific road complaints, ditches. “Ted Williams hasn’t posted anything about doing any county business.” I actually don’t post a diary as a matter of course. To each their own, my effort is on study and strategy, not advertising.
ON LINE COMMENT: We have until the end of this month to fish at normal depths before California Fish and Game closes the inside waters to all of us. So anyone wanting to go, now is the time to book. Going back and forth under this bridge might be a thing of the past in the near future. 707 357 1875
WATER TALKS: Waiting on PG&E to Figure Out Life After the Potter Valley Project
At the first meeting following a proposal for life after the Potter Valley Project, participants talked about money, conservation, water rights, and what to do next, in the absence of key information from the current owner of the project.…
QUESTION OF THE DAY
I thought Visit Mendocino County had staff to create marketing materials in-house. Why are they asking Mendocino County businesses to do their work for them?
Attached: “As part of our rebrand, Visit Mendocino County has an updated website. Our goal is to entice visitors with a visually appealing site and add a bit more "show-and-tell", meaning you show and we will tell. This is especially true in sections like Inside the Magic and MendoMoments. We invite you to partner with us in several areas of our website, to help showcase what makes Mendocino County so magical from your perspective. Read on to find out how you can partner with us, from Inside the Magic to your business listing.” …
FLAB GLAB LIB LAB'S ANNUAL DELUSION-FEST
THE STORY OF WHO CLOSED THE “PUFF” (PHF) UNIT
by Jim Shields
Last week’s column revealed the true story about how, when, and why California’s mental health hospitals were closed — and it wasn’t then-Governor Ronald Reagan who did it.
For the past 50 years, the Reagan myth has been circulated and rumor-mongered by the Homeless-Mental Health Industrial Complex, most likely because as George Hollister explained in a post: “The myth also provides a straw man argument that allows us [the Homeless-Mental Health Industrial Complex] to avoid dealing with the mental health problem. Reagan screwed it up, and there is nothing we can do.”
We’ll now take a look at what caused the infamous closure of the County’s Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF, pronounced “Puff”) Unit, back in 1999-2001. This is an issue that people continue to talk about today even though it occurred over 20 years ago.
Anyway, here’s what I wrote back then.
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Colfax Doesn’t Buy Mental Health “Crisis”
November 9, 1999
It was literally a tear-jerker at the Supes weekly conclave (Tuesday, Nov. 2, 1999).
County Mental Health Director Kristy Kelly broke down in the midst of informing the Supes that it’s a full-scale crisis at the Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF). Attempting to regain control, Kelly apologized for crying but was told by a choked-up Patti Campbell, “You never have to apologize to me for tears …” Campbell has been known to shed a tear or two herself during her BOS tenure, including occasions when general assistance payments have been at issue, as well as those times when recovering-addict single mothers have testified to the merits of the Drug Court. While Richard Shoemaker offered Kelly a box of tissues, 5th District Supe David Colfax appeared unmoved by the waterworks display and more concerned with probing the cause of the “crisis.” Here’s the story.
Kelly appeared first thing in the morning with an “off-agenda” item requiring the Supes immediate attention. Kelly said an emergency situation necessitated her seeking BOS approval to close the PHF unit immediately. The PHF, located at the Low Gap county complex, provides acute psychiatric care and other inpatient services to the seriously mentally ill, including those charged with crimes or being treated against their will (so-called “5150” cases from the penal code section of the same number). The PHF unit is licensed by the state “which has clear guidelines for the conditions that allow its operation.” One of those conditions causing suspension of its license is “that certain patient/staff ratios are maintained and that a specific array of licensed staff must be working on the unit at all times.”
As Kelly explained it, chronic understaffing at the unit fell below state standards in the last two weeks when “violent incidents” forced four staff members off the job with work-related injuries. Additionally, 11 PHF employees filed grievances “regarding working conditions due to concerns for their personal safety.” No details were provided about the violent incidents or the unsafe working conditions, but one can imagine that whacked-out mental cases are capable of bodily harm both to others and themselves. On an average basis, upwards of 25 percent of the PHF’s patients are also jail inmates. In the first 10 months of this year, almost 600 out of the 1900 total patient days were logged for “penal code” patients.
Speaking to the dangers of housing mentally ill inmates in the PHF, William French, a member of the Mental Health Advisory Board, as well as a former PHF patient, advised the Supes that “You have to look at how to better protect staff and patients (in the PHF) because with inmates there it’s not safe.”
Kelly told the BOS that “as of 3 p.m. today, we will not be able to maintain the minimum number of licensed staff on the unit required by our license.” Kelly recommended that the Supes “affirm PHF operations should be suspended until staffing and other problems are resolved.” In the meantime she proposed re-opening the PHF as a “Crisis Stabilization Unit” (CSU) on an interim basis while the county Personnel Dept. develops “recommendations on incentives and/or other solutions to address chronic problems in recruiting and retaining qualified staff.” However, the CSU could not house for longer than four hours “5150” cases. Likewise, mentally ill offenders would have to be sent elsewhere. She also pointed out that the CSU would use the existing PHF facility and staff. Finally, all services at the CSU would be “billable under Medi-Cal unlike PHF, which is only partially reimbursable.”
On the down side, closing the PHF and opening a CSU would increase various costs, such as case management and transporting mentally ill offenders to far away state institutions such as Atascadero or Patton.
Colfax wasn’t buying the crisis argument. “Given the history of the agency you’re responsible for (Ukiah PD killing of DMH patient Marvin Noble, plus two other jail suicides of DMH clients),” he said, “and all the potential impacts on other departments, like the Sheriff, Jail, DA, Courts and Public Defender, I want something in writing, on paper, from all those affected by this (closing the PHF) before we make a decision.”
Colfax went on to say that the so-called PHF crisis “has been building for years” but nothing substantive had ever been done to tackle it comprehensively. He also cited chronic understaffing at the jail and with patrol deputies. “I find it difficult to respond to this emergency when it’s been building for three to five years or more. We need to look at why we’re out of compliance and not getting qualified people.”
He laid a large part of the blame on a lack of funding and voters who don’t seem concerned about service cuts in those areas. He urged the “Sheriff and District Attorney to get on the soapbox” and let people know how serious the problems are.
Sheriff Tony Craver, responding to Colfax, likened the situation to “driving a car that runs out of gas — you won’t get there until you pay what a gallon of gas costs. You need to pay for services what they cost.”
Captain Gary Hudson, who oversees the jail, told the Supes his facility had failed the last two inspections by the Dept. of Corrections. He said the jail was out of compliance with one-quarter of the positions vacant. If the PHF unit closes, it would place the entire operation at risk. “We are at our limits also,” Hudson stated. “With the inability of the PHF unit to function as a PHF, the jail could not operate as a jail.”
Hudson was referring to the seriously mentally ill inmates who must be housed at the PHF because the jail is not equipped to deal with them. He told the Supes that transferring inmates from here to facilitates in Patton or Atascadero would require 12 to 14 hours processing and transport time. That cost is multiplied each time the mentally ill offender is returned to Mendocino County for a court appearance. Furthermore, it would result in less street patrols since those deputies would be assigned transport duties.
Responding to an inquiry from Tom Lucier suggesting private security services handling transport of inmates to state mental institutions and back for court appearances, Hudson said there would be “significant problems.” He pointed out that some “high profile” mentally ill inmates are so “very sophisticated, assaultive” and violent (towards jail officers) that “we have to double up on guards” when transporting them between jail, court and the PHF unit. He speculated that because of the risks involved, it most likely would prove difficult to find private security companies willing to assume the liability.
Kitt Elliott, from the Public Defender’s Office, warned the BOS that they were “looking at significant costs” if PD staff had to travel out-of-county to represent mentally ill offenders.
“Realistically, the Public Defender’s staff can’t drive back and forth to out-of-county facilities … phone calls (to the mentally ill) don’t work … you need face-to-face contact with them,” she commented.
With Colfax dissenting, his four colleagues voted to give Kelly the discretion to suspend operations at the PHF if she couldn’t find the personnel to maintain state staffing mandates. According to Kelly, if operations are suspended by local officials they can re-open the PHF any time they are once again in compliance without state approval. If and when Kelly closes the PHF, then the CSU would open, which would, in turn, trigger transporting criminal mentally ill offenders out of county. Meanwhile, DMH, the Sheriff, DA, courts and the PD will be meeting to come up with a plan that will hopefully resolve this mess.
Colfax was not happy with the decision. “We keep backing away and backing away. We’re pretending we’re solving something but this is a major policy change. We’re making it (the PHF problems and related issues) out-of-sight, out-of-mind.”
Speaking for the majority, Mike Delbar scolded Colfax: “We’re not here today to grandstand. I have faith that the Mental Health Director and the ‘support’ departments (Sheriff, DA, PD, courts) will work on this problem — they will not let it fall off the table.”
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Guess what? Nothing fell off the table because the table collapsed under it.
(To be continued.)
VALLEY FARM STANDS
Velma’s farm stand is open Friday from 2-5pm and Saturday 11am-4pm. For fresh produce we will have: blueberries, melons, apples (Red Gravenstein and Swiss Gourmet), Hosui Asian pears, French prune plums, the FIRST of the table grapes (Venus and Jupiter), tomatoes (cherries, heirlooms and early girls), sweet peppers, summer squash, cucumbers, eggplant, padron & shishito peppers, green beans, new potatoes, arugula, spinach, cabbage, carrots, beets, sprouting broccoli, sprouting cauliflower, onions, garlic, herbs (basil, parsley, green coriander). We will also have dried fruit, tea blends, olive oil, fresh and dried flower bouquets, and some everlasting wreaths available. Plus some delicious flavors of Wilder Kombucha!
All produce is certified biodynamic and organic. Follow us on Instagram for updates @filigreenfarm or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. We accept cash, credit card, check, and EBT/SNAP (with Market Match)!
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Farm stand is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10-6,
closed Sunday and Monday.
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Petit Teton Farm
Petit Teton Farm is open daily 9-5, except Sunday 12-5. As well as the large inventory of jams and pickles made from everything we grow, we also have perfectly raised pigs and cows and sell USDA beef and pork. There are stewing hens, sometimes squab, and occasionally rabbits for sale. And right now there is a growing inventory of fresh veggies...beautiful large sweet "Candy" onions and more onion-y ones, eggplant, summer squash, tomatillos, a large variety of tomatoes, and hot and sweet peppers which we also have canned as well as smoked...chipotle, ancho and espelette. We'd love to see you. Nikki and Steve
FILM SERIES AT COAST CINEMAS
Join The Mendocino Film Festival for our year-round programming at Coast Cinemas.
Classic Film Series
- Grease Sept. 6 7pm
- Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt Oct. 4 7pm
- Nov. 1 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 7pm
- Dec. 16th 11am Elf - Family Holiday Screening
Indie Film Series
- Past Lives Sept 20 7pm
- Showing Up Oct 18 7pm
- Nov 15 Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense 7pm
NEW! Film Punchcards! Good for any FOUR films in the Indie Film Series and Classic Film Series for one person in the fall of 2024. Cards can be purchased on Eventive and picked up at film screenings. $40
Tickets are $15 per film available on Eventive or CASH ONLY at Coast Cinemas
Mendocino Film Festival
SIRI GIAN'S BREATH CLASS
Dobie Dolphin wrote:
Today's class is cancelled. Class will resume next Wednesday.
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Marco here. That's a long time to wait for something so important. I just read this story yesterday in Quora:
"A blonde stopped at a hair salon, wearing headphones, and asked for a haircut, but told the stylist that her headphones must stay on or she would die. Hairstylist agreed and began to cut, but after a while, the blonde fell asleep in the chair. To wake her, the stylist took off the headphones. The blonde immediately flopped to the floor and died. The hairstylist put on the headphones. They were saying: /...breathe in... breathe out... breathe in... breathe out.../"
Also this occurs to me: The Hollies - The Air That I Breathe.
I'm not sure why but I think of that as more of an end-of-summer song than Don Henley - The Boys of Summer:
"Lightning strikes are a major “wild card” that could determine whether more hard-to-control wildfires ignite in the north part of the state, said Scott Stephens, a fire science professor at UC Berkeley."
Yet, no one is using "lightning rods" an invention first detailed by Benjamin Franklin in Pennsylvania in 1749.
Possible UFO sitings on Mendo Coast in the Fall of 1978
Dear Northcoasters who may have lived here in the Fall of 1978,
Greetings from Doug Nunn. I was living on the Northcoast back in the Fall of 1978. Around either October or November of that year, there was an odd evening where there were numerous sitings of UFO or UAP (unidentified anomalous phenomena, as they are now known). Some of these sitings were reported to local radio stations and both the SR Press Democrat and Ukiah Daily Journal reported on “odd lights” in the following days.
Our SnapSesssions podcast (thesnapsessions.com) is now working on collecting information on this evening. If you were an eyewitness or remember this night of odd sitings, please contact me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks very much!
CATCH OF THE DAY, Thursday, August 24, 2023
VINCENT BERTAIN, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license.
JONATHAN CERVANTES, Ukiah. DUI, excessive speed while DUI.
ENRIQUE GUEVARA, Willits. Domestic battery.
JARED HAWKINS, San Francisco/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
KENDALL JENSEN, Ukiah. Vandalism, criminal threats, failure to appear.
ANTHONNY KOCHIE JR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.
RITA LAVENDUSKEY, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs. (Frequent flyer.)
JOSE LOPEZ-GALVEZ, Talmage. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
WILLIAM PARKER, Willits. Petty theft with priors, trespassing, failure to appear, probation revocation.
MONICA SAVIDAN, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
WALTER SEWARD, San Ysidro/Ukiah. DUI.
CHADLEY THAMES, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation, resisting.
LYLE VINCENT III, Ukiah. Controlled substance-sales, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
BETSY CAWN: The effort to change the name of Kelseyville has been going on for more than two decades, most recently with a growing number of adherents who came together in 2020 to form the activist organization called “Citizens for Healing,” supported by local Tribes and many kind citizens who assembled the extensive history of brutality inflicted by the Kelsey brothers from 1821 through 1861. Definitive historical studies and published records of their ignominy are easily found on the sections of their website: citizensforhealing.org.
OVERHEARD A GUY CONFESS
Dear AVA Editor,
It was earlier today 7:40 am, sitting in my car and a guy is talking to this other guy about how he got into trouble with a long distance romance. The upshot was that his expectations were not based in healthy relationship standards. His qualifications were in order for him to be happy his experience needed to be fulfilled regularly. To me today’s relationship market place has changed, not like the past where you didn’t need to worry. However in the remote world it’s very difficult to tell if this drop dead gorgeous lady is for real or the 300 pound grandson in his mom’s basement. Thanks again
CARLOS SANTANA GOES ON ‘MOST INSANE’ ANTI-TRANSGENDER RANT DURING CONCERT
by Aidin Vaziri
Carlos Santana delivered a speech laced with anti-transgender remarks during a recent performance in Atlantic City, New Jersey, telling the audience, “A woman is a woman, and a man is a man.”
In a video clip that surfaced this week, the musician, who grew up in San Francisco, asserted, “When God made you and me, before we came out of the womb, you know who you are and what you are. Later on, when you grow out of it, you see things and you start believing that you could be something that sounds good, but you know it ain’t right. Because a woman is a woman and a man is a man. That’s it. Whatever you wanna do in the closet, that’s your business. I’m OK with that.”
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame guitarist also referred to Dave Chappelle, the comedian who came under fire for making transphobic jokes in his 2021 Netflix special “The Closer,” as “my brother.”
The clips appear to have been taken during one of Santana’s 1001 Rainbows Tour stops at the Hard Rock Live at the Etess Arena on July 28-29, where the 76-year-old musician also proclaimed, “I believe it was Maya Angelou who said, ‘The only thing people are going to remember is how you make them feel.’ We want you to feel precious and priceless because you are significant and meaningful … It’s important to validate and celebrate you.”
Shortly after, concert attendees took to Reddit with their reactions.
“I went to see Santana tonight in Atlantic City with my parents, my partner, and her mom. Super stoked,” wrote one concertgoer. “One song in though, Carlos Santana stopped and spent a solid 15 minutes spouting the most insane anti-trans bs I’ve maybe ever heard?… Thought music (especially with this history) was supposed to bring us together.”
Another user who attended the show said, “It was very uncomfortable, especially the guy shouting ‘Amen’ throughout. It was weird that he went on about how we are all special and unique after.”
Santana did not reply to a request for comment from the Chronicle, but sent a statement to Billboard expressing his “respect” for personal beliefs. However, he did not walk back his comments.
“Here is my personal goal that I strive to achieve every day. I want to honor and respect all person’s ideals and beliefs whether they are LGBTQ or not,” he said Thursday, Aug, 24. “This is the planet of free will and we have all been given this gift. I will now pursue this goal to be happy and have fun, and for everyone to believe what they want and follow in your hearts without fear. It takes courage to grow and glow in the light that you are and to be true, genuine, and authentic. We grow and learn to shine our light with Love and compliments. Have a glorious existence. Peace.”
Santana, a 10-time Grammy winner, is the subject of the forthcoming documentary by the Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Rudy Valdez, “Carlos: The Santana Journey,” set to premiere on Sept. 23.
He also plans to resume the 11th year of his Las Vegas residency, “An Intimate Evening With Santana: Greatest Hits Live,” at House of Blues in September and November. A portion of the proceeds from those concerts are supposed to go to the Milagro Foundation, an organization founded by Santana in 1998 to support underrepresented youth in arts, education and health.
But Santana is not the only veteran musician to share his anti-transgender views. Shock-rocker Alice Cooper, scheduled to play at Concord Pavilion on Sept. 22, said this week that medical care for transgender youth is a “fad.”
Cooper told Stereogum, “I find it wrong when you’ve got a 6-year-old kid who has no idea. He just wants to play, and you’re confusing him telling him, ‘Yeah, you’re a boy, but you could be a girl if you want to be.’ I mean, if you identify as a tree … I’m going, ‘Come on! What are we in, a Kurt Vonnegut novel?’ It’s so absurd, that it’s gone now to the point of absurdity.”
The 75-year-old “School’s Out” singer also dismissed “the whole woke thing.”
“Who’s making the rules?” Cooper said. “It’s getting to the point now where it’s laughable. If anybody was trying to make a point on this thing, they turned it into a huge comedy. I don’t know one person that agrees with the woke thing.”
He then repeated the myth that allowing transgender people appropriate access to public bathrooms leads to sexual assault.
“A guy can walk into a woman’s bathroom at any time and just say, ‘I just feel like I’m a woman today’ and have the time of his life in there,” Cooper said. “He’s just taking advantage of that situation … Somebody’s going to get raped.”
THE AUTHENTIC LEFT opposes the ruling power structure, opposes imperialism and opposes economic injustice. The mainstream synthetic left does everything it can to build left-wing credibility without opposing any of those things. It opposes racism, sexism and discrimination against LGBTQ people just like the authentic left does, but whenever there’s an opportunity to actually act against the interests of the capitalist imperialists it’s nowhere to be found.
And it’s important for the authentic left to be aware of this, not least because it will often fool itself about its power and its numbers by conflating the left-wing issues that are amplified by the mainstream synthetic left with successes of the authentic left. It was easy to make the mistake, for example, of thinking that the BLM protests of 2020 were a sign of a surging socialist zeitgeist, or that the opposition to Trump and January 6 was a sign of rising anti-fascist sentiments, when really they were both only getting the mainstream traction they were getting because they were supported by the mainstream synthetic left as well. Members of the authentic left hitched their wagons to those impulses in a big way hoping to see a major authentic shift to the left, but nothing meaningful actually happened as a result of them. The traction was coming almost entirely from the mainstream synthetic left, who have vastly greater numbers and vastly louder amplification.
Contrast that with the traction gained by movements driven solely by the authentic left without the support of the synthetic left, and the picture looks far more bleak. Antiwar rallies with a hundred people. Communist meetings with a couple dozen people. The only traction we ever really get is online, because the internet lets us all find each other around the world and network. But it doesn’t translate to real-world movement.
That’s not our fault of course; a tremendous amount of effort has gone into stomping out the authentic left and diverting all energy to the synthetic left for generations. But it’s important to be real about it, because we can’t begin to address the problem if we don’t understand it. And we definitely don’t understand it if we’re mistaking the successes of the mainstream synthetic left for our own successes.
— Caitlin Johnstone
STOP CALLING THEM ‘MOCKTAILS’
(via Esther Mobley)
Here’s wine reporter Jess Lander:
When I was covering the opening of the Haven, a new cocktail bar in downtown Napa, I asked if the program included any mocktails. Then I was politely corrected: “We prefer the term alcohol-free,” the subject said.
She then referred me to Josh Harris, the co-founder of acclaimed San Francisco bar Trick Dog, who turned her off from the use of “mocktail.” Trick Dog was one of the first Bay Area bars to incorporate a robust program of non-alcoholic drinks into its menu when it opened in 2013.
“By definition, ‘mock’ is kind of a dirty word,” said Harris, who has been sober for 19 years. “I think it sort of trivializes what is in some cases a really significant thing, which is choosing to not drink alcohol for whatever reason, for any amount of time.”
People often feel insecure, get mocked or “othered” at bars when they ask for a non-alcoholic option, he continued, which may, in turn, cause them to order an alcoholic beverage after all. “For some people, it’s high stakes,” he said, “and if you’re in a situation that makes you feel self-conscious, then you may abandon what it was you were planning — to have something without alcohol.”
It couldn’t be a better time for the beverage industry to move on from “mocktail.” This landscape has evolved dramatically since Trick Dog’s early days, and non-alcoholic drinks are as sophisticated and in-demand as ever, powered by the growing sober curious and wellness movements. There are dedicated non-alcoholic retailers and bars, while traditional bars are utilizing high-end ingredients and complex techniques, like milk clarification, in their alcohol-free creations.
“Today, humans have an opportunity to explore their relationship with drugs and alcohol in ways the world was not open to or inviting to when I got sober,” Harris said. And while he isn’t calling for the cancellation of the word “mocktail,” he does advocate for alternative terms, such as non-alcoholic, non-alc, alcohol-free and spirit-free.
At Trick Dog, there is no non-alc section on the menu; instead, those drinks mingle with the alcoholic ones across several categories, including cocktails, high balls and shots. (They’re marked with a simple “Non-alc” adjacent to the drink description.) Harris also suggests that bars refrain from using “alcohol-free” or similar identifiers in the drink name — don’t call it a “non-alcoholic Negroni,” for example — so that sober patrons can place their orders subtly. His staff is trained to never say things like, “You know that has no alcohol in it, right?” when a non-alc beverage is ordered.
This reminded me of my own awkward experience. Days before I was due to attend a birthday dinner, I found out I was pregnant. Not ready to share the news, I arrived at the restaurant early and asked the server if they could discreetly bring me a non-alcoholic version of whatever cocktail I ordered that night. He agreed, but when a different server brought our drinks over, they asked who the non-alcoholic drink belonged to. Certain I was about to be outed, I froze and feigned ignorance until the original server ran over to save the day, declaring it his mistake.
“We never want anyone to feel that they’re having attention called to them by choosing not to drink alcohol,” Harris said. “People don't think it’s as big as it is until they’re experiencing it.”
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PS. According to a new survey, the average bottle price of Napa Valley wine crossed $100 and tasting fees are up 35%, a new record.
Burt Young, who played Paulie in the Rocky franchise, was actually trained by Cus D'Amato and went 17-0 as a professional.
According to Wikipedia: Young served a tour of duty in the United States Marine Corps from 1957 to 1959. While in the Marine Corps, he won 32 of 34 boxing bouts. He later turned pro and compiled a 17-0 record under three different aliases.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I’ve seen the snakehandlers before. But much more often are the Pentecostals in my vicinity. They run up and down the aisles in their church and roll around on the floor and jump up and down as they speak in tongues. I never really spoke in tongues. They believe that speaking in tongues is a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit and so not speaking in tongues is like not encountering the Holy Spirit. You probably already know that. But probably too it is strange to others in a more secular context.
MEGAN MCCAIN: Let's be honest. There was only one circus in town last night. And none of us can be proud of the one we most wanted to buy tickets for. Like millions of Americans, I tuned into the Fox News debate, desperately hoping to find salvation from the horrendous inevitability of a Trump v. Biden rerun. Like those millions, I listened and watched and tried to divine who spoke for me and my country most convincingly - and then guiltily turned over to Twitter. The tweets had been flying fast and furious: Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump were talking - of all things - about Jeffrey Epstein's suspicious death in a Manhattan jail. Sure, it was ridiculous, but I was curious. Does Trump buy into the Epstein conspiracy theories? So I became one of the 200 million who watched horrified and hypnotized as former President Trump and conspiracy-theorist-in-chief Tucker Carlson talked low-flow showers, revolutions, and assassination threats. What a contrast to the grown-ups on the Fox News debate - where we waited for one of those eight to show a flash of charisma, a captivating presence or a control of that facts that so many Republicans are desperately longing for. Because there must be someone who can beat Trump - right?
GOP PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
Was I just dreaming last night in watching the GOP candidates’ debate when it came to a moderator’s question?
“Would you still support Donald J. Trump if, while he is running as the Republican candidate for President, if he was also convicted of criminal conspiracy? Please raise your hand if you would.”
Six hands went up out of the eight candidates up on stage! It seems incredible to me that only two candidates: former state Governors Chris Christie, NJ, and Asa Hutchinson, AR. voted “NO,” by not raising their hands.
The significance is that most Republican Party leaders now favor supporting the four-time indicted former president over democracy in America. This shows the degree of perverse animosity and outright defiance of the rule of law in this country that a majority of the Republican Party is committed to. This major party wants to dismantle the Justice Department and the FBI. It’s purpose is no longer to further patriotism or to represent the people of this great nation.
It made my blood run cold.
Frank H. Baumgardner, III
TODAY A FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT and the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination turned himself in to be arrested in Georgia. He had to because a grand jury of ordinary Americans indicted him, along with 18 other defendants, for conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
For the first time in U.S. history, there is a mugshot of a former president.
And, for that matter, mugshots of his chief of staff and key advisors. With noon tomorrow, August 25, the deadline for the defendants to surrender, they have been showing up since Tuesday, when Scott Hall, accused of breaching election equipment in Coffee County, Georgia, became the first of the defendants to surrender.
Since then, several of the lawyers behind the election scheme, including John Eastman, Kenneth Chesebro, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, and Rudy Giuliani have surrendered.
So have Mark Meadows, Trump’s final chief of staff, and David Shafer, the former chair of the Georgia Republican Party.
All but one—Harrison Floyd, the former executive director of Black Voices for Trump, who is charged with harassing election worker Ruby Freeman and who had previously assaulted an FBI agent—have been released on bail.
Trump is the first president to be charged with crimes, and he is facing an astonishing 91 counts in four different cases, two at the state level in New York and Georgia, and two at the federal level.
In addition, Trump, his two elder sons, and the Trump Organization are also facing an October trial in a civil fraud case in New York City, after which he has a January trial in a defamation suit from writer E. Jean Carroll for denying that he raped her (a judge recently agreed that his sexual assault of her was rape by common understanding, although the narrow definition of rape in the New York penal code meant that a New York jury in May did not find him liable for it).
And then there are the criminal charges. In New York he is charged with 34 counts surrounding an alleged hush-money scheme before the 2016 election.
He has been charged with 40 counts in the federal case concerning his theft and concealment of national security documents at his organization’s Mar-a-Lago property. In a separate federal case, he is charged with 4 counts of conspiring to defraud the government, obstruct an official proceeding, and take away voters’ right to have their vote counted.
In the Georgia case for which he was arrested today, he has been charged with 13 crimes under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute of Georgia, a law that permits a group working together for a criminal purpose to be charged as a criminal organization.
True to form, Trump appears to have timed his surrender to make the evening news. And then, after he surrendered, he posted his mugshot himself on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, telling his supporters “NEVER SURRENDER!”
In our system, Trump, like any defendant, is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
But here’s the thing: At last night’s Republican primary debate, all the candidates except former New Jersey governor Chris Christie (polling at 3.3%) and former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson (polling at 0.7%) pledged they would support Trump as the 2024 Republican nominee even if he’s convicted.
In the 1960s, Republicans made a devil’s bargain, courting the racists and social traditionalists who began to turn from the Democratic Party when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began to make inroads on racial discrimination. Those same reactionaries jumped from the Democrats to create their own party when Democratic president Harry S. Truman strengthened his party’s turn toward civil rights by creating a presidential commission on civil rights in 1946 and then ordering the military to desegregate in 1948. Reactionaries rushed to abandon the Democrats permanently after Congress passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, joining the Republicans at least temporarily to vote for Arizona senator Barry Goldwater, who promised to roll back civil rights laws and court decisions.
The 1965 Voting Rights Act was the final straw for many of those reactionaries, and they began to move to the Republicans as a group when Richard Nixon promised not to use the federal government to enforce civil rights in the states. This so-called southern strategy pulled the Republican Party rightward.
In 1980, Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan appeared at the Neshoba County Fair near Philadelphia, Mississippi, a few miles from where three civil rights workers had been murdered in 1964 for their work registering Black Mississippians to vote, and said, “I believe in states’ rights.” Reagan tied government defense of civil rights to socialism, insisting that the government was using tax dollars from hardworking Americans to give handouts to lazy people, often using code words to mean “Black.”
Since then, as their economic policies have become more and more unpopular, the Republicans have kept voters behind them by insisting that anyone calling for federal action is advocating socialism and by drawing deep divisions between those who vote Republican, whom they define as true Americans, and anyone who does not vote Republican and thus, in their ideology, is anti-American.
From there it has been a short step to arguing that those who do not support Republican candidates should not vote or are voting illegally (although voter fraud is vanishingly rare). And from there, it appears to have been a short step to trying to overturn the results of an election where 7 million more Americans voted for Joe Biden, a Democrat, than voted for Trump and where the Electoral College vote for Biden was 306 to 232, the same margin Trump called a landslide in 2016 when it was in his favor.
The Republicans on stage last night have abandoned democracy, and in that they accurately represent their party. It is no accident that in addition to the Georgia party chair indicted for trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election, Wisconsin Republican Party chair Brian Schimming was also mentioned in the Georgia indictment as part of the conspiracy for his role in the scheme to use false electors to steal the election for Trump, though he was not charged; former Arizona Republican chair Kelli Ward is in the crosshairs for her own participation in the scheme in Arizona; and in a different case, former Michigan Republican Party co-chair Meshawn Maddoch has pleaded not guilty to eight felony charges for her part in the attempt to steal the White House.
State leaders have taken their cue from the top: Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel also apparently participated in Trump’s fake elector scheme to steal the presidency.
It is quite a thing to see leading Republicans—including a former president—in mugshots for their assault on our democracy and to know that party leadership supports their actions. Indeed, it is unprecedented, and for those who remember what a grand party the Republicans have been at times in their history—Lincoln, after all, was a Republican, and so were Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower—it is a sad end.
But an end it is. The authoritarians who have taken over the party have abandoned their history and are now building something altogether different.
— Heather Cox Richardson, Boston University historian
FICTION BY MITCH CLOGG
They came at each other with chainsaws. Before they were done, /while they were still going at it,/there were brains hanging out. They were both dead a dozen times over from the cuts. Sam’s left leg had a little piece of skin between his ass and his thigh wouldn’t have made a decent strip of bacon. Mac was missing a whole shoulder, for Christ’s sweet sake. They were working in the mud, flat down on belly and sides, bucking each other up, couldn’t give a shit less, long as they could get that chain on another piece of meat or bone.
They were fighting over Junie, who cooked for the crew. That’s what people said. She was tall and raw and not too flat, and her smile had a few spaces in it, but she didn’t care because she had a manner mild as May, and she was a strong girl with a big heart. She’d go with most any logger that asked, until Sam and Mac thinned the pack and it was just the three of them.
Those two were headed for this no matter what. They were both strong and did the work of two men without breaking a sweat. Sam had a tough little frenchman named Gervais worked with him. Mac had the colored fellow they called Oreo.
These two teams worked out of earshot of each other most times. They were friends before this. They didn’t try to out-do each other, it was just the natural way of the camp to count up the tally and see who was ahead that day.
These boys were a show. You didn’t need to wish ill on anybody to watch it, and nobody did. It’s just the natural way of things.
UKRAINE, THURSDAY, 24 AUGUST
In his first public acknowledgment of Yevgeny Prigozhin's presumed death, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Wagner mercenary chief was a "talented businessman" who "made serious mistakes in his life."
Prigozhin, who led an aborted mutiny in June, was listed as a passenger on a jet that crashed north of Moscow yesterday.
Russian officials said all 10 people on the private aircraft were killed, and a Telegram channel associated with the Wagner Group said Prigozhin and his top lieutenant were among the dead.
Videos and flight radar document the dramatic final moments of the flight, which showed no sign of any problem until a plunge to the ground that spread debris for miles.
INTELLIGENCE POINTS TO SABOTAGE, U.S. officials say
Two U.S. officials told NBC News that intelligence gathered so far points to sabotage as the cause of the plane crash that reportedly killed Yevgeny Prigozhin and others near Moscow yesterday.
One of the officials said a leading theory is that the aircraft was downed by an explosive on board, but they do not have enough information to say that with certainty.
Department of Defense press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said nothing thus far indicates a surface-to-air missile took down the plane and that such reports are inaccurate.
Yevgeny Prigozhin was most likely killed but there is no evidence that the plane he was on was taken down by a missile, according to U.S. Defense officials.
“Our initial assessment based on a variety of factors is it was likely Prigohzin was killed,” Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon's press secretary, said at a briefing.
He also said defense officials have no information to indicate that a surface-to-air missile took down the plane that Russian officials say was carrying senior Wagner members, and assessed press reports about that to be inaccurate.
KREMLIN LIKELY SOUGHT WAGNER'S DESTRUCTION, U.S. think tank says
by Minyvonne Burke
There is a strong likelihood that the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Kremlin were behind the plane crash that presumably killed Prigozhin, according to the Institute for the Study of War think tank.
“The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Kremlin have been destroying the Wagner private military company (PMC) and weakening Prigozhin’s authority since the rebellion — and the assassination of Wagner’s top leadership was likely the final step to eliminate Wagner as an independent organization,” the Washington-based organization said in a report.
Prigozhin “was likely attempting to counter the Russian MoD’s and the Kremlin’s destruction of Wagner,” it said, adding that Wagner’s future is now uncertain.
CRASHED JET believed to have carried top Wagner officials apart from Prigozhin
by F. Brinley Bruton
The official manifest for the jet that crashed and is presumed to have killed Yevgeny Prigozhin included the names of a number of senior Wagner officials, according to a Russian opposition-linked research organization.
Among the names on the manifest is Valeriy Yevgenyevich Chekalov, who ran businesses linked to the mercenary organization, according to the Dossier Center, a London-based investigative group funded by former Russian oligarch-turned-opposition-figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Also listed is Evgeniy Makaryan, who joined Wagner in 2016, and Sergey Propustin, who fought in the second Chechen war and joined Wagner in 2015, the Dossier Center said.
Dmitry Utkin, reputed to have been Prigozyn’s operational leader, was also on the plane, according to the manifest.
Russian officials said all 10 people on the plane — seven passengers and three crew — died in the crash.
PLANE 'FELL TO THE GROUND LIKE A COKE BOTTLE,' aviation expert says
by Michael Fiorentino and Yuliya Talmazan
The plane presumed to be carrying Prigozhin “fell to the ground like a Coke bottle,” according to Jeff Guzzetti, an aviation expert and NBC News contributor.
Despite rampant speculation about what caused the crash, he said holes in the wreckage could have been caused by the structure pulling away from rivets or screws, among other things.
But Guzzetti said that “new jets like this don’t come apart like this unless something bad happened.”
He added the “more compelling evidence is the fact that the aircraft clearly came apart in flight following some sort of catastrophic event at altitude. It literally fell to the ground like a Coke bottle … totally out of control and missing wing parts.”