Sunny Warm | Jughandle Beach | Ed Notes | Butterfly | Gleaning Party | Stupid Column | Branscomb Road | Listserv Tricks | Leaf Litter | Ms Disinfo | Ukiah Ennui | Creepy Trolls | AV Rieslings | Laguna Point | Guitar Quartet | Frog Woman | Yesterday's Catch | Herb Caen | Joint Speaker | Muscle Car | U.S. Response | Nob Hill | Ukraine | Stiff Joints | CounterPunch Retrospective | Passing Era
UNSEASONABLY WARM INLAND TEMPERATURES along with dry weather is anticipated for the remainder of the week. The warmest daytime temperatures are forecast to occur tomorrow. Cooler weather and a chance for precipitation will return for the weekend. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): 50F under clear skies this Wednesday morning on the coast. Be careful near the ocean as we have a "sneaker wave" alert from the NWS thru tomorrow. Warm & clear the rest of the work week then a chance of rain this weekend.
HADN'T been in court lately, but I made the trek over the hill Tuesday afternoon to witness the arraignment of Ms. Cubbison and Ms. Kennedy, which was put over until October 31st. I couldn't help but notice how disorderly Judge Shanahan's court appeared, with a dozen attorneys milling around slurping from water bottles and sleek containers, as was Her Honor. I always compare the courtrooms of the early seventies when two judges, O'Brien and Broaddus handled everything. Now, nine judges always seem to be running late, attorneys show up unprepared, continuances are granted for the asking, and the usual mystified defendants having to ask their lawyers, “Huh? What just happened?”
MS. CUBBISON looks quite formidable, angry even, not at all cowed by facing a felony prosecution for embezzlement and, today, as she waited for her arraignment on the charges, perhaps unaware that the five Mendocino County Supervisors had voted 5-0 to suspend her from her Auditor job without pay. She now faces paying large legal fees to defend herself with no job to pay them.
MS. KENNEDY, a woman of retirement age who looks like everyone's grandmother, said she had no attorney. While Cubbison was accompanied only by her husband, Ms. Kennedy seemed to have the support of a half-dozen women. For now, a public defender was appointed for her.
MIKE JAMISON WRITES:
Eyster opened up public comments at the BOS meeting today and corrected widely spread impressions that he initiated an investigation on the county Auditor affair. The Sheriff Office, he reported, learned of a possible misdeed and began an investigation. They eventually referred the case to him and the DA office also did some additional investigation. He calmly denied retribution as a motive.
He also seems to criticize public commenting related to this, similar thoughts expressed by others worried about jury pool tainting or perhaps some just want some of us to shut up for other reasons. He didn’t like discussions related to the facts and legal theories here and elsewhere. I disagree with this attempt to suppress discussion.
Mulheren moved to add this matter to the agenda today for “immediate action.” It should be noted they can’t fire Cubbison so that is a bit of a puzzle to me. The DA had just noted this process will play out in court.
ED: Doubt very much the Sheriff initiated the “investigation” of Cubbison. It almost certainly came from Eyster, the man with the Cubbison ax to grind. And we’ll see what that ‘investigation’ consists of during the Prelim. By appearing before the Supes, Eyster would know he’s got drop-fall credulity going for him. And at least two co-conspirators in Williams and McGourty.
At this morning’s BOS meeting DA Eyster, leading off public comment, read a statement explaining the genesis of and his involvement in filing a felony criminal charges of misappropriation of public funds against Auditor-Controller/Treasurer-Tax Collector Chamise Cubbison and a former employee who evidently was terminated. Bottom line according to Eyster: It was Sheriff’s Office investigators who put the entire case together and forwarded it to him for his review and consideration of formal charges. Eyster stated a number of times that, contrary to numerous reports and public comments, he had nothing to do with the Sheriff’s Office investigation of Cubbison. The investigation “was not initiated by me or anyone else in the DA’s Office. It was initiated and conducted by the professionals in the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.” He also said the Sheriff’s Office received “information” of the alleged crime from “outside the criminal justice system” alerting them to the alleged crime. Eyster explained that after the Sheriff’s crime report was received, his office conducted a supplemental investigation into the affair. He said his office annually receives approximately five thousand to seven thousand crime reports from County law enforcement agencies, and that they’re all processed in the same fashion. Eyster countered accusations that “he was out to get” Cubbison: “Neither my staff nor I have used or will use our positions to seek retribution or purported vendettas against any defendant, public sector or otherwise, here in Mendocino County.”
He urged “law-abiding citizens” to: “Not be influenced by the misinformation. Not to engage in non-factual speculation. Let the local courts do their job and resolve their matters.”
This brings to mind the case of Supervisor Tom Woodhouse from about 10 years ago. Woodhouse suffered a mental breakdown and then around Halloween was arrested on various charges related to him flipping out. The DA didn’t prosecute Woodhouse in return for his resignation as Supe. Wouldn’t be surprised if the same process is not underway now.
ED: I was wrong about Eyster initiating the Cubbison investigation, but Eyster certainly jumped on it, having personally told me back in July that there was a problem with Cubbison, a statement directed to both me and my colleague, M. Scaramella. Eyster has always had an ax to grind with Cubbison back to when she challenged his expense reimbursement claims.
We’ll see what the Cubbison “investigation” consists of during the Prelim, and good luck getting accurate numbers out of anybody associated with the supervisors and their CEO's office. Eyster's appearance before the supervisors this morning initiated a perfectly pre-orchestrated series of events, complete with a San Francisco attorney conveniently present to tell the Supervisors everything they were doing by suspending Cubbison and installing Sara Pierce in Cubbison's place on an interim basis was all perfectly legal. The Supervisors duly voted 5-0 to off Cubbison and install Deputy CEO Sara Pierce. To repeat: This was obviously all pre-arranged, Brown Act notwithstanding.
CARRIE SHATTUCK (Public Expression): “I think the board is really jumping the gun. Ms. Cubbison has not even been arraigned yet. Generally, a felony charge can be dropped to a misdemeanor or whatnot at your first court hearing. It's very obvious now that we know why there was a contingency plan for a Department of Finance.”
EXACTLY. The entire morning was pre-planned. Eyster appears to whine he's misunderstood without bothering to point out he doesn't talk to us or any other local media when we've asked to talk to him, the Supervisors, with an expensive SF lawyer on hand to ratify their actions, proceed to trash Cubbison's and Kennedy's presumption of innocence. Quite a day's work for local government.
MARK SCARAMELLA: Government Code 27120 was cited by outside Attorney Jacob as the authority for the Board to suspend Cubbison and appoint an acting Auditor-Controller Treasurer Tax Collector after Cubbison was suspended without pay.
Government Code section 27120: “Whenever an action based upon official misconduct is commenced against the county treasurer [sic], the board of supervisors may suspend him [sic] from office until the suit is determined. The board may appoint some person [sic] to fill the vacancy, who shall qualify [emphasis added] and give such bond as the board determines.”
DURING the abbreviated discussion of the suspension/appointment motion, no one, including the SF attorney Ms. Jacob, bothered to ask if Ms. Pierce is qualified for the job according to government code qualifications. The Code Section specifically says that the appointed person “shall qualify,” meaning “some person” must demonstrate proper qualifications for the position. Nor did anyone ask about any bond requirements.
THE APPOINTMENT of Ms. Pierce appears to be subject to retraction as failing to comport with the code section cited. I’m thinking about filing a Brown Act complaint demanding that the appointment be corrected and cured in according with the Brown Act and government code cited.
GLEANING PARTY AT BLUE MEADOW FARM
Saturday, October 21, 9:00am-1:00pm
Come help us tear down the summer field and bring home veggies and flowers
We still have Early Girl, Roma & Heirloom Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Jalapenos, Anaheim, Poblanos, Habaneros, Italian & Asian Eggplant, Zucchini & Patty Pan Squash, Basil & Kale, Zinnias & Cosmos
Blue Meadow Farm
Holmes Ranch Road & Hwy 128, Philo
I read TWK’s column every week. I know he’s just trying to be a shock jock by writing negative stuff about everything. I mean everything. But I just read his column, “Dr. Jill Biden’s Diary”. All I can say about that column is that it’s stupid. Absolutely and downright stupid. I can’t think of any other word for it.
CONSOLIDATING CHATLINE POSTS
Gabriel Sherry: I’m overwhelmed by the individual emails from the listserve, and would like to consolidate all the emails into one announcement. How is this done?
Gabriel. You can subscribe to the digest version of the listserv instead. That way you get only a single email once or twice a day with everybody's posts in it, with a list of contents at the top. Disadvantages are: The table is not links; you have to scroll down and down in the digest to find things you want to see. And you can't any longer block individuals who swamp the message space with their constant me-me-me uncontrollable blurting.
If you have no fine control over your email program, you can unsubscribe from the listserve, create a second free email address for yourself, maybe on another server, like gmail, and subscribe again from there. That way your primary email inbox that you're used to, and that all your friends know, becomes clean and simplified to its original purpose and you can look at you can look at the other, the listserve account, when you feel like it, and use that email program to block problem accounts and automatically organize the rest. Gmail works great for this.
I use Thunderbird on MCN, set so emails from annoying people are filtered and they go to a separate folder that I can look in once in awhile when there's time. And I use tree view, to only see the first post in each thread and not all the replies (unless I want to), so the stack of emails is much shorter. And the emails themselves are a table of contents, to click on, to read them.
Another option: go to Joseph Huckaby's project Mendo.org and subscribe to that. The MCN Announce listserv is integrated into it and you can read the listserv and post to it from there. You might like it that way.
CAN OUR DEMOCRACY SURVIVE BIDEN?
Can Our Democracy Survive Disinformation? Join LWV Sonoma County's Monthly Meeting Oct 23rd at 11:30 as they present Nina Jankowicz, author and acclaimed disinformation expert. Register Here: Meeting Registration - Zoom
The News Literacy Project Is Teaming Up With The National Institute For Civil Discourse And The League Of Women Voters to host Productive Conversations Without Confrontation, a webinar that will offer strategies for productive, civil conversations - especially when discussing misinformation. Experts from the three organizations will talk about how and why misinformation manipulates emotions and exploits biases, provide strategies for civil conversation, offer resources to help you debunk falsehoods in a productive way and discuss ways to help your community find reliable election information. Save the date(s) and join us on Oct. 24 at 1:00 PM or Nov. 16 at 4:00 PM PT To register for either or both webinars, go to Webinar Registration - Zoom
For more info or to become a member: email@example.com , 707-937-4952
Warmest spiritual greetings, Not identified with the body nor the mind, the problem is solved! Identifying with that which is prior to consciousness, the mind is chanting the maha mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. There is nothing left to achieve. Indeed, this world is a reflection of its Divine Absolute source.
The evening news details the global hell in this abominable dark phase of Kali Yuga. Aside from the amusing development of the music career and social relationships of a certain former country western performer now a pop music performer now a bon vivant hobnobbing with a certain NFL football player, the rest of the news is tragic. Even the weather report is troubling.
Life goes on at the Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center as the long termers continue to struggle with a variety of medical issues, homelessness and the near absence of available housing, the stress of basic survival in spite of adequate food and showers, a laundry facility, social security monthly income, essential clothing available locally, and basic bus transportation. We are still living amidst the barren spiritual terrain of postmodern consumer America, but at least there aren't any rocket attacks in Ukiah, California. And yet, the day after day after day of a society with no spiritual purpose whatsoever is difficult, in spite of the opportunity to individually cultivate a spiritual life. There won't be a news update because the spectacle just repeats itself.
Craig Louis Stehr
Good morning FB friends-I see a lot of my woman friends objecting to creepy unknown men trolling them for friend requests; this works in both directions- i get these a LOT
Cynthia Lee to Skyhawk
Hi, I saw on your Facebook page that you live in the same area as my parents. I may be moving there soon to be with my parents, and I hope you can help me understand everything there better. Can I receive your friend request?
ED NOTE: I've had the same problem, Chris.
Why just this morning, this lady sent me her photo along with this note: "Hi, Bruce. I've heard a lot about you. I'll be passing through Boonville later today and can meet you at the Senior Center at noon. I'm on what you might call my geriatic rejuvenation tour, so I can spend about an hour with you before I have to run off to Potter Valley to see my old friend Jim 'Swak' Armstrong.
ALMOST GONE: THE STORY OF ANDERSON VALLEY RIESLING
by Marshall Newman
This article began with a wine purchase. A wine shop that sends me periodic e-mails offered an Anderson Valley Riesling and I succumbed to temptation. Soon after, I realized we rarely see Rieslings from Anderson Valley anymore. So I did a little digging and discovered Anderson Valley Riesling – a foundation grape in its evolution as a wine region – has become a rarity. Today Anderson Valley Riesling totals a mere 25 acres, just one percent of the valley’s grape acreage.
Many of us Anderson Valley old-timers remember when most local wineries – of which there were only a handful – offered Riesling. Edmeades Winery made one during its early years. Navarro Vineyards made one right from the beginning and soon expanded production to include a late harvest version. Greenwood Ridge Vineyards also made dry and late harvest versions in the 1980s.
Local wineries weren’t the only ones to believe in Anderson Valley Riesling back then. The Pocket Encyclopedia of California Wines, published in 1980, said “Anderson Valley. This small, shallow valley of the Navarro River has only been planted since the mid-1960s, mostly near Philo. Climate Region is I and it is best regarded for White Riesling and Gewürztraminer.” Nearly 20 years later, Wine Spectator’s California Wine opined “Anderson Valley…is home to both mainstream and offbeat wine styles. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel are often excellent, but it’s the Gewürztraminers and Rieslings – dry, off-dry and dessert-style – and sparkling wines that add excitement and dimension to the mix.”
So prevalent was Riesling, the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association founded its annual International Alsace Festival in 2006. The International Alsace Festival was held each February to promote Riesling and Gewürztraminer, the two locally grown Alsace grape varieties, as well as Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. The name was changed to the Winter White Wine Festival in 2020 to, in the association’s words, “...better reflect the growth of the region while still paying homage to its historical white wine roots.” The festival now encompasses the full range of Anderson Valley white and sparkling wines.
So what happened? Mostly, Pinot Noir happened. Red Burgundy became a big deal in the early 21st century, as did Pinot Noir, the grape from which it is made. Anderson Valley was and is one of the few wine regions whose cool climate is well suited to Pinot Noir. Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs began garnering admiring reviews and Anderson Valley Pinot Noir plantings subsequently expanded exponentially. Today Pinot Noir represents nearly 70 percent of the region’s total grape acreage; approximately 1,700 acres.
The other thing that happened was that Riesling lost its cachet. Chardonnay became the go-to white wine and Sauvignon Blanc became its similarly dry sidekick. Riesling, generously fruity and often off-dry, became an afterthought; relegated to an aperitif rather than enjoyed with food.
To paraphrase the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “The only constant in life is change.” He may be right, but the near disappearance of Anderson Valley Riesling is still unfortunate. Anderson Valley Riesling can be extraordinary; among the very best made in the United States.
A quick search shows Navarro Vineyards and Toulouse Vineyards & Winery to be the only local producers still making Riesling. A broader search revealed a few non-local wineries producing Riesling from Anderson Valley grapes: Desire Lines, Read Holland, Reeve, Cobb, Arista and V. Sattui. Probably fewer than 5,000 cases of Anderson Valley Riesling are made each year.
Change is slow in the wine business. Wine is produced once a year. Vineyards take three or four years to reach full production. Anderson Valley Riesling hasn’t disappeared, but it also won’t be growing anytime soon, either. In truth, Riesling as a wine grape is struggling throughout California. Its tenuous situation in Anderson Valley likely does not worry Anderson Valley’s vintners and wine growers (Pinot Noir is an easier sell and more profitable). But for those – novice or experienced - who enjoy wine, it means fewer opportunities to appreciate one of Anderson Valley’s true greats.
GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING Los Angeles Guitar Quartet on November 5, 2023
UCCA Second spectacular concert of the 2023-24 season
The Ukiah Community Concert Association proudly presents our second concert of the season Sunday, November 5, 2:00pm, at the Mendocino College Center Theatre with the Grammy Award-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. (If you forget that November 5 is the end of Daylight Savings Time and that now we must "fall back" an hour, no worries because when you arrrive an hour early for our 2:00pm concert, we will be serving cookies, coffee, wine and N/A beer to help you transition.)
The Los Angeles Times calls LAGQ either “The world's hottest classical ensemble or its tightest pop band.” You must come and decide for yourself! About the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet: As one of the most charismatic groups performing today, the Grammy Award-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet's (LAGQ) critically acclaimed transcriptions of concert masterworks provide a fresh look at the music of the past, while their interpretations from the contemporary and world music realms continually break new ground with programs encompassing Latin, African, Far East, Irish, Folk, and American Classics. The Los Angeles Times praises the Quartet for “its unrivaled joy, technical elan and questing spirit.”
Comprised of four uniquely accomplished musicians, the Grammy© Award winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet has been bringing an innovative energy to the concert stage for the past 42 years with programs ranging from Bluegrass to Bach. Their inventive and critically acclaimed transcriptions of concert masterworks provide a fresh look at the music of the past, while their interpretations of works from the contemporary and world-music realms continually break new ground. Programs including Latin, African, Far East, Irish, Folk and American Classics transport sold-out audiences around the world in a single concert experience. Founding members Bill Kanengiser and John Dearman are joined by Matt Greif and their newest member, Brazilian wunderkind Douglas Lora. Their latest recording, Opalescent, was released in 2022.
Date: Sunday, November 5, 2023 at 2 pm
Venue: Mendocino College Center Theatre
Tickets for non-season subscribers are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. Advance tickets are available online at www.ukiahconcerts.org and at Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah and Mazahar in Willits. As part of our on-going educational outreach program, free tickets are available to youth 17 and under when accompanied by an adult, and to full-time (12 units) college students. Free tickets must be reserved in advance by calling 707-463-2738 with name, phone number and email address. For more information, please contact the UCCA at 707-463-2738 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
FROG WOMAN ROCK, (Squaw Rock) looking south on Highway 101, 1890
Name Bi-tsin’ ma-ca Ka-be’
Archival research at the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah revealed specific ethnographic information relevant to the California Landmark. John Hudson was a medical doctor and ethnologist living in Mendocino County in the late 1800s. A vast amount of primary information concerning Pomo tribes is recorded in various journals, notebooks, sketches, paintings, photographs, maps, recordings, and collections of the Hudson family. The following extract is taken from John Hudson’s unpublished Pomo Linguistic Manuscript Ukiah 8 21,069 (circa 1892). The Pomo words identified in the Hudson notebook appear to be in the Northern Pomo language. The orthology (the spellings of the words) is as it appears in Hudson’s notebook.
Ka-lo’ko-ko. Small flat opposite Squaw Rock. Trail to the west of the rock. The rock is avoided because of Bi-tsin’ ma-ca living there.
Bi-tsin’ ma-ca Ka-be’. (frog woman cliff) Squaw Rock. A bold headland near Pieta.
Bi-tsin’ ma-ca (frog woman) syn. (Ba-tak’ ma’ca) The white woman of beautiful face but body of a frog. Could jump a hundred feet and snatch a man who after administering to her pleasures was devoured. She had a den in the face of Squaw Rock.
Frog Woman is an important figure in Pomo traditional beliefs. She is generally portrayed as the clever and powerful wife of Coyote, the principal trickster character in many Pomo stories. In some of the stories, she is the mother of Obsidian Man. Frog Woman lived at the place that later became known as Squaw Rock. Pomo people avoided the rock for fear of being eaten by Frog Woman.
In 1985, as part of her doctoral dissertation, research linguist Victoria Patterson conducted ethnographic interviews with Frances Jack, one of the last fluent speakers of the Central Pomo language. Patterson documents that in the Central Pomo dialect “Squaw Rock” was called kawao maatha qhabe, Frog Woman Rock. Thus, there is cultural and ethnographic evidence from speakers of both the Northern Pomo and Central Pomo language that this location was, and still is, known by local Native Pomo as the dwelling of Frog Woman.
At present the term “squaw” is often held to be offensive by contemporary Native Americans. It originates from an eastern Algonquian morpheme-meaning woman. In some 19th and 20th-century texts the word is used or perceived as derogatory. One author, for example, referred to “the universal ‘squaw’ - squat, angular, pig-eyed, ragged, wretched, and insect-haunted” (Steele 1883). “Squaw” also appears to have sexual connotations, either as a description of the female genitalia (Sanders and Peek 1973) or in reference to the unjustly assumed sexual propensities of Native American women. Apart from the linguistic debate, the word “squaw” has become offensive to many modern-day Native Americans because of usage that demeans Native women, ranging from condescending images to racial epithets.
In summary, there is evidence of Pomo mythology that this place was inhabited by a supernatural frog woman. This is confirmed by ethnographic sources of both the Northern and Central Pomo peoples. The current usage of the term squaw equates with widely derogatory meanings, and therefore is offensive to modern Native Americans. In addition, the term squaw is an eastern Algonquian word, unknown to the local Pomo speakers of the Hokan language stock.
In 2011, the State Office of Historic Preservation updated this California Historical Landmark by changing the formal designation to “Frog Woman Rock” as a way to honor and respect the cultural heritage of the Pomo peoples of this region.
The European name Squaw Rock may have derived from the story of Lover’s Leap cited in the History of Mendocino County, California published in 1880. The legend tells of a young chief named Cachow from the village in Cloverdale who promised to marry Sotuka, the daughter of chief of the Sanel in Hopland. Cachow did not keep his promise and instead married another woman. The newlyweds were camped at the base of a large rock cliff along the Russian River. All three were killed when Sotuka, holding a great stone, jumped from the precipice upon the sleeping pair below.
The veracity of the above description has been debated. The 6 December 1891 Sunday Morning Star newspaper published a legend written by Dr. J.C. Tucker from the recollections of an elderly native American woman. This legend of Squaw Rock may have metamorphosed in retelling: A native American woman who died in the 1850s was said to have lived with a daughter, known as Pancha, fathered by one of the Russians stationed at Fort Ross. Pancha fell in love with a gold prospector identified as Archie Henderson. Henderson had broken his leg in a fall and was nursed through recovery by Pancha and her mother. Pancha became despondent after Henderson was later found dead. A man identified as Concho was believed responsible for Henderson's death. Concho was expelled from his tribe and the bereaved Pancha jumped or fell to her death. When people observed rocks falling from the cliffs through the following years, some said Pancha's spirit was casting stones down at some passing person she thought to be Concho.
In 1956, Squaw Rock was designated California Historical Landmark number 549, with a description based upon Palmer's 1880 Mendocino County History: "This early landmark, also called Lover's Leap, is associated with the purported legend of a 19th-century Sanel Indian maiden, Sotuka. Her faithless lover, Chief Cachow, married another, all three were killed when Sotuka, holding a great stone, jumped from the precipice upon the sleeping pair below.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Monday, October 16, 2023
EMMA HARRISON, Willits. Under influence, narcotics for sale.
STEPHANIE LOUCKS, Ukiah. Domestic battery, elder/dependent abuse, vandalism, evidence tampering.
JOHN MARKS JR., Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger.
AARON MUDRICH, Ukiah. Under influence, parole violation.
LUIS MUNGUIA-GARCIA, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.
TIMOTHY SHANOFF, Willits. Concealed dirk-dagger, probation revocation.
RONALD VALENTINE JR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
49ERS SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS TO NUMEROUS QUESTIONS AFTER LOSS TO BROWNS
by Scott Ostler
The San Francisco 49ers face a big test next Monday night in Minneapolis. Can they bounce back from Sunday’s ugly loss to the Browns?
“We’ve all got to look ourselves in the mirror and see the flaws,” quarterback Brock Purdy said.
I disagree. As a tool for self-improvement, looking yourself in the mirror is overrated. I do it every day while combing my hair, yet my self-improvement markers are all trending down, and I don’t even do a good job combing my hair.
The 49ers simply need to regroup and prove to themselves that Sunday in Cleveland was merely a bad-hair day. To do so, here are some of the questions they need to ask and answer:
Where’s Waldo, aka George Kittle?
Two targets in Cleveland for Kittle, one reception, for 1 yard. That’s by a guy making just over $1 million per game. And in a game where Purdy was misfiring long, the run game was hampered, and the Browns geared up in the second half to rush the passer.
In six games, Kittle has 18 catches for 216 yards. Travis Kelce, in five games, has 36 catches for 346 yards. Is Taylor Swift that big an inspiration?
Kittle is super valuable and effective as a blocker, but so is Kelce. Premier tight ends catch footballs.
Does Robbie Gould have a Jake Moody voodoo doll?
This column enthusiastically seconds the emotion of Mike Silver, who writes that Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch made a huge mistake by saving a few bucks on a kicker, choosing rookie Moody over the overpaid (in the 49ers’ estimation) Gould.
But that ship has sailed and you have to play the hand you deal yourself, so now Shanahan and the 49ers need to boost the kid’s confidence.
This could be Moody’s last chance. He has to be lights-out solid in Minneapolis, inside the dome, or his job could be in danger.
Actually, he wasn’t that terrible in Cleveland. According to Weather Applied Metrics, Moody’s pushed-right 41-yard miss was kicked just slightly right of center, then faded 0.82 yards off-course due to spin, and 2.39 yards off-course due to wind.
For an outdoor game in funky weather, the 49ers should have had a wind sock on their sideline to help guide their young kicker.
There’s no downplaying the importance of Moody to this team’s Super Bowl dreams. One hopeful note: The 49ers went with Moody over Gould in part because the kid has a bigger leg. All he’s got to do is aim it properly.
Moody’s teammates were super supportive after the loss. But they will have his back for only so long.
What kind of leaders are Fred Warner and Nick Bosa?
We know they can both play ball. Before Sunday, Warner was looming as a candidate to succeed Bosa as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. Now these two superstars need to rally the troops, who will be a bit shaken after being picked apart by a second-rate offense and a third-rate quarterback.
Did the clock strike midnight on Cinderella Brock?
One theory batted about in the wake of Purdy having trouble controlling the ball in wet conditions in Cleveland is that his hands are too small.
Not so. His hand measures 9¼ inches (tip of thumb to tip of pinkie in a splayed hand). Same as Patrick Mahomes. That’s not huge, only 24th percentile, but it’s big enough to palm a basketball.
Yet the enduring image from the Cleveland game is Purdy looking over his right shoulder at the football, which is floating high in the air after it slipped out of his hand as he tried to pass it. Is it possible the 49ers last week didn’t properly prepare Purdy to work with a wet football?
One thing the 49ers don’t have to worry about is Purdy’s confidence. If he doesn’t know by now that he has absolutely no business quarterbacking a Super Bowl-caliber NFL team, he never will.
This block of copy is basically filler. There is no longer any legitimate doubt about Purdy’s credentials as a legit NFL quarterback. To steal a patented phrase from Bruce Bochy, “He’ll be fiiiiine.”
Can Kyle Shanahan bounce back?
If a genius coach makes in-game adjustments to weather, injuries and opponent strategy, Shanahan’s IQ slipped 20 points in Cleveland, which happens to a lot of people.
When the Browns came hard at Purdy, why no clever counters — rollouts, draw plays, shorties to Kittle? As the Chronicle’s Mike Lerseth pointed out in his game grades, the 49ers had the ball and the lead with 3:31 left, and Shanahan called three passes, draining just 25 seconds off the clock.
This much is true: The 49ers need to get themselves back on track pronto and stop distracting the rest of us from the truly important work of worrying about the Warriors, Giants and A’s.
A READER WRITES: Mr. San Francisco, Herb Caen coined the term beatnik in 1958 and popularized hippie during San Francisco's 1967 Summer of Love. He popularized obscure, often playful, terms such as Frisbeetarianism, and ribbed nearby Berkeley as Berserkeley for its often-radical politics. I remember reading his column in the Chronicle growing up. He visited Chico while I was in college. He described Chico as so lacking in culture as to have Velveeta cheese in the gourmet food section of our stores.
A SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, FOR ALL
It is not one person’s fault. There are just 30 calendar days left before we actually will enter into another government shutdown. Time is running out with no true agreement to fund the US Government’s operations. We must subtract eight (8) day from 30. This means Congress has just twenty-two (22) “work days” left before we run out of time.
The Constitution dictates, Congress controls the purse-strings. The House of Representatives is still rudderless; without a Speaker of the House, nothing (“Nada!”) can get passed. No aid bill for Ukraine. No aid bill for Israel’s war with Hamas. No southern border bill to deal with immigration. And everyone will lose as the government shuts down.
There is too small a party majority in the House for the GOP to elect a Speaker. Today Rep. Jim Jordan’s bid fell short of the required 217 votes.
Any way out of this? Elect a “joint Speaker.” A shared GOP and Dem. Speakership. For the good of the Nation.
Frank H. Baumgardner, III
U.S. RESPONSE TO ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR DRAWS FURY IN MIDDLE EAST
The staunch support for Israel has stoked accusations of American hypocrisy, with Arab critics fearing a wholesale massacre of Palestinians in response to the deadly Hamas attacks.
by Vivian Nereim, Alissa J. Rubin and Euan Ward (Reporting from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Baghdad; and Beirut, Lebanon)
President Biden’s trip to Israel on Wednesday will put him in a region where grief and fury are mounting, not only toward Israel, but also toward the United States, the world power that has declared unyielding support for its chief Middle East ally.
On Tuesday, widespread condemnation of Israel rippled across the region after a huge explosion at a hospital in the Gaza Strip killed hundreds of Palestinians who had been seeking treatment and refuge. Israel has denied being behind the blast, blaming a Palestinian group, Islamic Jihad, for a failed rocket launch.
But even before that, many people across the region had come to view Israel’s war with Hamas — the Palestinian armed group that carried out a shocking attack on southern Israel more than a week ago, slaughtering 1,400 people — as an American-backed massacre of Palestinian civilians in the blockaded territory of Gaza.
Israel has cut off water, medicine and electricity in the enclave and continued to target Gaza with deadly airstrikes, bringing the death toll to at least 2,800 before the hospital explosion.
Many Arabs view the American government as not only being indifferent to the agony of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, but also complicit in it. American pledges of “ironclad” support for the country — and no-strings-attached security assistance — have stoked those feelings as Israel prepares for a ground invasion of Gaza.
“There is tremendous anger in the Arab world, even by those who do not support Hamas,” said Nabil Fahmy, a former foreign minister of Egypt. “They are giving Israel a green light,” he said of Western powers, “and as this gets increasingly bloody, the West will have blood on its hands.”
So intense is the anger that a refrain, “Death to America,” has found renewed resonance in the region, including during a protest on Friday in Bahrain, a close American ally.
Many Palestinians and other Arabs said in interviews that the rhetoric coming from senior Israeli and American officials had been dehumanizing and warmongering.
When the war began, Mr. Biden called the attacks by Hamas — in which gunmen killed Israeli soldiers and civilians and took nearly 200 people hostage — “pure, unadulterated evil.”
The Israeli defense minister, Yoav Gallant, said: “We are fighting human animals. There will be no Hamas; we will eliminate everything.”
As he traveled around the region over the past week, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken signaled that the Biden administration would have a high tolerance for whatever resulted from Israel’s military response to the Hamas attacks.
Diana Buttu, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who has worked as a lawyer on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, said she had never harbored “any illusions” about the U.S. role in the conflict, knowing that America firmly backed Israel. Even so, she said, she was stunned by the Biden administration’s response.
“It’s like somebody has ripped out my guts,” she said. “This level of siding with Israel is genocidal.”
In the broader Middle East, many people do not view Israel as the victim of an unprovoked terrorist attack — as some American officials have described it — but as a colonial-style occupier that has been buttressed by the United States and that has oppressed the Palestinians for decades.
Khalid Al-Dakhil, a prominent Saudi public intellectual, said that what frustrated him the most was Western powers’ “blind adoption of the Israeli narrative of events.”
“You are against occupation in Ukraine — can you deny that the Palestinians are under occupation?” he said. “Nobody is asking you to go and declare war on the Israelis because they are occupying the Palestinians; people are asking you to be rational, wise and convince your allies — push them to their senses.”
American officials appear to have softened their statements in recent days, stressing that Palestinian civilians should not suffer because of Hamas. On Sunday, the State Department appointed David Satterfield — a veteran diplomat with experience in Arab countries — as a special envoy for humanitarian issues to help address the crisis in Gaza. In an interview with “60 Minutes” on CBS, Mr. Biden discouraged Israel from fully reoccupying Gaza.
And shortly after taking off on Air Force One headed for Israel, Mr. Biden issued a statement on the explosion at the hospital in Gaza: “I am outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion at the Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, and the terrible loss of life that resulted.” He said he had spoken with leaders in the region and directed his national security team to look into what had happened.
Even so, the damage to America’s battered image in the Middle East is done, said Hafsa Halawa, a nonresident scholar at the Washington-based Middle East Institute.
“The Americans have zero moral standing in this region,” she said.
As Israel prepares for a ground invasion of Gaza, a densely populated urban area, American military officers with memories of the battle for the Iraqi city of Falluja in 2004 — a struggle against Iraqi insurgents that became some of the bloodiest urban combat in recent decades — have been conveying the lessons of that experience to their Israeli counterparts.
Ms. Halawa said that the past week reminded her of the atmosphere in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the lead-up to the 2003 American invasion of Iraq.
“What we’re really in, if you watch the news for five minutes, is genuine, pure 9/11 Islamophobia,” she said. “Twenty-three years later, we’re in exactly the same language. The Americans have learned nothing.”
In Iraq, which is still struggling in the aftermath of that war, the dominant sentiment was weariness as people watched events unfold in Israel and Gaza. There was also a mix of anger and disappointment.
“America does not care if a thousand or a million or a billion Arabs and Muslims die, as long as its interests are not harmed,” said Moayad Jubeir, a professor of law and political science at Anbar University.
Still, there is one thing that the United States can do, Iraqis said: keep the war with Hamas contained.
Mohammed Akram Ali, 43, a primary schoolteacher in Baghdad, said he had hoped that America would restrain Israel and help restore calm to the region.
“Hamas committed massacres of Israelis, but also the Israelis committed massacres and nobody can say, ‘Stop, it’s enough’ to them,” said Mr. Ali. “We demand that America take a position where it says, ‘Enough’ to everyone so that they can restore what they lost of their reputation in Iraq.”
Frustration with the United States has grown across the region as Mr. Blinken’s diplomatic tour presented the unusual spectacle of authoritarian Arab rulers lecturing American officials about human rights.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, told Mr. Blinken that Israel must lift its siege on Gaza and that the kingdom “rejects the destruction of infrastructure and vital services that affect their daily lives.”
In Egypt, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi falsely claimed that Jews in his country had never experienced persecution and suggested that the United States was more shocked by the killing of Israelis than decades of Palestinian oppression.
“Yes, it is true what happened over the past nine days was very difficult and too much, and we unequivocally condemn it,” Mr. el-Sisi told Mr. Blinken about the Hamas attacks. “But we need to understand that this is the result of accumulated fury and hatred over four decades, where the Palestinians had no hope to find a solution.”
After the explosion on Tuesday at Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, denunciations flowed in from Arab countries. Turkey, Qatar and Iran were among those blaming Israel. Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry swiftly released a statement blaming the attack on the Israeli military, demanding that the international community “let go of its double standards” to hold Israel accountable.
In Gaza, Wisam Abu Jamae, 27, compared the Western response after the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year with the relative lack of condemnation of Israel’s siege of Gaza, saying that the discrepancy was “not logical.”
“If the world cared enough about us, we would not be where we are today,” she said, as the sound of Israeli warplanes droned overhead.
“Every minute, one family is removed from the record of existence.”
UKRAINE, TUESDAY, 17 OCTOBER
The US secretly provided Ukraine with long-range ATACMS missiles in recent days, according to multiple US officials, providing Ukraine with a significant new capability that could allow its forces to hit new Russian targets that were previously out of reach.
The confirmation came on Tuesday after images of the missiles’ submunitions inside Ukraine began circulating on social media.
US officials indicated to CNN on Tuesday that Ukraine has already used the ATACMS, some variants of which have a maximum range of approximately 186 miles, to attack Russia’s Berdyansk and Luhansk airfields in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian military tweeted on Tuesday that the attack destroyed several Russian helicopters, an ammunition depot and an air defense launcher, but did not specify whether they used ATACMS to do it.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged the ATACMS in his daily address and expressed his gratitude for the agreements with the US being implemented.
“Today, I am especially grateful to the United States. Our agreements with President Biden are being implemented. They are being implemented very accurately – the ATACMS have proven themselves,” Zelensky said.
National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that “The United States recently provided Ukraine with a type of ATACMS capable of ranging out to 165 km as part of our ongoing support for the people of Ukraine as they defend their territory against Russia’s brutal invasion. We believe this will provide a significant boost to Ukraine’s battlefield capabilities without risking our military readiness.”
A US official said the version of the missiles the US provided to Ukraine, which carry cluster munitions instead of unitary warheads, are not in the the stockpiles the Pentagon would draw from if the US became directly involved in a war, so there were no concerns that transferring them would hinder US military readiness. National security adviser Jake Sullivan first asked the NSC in mid-July, as Ukraine’s counteroffensive appeared to be moving more slowly than anticipated, to work with the Pentagon to provide an updated memo on ATACMS options that assessed the potential impacts on US military readiness, the official said.
The official said the missiles were provided “in recent days,” and that Biden signed off on their transfer in mid-September. In a meeting with Zelensky at the White House on September 21, Biden told Zelensky about his decision to send this particular variant of the ATACMS, known as APAM or anti-personnel/anti-materiel.
The US decided to send them quietly because they wanted to take the Russians by surprise, especially after months of public back-and-forth over whether Biden would agree to send the weapons, an official said. The Russians are aware of the range of the missiles and the US was concerned they would move equipment and weapons out of reach before the missiles could be used, the official said.
The US has sent some weapons secretly in the past. In August 2022, the Pentagon acknowledged that it had sent HARM anti-radiation missiles to Ukraine unannounced.
But the US typically announces significant weapons packages to Ukraine, including when it sent Patriot air defense systems last year and cluster munitions this year. Asked repeatedly over the last several weeks about the status of the systems, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the US has “nothing to announce.” That was a deliberate choice of words, officials said.
The Pentagon said it was referring all questions about the ATACMS to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Discussions about sending the systems picked up substantially last month, CNN previously reported. US officials had previously been reluctant to send the long-range surface-to-surface guided missiles amid fears about escalating the conflict as they could potentially be fired into Russia itself. That concern largely waned over the last several months, however, since Ukraine demonstrated that it was not using other US-provided weapons to attack territory inside Russia, officials said.
During a visit to Washington, DC, in September, Ukrainian President Zelensky reiterated his request for the ATACMS during a meeting with Biden and Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said at the time that “when we talk about long-range missiles for Ukraine, it is not just a whim, but a real need. The effectiveness of the army on the battlefield, as well as the lives of the military and our progress depend on it.”
The US announced a new aid package to Ukraine while Zelensky was visiting that did not include ATACMS. But asked again earlier this month about providing the missiles, Biden told reporters, “I have spoken with Zelensky, and everything he’s asked for, we’ve worked out.”
Currently, the maximum range of US weapons committed to Ukraine is around 93 miles with the ground-launched small diameter bomb. Ukraine also has the UK-provided long-range Storm Shadow missiles, which have a range of about 155 miles. ATACMS missiles are fired from HIMARS rocket launchers, the same type of vehicle that launches the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) missiles that Ukraine already employs.
THE WOLF IS KNOCKING
by Jeffrey St. Clair
CounterPunch went online nearly 30 years ago, just in time for Clinton’s war on Serbia. Clinton’s war was premeditated, our transit to the World Wide Web was reluctant, at best. Alexander Cockburn’s relationship with computers was hostile. Mine was indifferent. I surfed the web, like anyone else, but had no idea how it would be useful for us. At the time, CounterPunch was a 6-page newsletter that we published fortnightly. We called it “fortnightly” because the word had a nice ring to it and no one was precisely sure how many days or even weeks a fortnight encompassed. But if we ran pieces online, who would pay to receive our newsletter? We remained stubbornly committed to print and our 5,000 or so subscribers. Where will the web be when the electromagnetic pulse wipes the slate clean?
The fact that we even had a domain name we owed entirely to the foresight of one of our tech-savvy donors, who told me that even though we were both too dumb to realize it now, we’d thank him for it one day. He reserved the CounterPunch domain in 1997. We didn’t start using it for another year when the cruise missiles started shattering the night in Belgrade. The war went on for 78 days and nights, roughly four fortnights. The web allowed us to cover Clinton’s war in real time. Cockburn said he was willing to try it as an “experiment,” fully expecting it to fail. He had just one condition: that he never had to learn how to post a piece. Thus management of the CounterPunch website fell into my hands by default. I used a primitive software program called Pagemill for the first few years and it looked primitive, like scribblings by Cy Twombley. There was no time to take any classes or seminars. “Just get it up as fast as you can, Jeffrey,” Cockburn said. “And no complaints.” I knew nothing then about HTML, hyperlinks, analytics or even how to load a photo. I still don’t know much. I’d loved my archaic Pagemill program. It was web design for simpletons. I threw a tantrum the day I was forced to give it up for the damnable Dreamweaver, which was far too complex for my sophomoric skill set.
Nevertheless, people came. Came by the thousands and then the 10s of thousands. They came from all over the world: Brazil, South Africa, New Zealand, Iceland, South Korea, India. By the 2000 presidential elections, CounterPunch had gone global. Even so, we had no idea how to make the website pay for itself or to help support CounterPunch. For years, we didn’t have a shopping cart or any way to take credit card orders or sell subscriptions online. We simply asked people to mail in a check to the office in Petrolia. In a couple of years, our readership had grown from 5,000 print subscribers to 150,000 viewers a day on the website.
But the funding base had remained pretty much the same. We were supported by our subscribers and by the extra money we raised from hitting them up once a year through a direct mail letter usually sent in November. Alex enjoyed writing the letters.
Cockburn, St. Clair and the Great Bear of the Mattole.
Cockburn told me once, he thought he could have enjoyed a great career in advertising or public relations, a fantasy fed by our friend and counselor Ben Sonnenberg, the longtime editor of Grand Street, whose father nearly invented the seductive art of public relations. And they were successful. Or successful enough to keep us afloat, though the coffers had usually been drained to a shallow tidepool by the time October rolled around.
Alex told me once that he was good at raising money because he’d spent so much time avoiding debt collectors. He said he learned the finer points of this art from his father, Claud, who like most writers of radical journalism lived close to the margin most of his life. It was from Claud that Alex inherited some of his favorite phrases: “the wolf at the door,” “pony up,” “begging bowl.” (Of course, Alex loved all canids, wild and domestic, and would have gladly left out a shank from one of his pal Greg Smith’s lambs for any wolf on the prowl.) We used to joke about Alex’s six phone lines, one for each creditor. He also had a different accent for each creditor, once pretending to be his brother Patrick, who was reporting on the siege of Mosul at the time. Listening to these calls was hearing a master at work, like a character from one of his favorite novels, The Charmer by Patrick Hamilton.
In those days, the CounterPunch staff was so small we could all squeeze into Alex’s Valiant, when it would start. After Ken Silverstein left for greener pastures, it was largely down to Alex, Becky Grant and me. We worked 11 months out of the year, taking August off, and a weeklong holiday during Christmas usually highlighted by a New Year’s Eve party at Alex’s house along the Mattole River. Those years can seem idyllic in hindsight. We worked hard and drank harder, often hard cider brewed by Alex and CounterPunch’s board chair Joe Paff. Still, we were fairly productive by almost any standard. We wrote three books together in four years, two of them (Whiteout and our scathing biography of Al Gore) were substantial works requiring months of research. We both wrote a column a week separately and one together (Nature and Politics). We wrote most of the copy for CounterPunch, 10 to 12 stories a month. We both had weekly radio shows, Alex in South Africa and mine on KBOO in Portland. We both wrote for the Anderson Valley Advertiser and occasional pieces for New Left Review, The Progressive, the New Statesman, and City Pages. I wrote for the Village Voice and In These Times and Alex had a bi-monthly column in The Nation. But CounterPunch was home base. It’s the journal that we felt the closest to and saved our best writing for.
Cockburn “dialing for dollars” in my office/garage in 1998.
Sometimes the bank accounts would evaporate even earlier. On September 11, 2001, for example. I was jolted from bed by an early morning wake-up call from Cockburn. “Jeffrey, turn on your TV and describe what you see.” He hadn’t paid his cable bill and they’d shut off his service. I spent the next several hours narrating the fall of the Twin Towers, the crash at the Pentagon, the panicky peregrinations of George W. Bush and Cheney’s tightening grip on the throat of the Republic. Our lives as journalists changed profoundly that day as well. From September 11 onward, we published nearly every day of the week, week after week, month after month, year after year. At first, we ran only two or three stories a day. (And to fill in those blank hours on the clock, we insanely decided to start a book publishing venture!) Now we publish 12 to 14 each day and 40 to 45 every Friday for our Weekend Edition. We were online for good, like it or not. No vacations, no holidays, no sick days. The web, we soon found out, waits for no one.
We were online, but we still had no idea how to make our web-based journalism pay for itself. We tried running Google Ads for a few months, but got banned for what Google imperiously declared was “clicker fraud,” even though we hadn’t been the culprits. Apparently, some over-enthusiastic CounterPuncher had repeatedly clicked on Google text links, for which we received a return of a nickel a click. We think it was a CounterPuncher. Of course, it might have been Alex’s cockatiel, Percy, who in addition to whistling the Internationale, took a fancy to Cockburn’s keyboard, battering it with his beak four or five times a day. At the time, a close friend of ours was dating a top Google lawyer, who to prove his devotion to her swore that he would have the ban reversed. He failed. She dumped him. But the verdict of the corporate algorithm is absolute. It tolerates no appeals.
Alex, a Luddite to the core, believed that every new feature of the cyber world was an evil manifestation to be shunned, shamed and exorcized. Thus he continued to refer to CounterPunch as a “Twitter-free Zone” for nearly a year after Nathaniel had set up the CounterPunch Twitter account, which now has more than 65,000 followers. No one had the heart to tell him the news.
Early on we tried writing a few grant proposals, but never got one we actually applied for-our position on Israel proving fatal to our aspirations for funding. It’s just as well. We weren’t going to dance to any master’s tune or be constrained by anyone else’s ideological strings. We weren’t going to saddle ourselves with ads, either. Partly this was owing to my own incompetence. I had no idea how to use Flash or any of the other plug-ins that ad companies demanded we deploy. But we also both deplored the way online ads intruded on our own reading experiences and didn’t want to inflict that on our readers, if we could help it. And so far, so good.
In the end, we’ve largely depended on the kindness of our readers to survive. And, though there have been some close calls, this simple and direct approach of appealing to those who know us best hasn’t failed in 30 years. Not yet, anyway. After Alex died, a woman approached me at the funeral and said rather smugly, “Well, I guess this is the end of CounterPunch.” I was angered at her remark and Alex would have been, too. This woman was part of the Nation magazine’s delegation to the funeral. My irritation with her was only partly about how dismissive she was concerning my own contribution to CounterPunch, which had been substantial even before Ken’s departure.
It stemmed more from the flippant disregard for our writers and tens of thousands of readers. CounterPunch was no longer merely a platform for our voices. It was now the home base for hundreds of different writers from across the country and around the globe. I checked this morning. Since going online, we’ve published more than 6,000 different writers. CounterPunch belongs to them, as much as it does to us. Still, Mrs. MoneyBags was right about one thing. We were more broke than we’d ever been the week that Alex died. But we published the day Alex died, the day he was buried and every day since. The readers came through, again and again and again.
We’ve grown in the 11 years since Alex passed. The online readership is probably twice what it was in August 2012. We’re publishing more pieces each week and adding new writers every day. The website has been completely revamped by Andrew Nofsinger into a more efficient and flexible WordPress design that even a Luddite like me can’t screw up too badly. It even works on smartphones, where the analytics say nearly half of the site’s visitors read CounterPunch. To keep up, our staff (still tiny by most standards) has doubled in size, from three to seven: Becky, Deva and Nichole in the business office, me, Josh and Nathaniel on the editorial side, and Andrew helming the website.
That means our costs have more than doubled. What didn’t double, however, were the number of print magazine subscribers who used to be the primary funders of CounterPunch. Everywhere, print was in decline, even here at CounterPunch. Then COVID hit, the printers shut down, Louis DeJoy took over the Post Office so magazines sent by mail were arriving later than ever, if they arrived at all. So we made the cruel decision to kill the magazine and now we’re dependent solely on the community of online readers who utilize CounterPunch for free: no clickbait, no ads, no paywalls.
I remember a conversation Alex and I had on the night before the last fundraiser we did together in October 2011. He was sick then, sicker than any of us knew, but not showing it. He was impish, excited and anxious, as he always was this time of year.
“Are you ready for another shot in the dark, Jeffrey?” he asked.
“What if we fail this time?”
“Well, we can always do something else.”
“Do we know how to do anything else?”
“Of course, we do. We know how to make cider, go trout-fishing and listen to Chuck Berry. What more do we need?”
And now another Fall Fund Drive has rolled around and the old wolf, perhaps loping past the spirit of Cockburn in the pepperwood grove in the Mattole Valley, is back at our door. We humbly put forth our begging bowl, confident that CounterPunchers will once again pony up…
(Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: email@example.com or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3.)