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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023

Rain | Panther Hoop | Classic Scores | Catchment Workshop | Setting Sun | AVUSD News | Wreath Making | Sleazy Gas | Goll Gull | Tom Mason | Tricholomopsis Sulphureoides | Good Times | Mushroom ID | Ukiah Construction | Cubbison Case | House Washing | Name Changing | Froh Show | Ed Notes | Lanny Parker | Yesterday's Catch | CPUC Solar | Word Mouth | Purdy Time | Palace Hotel | Guvs Debate | Big Wave | Censorship Hearing | Economy Impressions | Curious Person | Ukraine | Wildlife Bridge | Human Shields | Drain Anatomy | Schumer Slander | Hamm's | Martial Law | Elliot Responds | KYBU Celebration | NY Fairy | Trent 71 | Christ Force | Video Magazine | Tommy's Joynt | Marco Radio | Deer Pasture

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PERIODS OF MODERATE RAINFALL will impact northwest California this weekend through much of next week. The highest rainfall totals will likely occur in Del Norte County, with lighter totals expected southward toward Lake County. In addition, moderate southerly winds will impact exposed coastal ridges and and headlands. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): That was the wettest 30% chance of rain I ever saw yesterday afternoon. I have .40" collected with a rainy 51F this Saturday morning on the coast. We can expect a bunch of showers this weekend then less rain to start the new work week. More rain after that then maybe a dry weekend to follow? We'll see.

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Today's games were based on the outcomes of the pool play from the first two days. Again, I'm providing final scores, scores per quarter, and top scorers.

Game 13: Anderson Valley v. Potter Valley
Final Score: 38-33
AV: 7 13 7 11
PV: 9 7 4 13
AV: #00 Damian Eligio and #0 Diego Torales both with 8 points.
PV: #11 Isaiah 13 points

Game 14: Lower Lake v. CSD
Final Score: 60-37
LL: 11 13 14 22
CSD: 14 11 5 7
LL: #30 Logan 30 points
CSD: #11 J. Diagel 15 points

Game 15: Valley Christian Academy v. Willits
Final Score: 73-37
VCA: 24 28 19 2
Willits: 11 9 10 7
VCA: #1 Ian Glasey 24 points
Willits: #11 K. Dockins 15 points

Game 16: Pinewood v. Averroes
Final Score: 49-38
Pinewood: 16 11 9 13
Averroes: 5 6 11 16
Pinewood: #3 T. Meeleib 21 points
Averroes: #23 H. Majaddej 9 points

Game 17: South Fork v. Cloverdale
Final Score: 63-53
SF: 9 12 25 17
Cloverdale: 20 11 9 13
SF: #21 Tommy 34 points
Cloverdale: #2 Jordan 24 points

Game 18: Priory v. Stuart Hall
Final Score: 63-57
Priory: 20 18 13 12
Stuart Hall: 13 10 11 23
Priory: #5 Kasten E. 26 points
Stuart Hall: #1 T. Rayford 27 points

Tomorrow's our last day! Cloverdale and Stuart Hall are competing for the Third Place trophy, while Priory and South Fork are competing for the championship title!

— Lucy Espinoza

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Saturday, December 2, 2023, 10am - 3pm at the Rancho Navarro Clubhouse Meeting Room

This event is free for residents of Mill Creek and North Fork Navarro River watersheds. Bring a bag lunch and your walking shoes. This is a rain or shine event.

There is going to be a rainwater catchment workshop happening in the Navarro watershed on Saturday 10-3, hosted by Conservation Works North Coast Resource Conservation & Development Council and Mendocino County RCD Resource Conservation District of Mendocino County in Rancho Navarro. 

Conservation Works has a limited number of 5K tanks to giveaway to landowners on a prioritized basis in the North Fork Navarro and Mill Creek sub-basins to benefit streamflows for endangered Coho salmon, so outreach to date has been focused in those watersheds. There will be a workshop in the morning at the Rancho Navarro community center and then we'll tour a few residential tank systems in the neighborhood. It should be fun and informative. Space is limited, but there is still room, so if you are interested to participate no matter where you live, please use this link to register and learn more.

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Off Mendocino (photo by Virginia Sharkey)

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Dear Anderson Valley Community, 

It was another very busy week. I’m proud of the students and grateful to the families who have donated more than 400 cans of food already at the school site for our local food bank. Eighth grade has pulled in the lead with a whopping 150 cans. 

Great things are happening at the elementary with Ms. Cruz’s ballet Folklorico performing for the students. This is a tremendous activity for our kids and we appreciate Ms. Cruz’s sharing her expertise! Also in elementary news, just a reminder that December 9 is the PTAC Craft Fair and 6th Grade Fundraiser between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Enjoy this festive time to create holiday ornaments and cards, and enjoy hot chocolate and cider! Donations, Panther gear and bake sale items benefit the AVES PTAV! If you can volunteer to help, there is a signup on the AVES office door. Sixth grade will be selling treats to raise money for their Field Trips!

We’ve been doing a lot of work related to the community schools grant. This is a grant where we are required to visit and survey the community about how schools can better serve, not just students, but the entire Valley in coordinating services and supporting families. Nat Corey Moran will do this work full-time next year, but we are doing the preliminary work in order to be able to submit the sustaining grant. We have received the planning grant for next year, but the application for the implementation grant is due in January 2025 and much legwork is required. We had a very good meeting with our ELAC families at the reclassification dinner and also at the Senior Center. We appreciated the great engagement of those attending both events. 

While at the Senior Center, a long time valley resident shared a rumor he had heard that we were wasting money with community dinners. I want to emphasize that we are required by the State to have demonstrated engagement with our families. We receive money that is restricted to ensure that we are doing that outreach. Our families attend our events for two reasons. One is for sports. It's hard to talk to families and get their input during sporting event. The other way we get great responses is through doing social activities, such as sports dinners, and Tuesday nights’ Exhibition dinner. We gain valuable input through those opportunities and discussions.

The same community member also brought up a concern that he heard that kids that are high remain on campus. I want to be clear that if there is a student that I know does not have a responsible supervising adult at home, I will keep them in an office on campus and make sure they don’t go home and use more drugs. We have a real disconnect with some of our families on supervision and intervention. Schools are expected to provide support to families that are struggling with drug usage and we do our very best. Furthermore, we do not have a lot of law enforcement support for citations for drugs such as marijuana. If there’s a controlled substance, then we can get law-enforcement involved, but it is very difficult. We do our very best to keep kids safe. The environment in this County related to drug tolerance in youth is incredibly difficult and schools can’t do it alone.

I’ve shared this before, but I’ve often had parents in my office saying that they are OK with marijuana usage by their students. I always ask them, “What is your Nexxus on that usage? Is it on the way to school? Is it the night before? Iis it in the bathroom at school?. How stoned is OK in your mind? Because they are not accessing their education when they’re high.” If I sound a little grumpy, I am.

The same goes with chronic absenteeism, which is rampant in our district despite our providing buses and van rides to get kids to school. We need t work together to do better on this. School is important and kids need to be here or they hold everyone back. Whether your student dreams of being an electrician, a rancher, a teacher or a doctor, daily full day attendance matters

As we tackle all of these problems, join us for our Site Council meeting at the high school on Tuesday at 3:30 if you have some time. To all of the many parents, guardians, community members and staff that try so very hard to support all kids, I thank you.

Congratulations to John Toohey, student leaders, and staff on the return of the Redwood Classic! It was great to see the community out and local teams involved! Lucy Espinoza assisted as Student Director for her Senior Project. Well done to all!

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Take care,

Louise Simson, Superintendent, AV Unified School District

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Students are learning how to make a wreath. 

They will decorate them soon. Having fun in the cold!

You can still order your wreath. Use this link to place an order.

Don't forget to push the submit button!

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by Sarah Reith

A proposal to build a ten-pump gas station and convenience store in Redwood Valley is drawing heated criticism from neighbors and environmentalists.

The Faizan Corporation, which owns gas stations all over northern California, is requesting a minor use permit for the station in a strip mall on North State Street at the bottom of the 101 grade between Willits and Redwood Valley. 

Last year, the Faizan Corporation had to pay a $500,000 settlement for environmental and business practice violations at gas stations in seven counties, including five in Mendocino County. The corporation and its principal officer, Mahmood Alam, did not have to admit guilt. But in addition to paying the settlement, they were ordered to hire a compliance consultant to ensure that they properly maintain underground storage tanks, leak detection equipment, spill control measures, and other methods to ensure health and safety. 

The settlement also addresses accusations that the company violated business practice regulations in Yolo county, including swapping out Weights and Measures seals from old pumps onto new pumps without notifying the proper authorities. Another cause of action in the complaint filed by seven District Attorneys was advertising 89 octane gas as 91, and selling the lower octane product at the price of the higher grade gas.…

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Pudding Creek Beach Gull Sunset (Jeff Goll)

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by Mike Geniella

When family, friends and the community gather on Wednesday to honor the late Ukiah attorney Tom Mason, there will be stories about his passion for the law, his community, and baseball. They were hallmarks of a life well lived.

A celebration of life for Mason will be held from 2-5 p.m. at Barra of Mendocino in Redwood Valley. 

Mason excelled at law from the beginning of his legal career in Mendocino County. When he arrived in Ukiah in the 1970s, he went to work at what was to become Redwood Legal Assistance, made up of a group of young lawyers determined to make the world a better place.

Mason was at center stage, and a major contributor to the camaraderie and hard work the legal aid center did on behalf of clients in need. Mason always had a big smile for people, but he was serious about his efforts. He successfully challenged state regulations that reduced financial aid for families when an ‘unrelated adult male’ was living in the household. Mason ended a county practice of reducing the amount of general assistance provided to indigent residents who also received food stamps. 

Attorney Mary Ann Villwock, who was director of the legal aid office at the time, recalls that when the then county counsel warned such changes in welfare eligibility standards would bring ‘hordes of backpackers’ into the county, Mason stood up for legitimate recipients. 

“They need help. They are human beings, and we are going to help them all we can,” pledged Mason.

Through it all “Tom was always the master of good will. He had a humorous comeback to everything, and he never stopped smiling,” said Villwock.

For Villwock, and Tom’s close circle of friends who include fellow lawyers and judges in the county, Mason’s passing on Nov. 5 at age 73 “points to the ending of a golden era in our legal community.”

Mason was born in San Francisco and grew up in San Carlos on the Peninsula. His family ties to Northern California are deep. Mason spent summers at his grandparents’ retreat on the Russian River in Sonoma County, and holiday time at a family cabin in Nevada County.

While Mason earned deep respect in the legal arena, he scored big outside the courtroom with his smile, dedication as a community political adviser, and his years of service as a baseball coach for local youth at all levels: Little League, Pony League, and Babe Ruth. 

Mason enjoyed all Bay Area sports teams, the Giants, 49ers, and Warriors at the top of his list. Baseball was his passion, however.

Locally, Mason served as president of the Babe Ruth League during a community overhaul of Anton Stadium, the iconic 1950s-era landmark that is Ukiah’s ‘Field of Dreams.’

Dave Poma, whose family for four generations has played local baseball at Anton, recalls one summer evening sitting with Mason in the stands at Anton after a chance encounter. 

“It was calm and warm. Not a breeze stirred. At one point, Tom and I set in silence for several minutes, listening to the sounds of play and watching action on the field.”

Poma said “Tom finally turned to me, and said, ‘What a perfect night for baseball. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

People like Poma who knew Mason well never just thought of him as a lawyer. “He was such a nice guy. I really enjoyed his company, and his attitude. Tom was a good man, and a real asset to our community.”

Kelvin Chapman, a local baseball legend who played for the New York Mets from 1979 to 1985, remembers Mason’s coaching abilities, and his love of the game. 

“Tom was a great coach who always supported me. I liked asking Tom to coach with me because I got his son Matt too!” said Chapman.

Mason shared his baseball passion with sons Matt and David, and the boys of family friends.

One of Mason’s personal coaching triumphs came when he and his assistant coach Dave Fatch guided their Pony League team to the local championship one summer night at Anton. Over a pitcher of beer after at the Ukiah Brewery, Mason flashed his trademark big smile, and quipped, “There’s joy in Mudville tonight.”

Tom rallied more than 100 local Babe Ruth supporters in 2009 to host a regional Babe Ruth tournament at Anton Stadium for championship teams from Guam, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California. The tournament was the last step before the Babe Ruth World Series. Tom and his crew had only three weeks to pull it together after a previous site fell through.

Tom proudly told sportswriters, “The setting is beautiful, and the field is so well maintained it’s like playing at a professional ballpark.”

Mason in his day was a good baseball player himself. He played a year of college ball at Chico State University, where he graduated with a degree in political science. Mason earned his law degree from the University of California College of Law in San Francisco.

Following his experience at the local legal aid office, Mason opened a private practice with longtime friend and fellow attorney Tim Morrison. Mason & Morrison became one of the county’s preeminent criminal defense firms. 

The law firm eventually located in the historic Republican Press building across School Street from the Mendocino County Courthouse. Upstairs was the firm of Nelson & Riemenschneider before both partners David Nelson and David Riemenschneider became Superior Court judges. Mason & Morrison remodeled the downstairs and expanded to include office space for attorney Jan Cole Wilson. For years the office became a center of afterhours social gatherings, especially during the holidays.

Tim Morrison met Mason at Chico State University and became not only law partners but lifelong friends whose families and children were close.

“Tom was the best partner, and confidante. When illness forced Tom to end his legal career, the fun was gone for me. It was never the same,” said Morrison.

Judge John Behnke was also one of Tom’s closest friends. 

“Our families were tight. Tom and I played sports together. Our kids grew up together. We traveled together. We fished together,” said Behnke. “Our lives were woven together.”

Behnke said “Tom was the kind of guy you could tangle with in the courtroom, and then go out and have a beer or two after.”

Even as the cruel Parkinson’s Disease closed in on him, Mason remained positive. He enjoyed regular lunch outings with longtime friends Nelson, Morrison, Villwock, and others. Later as the illness progressed, group lunches were held in a neighborhood park in good weather. 

“The Covid pandemic presented challenges, but we kept at it. We even did virtual lunches with Tom toward the end,” said Judge Nelson.

Nelson said Tom enjoyed the conversations even when he couldn’t engage himself as the disease deepened. “It seemed Tom liked hearing the courthouse gossip, and laughter about all of our past experiences. He seemed to relish our presence.”

Mason’s wife Sue remembers his passion for helping others in all aspects of life.

“He enjoyed working with kids whether it was coaching his own sons’ teams, engaging in Mock Trial Competitions with Ukiah High School students, being president of various local baseball leagues, or serving on the board for the building and development of the Alex Rorabaugh Recreation Center.”

“Tom loved it all. He was happy to contribute.”

Mason is survived by Sue, sons Matt Mason of Ukiah and David Mason of San Jose, sister Pat Mason of San Francisco; and sister-in-law Christine Alloo and husband Chuck of Los Altos, and brother-in-law Rich Slade and wife Steph of Redwood City.

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Tricholomopsis Sulphureoides Mushrooms (Jeff Goll)

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JEFF GOLL: Good issue Friday with Jim Shields on David Colfax and "Let's knock off the crap." The Doctor seems like a historical figure that you would find at the Kelley House Museum. The photo of R. Nixon and all the adjectives emblazoned on him by Hunter Thompson, with H. Kissinger shows Nixon bowing to the master of vile. And on top of that, the Press Democrat now disallows “disinformation about current events” and PG&E gets sneak rate raise. And in New York state, Habeas Corpus is about to be abolished, bringing them to a pre-Magna Carta state. Let the good times roll.

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KIM BAXTER: These are growing down by the creek near a spot where I generally harvest oysters. They are on and around the base of the tree in the last photo. Someone online ID'ed them as Armillaria. I looked them up in the Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast book and got honey mushrooms. I'm going to attempt my first spore print. If anyone can give me a positive ID I'd be happy to share. I'm in Philo but could meet anywhere between Philo and Boonville. 

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On the south side (Mill to Gobbi), crews will be replacing the sewer line between Gobbi and Cherry. Travel lanes will continue to be open in both directions, and driveways are not expected to be impacted. Please drive carefully around construction crews. Towards the end of the week, weather permitting, work will begin on the joint trench, which will run along the west side of the street and contain underground electric and communication lines.

On the north side (Norton to Henry), lots of work is happening on the sidewalks and driveways on both sides of the street. When new sidewalks are poured, pedestrian access can be allowed the next day. On driveways, however, it takes five or more days for the concrete to cure enough to handle vehicles…thank you for your patience! 

We’ll also begin to see the bases for the new streetlights installed on the north side, and in the coming weeks, the traffic signal at Norton and State will be removed permanently. Because there is already a traffic signal at Scott and State, the removal of this extra light will help traffic flow more efficiently. 

Don’t forget—this Saturday, December 2nd is the Light Parade! The route goes along State Street from Low Gap to Mill, and construction crews will make sure the street is clear for trucks and viewers. Enjoy!

Shannon Riley

Deputy City Manager

City of Ukiah

300 Seminary Avenue

Ukiah, California 95482

(707) 467-5793

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CUBBISON CASE DOCUMENT: Defense Motion to Recuse the District Attorney of Mendocino County

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BILL KIMBERLIN: Saw this sign in Philo. I'm guessing a fire hose is involved.

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Change Our Name Fort Bragg invites you to a Teach-in on Monday, December 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Harbor Lite Lodge, 120 North Harbor Drive, Fort Bragg, CA 95437 in the Upstairs meeting room.

(the teach-in is not at First Presbyterian Church as previously announced).

A local grass roots non-profit, Change Our Name Fort Bragg is dedicated to an educational process that leads to changing the name of Fort Bragg so that it no longer honors a military Fort that dispossessed Indigenous people or Braxton Bragg, a Confederate General. who waged war against our country.

Envisioned as a program to educate attendees about the issues involved in the name change and to hear neighbors’ ideas, the teach-in will last about one hour and will feature three speakers and a question and answer/discussion period.

Speakers will be:

Christie Olson Day arrived in Fort Bragg 25 years ago, and both her children were born and raised here. She owns and manages Gallery Bookshop, on Main Street in Mendocino, and in 2020 served on the Fort Bragg City Council Citizens’ Commission to consider changing the town’s name.

David Martin, originally from Sacramento, moved to Noyo 35 years ago to fish commercially. He bought a house here, got married, raised a child, and had a kayak shop in the harbor for several years.

Carol Furey has lived in the 95437 zip code for over half her life. She is a home health care assistant and family caregiver.

Discussing a controversial topic requires civility and respect for the opinions of others. This program is neither sponsored by nor affiliated with The Harbor Lite Lodge

This program is free and open to all.

for further information:

Philip Zwerling, Ph.D. 

Change Our Name Fort Bragg

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Some of you might remember percussionist Chris Froh, teacher of percussion at UC Davis and Sacramento State, who has performed in Boonville before. A virtuoso giant who regularly concertizes with the leading groups across the US, Chris is also warm and engaging, a true delight. He will be joined by special guests/locals/AVUSD teachers Dustin Carlson (guitar) and Shane Cook (more percussion).

Saturday, December 16th at 6:30pm (Doors open at 6pm)

Sliding scale: $10-$20, youth under 18 and families of AVUSD students get in for free.

Location: Anderson Valley Grange on Highway 128, Philo 

Come prepared to have your socks knocked off, ringing in the holiday season!

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JOHN SAKOWICZ is circulating documents that Sako says prove that Supervisor Mo Mulheren took money from pot growers. I will defer to my colleague Jim Shields of the Mendocino Observer for the rebuttal: “How much money do you think the Pot People have given to all five supervisors over the years, going way back? If that constitutes a Fair Political Practices Act violation, the Supes could never take action on any weed issue, including that failure of all failures, the Pot Ordinance.”

MENDO has run for years on the dual intoxicants of marijuana and wine. Ho hum on supervisorial links to the pot industry. The true reason Mulheren should not be re-elected is the same reason none of the supervisors should be re-elected — their records, an unparalleled accumulation of fiscal irresponsibility and a shameless, shameful capitulation to their own unhinged CEO Angelo as she pursued ruinous policies and her personal enemies list. Add to their long list of malfeasance, their insulting false accusation that former Supervisor McCowen was a thief as he left office, and the recent illegal removal of Chamise Cubbison from her office instigated by a vindictive DA Eyster because Cubbison refused to pay his laughably inflated reimbursement demands. The Cubbison fiasco will cost Mendocino County taxpayers big time when all the legal dust settles. 

WE PRESENTLY SUFFER a board of supervisors not competent to hold public office. Fortunately, the first and fourth district supervisors are not running for re-election.

JACOB BROWN, a combat veteran of the Marine Corps, should replace Mulheren as Second District supervisor. He is a smart guy who has previously met the most crucial responsibility of all, the lives of his fellow Marines. Mulheren, a nice person, is simply in over her head as supervisor.

IN THE SECOND DISTRICT, we think either Carrie Shattuck or Adam Gaska would make good supervisors because both have already demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the looted County budget, and both have regularly attended meetings of the supervisors and are thoroughly prepared to assume the responsibilities of the office. 

THE FOURTH DISTRICT? By acclamation, Fort Bragg mayor, Bernie Norvell, who can justly point to his record as mayor of Mendocino County's sole model of civic functioning. (Check that: Willits is also well-managed. Ukiah is a management mess, Point Arena is so small it manages itself.) Norvell's Fort Bragg experience has prepped him for the supervisor's job. 

THE RESUMPTION of the genocidal attacks on the civilian population of battered Gaza has left me today feeling nauseous, disgusted. As an American and, worse, a registered Democrat, I'm also responsible because I know, and we all know, that the Biden Administration could bring this criminal assault, this shocking every-night-live-at-five ethnic cleansing, to a permanent halt by simply refusing to send more arms to the Israelis. Biden is personally ga-ga and can't be held responsible for anything, but the Democrats, as the reigning political party, certainly can be held responsible by voting them out of office, beginning by tossing our own spineless congressman, Jared Huffman.

WITH all the loose talk about anarchists in the news lately, a local man, now in his mid-90s, told me how as a kid he'd knocked around logging camps from here to Idaho, working in the woods and in the mills. In Idaho he spent a summer in a logging camp dominated by the IWW or Wobblies, the original American anarchists and, speaking in a very broad generality here, the best pure radicals, along with the great Eugene V. Debs, this country has ever produced. The Yorkville man recalled driving over mostly dirt roads all the way to Spokane with an older worker he'd become friendly with in the mill. “The guy didn't talk a lot and he'd lost part of his leg in some kind of accident. We drove to Spokane in an old Model T. He asked me if I wanted to go to a political meeting. Having nothing much else to do and not much money to do it with, I went along. It was an IWW meeting. I'm telling you these guys did not fool around! I was just a kid but they scared hell outta me. They were tough bastards who would fight anybody, and use dynamite when they had to.” A handful of kids dressed in black break a few windows in Oakland and you'd think the revolution had started.

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by Steve Sparks (November 2011)

I met with Lanny at his home south of Boonville near to the Meyer Family Cellars tasting room. We sat at a dining table, where we were to later enjoy some delicious shrimp quesadillas that Lanny prepared, and began our conversation...

Lanny was born in 1935 to parents Sam and Rose. Both were Russian immigrants. His grandfather was from Odessa, in what is now southern Ukraine, and he ran a quarry there so his father grew up very proficient with work horses, receiving only a 3rd-grade education which meant he could read and write and not much more.

In 1902, with the possibility of military service facing him, Lanny’s father came to the US as a 19-year old because ‘I wasn’t good enough to get more education from the Tsar but I was good enough to die for him.’ He came through Ellis Island and settled in Boston. “My father was uneducated and had no training or skills. Many Jews back then went into the garment trade but he became a laundryman at a hospital. He married and had five kids but then his wife died.”

Rose grew up on the Russian/Polish border in a Jewish ghetto — she did not speak Russian, only Yiddish. “They were ‘persona non grata’ and she was not allowed to go to school, although she was very bright and her father taught her arithmetic. She worked in a bakery and was married at eighteen. In 1913, when she was four months pregnant, she and her husband came to the U.S. and settled in Boston. However, when the baby boy was just eight days old the father died of pneumonia — for lack of a penicillin shot. So now she was a single mother who spoke no English and had no money. For a couple of years, she had a candy store. She lived in the back. She met and married a widower and they had two daughters. When her son was eleven and the girls eight and six, husband #2 died of food poisoning. Now she had another candy store and they were living above it.”

Meanwhile, Sam, who had the five children, was looking for a wife. In 1927, a matchmaker put him in touch with Rose and the three of them sat down over a cup of tea and arranged the marriage. “It was strictly a marriage of convenience and was certainly not the ‘Brady Bunch’! There were eight kids and it was not at all easy. They rented the two top floors of a triple-decker building in the Dorchester district of Boston - all the kids were on the 3rd floor and the parents on the 2nd and the candy store on the 1st. Then in 1935 I came along. My parents were fifty-seven and forty-three — I was definitely an ‘oops’ baby. At birth I was an uncle to my eleven-year-old niece — my father’s eldest daughter’s child. My Dad’s kids had all left home and my mother’s children were 21, 18, and 16 when I arrived.”

Dorchester was a predominantly Irish Catholic neighborhood with a small enclave of Jews. “It was a great neighborhood and I grew up a real city kid. We had a gas-lighted lamppost right outside and when we weren’t playing around on the front porch we played night ball while the girls played hopscotch or jumped rope. Everybody knew everyone else and I was a very social kid. I was also a couple of years younger than most of the other kids around and this together with the fact that I had much older siblings meant that I grew up very quickly... A very significant event happened when I was around four years old. My Uncle Jack’s wife died and his two daughters came to live with us. That was fairly typical. One of them, the eight year old, had already decided she wanted to be a teacher and would come home from school every day and need a pupil to ‘play’ with — that was me. I was soon reading, writing, and doing arithmetic at four. It meant that when I was in kindergarten I was bored as I’d already done what we were being taught. I was reading Robert Louis Stevenson while the other kids read Dick and Jane. Anyway, by the 6th grade, it was suggested that I apply to go to the Boston Latin School — the oldest school in the country, founded in 1635, before Harvard even. It was free to Boston residents and so I took a test and was accepted to this very exclusive school along with 1200 other kids from all over the city. It was very tough and I was one of only 200 of those who graduated six years later. It changed my entire life.”

During his time at the Latin School, Lanny studied years of Latin, French, German, English Literature, Math, Physics, etc, etc. He played sports, mainly baseball, but for a local club, not for the school, something he now regrets. “I remember the journey so vividly. I would go by myself as a twelve year old, catch a streetcar, then the train at an elevated station, then a bus, before passing by Harvard Medical School, to Avenue Louis Pasteur and the school — an institution that was attended by six of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, including John Hancock, (although Benjamin Franklin had flunked out). It had a very impressive history and list of alumni, including two Presidents.”

Lanny still hung out with his local friends but made many new ones at his school. “I met many friends through playing baseball and that also exposed me to different cultures for the first time. At home we always had many very animated conversations about religion, the Red Sox, World War II and politics. I also made a third set of friends whom I saw every summer. From 1946 my sisters rented beach houses on the ocean in Winthrop for the summer. I would go along as the baby-sitter for my nieces and nephews and get to play baseball there too. Another summer perk came from a distant uncle’s construction company. They had built Fenway Park in 1912 and they had a lifelong box next to the Red Sox dugout. Eight seats! Thus began a lifelong, heartbreaking relationship. Ah! 2004! “

“While at school I did just about every crappy job from delivering chickens, to packing maternity clothes at a garment factory — (yes, I was in obstetrics at an early age), to working at a furrier, to driving a truck delivering cement and gravel. I did get some pocket money from this but some also went to the family.”

Latin School prepared all its pupils for college. Brandeis, which accepted me, was a new school of about 1000 students and they gave me a full-ride scholarship. In my senior year at high school, my father died. He was seventy-four and I loved him so much. I’m glad he knew I was going to college; first in my family.”

Lanny had planned to live at the college but following his father’s passing he decided to stay at home with his mother and commute the hour plus each way in his 1941 $200 Plymouth — “it was five gallons of recycled oil for every one gallon of gas.” Then in his freshman year of college his mother had a heart attack and died at sixty-one. “I was all alone. My sisters had to shut down the house and everything seemed to just disappear; no mementos were left of my parents. Even my $35 catcher’s mitt disappeared. However, I now have the candlesticks my mother brought over from Russia. I inherited $1000 from insurance and continued my studies but I slipped badly as I started to drink heavily and party and was soon a C or even a D student. Losing my mother really hit me hard and I was trying to numb my feelings. I couldn’t even say the words, ‘mother’, ‘father’, and ‘death’. I couldn’t say them until I was forty years old. I was cutting many classes. At the end of my sophomore year I was informed that my scholarship could not be renewed as my grades were not good enough. It was agreed that I would stay in the dorm and consider that as a loan. Tuition was to come out of my “inheritance” and summer jobs. It was a last chance. That first semester in my junior year I took organic chemistry so that I might ultimately get into grad school. I loved it and soon my grades were back to A’s, I stopped drinking, and began to date a steady girlfriend. I went from two years on the shit list to two years on the Dean’s list.”

Lanny’s scholarship was reinstated and in 1957 he graduated, with former President Harry Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt as the speakers for his class graduation. He decided he did not want to get a PhD in organic chemistry as this would involve too much time confined to the laboratory. Instead, medical school was his preference and he was accepted at the University of Vermont in Burlington. “This had a small town atmosphere and I was ready to leave Boston. In my senior year, in February 1957, I married my steady girlfriend, a psychology graduate from Brandeis who became an elementary school teacher. We had a son three years later — Doug, being born in 1960.”

Lanny graduated from medical school in 1961 and went to Northwestern University at the Evanston, Illinois, campus to do his internship. Daughter Pam was born in 1962 and the young family lived in a small apartment, borrowing money in the form of a student loan to supplement Lanny’s $162.26 a month salary. “A year later, after completing my internship, I began a four-year residency in OB-Gyn back in Vermont and in our second year back there our third child, Melissa was born. By 1966, at the age of 31 all I had done was go to school.”

Now the Vietnam War was really having an impact and Lanny’s student deferment was done. In the summer of 1966 he was drafted and stationed at the 8th Air Force SAC headquarters in Spokane, Washington where “I delivered babies, did other gynecological surgery and stamped out gonorrhea for two years at the air base.”

As this period of military service was winding down, Lanny spotted an ad in the New England Journal of Medicine for a position as Chief of the OB-Gyn Department and Head of the residency program at Highland Hospital in Oakland, California. “I flew down to Oakland on a medevac plane, along with many wounded and maimed soldiers from the war — one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. I took the job and we moved to Walnut Creek in the East Bay. I was there for three years before opening my private practice. A few years later, I received a call from some faculty I knew at UCSF who had the idea of starting a program that would turn nurses into nurse practitioners in the area of family planning. This was not agreeable to the majority of OB-Gyns who did not want nurses (women) doing a gynecologists (man’s) job, but I thought it would be a great idea, so I became the medical director of this program at the UCSF School of Nursing. The program was so successful that it led to the establishment at UC of many nurse practitioner programs now available in all specialties. There was also a growing demand for home births. So subsequently I introduced the ‘Alternative Birth Center’ (ABC) that was a room which looked like a bedroom but was in the hospital near to the necessary equipment in case of an emergency. Safer! There was also opposition to the ABC, the second one in the Bay area. This was the beginning of family and kids watching and assisting in the births of their children/siblings and was a fabulous move. The C-section rate amongst my ABC patients was just 2%, which is phenomenal. Other doctors were not sure about it as they did not want to be watched and needed to be in control of the situation.”

OB-Gyn was very hard work with long hours. In 1980 he and his wife were divorced. In 1981 he met a woman by the name of Sandy when they were on a hospital manager’s retreat in Yosemite. She was the manager of Health Information at Eden Hospital where Lanny was now the President of the Medical Staff. “There was a little flirting, I suppose, but then I just did not see her around for about six months. Then one evening our paths crossed at a “local watering hole”, we went for nachos together in Jack London Square in Oakland, and the rest is history. We fell in love with each other, and with Kauai, on Sandy’s first trip to the islands. We bought a house together in Orinda, and shortly after we were married in Lihue in January 1986.” Over time the workload took its toll on Lanny and at the age of 50, in 1985, he had a heart attack. “My friends joked about the ‘physical exertions’ that might be affected by the big difference in my age and Sandy’s age. I said ‘Well, if she dies, she dies’!... And then I had my second heart attack. That was a life-changer.”

Lanny realized that he had been very fortunate to survive about 50% of people die with each heart attack. “I thought ‘How can I die, I really haven’t lived yet?’ I had been working all of the time. I met with my partner and asked if he wanted to take over the practice, which was huge by this time. He said he would and I sold him everything — even my stethoscope!”

Lanny now embarked on his second avocation -- home design. “I took a drafting course at UC Berkeley. I began to help people remodel their homes. I had always liked thinking about designing and planning and even though I had no license I found work. It was fun and brought in some income.”

By about 1988/89, Lanny and Sandy decided they wanted to buy a second property. “We looked from Carmel all the way up to the Lost Coast. We wanted beach property and soon fell in love with the Mendocino Coast. However, after many visits when we’d stay at the Albion River Inn we realized the weather out there was not to our liking. We would drive through Anderson Valley to and from the coast and we stopped in Boonville. It was sunny and warm as we walked around. We had lunch at the ‘Smiling Deer’ (now Lauren’s) and decided to look around the area. We had three offers turned down before finding this place, forty acres with nothing on it apart from the original sheep barn. We bought in 1990. After a couple of years, I really started to wonder why we’d bought the property — perhaps I was a city boy after all. However, Sandy is a country girl who loves horses so I decided to persevere and we built a small guest house. This led to a larger building — the design of which had been in my head since college. We’d come up most weekends and then we stayed here for the summer with the horse and dog. That was it. I decided I was not going back! It really did happen that suddenly. I fell in love with something that I didn’t even know existed.”

Sandy returned to Orinda as she had to complete her teaching commitment at Chabot College, but by 1994 they were both living in the Valley. For his first two years up here Lanny awarded himself the ‘Hermit of the Year’ prize — “I basically just contemplated my navel. I was what Bruce Anderson at the AVA calls a ‘hill muffin,’ but I had earned my right to do that.” 

Sandy was now teaching at Santa Rosa Junior College where there became an opening to teach a couple classes — medical terminology and pathophysiology. Lanny took the job and for the next seventeen years worked there two days a week. “I loved the teaching but then the politics, the administration, the money I saw being wasted, the commute, were all too much and I resigned — that was this past May.”

In the mid-90s it came to Lanny’s attention that only six out of 30 in the senior class went to college from the Anderson Valley High School. “I volunteered in the AVID program to help these kids get into college, many struggled with the language. I could relate to that given my parents’ background and I became a tutor and mentor. Now nearly all of the kids go to college. I was invited to join the AV Education Foundation (AVEF) Board. We find fun ways to raise money, then use the money to fund student scholarships and internships and myriads of enrichment experiences for students.”

A whole social life developed from Lanny’s involvement with the AVEF and it did not take long for Lanny and Sandy to not miss the city life. “We seem to have a full social calendar; there is so much going on here. Everyone is here because they want to be here. This is a real community. It is an unexpected joy over and over again. At my granddaughter’s school the motto is ‘The first third of your life is spent learning; the second third spent earning; and the final third is spent giving back.’ That is my story — after spending so much of my early life hearing the alternative mantra — ‘You’re born, life sucks, and then you die.’ “

I asked Lanny about his religious upbringing. “I was sent to Hebrew School at the age of seven. That led to my early decision to become an atheist. There are three Jewish groups — Orthodox, Conservative, and Reformed. We were the unofficial fourth group — the Food Jews. Yes, my folks did two days of Rosh Hashanah and a day for Yom Kippur, but that was it — we were three-day Jews and did not go to Temple. However, I was bar mitzvah’d so I did comply and fulfilled my obligation. Done!”

What is a verbal image of your father? “He always dressed immaculately, with suits pressed and shirts ironed by himself. He was only 5’ 6” but very strong. He was old so he couldn’t play sports with me but we did go fishing and horseback riding a few times. We would spend time together in his basement workshop. He’d collect pieces of old wood and remove the nails. He taught me to straighten them out for reuse. I guess you could say we are what America is supposed to be all about — in one generation I went from straightening nails to performing microsurgery on fallopian tubes. And he taught me everything one needs to know about economics -- whether you are rich or poor, it’s good to have money.”

And your mother? “She was quite a gal. I was so lucky. She would put her hand under my chin, look at me with love in her eyes, just stare at me, and then give my chin a little squeeze. She had no rules but we followed them anyway! We knew what was expected of us. She was a real character with many friends. A heart of gold and very loyal. Simple yet intelligent with street smarts. She was a good cook with a limited repertoire of dishes. We may have been very poor, but I never went to bed hungry.”

And what family do you now have? “Well, Doug is in Washington DC with his wife and two kids, Maddy and Andrew; Pam is in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and three children, Alison (my oldest grandchild at 23), Ryan, and Evan; and Melissa is in Leesberg, Virginia, with her husband and their three, Alex, Samantha, and the youngest of all, Brooklyn who is 9. The three oldest have graduated from college — NYU, Boston, and Colorado — and they all have jobs!”

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, Friday, December 1, 2023

Cauckwell, Faust, Grant, Martinez

RICHARD CAUCKWELL, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

MATTHEW FAUST, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

JOSEPH GRANT, San Francisco/Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

PABLO MARTINEZ II, Covelo. Failure to appear.

Nieters, Smart, Villegas, Ziegler


CHEY SMART, Lucerne/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

DAMIAN VILLEGAS, Willits. DUI, assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury.

ROBERT ZIEGLER, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, special allegiation victim over 70 years old.

* * *


A series of decisions by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) are devastating the state’s rooftop solar industry. Following a December 2022 decision to transition from net metering to a new net billing structure, the CPUC has approved additional rules that make it harder than expected for solar businesses to operate and for Californians to choose solar.

While the solar and storage industry adapts to an abrupt shift to net billing, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has added insult to industry with a series of damaging decisions that completely change the environment for rooftop solar in California.

Earlier this month, the Commission approved rules that do not allow schools, farms, and small businesses to fully benefit from their onsite solar generation, and just this week, it disallowed solar and storage customers from using the excess energy they generate to offset utility delivery charges. This change extends the payback period for solar and storage customers far beyond what the CPUC used to justify the new net billing structure, and it weakens the grid by disincentivizing energy storage additions.

The result of these decisions is that California’s residential solar market is expected to decline by 40% next year, and the state’s commercial rooftop sector is expected to decline by 25% from 2024 to 2025. In human terms, this drop off means thousands of jobs will be lost and California will take a massive step back in its fight against climate change, which is already impacting communities across the state.

The solar and storage industry is calling on state leaders and the CPUC to change course before they cause more damage to America’s leading clean energy market.

— Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (

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* * *


by Ann Killion

Brock Purdy has nothing to prove. Not inside the San Francisco 49ers’ locker room. Not within the confines of the 49ers’ fully convinced fan base.

But nationally? That’s a different story.

Purdy is still regarded with skepticism, as simply the beneficiary of his surroundings. Which makes Sunday’s monster matchup a “prove it” game for the 49ers’ second-year quarterback — no matter what he says.

“Have I had this game circled for the last year?” Purdy said. “Honestly, it hasn’t been like that for me. It’s about how can I be the best from the start of the season to where we are now. Taking it one day, one week at a time, and this is our next challenge.

“Week 13. Philadelphia.”

Purdy might not have had it circled but the rest of the football world has, ever since the schedule was released. This is the matchup that we never got in January because the 49ers were forced to try the novel trick of playing an NFC Championship Game without a healthy quarterback. That’s a narrative that makes the Eagles and their fans howl in frustration, but was valid enough to lead to an NFL rule change in the offseason.

Now, on the same Lincoln Financial Field where the championship game ended before it ever really began, the 49ers have a chance to prove that they can beat the Eagles. Purdy can prove that, with a functioning elbow, he can beat the best team in the NFC. Right now, the best team in all of football.

Purdy enters the game with the best passer rating in the NFL. With the best completion percentage in the NFL. With the best yards per attempt in the NFL.

And, probably, with the lowest level of respect to performance ratio for any quarterback with those kinds of statistics at the helm of an 8-3 team in NFL history.

On Thursday, Purdy was asked whether he was motivated by Philadelphia pundits calling him “the weak link” on his team.

A brief smile flickered across Purdy’s mouth, but he delivered his answer in his typical even-keeled manner.

“Yeah, that’s the first time I’ve heard that, so I don’t really know exactly how I feel about that,” he said. “That’s fine. I’m playing quarterback for the 49ers and we have a good team and I’m just trying to do my job.”

He does have a good team. And that’s what the rest of the world sees: Kyle Shanahan, a ferocious defense, Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, Trent Williams. 

And, then there’s the 262nd pick in the 2022 NFL draft who looks like and talks like an Eagle Scout — can you get a merit badge in passer rating? — and who is absolutely doing his job.

The Mr. Irrelevant part of Purdy’s story will never go away, nor should it. It’s what sports legends are made of: Kurt Warner’s grocery shelves, Steve Young’s Tampa Bay disaster, Tom Brady’s sixth-round slot.

But Sunday’s game is a chance for Purdy to become so much more than that to the rest of the NFL.

Sunday is only a regular-season game, and quarterback legacies are made in the postseason. Purdy has already played in three playoff games and already has plenty of big moments in his young career.

But in some ways this will be the biggest moment to date. When he was in the playoffs, he was still a relative unknown. Though Shanahan was already convinced that Purdy would be his quarterback of the future, he was still technically a third-stringer, forced into action by injury. 

Now he has been anointed. His onetime rival for the job is a third-stringer in Dallas. Purdy has returned from his devastating arm injury better than ever. He has won 16 of the 19 games in which he has taken a majority of the snaps. He is a smarter, more polished quarterback than the one who took the field on Jan. 29.

“I’ve grown mentally with the playbook, with the system, with the guys that I’m playing with,” he said. “I feel like at the time (in January) I was still trying to find my way in the NFL. Play consistently and prove to the guys that I can play.

“Now it’s all about how can I be consistent, every single drive, every game and being able to handle all the factors that come with playing quarterback. The noises, keeping guys calm, collected. In that game, at that time, I don’t know if I was that guy.”

He is that guy now, as he returns to the site of his injury. To one of the toughest places to play in all of the NFL, in front of one of the loudest, meanest fan bases. To a field that could be wet and cold and sloppy. Leading a team intent on not blowing its current chance to make a run at a championship.

“Yeah, I got hurt there, but for me it’s Week 13, on the road in a hostile environment late in the season,” Purdy said. “Am I going to go back and feel a certain way?

“Every game, when I go to the stadium, I take a moment to just be thankful for where I’m at. So none of that changes. But am I going to go in and get all sentimental? It’s not really like that. Am I going into the game saying I want revenge? It’s not like that.

“I’m just going to try to do my job and be the best Brock that I can be for this team.”

He has been the best Brock he can be for the 49ers. They don’t need any convincing. Sunday is a chance to convince the world.

(SF Chronicle)

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* * *


by Emily Hoeven

Like many, I didn’t have high hopes that the “Blue State vs. Red State” debate between California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would be civil or substantive. 

Unfortunately, things were even worse than I thought. The closest thing to a winner Thursday night was unhinged male rage.

The 90-minute debate between the two men, moderated by Fox News talking head Sean Hannity in an empty studio in Alpharetta, Georgia, frequently devolved into incomprehensible yelling matches in which DeSantis, Newsom and even Hannity talked over each other at progressively louder volumes as the night wore on. 

At two different points, DeSantis pulled out pieces of paper he appears to have kept crumpled in his jacket pocket: one a picture of a pornographic scene that he said was in books available in California school libraries, and one showing a map of feces on the streets of San Francisco. (Even Newsom appeared to get a bit of a kick out of that one.) 

DeSantis and Newsom also frequently resorted to name-calling, with DeSantis on numerous occasions referring to Newsom as a “slick and slippery” politician and both men calling each other bullies. Newsom said he agreed with critics who describe the Florida governor as “small, weak and pathetic.” 

Then there was Hannity, who threw softballs at DeSantis while asking much tougher questions of Newsom — all while doing little to keep the discussion on track. 

Newsom managed to work in a couple of zingers against DeSantis, noting that the only thing the two men had in common was that neither would be their party’s presidential nominee in 2024. At another point, he asked when DeSantis would drop out of the Republican presidential race so that former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who’s rising in the polls, would have a chance of beating former President Donald Trump.

When DeSantis grew particularly agitated, Newsom said archly, “Ron, relax.” 

What was the point of this chaotic and largely unproductive spectacle? I’m not sure there was one.

Newsom and DeSantis are unlikely to face each other in an election; Newsom insists that he isn’t running for president in 2024.

Hannity, meanwhile, tried to sell the debate as a serious opportunity for two of America’s highest-profile governors to illuminate their wildly different approaches to governing and their divergent visions for the nation. 

If that was indeed the intent, viewers received no such illumination on Thursday night.

Given that the debate appeared to rise out of Newsom trolling DeSantis on X (formerly Twitter) in a post that mentioned both men’s hair products — and that, once agreed upon, the debate was marketed like a boxing match — it seems pretty clear that this was always intended to be a ratings gimmick. 

Hannity, of course, stood to benefit the most. Both Newsom and DeSantis got to boost their national profiles, and neither had much to lose. DeSantis’ presidential campaign is barely afloat; any airtime for him right now is a plus. Newsom, meanwhile, got to tout the Biden administration and California’s policies on Fox News, whose viewers rarely hear Democratic points of view.

Newsom deserves credit for participating in a forum where he was essentially outnumbered 2:1, with Hannity clearly siding with DeSantis and asking pointedly negative questions about California, while floating neutral or positive questions about Florida. 

Nevertheless, there was little substance to be found. Newsom and DeSantis spent much of the evening accusing each other of lying and making up facts — about COVID death rates, about the number of people moving into and out of their respective states, about tax burdens, about education scores, about violent crime rates, about abortion policies. Rather than swaying anyone, the debate likely just sowed further distrust among already polarized viewers. 

Throughout the long 90 minutes, I could feel my blood pressure rising, and found myself continually checking my watch to see when the torture would end. 

When Hannity finally announced the last question, I let out a sigh of relief. But then he asked if the men would commit to another debate in the future, and Newsom said he had all night to keep talking — prompting Hannity to say the debate would be extended another 20 minutes or so after the commercial break. 

I stared in disbelief and something akin to horror. What was the point of prolonging this yelling match? 

Thankfully, when the commercial break ended, Newsom and DeSantis didn’t reappear onscreen. Apparently, the debate was over after all. 

I guess even Hannity realized we all needed to be put out of our misery.

(SF Chronicle)


by Frank Bruni

It’s remarkable how fixated Ron DeSantis and Gavin Newsom have been on each other. It’s weird. These two opposite-party governors from opposite coasts of the country have been sparring — repeatedly, haughtily, naughtily — for more than two years. If their debate on Thursday night had been the climactic scene in a Hollywood rom-com, Newsom would have left his lectern, marched purposefully over to DeSantis, cut him off mid-insult and swept him into his arms, the tension between them revealed as equal parts ideological and erotic.

That, alas, was not how the event played out. While I occasionally detected a spark in each man’s eyes — cocksure recognizes cocksure and has a grudging respect for it — I more often winced at the strychnine in their voices. Their loathing is sincere. It was there at the start of the debate, when DeSantis, in the first minute of his remarks, managed to mention Newsom’s infamously hypocritical pandemic dinner at the French Laundry. It was there in the middle, when DeSantis brought up the French Laundry again.

And, oh, how it was there in Newsom’s wicked mockery of DeSantis’s plummeting promise as a presidential candidate. He noted that he and DeSantis had something “in common,” alluding to the fact that he himself is not making a White House bid. “Neither of us will be the nominee for our party in 2024.”

Newsom didn’t stop there, later saying that DeSantis was pathetically trying to “out-Trump Trump.” “By the way,” he quickly added, “how is that going for you, Ron? You’re down 41 points in your own home state.” And later still, for good measure: “When are you going to drop out and at least give Nikki Haley a shot to take down Donald Trump and this nomination?”

Soon, I hope. But that didn’t mean the question was a good look for Newsom — or a good look for America.

That was my problem with the Florida and California governors, as well as their face-off, which took place on a stage in Alpharetta, Ga., and was moderated by Sean Hannity and televised live by Fox News. While the gov-on-gov action was billed as a battle of red-state and blue-state worldviews and governing agendas, of the Republican way and the Democratic way, it became even more of a mirror of just how little quarter each side will give the other, how little grace it will show, how spectacularly it fails at constructive and civil dialogue, how profoundly and quickly it descends into pettiness.

There was substance, yes — more than at the three Republican presidential debates — but it wasn’t broached honestly and maturely. It was instead an opportunity for selective statistics, flamboyant evasions, quipping, posturing. Each of these self-regarding pols kept altering the angle of his stance, shifting the altitude of his chin, changing his smile from caustic to complacent. It was as if they were rearranging their egos.

And the dishonesty extended to Hannity, who front-loaded and stacked the roughly 90 minutes with Republicans’ favorite talking points and their preferred attacks on President Biden. There wasn’t a whisper from Hannity about abortion or DeSantis’s support of a six-week ban until 65 minutes into the event, nor did Hannity press the two candidates on matters of democracy, on the rioting of Jan. 6, 2021, on Trump’s attacks on invaluable American institutions, on his flouting of the rule of law.

Those issues have immeasurable importance, but they took a back seat to border security, crime, tax rates and Americans’ movement to red states from blue ones. Fox News’s real agenda was to make Newsom’s defense of the Biden administration look like a lost cause. The cable network failed to do so, because Newsom is too forceful a brawler and too nimble a dancer to let that happen.

He persuasively described DeSantis as the personification of right-wing, red-state stinginess and spitefulness. DeSantis punishingly cast Newsom as left-wing, blue-state profligacy in the flesh. One exchange late in the debate perfectly captured that dynamic.

Feigning charitableness, DeSantis acknowledged: “California does have freedoms that some people don’t, that other states don’t. You have the freedom to defecate in public in California. You have the freedom to pitch a tent on Sunset Boulevard. You have the freedom to create a homeless encampment under a freeway and even light it on fire.” His litany went on.

Newsom exuberantly countered it. “I love the rant on freedom,” he said sarcastically. “I mean, here’s a guy who’s criminalizing teachers, criminalizing doctors, criminalizing librarians and criminalizing women who seek their reproductive care.” All excellent points and all reasons, beyond the kinder climate, that I’d pilot my U-Haul toward California before Florida.

But neither of the two governors left his analysis there. Just seconds later, they were trading taunts and talking over each other, as they had the whole night, during which each called the other a liar or something akin to it dozens of times.

“You’re nothing but a bully,” Newsom said, switching up the slurs.

“You’re a bully,” DeSantis shot back. I braced for an “I’m rubber, you’re glue” coda. In its place, I got the indelible image of DeSantis holding up a map that apparently charted the density of human feces in various areas of San Francisco.

Neither of them won the debate. Haley did, because nothing about DeSantis’s screechy performance is likely to reverse her recent ascent into a sort of second-place tie with him in the Republican primary contest. Gretchen Whitmer did, because Newsom’s pungent smugness no doubt made many viewers more curious about the Michigan governor than about him as a Democratic prospect in 2028.

By agreeing to this grim encounter, Newsom and DeSantis implicitly presented themselves as de facto leaders of their respective parties, with a relative youthfulness — Newsom is 56, and DeSantis is 45 — that distinguishes them from the actual leaders of their parties: Biden, 81, and Trump, 77.

But leadership wasn’t what they displayed, and what they modeled was the boastful, belligerent manner in which most political disagreements are hashed out these days, an approach that yields more heat than light. “We have never been this divided,” Hannity proclaimed at the start, referring to the country, and just about every subsequent minute exhaustingly and depressingly bore out that assessment.

The scariest part of all was when Hannity raised the possibility of extending the event by half an hour. The disagreeable governors agreed, proving that they had two other things in common: an appetite for attention and an itch to squabble.

And the happiest part? When Hannity didn’t follow through on that threat. We’d all witnessed squabbling enough.

(NY Times)

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King Tides, Fort Bragg (photo by Mitch Crispe)

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In bizarre House hearing on censorship, Democrats not only show they don't care, they announce themselves as the chief advocates of new speech-control programs

by Matt Taibbi

I testified in congress Thursday. The hearing was somehow both boring and surreal. The one exchange that got pulses racing involved myself, Michael Shellenberger, House Judiciary chair Jim Jordan, and especially New York’s Dan Goldman. Goldman must never have seen Tropic Thunder. Congressman, to quote the great Kirk Lazarus, hats off for going there, especially knowing how the Academy is about that shit. Everyone knows you never go fully…

GOLDMAN: I’m sure you are aware… the social media platforms to whom they flagged potentially problematic tweets took action on only 35% of them and only 13% of them were removed…

JORDAN: Mr. Shellenberger, is 13% censorship still censorship? 

SHELLENBERGER: Absolutely… 35% of the URLs that were spread to [Stanford’s Election Integrity Partnership] were labeled, removed, or soft-blocked… all forms of censorship.

GOLDMAN: But 65% were not! So how can the government be so coercive?

SHELLENBERGER: Does the First Amendment say the government can censor 35%?

TAIBBI: Do we have 35% of a First Amendment?

GOLDMAN: It’s not the First Amendment! It’s the terms of service, as you said [editor’s note: I didn’t say]. And they’re flagging it for the social media companies to make their own decisions…

At this point, someone in the gallery with a microphone laughed, and I mean laughed loudly. It wasn’t Michael or me, but I wasted a good second and a half trying to figure out where the snicker came from. Meanwhile Goldman was continuing:

GOLDMAN: That is not the First Amendment, that is the terms of service.

JORDAN: We have seen…

TAIBBI: Congressman, you’re an attorney. You know four federal judges have already ruled…

GOLDMAN: And I know that it's on appeal in front of the Supreme Court right now. Ha ha ha!

Forget about the bizarre strategy of making an argument by introducing the most adverse evidence — I wondered if Goldman had ever done defense work, i.e. “Your honor, my client only stole 35% of this car!” — Goldman in his exchange with Shellenberger spat out, staccato-style, one misstatement after another:

GOLDMAN: You are aware, of course, that the laptop, so to speak, was actually, that was published in the New York Post, was actually a hard drive that the New York Post admitted here was not authenticated as real. It was not the laptop, the FBI had. You’re aware of that, right? 

SHELLENBERGER: It was the same contents. 

GOLDMAN: How do you know? 

SHELLENBERGER: (scrunching face, incredulous) Because it is the same!

GOLDMAN: You would’ve to authenticate it to know it was the same contents. 

In the years since Miranda Devine’s New York Post article came out, enough reporters to fill a Higgins boat and storm Utah beach have worked on verifying its contents. Ben Schreckinger of Politico published a book detailing how he confirmed key portions, Ken Vogel, Katie Benner, and Michael Schmidt from New York Times said emails in the laptop cache “were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation,” and the Washington Post, after sneering at the “alleged” laptop, waited two years to publish findings of experts who “confirmed the veracity of thousands of emails,” among others. This story has been authenticated, to steal a phrase from Chuck Schumer, six ways from Sunday. 

They went on:

SHELLENBERGER: Are you suggesting the New York Post participated in a conspiracy to construct the contents of the Hunter Biden laptop? 

GOLDMAN: No, sir. The problem is that hard drives can be manipulated by Rudy Giuliani or Russia.

I almost dropped my forehead on our desktop paneling at that one. What was Goldman saying? That the article’s publication should have been pre-empted because it might have been manipulated by “Rudy Giuliani or Russia”? They went on:

SHELLENBERGER: What’s the evidence of that that happening? 

GOLDMAN: Well, there is actual evidence of it.

No, there’s not, I thought, but not only was Shellenberger already on it, Goldman also must have realized he’d swum out too far from shore with that one, because before Michael could finish his retort, he raised his voice, confidently changing the subject using an old-school lawyering trick: 

SHELLENBERGER: No, there’s no evidence. So you’re engaged in a conspiracy theo—

GOLDMAN: (thundering, in And Justice For All style) I’m glad you agree with me, Mr. Shellenberger, that transparency is the most important thing. 

Here a look of despair flashed across Goldman’s face for a split second as he realized he’d forgotten a key part of this mock-trial tactic. In the “I’m glad you agree with me, sir, that frogs are green” deal, you have to burn a question soliciting the “agreement” first. Panicking, he tried to do it in reverse order, I guess hoping no one would notice:

GOLDMAN: And my last question for you is, do you think it would be transparent if Hunter Biden came to this Congress and testified in a public hearing and more transparent than if he testified privately? 

SHELLENBERGER: (his whole body a shrug) I mean, literally. I've never thought about that.

The gallery exploded in laughter. I couldn’t be sure, but I thought some of the Democratic staffers might even have smiled a little. 

Another amazing moment came when North Carolina congressman Dan Bishop pressed the Democratic witness, former Mike Pence staffer Olivia Troye, if she was aware of the court rulings in the Missouri v. Biden case affirming that the White House, the FBI, and other agencies likely violated the First Amendment. Now, I feel bad pointing out this moment, because I don’t have anything against Troye and it was obvious she had only been invited so Democrats like Plaskett had the option of taking a knee on any snap and asking “Ms. Troye, isn’t it true Donald Trump is the real threat here?” whenever needed. But this exchange actually happened:

BISHOP: Are you aware of [the Missouri v. Biden case] that and does it affect your view that all of this is a figment of our imagination?

TROYE: I am aware of the decision. I also want to clarify, I have not actually have never said that this is a conspiracy. You’ve not heard that comment from me.

At this moment Shellenberger, keeping his eyes forward, slid the paper copy of Troye’s opening statement in my direction, and pointed to a line, right there in black and white:

Instead of continuing to spread conspiracy theories about government censorship, this Committee should instead focus on the very real and dangerous threat posed by the leading Republican candidate…

Troye said the verbatim quote like eight seconds before denying it. I didn’t laugh, but when I looked over at the impressive deadpan on Shellenberger’s stone face — Michael can be really funny at times — I almost lost it. 

Most of the rest of the hearing was tooth-pullingly dull, as it was clear Democrats learned from the first hearing, or got advice from a Burson-Marsteller-type firm, and decided not to do the character assassination routine that went so badly last time. In fact, they barely asked any questions at all. The only other Democrat who asked me anything was the incomparable Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who went to this place, asking if I would favor allowing “livestream rape and murder” by terrorists online.

When I said no, she replied, “Good. You do have absolutist policies. But…”

“I do not have absolutist policies,” I said.

“Please don’t interrupt me,” she replied, and when I tried to ignore her, she added, “You do have absolutist policies” adding that if a Homeland Security official said what I had, I’d call it censorship.

It’s weird enough that we’ve spent a year talking about the suppression of legitimate scientific opinion, true reporting, jokes, and other forms of protected speech, and Wasserman-Schultz’s question was, “Yes or no, are in you favor of livestreamed snuff films?” But the “absolutist views” thing was amazing because I’ve said over and over I don’t have them. She needs new staffers.

In any case, readers, I screwed up. In recent weeks, while preparing to testify for this hearing, Shellenberger and I had come to a conclusion. Not only was it important to publish at least some of Michael’s explosive new #CTIFiles documents ahead of the hearing, we had to try to find a way to reach Democratic voters. With Missouri v. Biden on the horizon, and multiple other lawsuits and legislative battles about digital speech control looming, I thought it was important to try to dent the years-long PR campaign coding speech as a “right wing only” issue. Just as the Occupy movement successfully appealed to “the 99%,” I thought the “anti-disinformation” complex needed to be framed as what it is, a tool that will be used by a very few to subdue pretty much everyone, not just in America but everywhere. 

As a result, I wasted at least 36 hours tinkering with a Hail Mary speech designed to try to reach any Americans left in the ranks of old-school Ira Glasser/Russ Feingold liberalism. The effort was so desperate, I even sank to framing the issue in Marxist terms, explaining in my opening remarks that the “trusted flaggers” in laws like the Digital Services Act and programs like the Election Integrity Partnership will always, in 100% of cases, be administered by affluent, professional-class Americans insisting on advanced degrees from favored institutions as prerequisites for entry. Stripped of all the tearful rhetoric about “countering hate” and “reducing harm,” anti-disinformation was, I said, just another “bluntly elitist gatekeeping” scam. 

Then the hearing broke out, and I realized I was at least 20 years out of date. The current Democrats are no longer milquetoast militarists salivating for Lockheed and Carlyle Group donations who’ll tolerate the occasional Kucinich or Paul Wellstone to attract civil libertarians like me. That iteration is gone. 

This party has one public message (“But Trump!”, which they’ll repeat absolutely without limit, just as certain totalitarian movements kept pulling triggers without ever hitting a shame moment at the end of the tunnel). Behind that, they’re not just morally absent cynics, as I always used to imagine, they’re the bad guys, and America This Week co-host Walter Kirn is right: stopping them electorally is probably the only way forward.

What a mess, and what a missed opportunity. Apologies for the clown show. More from the #CTIFiles to come…

* * *

Before & After In House Testimony

I know I said I wasn’t going to dwell on this, but some things are too funny. In yesterday’s surreal House hearing on censorship, the Democrats’ witness Olivia Troye denied to North Carolina congressman Dan Bishop something she’d said in her opening statement.

It turns out the time between Troye statements “Instead of continuing to spread conspiracy theories about government censorship” and “I’ve never said this was a conspiracy, you have not heard that comment from me” was exactly one hour. That has to be a first of some kind, although one minute would’ve been more impressive. 

* * *

* * *


As a curious person, I somehow became a conspiracist against the government. This is incorrect. I have met with no one to “conspire”.

My large extended family gathered at Thanksgiving (+40) and only 3 of us have accusations against the gov’t for management of Covid. The others seem to think the government did what it could and the problem has now thankfully gone away.

They do not want to talk about it. And the three of us want to talk about nothing else but we demur to keep the peace. We do love our family.

What can change this? Our family has had no bad outcomes from vaccines (that we know of) or in my case, know of friends who have been vaccine injured. So the Reality I inhabit, being twice jabbed, argues against the term ‘slow kill bioweapon’.

* * *


Though it’s slipped out of the headlines since Israel’s barbaric campaign against Gaza, the Russian-Ukraine war is as bloody as ever, bloodier if the most recent casualty numbers are to be believed. The British military claims Russia has suffered more dead and wounded troops over the last six weeks than almost any other period of the war so far. According to the Ministry of Defense status report released on Monday: “Previously, the deadliest reported month for Russia was March 2023 with an average of 776 losses per day, at the height of Russia’s assault on Bakhmut…Throughout November 2023, Russian casualties, as reported by the Ukrainian General Staff, are running at a daily average of 931 per day.”

Meanwhile, last weekend Russia unleashed a 75-drone attack on targets in Kyiv, the largest since the invasion began almost two years ago. According to CNN: “The attack on Kyiv left 77 residential buildings and 120 establishments in the city center temporarily without power Saturday, before supply was restored later in the day.”

Though the war remains locked in what seems to be a perpetual stalemate, Russia’s ambitions don’t seem to have diminished, at least rhetorically. During his speech at the World Russian People’s Council, Vladimir Putin, battling growing discontent with the war at home, continued to call for the annexation of all Ukraine, declaring its citizens should be part of a single “Russian nation” and a wider “Russian world” including other non-East Slavic ethnicities in both Russia and the former territories of the Soviet Union and Russian Empire. 

— Jeffrey St. Clair, Counterpunch

* * *

* * *


by Neve Gordon

In the early 1990s I worked at Physicians for Human Rights – Israel. Not long after the Oslo Accords were signed we moved from offices on Gordon Street in Tel Aviv to larger premises on Allenby Street, not far from the Great Synagogue. Walking home from work one day, I noticed a small plaque near the synagogue’s entrance. Written in Hebrew and English, it says: ‘The Lehi used the basement and attic of this synagogue as a secret arms cache. It was discovered by the British during the “great curfew” imposed in July 1946, and the weapons were confiscated.’

Lehi was a Zionist paramilitary organisation that operated primarily against the British forces in Mandatory Palestine, but it was also among the groups that carried out the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre, killing at least 107 Palestinians. Four years earlier, the group had assassinated Walter Guinness, also known as Lord Moyne, the British minister resident in the Middle East. Later terrorist attacks included the assassination in 1948 of the Swedish diplomat Folke Bernadotte, the United Nations mediator between Israel and Arab countries.

The first provisional government of Israel declared Lehi a terrorist organisation and arrested more than two hundred members, but offered them a general amnesty before the first elections in January 1949. Thirty years later, Israel introduced the Lehi ribbon, honoring the militant group’s ‘activity in the struggle for the establishment of Israel’ and in 1983 a former leader of the organisation, Yitzhak Shamir, became prime minister. It was around this time that the plaque was placed in front of the Great Synagogue commemorating its role in the Zionist struggle for liberation – namely, hiding arms deployed in Lehi’s terrorist attacks.

A few kilometres from the Great Synagogue, in Ramat Gan, the first elementary school in the city was used for similar purposes. Its plaque says that the place was used by the Etzel during the 1930s and 1940s for weapons training and as a secret arms cache.

Etzel, a Hebrew acronym for Irgun Zvai Leumi (the National Military Organisation), is the group that bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946, killing 91 people and injuring scores of others. Led at one stage by Menachem Begin, the paramilitary group also participated in the Deir Yassin massacre and several other terrorist attacks before morphing into the ‘Freedom Party’ (Tnuat Herut). A letter to the New York Times in December 1948, signed by Hannah Arendt, Albert Einstein and others, described the party as ‘closely akin in its organisation, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties’. In 1977, it became the major partner of the newly formed Likud, which has been ruling Israel on and off ever since.

Synagogues and schools were not the only places Zionist paramilitary groups used to hide fighters and equipment. The Magen David Adom (Red Star of David) station in Netanya has a plaque which says that ‘the medical centre was used to cover and camouflage the operations of Haganah’s command centre in Netanya – the military arm of the state to come.’ This plaque also suggests that the pre-state use of civilian sites as a cover for military purposes is something that Israelis today should be proud of.

The use of civilian sites by paramilitary groups was in no way unique to Mandatory Palestine. When the Prussians occupied France in 1870, the French francs-tireurs or free shooters were ‘farmers by day and fighters by night’. From the American Revolution and the Italian Risorgimento to anti-colonial struggles in Malaya, India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam as well as Algeria, Angola and Palestine, militants have hidden among civilians in what we now call people’s wars. Given the asymmetry of power between non-state paramilitary groups and national armies, the ability to blend into the civilian population was necessary for military survival. Today, hi-tech state militaries deploy new surveillance technologies and enhanced weapon systems to find and kill militants much more easily, driving paramilitary groups across the globe to move into densely populated urban settings where they can conceal themselves more easily. Hamas, in this sense, is no outlier.

It has consequently been accused by Daniel Hagari, an Israeli military spokesperson, of using human shields. ‘Our war,’ Hagari said, ‘is against Hamas, not against the people in Gaza. Especially not the sick, the women, or the children. Our war is against Hamas who uses them as human shields.’

Hagari was referring not to the remaining Israeli hostages held by Hamas in secret locations across the Gaza Strip, but to the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians who were unwilling or unable to flee when Israel instructed them to. Many of them have been taking refuge in hospitals, schools and mosques. They are cast as shields because Hamas has built what are believed to be hundreds of kilometres of underground tunnels beneath Gaza and the people above are in the way of Israel’s ability to destroy the tunnels. An IDF spokesperson said last week that ‘Hamas has been systematically using hospitals in Gaza to run its terror machine. Hamas built tunnels underneath hospitals ... using the protected status of hospitals as a shield.’

Hagari’s claim that Hamas uses human shields should be understood as a pre-emptive legal defence against accusations that Israel is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza. The Geneva Conventions prohibit the use of human shields: ‘The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations.’ In other words, it’s legal to bomb a site protected by human shields (provided legal principles, such as proportionality, are followed). The subtext of Hagari’s accusation, then, is that Hamas is to blame when Israel kills civilians or destroys hospitals because Hamas has used them to ‘shield’ its tunnels.

In recent years the ‘human shield’ accusation has been adopted by several state militaries trying to justify the killing of civilians in Mosul in Iraq, Raqqa in Syria and elsewhere. This justification, however, functions only in one direction. When state actors kill civilians, it’s become standard to describe them as human shields. But when non-state actors attack military targets in urban settings, the civilians they kill are still recognised as civilians.

When Islamic State captured Mosul in 2014, for example, there were no human shields in the city, but two years later, when the American-led coalition was preparing to retake it, headlines across the world warned readers that the jihadist militants were using 100,000 civilians as human shields. Israeli citizens living next to the military command headquarters in central Tel Aviv have never been cast as human shields, even though Hamas has targeted it. This is not to condone the brutality of IS or Hamas, who have frequently targeted civilians, but to show how state militaries exculpate themselves from the killing of civilians.

Besides the Great Synagogue in Tel Aviv, the primary school in Ramat Gan and the medical facility in Netanya, there are more than fifty other buildings in Israeli cities that have plaques commemorating how they were used to hide combatants and weapons before 1948. The British armed forces sent infantry troops to raid civilian sites that they suspected of being put to military use. In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli armed forces have sent in ground troops only after bombing.

Thirty thousand tons of bombs have so far been dropped on Gaza, and more than two hundred mosques, two hundred schools and over forty hospitals and other medical facilities have been damaged or destroyed. More than five thousand children and around ten thousand adults have been killed. Most of them were civilians. The attempt by the Israeli authorities to justify their carpet bombing and blame Palestinians for bringing disaster on themselves through the use of ‘human shields’ is not only political sophistry, but forgetful of Israel’s own history.

* * *

* * *


A personal reply to Senator Chuck Schumer’s personal attack

by Dave Zirin

At first I took it as a badge of honor that Senator Chuck Schumer, standing in the well of the US Senate, called an article I wrote “anti-Semitic.” I was told his problem was that I described last month’s massive “Stand With Israel” march, where Schumer spoke, as “a hate rally.” I was gratified that he had seen the piece, and I was ready to argue that the anti-Palestinian hate on display that day as well as the platforming of anti-Jewish Christian Zionists gave more than enough validity to my harsh description.

But then I read Schumer’s full remarks, and was horrified. As a proud Jew, I was shocked that Schumer would use my article as an example along with synagogue vandalization and Nazi hate crimes as part of a “rising tide of anti-Semitism.” (In his litany of anti-Semitic examples, Elon Musk’s recent actions curiously did not merit a mention.) 

Let’s be clear: Schumer is weaponizing the incendiary charge of anti-Semitism against me and The Nation as cover to slander the left generally—specifically the movement of a new generation of Jews marching and getting arrested in the name of a permanent cease-fire. He is also obfuscating his own craven efforts to ally with actual anti-Semites and genocidal Israeli politicians in the name of this war on Gaza.

Too harsh? Well, I attended the Stand with Israel rally, and I know what I saw. I saw Chuck Schumer join hands with Christian Zionist Speaker of the House Mike Johnson and share a stage with notorious anti-Jewish bigot Rev. John Hagee. I also saw a rousing ovation for Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who has recently called for a total war on all Palestinians, saying “it’s an entire nation that’s responsible.” In addition, I saw an over-his-head Van Jones call for peace only to be shouted down by the crowd. 

Schumer either spent that day with his head in the sand or supports these kinds of alliances. My fear is that it's the latter. Calling the rally ”a hate rally” could not have been more appropriate. 

Also let’s be clear: Anti-Semitism is not criticizing an intensely pro-war rally held in your home-city just days after thousands marched for a cease-fire and lasting peace. Anti-Semitism is when people like Schumer bind Zionism (a 150-year-old political ideology) and Judaism (5,000-year-old religion) to such a repugnant degree that he wants the world to believe that Israeli war crimes are being justly committed in our name as Jews. In addition, Schumer’s desire to hand over billions in weapons to the-Elon-Musk-and-Christian-Zionist-supporting government of Benjamin Netanyahu also aids anti-Semitism. He is providing cover for people who despise our faith, because they also unconditionally support Israel’s total war on Gazan civilians. Chuck Schumer, heal thyself, and stop supporting war crimes being committed in our name. This posture dangerous to Jews everywhere, because it stokes even more anti-Semitism.

I also am disturbed that Schumer would choose this week to engage in these attacks; a week where so many of us are still in shock over the shooting of three Palestinian US college students in Burlington, Vermont. The war has come home, and Schumer’s instinct in the face of these fires is to put it out with gasoline.

* * *

* * *

FOR POSSESSION OF A SINGLE BULLET, Shaykh Farhan al-Sa‘di, an 81-year-old rebel leader, was put to death in 1937. Under the martial law in force at the time, that single bullet was sufficient to merit capital punishment, particularly for an accomplished guerrilla fighter like al-Sa‘di. Well over a hundred such sentences of execution were handed down after summary trials by military tribunals, with many more Palestinians executed on the spot by British troops. Infuriated by rebels ambushing their convoys and blowing up their trains, the British resorted to tying Palestinian prisoners to the front of armored cars and locomotives to prevent rebel attack, a tactic they had pioneered in a futile effort to crush resistance of the Irish during their war of independence from 1919 to 1921.

– Rashid Khalidi, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017

* * *


Happy holidays and hoping this finds you well. 

I'm throwing this out to you in the hope of getting it included in Off the Record where you ran a piece by Marshall Newman in the 11/8 edition, to which I'm responding. Thank you! Steve Elliott

* * * 

Marshall Newman writes that the people of Gaza, "having given Hamas free rein to govern since 2006, bear significant responsibility for their situation." 

We won't talk about Israel's role in the creation and off-and-on financing of Hamas to enforce the split between it and the pathetic, bought-off leadership of the Palestinian Authority. As if the League of Women Voters has approved the political processes for the last 20 years in the Israeli-created prison of Gaza!

He says that because of October 7 — incidentally today's Times has the story of Israel having had the detailed blueprint of October 7 for over a year; Israel fucked up — Hamas "lost all rights to dictate the terms of the consequent battle." Hamas never had the rights to dictate the terms in the first place. Newman's "consequent battle" is a one-sided slaughter

What should concern us as U.S. citizens is that Biden and Blinken (fresh off another boot-licking trip to Israel) and the U.S. government are participating in the massive war crime and genocide in Gaza, supporting Israel's resumption of the bombing and shelling of civilians, most of whom probably, and rightfully, hate both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

Note that between March 2018 and December 2019 there were regular, peaceful, Friday marches to the Gaza fence with Palestinians demanding the right to return. Israel's response? To kill some 223 protesters by sniper fire and to wound and cripple thousands by shooting them in the legs. Maybe that altogether typical behavior is what Newman is thinking about with his lofty description of Israel as "an implacable foe in war".

* * *

* * *


It was Christmas Eve, babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me
"Won't see another one"
And then he sang a song
The Rare Old Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I've got a feeling
This year's for me and you
So, Happy Christmas
I love you, baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

They've got cars big as bars, they've got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you, it's no place for the old
When you first took my hand on a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me Broadway was waiting for me

You were handsome
You were pretty, Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging
All the drunks, they were singing
We kissed on a corner
Then danced through the night

The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing "Galway Bay"
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day

You're a bum, you're a punk
You're an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead
On a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap, lousy faggot
Happy Christmas, your arse
I pray God it's our last

The boys of the NYPD choir
Still singing "Galway Bay"
And the bells are ringing out
For Christmas day

"I could have been someone"
Well, so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me, babe
I put them with my own
Can't make it all alone
I've built my dreams around you

The boys of the NYPD choir
Still singing "Galway Bay"
And the bells are ringing out
For Christmas day

— Shane MacGowan and Jem Finer

* * *

* * *


Comment #1. While laying down, enjoy the potent healing benefits of the Christ Force energy which is very strong from now through Christmas. I help facilitate the movement of the Christ Force energy through your body to allow any stuck energies to release and open the doorways for you to have more of your energy and information from your higher self. What happens if you are Jewish?

Comment #2: I've never heard of the "Christ Force Energy." Am I missing something? You are missing the Christ Force Energy.

* * *


0:08 - Overview

0:32 - "UAW Strikes Ends Successfully" - MSNBC

04:50 - "JFK: What the Doctors Saw" - Paramount Plus

06:35 - "Kinzinger on the GOP" - Washington & Jefferson College/The Colbert Show

10:24 - "Pandas Coming Back to US" - ABC7 Chicago

11:14 - "Going Vegan Transformed Cam Newtons Body" - PETA

12:45 - "Viet Thahn Guyen on Writing and Memory" - PBS

16:11 - "Panama Canal Low on Water" - CNN

18:50 - “Satpal Maharaj Speaks at his Birthday Celebration” - Manav Dharam

23:48 - “Charlottesville Gen. Lee Statue Melted Down” - WUSA9

25:25 - "World Central Kitchen Ships Supplies to Gaza" - World Central Kitchen

27:46 - “Arudhiya Roy on Her Achievements” - Storyteller’s Studio

* * *

* * *

MEMO OF THE AIR: Live on KNYO from Franklin St. all night tonight!

Marco here. Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is like 5:30 or so. Or send it whenever it's done and I'll read it on the radio next week. There's always another chance, so no pressure.

I'm in town for this show. After the First Friday Sean Keppeler live music show has finished and gone home, I'll be in the cluttered but well-lighted back room of KNYO's 325 N. Franklin studio. If you want to come in and show off, that's fine if you're in good health. Just walk in and be bold. To call and read your work in your own voice on the air, the number is 707-962-3022.

Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via Also the schedule is there for KNYO's many other terrific shows.

As always, at you'll find enjoyably educational material to ponder until showtime, or any time, such as:

First rain. (via Tacky Raccoons)

All the songs at once.

And music for ruined pianos. We used to have one like a couple of these.

Marco McClean,,

* * *

(photo by Falcon)


  1. Kirk Vodopals December 2, 2023

    RE: online comment of the day. …
    As I’ve said before, COVID beliefs are the new religion. Please keep your beliefs to yourself.

    • Marmon December 2, 2023

      Branch Covidians


    • Marmon December 2, 2023

      Do you think “Dr” Anthony Fauci should be PROSECUTED for misleading MILLIONS of Americans about Covid-19 ?


      • Marshall Newman December 2, 2023

        Consider the source and keep reading. Nothing to see here.

      • peter boudoures December 2, 2023

        Wrong audience marmon. What’s the incentive from big pharma to see healthy Americans? Big pharma pays doctors to promote their products. It’s a tough conversation for liberals to have. This isn’t the Walter Cronkite era.

        • Kirk Vodopals December 2, 2023

          Trump got the shot!

          • peter boudoures December 2, 2023

            No wonder he didn’t die from COVID. Cause like Biden said all those anti v’s are toast

      • Jim Armstrong December 2, 2023

        What in the world is “Dr” in quotation marks supposed to mean?

  2. Harvey Reading December 2, 2023


    More evidence of a country nearing the end of its existence.

  3. Jennifer smallwood December 2, 2023

    Re: the mention of Point Arena in the recommendation for 4th district supervisor: I think Point Arena, small city that it is, doesn’t so much as manage itself because it is so small, the politics and goings on in Point Arena get ignored because it is so small.

  4. Norm Thurston December 2, 2023

    Regarding our elected county officials taking money from marijuana growers: I think you would be hard-pressed to find one in the past 20 years that has NOT taken MJ money.

    • George Hollister December 2, 2023

      The past 40 years would be more accurate.

  5. Call It As I See It December 2, 2023

    Some insights, Tom Mason was one of the good ones. Everyone was right on with their words. Very passionate about the game of baseball and truly a nice person.

    Don’t know about the claims of Photo-Op Mo taking money from pot growers but the opinion written by AVA is right on. She is in way over her head and is incapable of leading the second district. It is not about photos, ribbon cuttings, homeless trails and ad-hoc committees. Anyone who takes part in the ‘Get Cubbison Plan’ should be removed from office, which means all five should be gone.

    John McGowan, who ever started the rumor he took money, simply doesn’t know the man. Although John and I didn’t see eye to eye on everything, what I can tell you is, he has a love of community and the people who live here. To this day, you will see him cleaning graffiti and cleaning up homeless sites for no pay. You know who I don’t see, Photo-Op Mo!! And if you did see her, I can guarantee the film would be rolling.

    DA Dave is damaged goods, that’s why he didn’t run for judge. Between the Cubbison fiasco and the failure in the law enforcement cases, there are three of them, the press has exposed his weaknesses.

    Mike Gienella, Mark Scarmella and Sara Reith have done an amazing job reporting on County turmoil. They have given us vital information that we need as voters. They have showed us how important our vote is. They have exposed the BOS and the CEO’s office and DA. This is the way the press should work, no agenda, ask the tough question, let reader decide his or her opinion.

    • Me December 3, 2023


  6. Stephen Dunlap December 2, 2023

    there is matching “House Washing” sign under the Noyo Bridge next to the Princess ?

    • Lazarus December 2, 2023

      There is also a “House Washing” sign near Adventist Health Hospital in Willits.
      Be well,

  7. Lazarus December 2, 2023

    the great debate…?
    I rarely agree with either the Chron or the NY Times. However, with a few exceptions, the critiques and analyses of the Desantis-Newsom debate were accurate, IMO.
    As mentioned by the Times, the debate likely did more for others of Presidential considerations than Desantis and Newsom.
    And Sean Hannity should never moderate another debate. He lost control in the first few seconds…The negatives aside, I suspect the ratings for Fox News were off the charts.
    Be well,

    • Lazarus December 2, 2023

      I read via NBC News that the Fox News, Desantis/Newsom debate was ended by Newsom’s wife. Apparently, Ms. Newsom entered from the wings during the last commercial break and told Newsom, we’re done, this is over.
      Good for her!

  8. Call It As I See It December 2, 2023

    I think both guys pleaded their cases well. The problem for Newsome is you can’t lie your way out of actual numbers, they don’t lie. Everything Gavin touches becomes a failure. But he’ll never have to worry, it’s California. As long as your name has D next to it, you’re golden.

    • George Hollister December 3, 2023

      A cousin said, ” Newsom seems to embody the philosophy of the Left, especially the habit of doubling down on failure. Whenever an idea fails to achieve the goals, it’s always because they didn’t do enough, never because they were doing the wrong thing.”

  9. Marmon December 2, 2023

    “If you had a real election and Jesus came down and God came down and said, ‘I’m going to be the scorekeeper here,’ I think we would win [California], I think we would win in Illinois, and I think we would win in New York.”

    -President Trump


    • Chuck Dunbar December 2, 2023

      That’s about the craziest thing I’ve ever heard Trump say–He is clearly losing it, on the way to being psychotic, on the way to the asylum. God save us.

      • Bruce McEwen December 2, 2023

        Bless you, vicar. Only a devout soul would respond to such false piety. Too bad only 750,000 rednecks left California for redneck states; James Marmon &* callitasiseeit would have made it 750,002.—love it or leave it

        *why does James Marmon hate California?

        • Bruce McEwen December 2, 2023

          “Because [t]he[y] hates freedom and democracy,” President Bush said.
          He wants some demigod dictatorship (MAGA) to reinstate the white-assed honky at the top of the cultural totem pole, huh.

    • Bruce Anderson December 3, 2023

      If God and Jesus appeared at the same time it would only be to personally escort Trump to Hell.

  10. John Sakowicz December 2, 2023

    Response to Jim Shields and Norm Thurston:

    During the BOS meeting on Oct 17, 2023, during Agenda item 4e, at time stamp 3 hours: 51 minutes: 30 seconds, at that exact time, Supervisor Gjerde flagged a conflict of interest, which went unheeded by both the Board and County Counsel.

    Supervisor Gjerde said that Supervisor Maureen Mulheren accepted a donation from the applicant for the Simpson Lane/Mitchell Creek Drive Exclusion Zone and did not recuse herself from the vote.

    This appears to be a blatant conflict of interest. This vote wasn’t a mere vote on a general policy for the county-wide cannabis industry. It was a specific vote that primarily benefited one person, if passed, and no one else.

    That person was Brandy Moulton.

    California Fair Political Practices records show that, indeed, the applicant for the Mitchell Creek zone exclusion under consideration was Brandy Moulton. She made a campaign contribution in the amount of $520.

    Brandy Moulton does not even live in Mulheren’s district. She doesn’t even live in Mendocino County. She lives in Chico.

    After Gjerde pointed out the conflict, no one did anything. BOS Chair McGourty sat in silence. Deputy County Counsel Charlotte Scott sat in silence.

    I have researched a list of other individual cannabis farmers who presented similar conflicts in very specific exclusion zone matters before the BOS. There were never any recusals.

    There are never any recusals — not here in Mendocino County.


    We play by our own rules.

  11. Marshall Newman December 2, 2023

    In responding to my recent comments, Steve Elliot brought up matters not germane to them. In addition, he provided information both in inexact and/or incomplete.

    One of those comments, in which he quoted me inaccurately and incompletely, read “Having picked this fight, Hamas and the Gazan people have lost the right to dictate the the terms of the consequent battle.” Gazans are suffering the fate Hamas hoped for in attacking Israel (destroyed infrastructure and civilian deaths – all to garner international headlines and sympathy), but likely to an extent Hamas never imagined. If Hamas wants to end this, it can begin by releasing every Israeli hostage at the Rafah Crossing. In truth, Hamas does not care; it is content to hide behind Gazan civilians and sacrifice them.

    As Mr. Elliot says, between March 2018 and December 2019, Gazans staged weekly Friday marches to the Gaza border. What he does not say is that the “right of return” was not the only reason for these protests; they were in part staged to protest Israel’s tight restrictions on the movement of trade across the border. What caused those restrictions? Sustained Hamas missile attacks against Israel in 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2021 and the consequent Hamas/Israeli battles caused by at least two of these periods of missile attacks. And make no mistake, these protests were not peaceful; they frequently included Gazans breaching the border fence, making incursions into Israel and burning tires to obscure their actions, all of which provoked Israel to take the action it took against the protesters.

    Last, but by no means least, based on all available evidence, Israel had NO role in creating Hamas. Whether Israel ever financed Hamas is doubtful, though there was a period where it allowed the transfer of funds to Hamas to provide basic services like electricity and water. It was a pragmatic act on Israel’s part; Hamas was the only authority in Gaza and thus the only one that could keep those basic services functioning.

    • Harvey Reading December 3, 2023

      You should read The Invention of the Jewish People, by Shlomo sand. He makes sense, unlike you.

      • Harvey Reading December 3, 2023


  12. Stanley Kelley December 2, 2023

    What are the names of the gas stations owned by Faizan?

    • Me December 3, 2023

      The one in downtown Ukiah on State and Luce is owned by Faizan. Leased by someone else who runs it. A recent fire started by homeless behind the station took out the electrical feed for the control panel of the pumps. Do you think Faizan will make the repairs? You can’t buy gas there now. Faizan should make the
      repairs to restore the gas business before seeking to make more stations.

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