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A WEAK FRONTAL SYSTEM will bring widespread, mostly light rain to the area today. Lingering interior showers are expected on Saturday. Rainfall amounts will generally range from a half inch in the north to less than a tenth in the south. Dry weather is forecast to return Sunday persisting into next week. Breezy north winds are expected along the coast for the weekend. Temperatures will be near normal through the weekend, with warmer conditions next week. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): On the coast this Friday morning we have increasing clouds & 51F. Our rain chances have been lowered to 30% mostly tonight. The weekend is looking cooler & breezy. I do not see anything interesting for next week yet.
ONE DEAD, ONE UNRESPONSIVE IN WILLITS
On Thursday, 09-28-23, at about 12:35 am, a citizen came to the lobby of the Willits Police Department to report what she believed was a medical emergency. She told the dispatcher that she went to an associate’s home in Willits and discovered two men unconscious and unresponsive.
The reporting party was able to provide a general description of the location of the residence, but did not know the actual street or address.
With a small amount of information from the reporting party, the dispatcher was eventually able to identify a probable address in the 300 block of North Street. A Police Officer was dispatched to the residence and emergency medical services were notified.
When first responders arrived, they discovered a 60-year-old male lying on the front porch of the residence. Emergency medical personnel confirmed the man was deceased; no injuries or cause of death were apparent.
Inside the residence, Officers found a 41-year-old male unconscious and unresponsive on the floor of a bathroom. The man showed no signs of injury. Emergency medical personnel were able to transport the man via ambulance to Adventist Health Howard Memorial Hospital, where he was admitted.
There were no indications of foul play, but Police are investigating the unattended death. The name of the decedent will not be released, pending notification of next of kin.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the investigator, Willits Police Officer Cody Pearson, at (707) 459-6122.
(Willits PD presser)
JUST IN: US SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN DEAD AT 90
US Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has died at the age of 90, following a number of health scares, reports said Friday.
Feinstein was the oldest member of the Senate and had announced plans to retire at the end of her term.
Her death was first reported by ABC7 Insider. NBC News also reported her death, citing two sources familiar with the matter.
Her cause of death has not yet been confirmed.
NAZIS & COUNTY HIGH FINANCE
by Jim Shields
September 26, 2023 BOS Report
This week’s Supes meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 26, was Zoom-bombed by three or four idiots who called in with racist and anti-Semitic rants that were immediately cut-off by Board Chair Glenn McGourty. I believe they all used phony names, including one clod who identified himself as “George Lincoln Rockwell,” who in reality was a mid-20th Century, notorious American fascist, racist, anti-Semite, homophobe and founder of the American Nazi Party. The Mendo Rockwell and his embryonic Nazis need to be dropped head first down a mine shaft.
Back to adult business.
You are all aware of the fiscal mess that is wrecking Mendocino County and casts deep shadows across its entire landscape.
There is a state audit currently underway, in addition to the ongoing but incomplete annual federal audit.
For months, I’ve called for the County to stop talking about this fiscal crisis and start doing something, take some action.
The main reason that governing here is so dysfunctional is the people who make the decisions have always confused activity with productivity. They believe and practice, that holding tons of endless, tedious meetings dominated by their hard-working staff of selfless public servants is governing par excellence.
Here’s the most recent recommendation I made in response to Supe Ted Williams asking me what I think should be done about this crisis.
Among other things, here’s what I said several weeks ago:
“Ted, as I’ve suggested, as well as Supe Haschak and I believe Supe Gjerde also, the Board should call in former officials responsible for fiscal matters (Treasurer-Tax Collector, Auditor-Controller, Assessor, CEO) and interview/question and, hopefully, learn from them how they did their jobs. This is critical information the BOS admits it is lacking. This process would include but is not limited to such things as assessments of their responsibilities and how they performed their duties, how they exercised fiscal oversight and the identification of internal financial controls, systems that were utilized (manual vs. electronic/software, etc.), staffing levels (classifications and job descriptions) narrative descriptions of interdepartmental and third-party (ex.: outside, independent audit) working relationships detailing scope of work and information disclosed and received. Since no one has explanations or answers to what caused the ongoing, untenable fiscal mess the county is in, you need to conduct an inquiry and start finding answers to all of the current unknowns prior to launching a substantially, momentous alteration to your organizational structure with this idea of a Department of Finance. By the way, if the Board does decide to hold an inquiry, it won’t be necessary for former officials to attend in-person. That’s the beauty of zoom meetings.”
Williams never responded to my suggestion.
Why talk to these former officials?
There’s probably a lot to learn if you do.
History — institutional and otherwise — is all about knowing how you got from “there” to “here.” Otherwise, as the old saw goes, you’re condemning yourself to repetitious failure.
For example, in February of 2022, about-to-retire CEO Carmel Angelo was farewell-addressing on various media platforms. In an interview with Mike Geniella, he reported, “As she prepares to step down, Angelo said she is especially satisfied that the county, facing near bankruptcy in 2010, is today on firm financial footing with $20 million in reserves in the face of an annual budget of $340 million. ‘I leave knowing the situation today is much healthier than when I was appointed CEO in 2010,’ said Angelo.”
Several months later, the Board discovers it is facing a “structural” deficit of $6.1 million, and at this week’s meeting, Supe Dan Gjerde said the structural shortfall is somewhere around $10 million with another “three, four, or five million dollars on top of that $10 million structural deficit” if an agreement is reached in negotiations to bring employees “up to market.” He also said the CEO and the so-called “Golden Gate Initiative team” has “found $5.5 million in cuts and cost-savings that are ongoing savings, but that’s by my count only about a third of where we need to be … this may be small potatoes but we still have to balance the budget with small and big cuts.”
Near the end of this week’s meeting, Williams said the following to his four colleagues:
“I know you’re probably not happy with me for brining this up but I’m really worried about we started the year off in a really bad place. We gave some direction (to staff) but we’ve been talking about everything else, acting like we don’t have a financial crisis. I don’t know how you figure the numbers but I write them down and look at them, and go through the position allocation table to see what we can trim. I just don’t see an easy way to get there without a major re-structuring. And the time to do that is not in March or April. The time to do it is before the end of the year because it will take time for staff to execute and implement whatever we come up with. And we’re going to come up with ideas that require research. We gave a commitment that we were going to work on it as soon as we passed the budget. And more than quarter is gone by and we’ve really done nothing in this direction. The CEO has done some work, and the Golden Gate Initiative has really been working hard, they’ve been putting a team together. But the rate it’s moving we’re not going to get there unless they accelerate. I don’t see it accelerating. I see it resource constrained and they’ve picked up the easy gains already. I don’t want to be throwing cold water on anybody’s meeting, but I’m looking at it thinking we need to get realistic. My job is to start planning how we’re going to balance the budget next year.”
Assuaging Williams, Chairman McGourty said, “I think we all agree with you. That’s why we have an agenda coming …”
Williams cut in saying, “Well, you know what happens to the messenger.”
McGourty answered, “Yeah, sometimes it’s tough.”
Paraphrasing both myself and Williams, it’s high time to stop talking about the mess they’re in and start working to get out of it.
JOHN REDDING: Yes, the County is in rather poor shape. But the SEIU bears some of the responsibility because they reflexively endorse candidates only on their end of the political spectrum. They seem shocked that they get the same outcome year in and year out.
The BOS is in theory a non-partisan seat but in reality it is hyper-partisan. It's up to the voters to change that. The SEIU could even lead the way.
I was endorsed by the SEIU during my 2018 Supe run and then endorsed Redding during his 2022 run, I might have something to offer here. I do believe the SEIU has some hands-on experience and the critique of the malfeasance of the current BOS is thoroughly legit as is the criticism of the stranglehold that local Dems hold on the breadth of the discourse we have here. I believe the biggest prob we have with regard to Supe. Williams is his complete lack of a guiding political ideology, and whose Narcissism rises to levels of Sociopathology, and voters who enable him by being willingly gaslit and not tracking him beyond the selective faces he chooses to show them.
VALLEY FARM STANDS:
Brock Farms is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10-6; closed Sunday and Monday.
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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, squab, and occasionally rabbits for sale. And right now there is a growing inventory of fresh veggies and fruit..."Candy" onions, eggplant, summer squash, tomatillos, heirloom tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers which we also have canned as well as smoked...chipotle, ancho and espelette...and a variety of pears, Asian pears, and apples. We'd love to see you. Nikki and Steve
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Blue Meadow Farm is Open Tuesday - Sunday 10:00am – Dusk. Closed Mondays. located at 3301 Holmes Ranch Rd, Philo. (707) 895-2071
I'M NOT the only person who remembers Boonville's vivid school superintendent of the early 1970s, Mel Boom-Boom Baker.
A READER WRITES: “I’m convinced that Willie Clinton could have been spared all the agony his actions caused both him and the US citizens and also drawn worldwide notoriety to Boonville, CA, had he been able to contact a certain individual in that town if Clinton had had the remotest idea that he would be indulging in hanky-panky in the Oval Office.
A FELLOW I met in Boonville really had the answer to indulging in actions which would be classified as verboten on state or federal property. The circumstances which led me to meet this chap in Boonville began when I had the idea to build a homebuilt plane in Little River. I’d been collecting plane components for some time, but when it came to assembling them, I was at a loss. Nobody at the nearby Little River Airport had hands-on experience in building planes, but one fellow suggested I contact the Boonville High School as they had a pretty good aviation program, and what with the principal being an ex-military man, perhaps in the Air Force.
SO I CALLED the Boonville principal, outlined my interest in visiting the school and accepted his invitation to visit anytime during school hours. Identifying who was the principal walking down the hall was no problem as there was only one person in jump boots and attired like someone who’d just bailed out of a P-38 moving down the runway at a speed known as too fast to taxi and too slow to fly. Obviously his threads weren’t from Botany 500.
HE WAS AN AMIABLE FELLOW, and after clueing me in on his aviation experience, he gave me a Cook’s tour of the facilities, which included a real good runway adjacent to the school grounds and a shop for repairing dinged planes — they even had a licensed A&E mechanic on the staff (John Merriman) to oversee engine and airframe repairs. I believe he also was a flight instructor. (He was.) However, if he wasn’t the latter, it wouldn’t change the story one way or the other.
THE WALK AROUND the facilities didn’t last but 20 minutes and we returned to the main school building, at which time the principal suggested we have a cup of coffee and a cigarette. This sounded good to me; I assumed we’d get a cup of coffee and walk out to the sidewalk to smoke as it’s against the law to smoke on school grounds (state property). So I sure was surprised when he opened a door off the hall and inside the room sat a few adults smoking and slurping java to their heart’s content and unconcerned about the principal popping in. No surreptitious smoking in a stall of bathrooms, not with these guys! They had “come out of the closet.”
READING MY MIND, the principal said he knew the law against smoking on school grounds. But the room the people were smoking in wasn’t school (state) property as he and some of the teachers had BOUGHT the room from the state and they could do with it (or in it) as they damned well pleased! Wow! I can’t vouch for the veracity of the room being legally sold to the aforementioned folks and not being subject to state laws, but for damned sure they were lighting up and I wouldn’t say this unless I had actually been in the scene.
TALKING BACK to some of today's commenters from the metaphorical Grassy Knoll:
Lindy Peters: The FBI retrieved JFK’s body from Parkland hospital at gunpoint from the doctors who were just beginning their examination of the head wounds that had killed him. All subsequent information regarding his death was then released by the US government. Here is a press release of reporters’ questions before the FBI stepped in:
A newsman asked Perry: “Where was the entrance wound?”
Perry: “There was an entrance wound in the neck…”
Question: Which way was the bullet coming on the neck wound? At him?”
Perry: “It appeared to be coming at him.”…
Question: “Doctor, describe the entrance wound. You think from the front in the throat?”
Perry: “The wound appeared to be an entrance wound in the front of the throat; yes, that is correct. The exit wound, I don’t know. It could have been the head or there could have been a second wound of the head. There was not time to determine this at the particular instant.”  (emphasis added)
Now ask yourself. Why was Jackie going to the back of the limo to retrieve her husband’s skull piece if he was shot from behind?
ED REPLY: Never heard this before, Lindy, although my powers of recall are diminished. I thought the Secret Service was in charge of Kennedy’s remains. I have read there was a rush to get him back to DC, but at gunpoint?
* * *
Commenter: I personally find it rather disgusting that, after all is said and done, somebody is still trying to clean up the obvious regarding the murder of JFK. Oh well, what else can you expect in this crazy world? And so it goes…on and on.
ED REPLY: Too cryptic a comment to tell if the commenter means by “obvious” the truth of that sad event is obvious, and the discussion is crazy?
* * *
Sarah Kennedy Owen: There are many other elements regarding the Kennedy assassination. The rifle that Oswald used was defective, an Italian-made reject from the Italian army. Oswald was a bad shot. And most important was the dissatisfaction being felt by certain people high up in US government circles who did not like Kennedy’s non-compliance with the Bay of Pigs fiasco or his lack of support regarding escalation in Vietnam. South Vietnam’s prime minister, Ngo Binh Diem was assassinated just days before (November 3, 1963) Kennedy’s death (November 22, 1963). Diem was assassinated with the so-called approval, or even full support, of these same individuals who felt let down and alienated by Kennedy. Kennedy was informed of Diem’s assassination after the fact and was reportedly horrified. There are many more interesting factors that contribute to the more-than-one-shooter theory, too many to go into here.
ED REPLY: Not to be argumentative for the fun of it, but Oswald’s mail order rifle, with scope, was in perfect working order. And gun guys will tell you that although the weapon was something of an antique, it was serviceable. Oswald had an easy shot at the president from less than 200 feet above, the scope making the shot even easier. I was in the Marines at Camp Pendleton at the same time as Oswald though I didn’t know him; we all qualified with the M-1 in those days, so Oswald would have been a good shot. Heck, even I qualified, and it wasn’t easy for me because I hadn’t grown up around guns. I’ve gone back and forth on the assassination for years, but finally I think Oswald was that unique breed of American byproduct, the lone nut. He did it, and did it alone, although his unique to Russia-and-back hegira, and trips to Mexico to talk to the Cubans and the Russians, and his odd behavior in New Orleans where he leafletted for the leftwing Fair Play For Cuba group, means to me, and lots of other people, he was functioning as some kind of US government operative, which is why, I’m sure, some of the records on the case are still sealed..
* * *
George Hollister: Oswald was shooting from a rest. Two hundred feet, from a rest, with a scope. If the gun is sighted in, that is an easy shot for a less than good shooter, even with a slowly moving target. Oswald was on a gun range shortly before the assassination. That suggests the gun was sighted in. Having been in the Marines, he should have known how to do that.
ED REPLY: That's right. On the day you're one for two, George, right about Oswald's marksmanship, wrong about your previous comment that Biden is responsible for the border chaos, which was in motion long before either Trump or Biden, but more chaotic, more porous under Biden. I think it's more the inevitable movements of people from essentially failed states to countries where they have a chance at a decent life, and who can blame them? The only true alternative is too Korean-ize the border, complete with troops and shoot to kill orders. I doubt even the most demented Maga would want that. The solution, if there is one? Immigrant village funded by US the length of the border to establish orderly processing of entry applications. Not likely to happen, but short of full militarization of the border what's the alternative? PS. Biden isn't responsible for anything. He's out of it, half-way, at least, to full dementia, whereas Trump is only a half-step more functioning. Election '24 will give the growing chaos everywhere a huge boost.
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Sarah Kennedy Owen, Round Two: From Wikipedia: “Nelson Delgado, a Marine in the same unit as Oswald, used to laugh at Oswald’s shooting prowess, and testified that Oswald often got “Maggie’s drawers” meaning a red flag that is waved from the firing pits to indicate a complete miss of the target during qualification firing.” Also: “Vincent Bugliosi put forward the hypothesis that Oswald aimed the Carcano with open sights which reduced the time necessary to take three shots postulated by the Warren Commission…. However, with the M91/38 not being a very flat shooting rifle to begin with (up to 10 inches high at 100 meters) this rifle would have been shooting quite high and would have made hitting Kennedy extremely difficult. This would have been exacerbated by the steep downward slope from the sixth floor of the Depository building to the limo which would have made the shot go even higher than what Oswald would have been aiming at.” Not so airtight after all, even though there are arguments on both sides. Add to this the many other facts and “coincidences” and things begin to look pretty shady. at least to me.
ED REPLY: Noop. To get out of boot camp without being “set back” recruits had to “qualify” at the rifle range. There was a full week of “snapping in” — getting accustomed to firing the M-1 with a sling from different positions. Then a week of live fire at the end of which you had to fire a minimum of 190 out of 300 to pass. I was sweating bullets, you could say, because on final exam qualifying day I just squeaked through with a 195 or I would have been set back for another two weeks of the same snapping in and live fire preparation. As it was, boot camp was fifteen weeks of, uh, maltreatment, and I wanted no delay in moving on. A Maggie’s Drawers was a total miss, common the first couple of days of live fire. A guy would emerge from the butts — the trench below the targets to wave a white flag if you missed the target area. I'm sure Delgado had his share of Maggie’s Drawers, we all did except for the experienced gun guys. They qualified “expert” because they'd grown up with guns. Guys like me and, presumably, Oswald, only squeezed by, but we were pretty good shots with that particular gun. By the end of boot camp, we were “lean, mean killing machines.” Re Bugliosi, there'd be no point in going scopeless to save time, and many experts using that same model rifle have cranked off three shots in plenty of time to do the ugly job.
LIGHTHOUSE LENS TOURS on October 14 at Point Cabrillo
Saturday, October 14, 2023, 10am - 4pm
$5 for kids, $10 for adults
Climb to the top of Mendocino’s historic lighthouse!
Join volunteer docents at Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park in Northern California for the unique opportunity to climb to the top of the lighthouse tower, stand next to the historic 1909 Fresnel Lens, and see the beautiful views of the Mendocino Coastline. These tours happen only a few times a year, and are always a delight!
All the funds raised from these tours go right back into taking care of this park. Thank you!
- Tours are first-come, first-serve, no reservations
- First tour of the day goes up at 10am, last tour of the day goes up at 4pm
- $10 per adult, $5 per child (under 18)
- All children must be over 42 inches tall to climb the stairs
- There are no babies or animals allowed on this tour
- Tour guests must be able to climb three sets of steep ladders
Don’t forget about the half mile walk from the parking lot to the lighthouse! Give yourself plenty of time to arrive before our last tours of the day head up the stairs.
Tours last between 20 - 40 minutes, and are led by the experienced docents of the Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association. For more information, you can call the office at 707-937-6123 or email us at email@example.com.
This is the last scheduled tour of 2023! Check our website for more history tours coming up at the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, located between the towns of Fort Bragg and Mendocino on the Northern California Coast, about three hours north of the San Francisco Bay Area.
FRANK R. HOWARD FOUNDATION DONATES LAND TO MCHC HEALTH CENTERS
Willits - In line with its mission to support programs that improve healthcare for the community of Willits and northern Mendocino County, the Frank R. Howard Foundation recently donated the old hospital property at 1 Madrone Street to MCHC Health Centers.
Foundation Executive Director Arnie Mello explained that once the hospital moved from 1 Madrone Street to its new facility at 1 Marcela Drive in 2015, the Foundation hoped to repurpose the existing building for something related to healthcare, but potential buyers fell out one by one, in part due to the scale of existing improvements that any potential project would need to retrofit. So, the Foundation decided to demolish the improvements with the hope of making the property appeal to a broader market segment. Indeed, during demolition, the Foundation received an unsolicited offer to purchase the property for a residential housing project.
Mello said, “We had another offer on the table when we heard that MCHC was looking to expand. After talking to [MCHC CEO] Rod Grainger about MCHC’s plans, we brought the idea of donating the land to our board. The board enthusiastically supported the move and here we are. We’re very happy that it turned out the way it did.”
MCHC has been providing healthcare in Mendocino County for more than 30 years. It started as a small, single clinic with 13 employees. Today, MCHC has grown to more than 300 employees with centers in Willits, Ukiah, and Lakeport.
Throughout its history, MCHC has continually grown and expanded its services to meet the needs of local residents. It opened Little Lake Health Center on Hazel Street in Willits in 2002, with help from the Foundation, and has been supporting the Willits community ever since.
Mello noted that MCHC fits a “much-needed niche” when it comes to healthcare in Willits, providing outpatient medical, dental, and behavioral health services. And he is eager to see how MCHC continues to grow to meet the evolving needs of the community.
“MCHC has been a great partner,” Mello said. “The whole reason we exist is to improve the lives of the members of our community by providing the best possible healthcare we can provide. This partnership with MCHC helps us achieve this.”
Grainger says he is grateful for the Foundation’s generosity and humbled by their trust in MCHC to continue the legacy of care started by the Howard family and sustained by the Foundation all these years. He is also excited about the possibilities that await.
During the next 12 months, MCHC plans to hold visioning sessions with Willits community members to hear ideas on the most urgent and important healthcare needs.
Grainger said, “We want to do what’s best for the community in meeting its healthcare needs, defining healthcare in the broadest possible sense. In the short term, we can expand existing services, doing the work we already know how to do. But for the future, we are open to all sorts of options.”
Grainger draws inspiration from the Howard Family and the Foundation’s history of creating a remarkable healthcare facility in a town that by all measures would be an unlikely home to such “a technical marvel.”
The story of Frank R. Howard is familiar to many Willits residents, and after the 2003 movie Seabiscuit, to people all over the world. In 1926, Frank R. Howard died at the age of 14 from injuries he sustained in a car accident. His father, Charles, believed Frank would have survived had there been a hospital nearby to provide emergency care.
In the aftermath of his son’s death, Charles Howard financially supported a community effort to build a local hospital. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held during the 1927 Willits Frontier Days and the Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital cared for its first patient in 1928. In 2015, in partnership with Adventist Health, the Foundation supported the opening of a new critical-access hospital in Willits.
The Frank R. Howard Foundation was established in 1987 to guarantee high-quality hospital services for Willits and Northern Mendocino County. Its mission has since expanded to promote and support programs that maintain, as well as improve, healthcare for the community of Willits and the entire Northern Mendocino County area.
Mello said, “The Foundation exists because of the support we have from this little community. It’s extraordinary. We feel fortunate to have such an engaged and supportive community.”
MCHC Health Centers includes Hillside Health Center and Dora Street Health Center in Ukiah, Little Lake Health Center in Willits, and Lakeview Health Center in Lakeport. It is a community-based and patient-directed organization that provides comprehensive primary healthcare services as well as supportive services such as education and translation that promote access to healthcare.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Thursday, September 28, 2023
FELICIA CHILDERS, Laytonville. Possession of arson device.
FERNANDO FABIAN, Ukiah. Contolled substance, under influence, paraphernalia.
LITTLEFEATHER FARIAS-VANSICKLE, Willits. DUI, suspended license for refusing DUI chemical test.
CHISTOPHER FRANCE, Willits. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, county parole violation, failure to appear.
ANTHONY KOCHIE JR., Ukiah. Failure to appear.
RENEE LEGGETT, Willits. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, DUI.
VANESSA MEZA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
ANTHONY ROMERO, Antioch/Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, stolen vehicle, obatining money by false pretenses, probation revocation.
JUAN SANCHEZ-MONTIEL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
ERIC SILK-HOAGLIN JR., Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JESSICA STAMNESS, Laytonville. Controlled substance while armed with loaded firearm, unlawful display of evidence of registration.
Awoke this sunny Ukiah morning keen to celebrate my 74th birthday. Everybody at Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center wants to know where I’m going for my free birthday bar beer. Well, on September 4th The Thirsty Axe changed my debit amount, and the second time it appeared on the SBMC online statement, it went from the correct $15.00 to an exaggerated $24.62, for the two beers that I enjoyed on September 4th. I’ve been in the place with a bank statement and gave the last four digits of my debit card to the woman who remembered me, and she said that she would correct this very strange error. Nothing done, I sent in a letter of explanation, plus put a comment on their website’s contact form. Lastly, I have suggested that they simply invite me in for a free birthday beer and we’ll consider it all even. Am awaiting a response at this time. Last year I went to the Sports Attic on Perkins Street, which was great fun. Maybe this year I’ll just skip it altogether. But if I do go somewhere, I’m paying with cash. Still learning,
Craig Louis Stehr (firstname.lastname@example.org)
WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S GOP DEBATE
I had hoped to learn something by watching the second GOP candidates debate last night. However, all I can say is it was very disappointing to someone who has watched almost every such televised debate between persons aiming to become President of the United States.
The leading GOP candidate, Donald (“Duck?") Trump was absent. Why wasn’t Trump’s call for the execution of our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General of the Army Mike Milley not even mentioned by any of the candidates on stage or any of the so-called “moderators,” each of whom were FOX TV News employees? Gen. Milley said today he has taken his own personal protection measures. Trump’s lack of basic common courtesy is something everyone in America already was well aware of. Ditto, for the absence of debate rules, decorum and civility: to say nothing of respect for the Constitution of our Republic.
Onward goes the GOP, blindly to renominate the man who now has been indicted four times for committing nineteen different felonies. The man who incited a crowd to attack our Capital. Scary, Or haven’t you been paying any attention to politics lately!?
Frank H. Baumgardner, III
MAUREEN CALLAHAN: There was very little charisma on stage, very little purpose - and instead of joining forces to round-house The Donald, the would-be nominees turned on each other. Most of these candidates, it seems, failed to watch back their game-day footage from the first debate. DeSantis still does that creepy little self-satisfied smile after making a point. His whole body jerks a little, like he's electrified by what he assumes is his wit or incisiveness. Mike Pence was as stiff and bloodless as ever, his complexion ghastly. Vivek Ramaswamy, whose immovable hair grows ever higher, brings to mind nothing more than 'Spinal Tap': He has one volume, and it's always at 11. He talks fast and loud in an aggressive manner that screams I KNOW MORE THAN YOU DO, even as he says that America needs to divest from China though he himself did business there - some of that linked to Hunter Biden - or that just because Russia invaded Ukraine 'it does not mean that Ukraine is good', or that TikTok is a threat even though Ramaswamy himself is on TikTok, convinced after a dinner with the problematic influencer Jake Paul. Nikki Haley, who rolled her eyes at Ramaswamy more than once, spoke for most of us watching: “Every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber from what you say. We can't trust you.”
DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH
The phrase “do your own research” has become a bit of a battle cry among people who seek to dismiss scientific evidence and the expertise of individuals in relevant fields.
Often, this idea is paired with the notion that scientists are somehow in cahoots with some evil entity to mislead the public, but untrained individuals will be able to figure out the REAL story by doing their own research.
Let’s address the elephant in the room, and yes, this may be jarring to hear for some.
Scientists — whatever the field — train specifically to be able to design studies, conduct experiments, collect data, and evaluate those data in a manner that enables them to make accurate conclusions and interpretations of those data. This is a skill set that we acquire over many years in the field. It also equips us with the ability to read a scientific study and determine how relevant or robust the data are — and whether there are flaws in how the study was conducted, analyzed, or interpreted. Not all scientific studies and papers are created equal; plenty of crappy studies are published daily.
It is somewhat insulting, frankly that many members of the public believe they can bypass all the intensive and technical training and be as skilled as those experts, simply by reading some stuff online.
More importantly, it is FALSE. Doing a Google search is not doing research. Going onto PubMed and cherry-picking one or two papers that support your opinion is not doing research. Sharing memes on social media is not doing research. Reading content that is curated on a website — even a credible one (like ours) — is not doing research.
Just like most scientists would never claim to be experts in areas outside their scope — architecture, waste management, information technology, construction — why do non-scientists feel that this does not apply to them when it comes to science?
We need to improve science literacy for the public, absolutely. But that does not mean everyone will be able to ‘do their research’ — it means they should be able to determine which EXPERTS are those that can be relied on to distill the research for them.
(via Betsy Cawn)
THE ORIGINS OF THE SOCIALIST SLUR
by Heather Cox Richardson
Reconstruction-era opponents of racial equality popularized the charge that protecting civil rights would amount to the end of capitalism.
For years after World War II, the “liberal consensus” — the New Deal idea that the federal government had a role to play in regulating business, providing a basic social safety net, and promoting infrastructure — was a true consensus. It was so widely popular that in 1950, the critic Lionel Trilling wrote of the United States that “liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition.”
But the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision declaring segregation in public schools unconstitutional tied the federal government to ensuring not just economic equality, but also civil rights. Opponents of the liberal consensus argued that the newly active federal government was misusing tax dollars taken from hardworking white men to promote civil rights for “undeserving” Black people. The troops President Dwight Eisenhower sent to Little Rock Central High School in 1957, for example, didn’t come cheap. The government’s defense of civil rights redistributed wealth, they said, and so was virtually socialism.
This intersection of race and economics was not new to the second half of the 20th century. It reached back into the past to resurrect an argument made by former Confederates during the Reconstruction years to overturn federal protection of Black rights after the Civil War.
Some of today’s Republicans are in the process of making that argument reality. Their insistence that all their opponents are socialists goes hand in hand with their effort to suppress Black and brown voting. When former President Donald Trump insists that the country has fallen to communism and “Marxists,” what he’s really saying is that a government in which racial minorities have a say is illegitimate.
The accusation of “socialism” had sharp teeth in the 1950s, as Americans recoiled from the growing influence of the Soviet Union and the rise of Communist China. But Republicans’ use of the word typically had little to do with actual, Bolshevik-style socialism. The theory that the people would rise up and take control of the means of production has never been popular in the United States. The best a Socialist Party candidate has ever done in an American presidential election was when Eugene V. Debs won about 6 percent of the popular vote in 1912.
Rather, in the United States, the political charge of socialism tended to carry a peculiar meaning, one forged in the white-supremacist backlash to Black civil rights in the 1870s.
During the Civil War, the Republicans in charge of the government both created national taxation and abolished legal slavery (except as punishment for crime). For the first time in U.S. history, voting in federal elections had a direct impact on people’s pocketbooks. Then, in 1867, Congress passed the Military Reconstruction Act, extending the vote to Black men in the South. White southerners who hated the idea of Black people using the vote to protect themselves started to terrorize their Black neighbors. Pretending to be the ghosts of dead Confederate soldiers, they dressed in white robes with hoods to cover their faces and warned formerly enslaved people not to show up at the polls.
But in 1870, Congress created the Department of Justice to enable the federal government to protect the right of Black men to vote. Attorney General Amos Akerman oversaw the prosecution of more than 3,000 members of the Ku Klux Klan, winning more than 1,000 convictions. Meanwhile, Congress passed laws to protect Black voting.
Suddenly, it was harder for white southerners to object to Black rights on racial grounds. So they turned to a new argument, one based in economics.
They did not want Black men voting, they said, because formerly enslaved people were poor, and they would vote for leaders who promised to build things such as roads and hospitals. Those public investments could be paid for only with tax levies, and most of the people in the South with property after the war were white. Thus, although the infrastructure in which the southern legislatures were investing would help everyone, reactionaries claimed that Black voting amounted to a redistribution of wealth from white men to Black people, who wanted something for nothing.
Black voting was, one magazine insisted, “socialism in South Carolina.”
This argument that poor Black workers were dangerous socialists offered justification for former Confederates to block their Black neighbors from the polls, to read them out of American society, and ultimately to lynch them. It’s a peculiarly American version of “socialism,” and it might have been a historical anomaly had a small group of business leaders and southern racists not resurrected it in the 20th century as part of a deliberate effort to destroy the liberal consensus.
After World War II, most Republicans joined Democrats in believing that the federal government had to oversee business regulation, welfare programs, and infrastructure. They knew what businessmen would do to the economy unless they were checked; they had seen people homeless and hungry during the Depression.
And they scoffed at the notion that the New Deal system was a bad idea. They looked around at their homes, at their candy-colored cars that they drove on the new interstate highways built under what was then the biggest public-works project in U.S. history, and at their union-boosted paychecks in a nation with its highest gross domestic production ever, and they dismissed as a radical fringe the people trying to undermine this wildly successful system.
But the federal protection of civil rights added a new element to the liberal consensus that would threaten to tear it apart. Between 1967 and 1977, a North Carolina billboard urged people in “Klan Country” to “help fight Communism & Integration.”
The stagflation of the ‘70s pushed middle-class Americans into higher tax brackets just when they needed their income most, and helped spread the sense that white tax dollars were being siphoned off to help racial minorities. As towns and governments tried to make up their declining funds with higher property taxes, angry property owners turned against the government. Republicans courted white workers by painting the Democrats as a party of grievance and special interests who simply wanted to pay off lazy Black supporters, rather than being interested in the good of America as a whole.
In 1976, former California Governor Ronald Reagan ran for president with the story of a “welfare queen” from the South Side of Chicago — code words for “Black” — who lived large on government benefits she stole. “She has 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards and is collecting veteran’s benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands,” Reagan claimed. “And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She’s got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names.” There was such a woman, but she was a dangerous criminal rather than a representative welfare recipient. Nonetheless, the story illustrated perfectly the idea that government involvement in the economy handed tax dollars to allegedly undeserving Black Americans.
Reagan suggested a solution to such corruption. In August 1980, he spoke to voters in Philadelphia, Mississippi, 16 years and just a few miles from where the civil-rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner had been found murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan as they registered Black voters during 1964’s Freedom Summer. There, Reagan echoed the former Confederates during Reconstruction: “I believe in states’ rights,” he said.
Reagan’s campaign invited voters to remember a time before Black and brown voices and women began to claim equal rights. His campaign passed out buttons and posters urging voters to “make America great again.”
Voters put Reagan in the White House, where his administration cut taxes and slashed spending on public welfare programs (while pouring money into defense spending, and tripling the national debt). In the name of preventing socialism, those programs began the process of hollowing out the middle class.
In the years since 1981, wealth has moved dramatically upward. And yet, the language that linked socialism and minority voting never ceased to escalate.
Talk hosts such as Rush Limbaugh insisted that socialism was creeping through America at the hands of Black Americans, “feminazis,” and liberals. After its founding in 1996, the Fox News Channel joined the chorus of those who insisted that their political opponents were socialists trying to wreck the country. Republicans insisted that Barack Obama was a full-fledged socialist, and in 2018, Trump’s White House Council of Economic Advisers used the word socialism 144 times in a 72-page report attacking Democratic politicians. Trump’s press release for the report read: “Congressional Democrats Want to Take Money From Hardworking Americans to Fund Failed Socialist Policies.”
There is a long-standing fight over whether support for the modern-day right is about taxes or race. The key is that it is about taxes and race at the same time: Since Reconstruction, white supremacists have argued that minority voting means socialism, and that true Americans stand against both. In recent history, that argument has led Republican-dominated state legislatures to make voting harder for people of color, and to rig the system through gerrymandering. Three years ago it led Trump and his supporters to try to overturn the results of a presidential election to keep their opponents out of power. They believed, and insist they still believe, that they had to destroy the government in order to save it.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
For the last 49 consecutive months, over a million guns were purchased – mostly by people who know how to use them – many ex-military. That’s 49 million.
Add that to the 100’s of millions of existing weapons (and stockpiled ammo). When things go kinetic, we’ll be fine. The firefights will be asymmetric – no more set-piece battles.
With regard to 2nd Amendment and why it was written? We’re the last remaining “free” country not under authoritarian rule. We’re becoming less “free”, and it’ll be our choice whether we lose it all or not.
2nd Amendment, as long as it lasts, at least gives us that choice.
UKRAINE, THURSDAY, 28 SEPTEMBER
Ukraine said it destroyed more than 30 drones as Russia launched a "massive" attack on southern regions overnight, including in Odesa, an official said.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Kyiv is "gaining ground" in its counteroffensive against Russian defenses during a surprise visit to the Ukrainian capital Thursday.
Russia's Black Sea Fleet commander appeared alive and well in videos, raising questions over Kyiv's claim that Admiral Viktor Sokolov died in a strike in Crimea. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered no comment when asked about Sokolov on Thursday.
GIANTS’ BRANDON CRAWFORD DESERVES AN OVATION FIT FOR AN ALL-TIME GREAT
by Bruce Jenkins
In a season defined by failure, on too many levels to count, there is nothing left for the San Francisco Giants but nostalgia. How fitting that it centers around Brandon Crawford, a classy reminder of how this team used to operate.
BrandonCrawfordSidelined and discouraged by an untimely hamstring injury, Crawford will return to eligibility next Sunday — just in time to say farewell as the Giants close out the season against the Dodgers at Oracle Park. And we’ll say this to the fans:
You’ve been perceptive in staying away from the ballpark in these final weeks. Among postseason contenders in the stretch drive, the Giants are the dullest and least entertaining of them all. But show up for this one. Pack the house.
It might be the end, Crawford announcing his retirement, or maybe he wants to keep playing. Every time he makes a fancy play or rips a dead-pull line drive, he knows there’s a bit of the vintage Crawford in play. It’s just common sense, though, that the Giants must consider moving on from the shortstop hitting .197, battling multiple injuries and turning 37 in January.
I guess it’s possible to imagine him in some other uniform. We saw Willie Mays with the Mets, Juan Marichal with the Dodgers and Tim Lincecum with the Angels, and each time was deeply disturbing. This would be no less awkward.
Focus, then, on the exquisite pleasure of watching Crawford since he broke into the big leagues 12 years ago. He came out of UCLA with a reputation for magic hands — they used to shoot videos as he performed astounding feats of trickery on the practice fields — and it turned out he could hit a little, too. When he made his Giants debut on a late May evening in Milwaukee, he belted a grand slam.
“Ho-leee smokes,” marveled broadcaster Mike Krukow as that ball left the yard.
“Welcome to the big leagues, kid,” said Duane Kuiper.
As the years went on, we saw him become the only player in history to have both a seven-hit game (7-for-8 against Miami in 2016) and an eight-RBI game (a 5-for-6 day including two homers against Colorado three years later). He became the first shortstop to hit a grand slam in the postseason (the 2014 wild-card game at Pittsburgh). And just when folks started wondering whether there was anything left in his bat, he had his best statistical performance — .298, 24 homers, 90 RBIs — during the stunning 107-win season of 2021.
As for the trophy case, he won four Gold Gloves and made three All-Star teams in an era including National League shortstops Troy Tulowitzki, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Javier Baez and Trea Turner. When Crawford started the 2018 All-Star Game, there was no question he was the best all-around shortstop in the league — and when it came to his defense, both steady and spectacular, there wasn’t a Giants pitcher who would trade him for anyone, in any era.
As a person, he is exactly what smart executives look for in a franchise mainstay. Fans spoke of his honest sex appeal, something that comes naturally and without revision. Reporters found him pleasantly approachable in the clubhouse, no matter the mood, and while his laconic nature seldom allowed for chatty elaboration, he proved to be a genuinely funny man as well. (He and Brandon Belt were a great team in that regard.)
Quite simply — as we favor his championship rings to gaudy offensive statistics from a century past — he is the greatest shortstop in Giants franchise history. Honor him well.
One of the best and most fair-minded baseball writers in the country, Tom Verducci, has been so repulsed by the Giants that he set aside an si.com column this week to let loose.
Bored out of his mind by the “tedium” of it all, Verducci called San Francisco “a mutual fund of a baseball team” and concluded, “If this is the future of baseball, I want no part of it.”
That isn’t quite fair. The Giants don’t want 2023 to represent any part of their future. They want more quality starting pitchers, more players who can start every day, more trust in the clubhouse, more playing time for their top prospects, trades that have some impact and the actual signing of a big-time free agent or two.
In essence, though, Verducci is dead-on correct. In no way does San Francisco resemble Baltimore, the authentic vision of baseball’s future with its speed, athleticism, elite young talent, smart hitting and relentless winning energy.
Remarkably, the Giants seemed to have settled for the perfect storm of terrible. They have zero stars in the batting order. Their power hitting is damned near insignificant. Slow as molasses on pine, they seem terrified to even attempt a stolen base. And they give away runs like napkins at a barbecue.