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Mendocino County Today: Sunday 4/14/24

Rain | Cattle | VSO Move | AV Events | Floral Coast | Senior Lunch | Fish Passage | Ed Notes | Rail Trail | Wildflower Show | Pet Casanova | Landlordism | Disaster Relief | Casanova Concert | Boonville Lodge | Yesterday's Catch | The Marginalian | Raised Beds | Marco Radio | Midhusband | Weed Week | Lotta Dope | Homelessness Programs | Lucy Thompson | Essential Workers | Jay Silverheels | Buffett Wake | Crossroads | NPR Fatigue | Draftees | Capitalism Gangster | Geography Struggle | Backwards Land | Beautiful World | Bob Gibson | Avenue D

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PERIODS OF MODERATE RAINFALL and high elevation snow will continue through this morning before tapering off this afternoon. Gusty NW winds will develop overnight into Monday as a high pressure ridge builds into the coast. A return to summer-like conditions and warm interior temperatures is expected this week, with coastal stratus and elevated NW winds likely. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): On the coast this Sunday I have light rain & 46F. Only a trace of rain fell in the last 24 hours. The NWS says we have a 90% chance of rain today, the Weather Underground says up to .30" by noon. We'll see. Dry skies are forecast for the rest of this week.

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Cattle Retreating from Rain in Little Lake Valley (Jeff Goll)

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AT THE APRIL MEETING, of the Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council, per Monica Huettl’s report, Supervisor Glenn McGourty said that The Veterans Services Office will return to the Observatory site at some point. McGourty called the move away from Observatory, “a real mistake.“ (—ms)

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Free Entry to Hendy Woods State Park for local residents
Sun 04 / 14 / 2024 at 8:00 AM
Where: Hendy Woods State Park
More Information (

AV Grange Pancake and Egg Breakfast
Sun 04 / 14 / 2024 at 8:30 AM
Where: Anderson Valley Grange , 9800 CA-128, Philo, CA 95466
More Information (

Barn Sale
Sun 04 / 14 / 2024 at 12:00 PM
Where: 12761 Anderson Valley Way, Boonville, CA 95415
More Information (

The Anderson Valley Museum Open
Sun 04 / 14 / 2024 at 1:00 PM
Where: The Anderson Valley Museum , 12340 Highway 128, Boonville , CA 95415
More Information (

AV Historical Museum: Valley Chat with Aaron and Marshall Newman
Sun 04 / 14 / 2024 at 2:00 PM
Where: Anderson Valley Historical Museum , 12340 Highway 128, Boonville,
CA 95415
More Information (

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Come to the Redwood Coast Seniors Friday April 19th at 1:30 and enjoy an informative chat with the Mendocino Land Trust. Have you ever wondered about what they do? This is your chance to get all your questions answered.

Come and enjoy a delicious Tri-tip chili lunch starting at 11:30 and then mosey across the hall for the Friday forum. Hope to see you there! 490 N Harold Street Fort Bragg

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Pacific salmon are keystone species, and play an essential role in the health and function of ecosystems. Salmon benefit other species as food and their bodies enrich habitats through the cycling of nutrients from the ocean to freshwater streams.

NOAA Fisheries, Ecosystem Interactions and Pacific Salmon

MLT Project Moving Forward Chamberlain Creek

It's no secret that salmon need all the help they can get!

The Mendocino Land Trust is proud to release this update on our Chamberlain Creek Fish Passage Project, which has been years in the making. Almost $1.5 million will be required to assess, design, and execute this project to help remove barriers to salmon migration. MLT secured grant funding from the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program to design a new creek crossing that will replace an existing culvert currently blocking passage for juvenile salmon!

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POST-OP REPORT: It's been a slog since my total laryngectomy three weeks ago, but I'm finally able to walk outside for twenty to thirty minutes at a time and even do a few push-ups. The major hassle for my martyred wife is the frequent suctioning required to keep my new orifice clear of phlegm, great stalactites of cascading phlegm rerouted to the new hole in my throat from my former throat. Since I now breathe through my new orifice, the burdensome vacuuming is crucial to keep me breathing. We have a little suctioning machine attached to which is a plastic tube martyred wife gingerly places in the new orifice to suck up the mucous stalactites. It's a brief process but one that reoccurs 6-8 times a day, and round the clock. Got radiation coming up plus voice lessons. I estimate I'm three months away from more or less normal functioning. My energy level remains in sapped mode. 

REASSURING EXACTLY NO ONE, the White House announced Saturday afternoon that Biden was being briefed as Iran attacked Israel via slo-mo drones launched out of Iraq. An hour later, Iran also launched a drone attack on Israel from Iran itself, an ominous escalation in hostilities because Iran has never directly attacked Israel before, using proxies to do its fighting. Then, three hours after the drone attacks, Iran said, That's it. It's over from our end. Is it over for Israel? Doubt it.

HAS WWIII jumped off? The international desk at the Boonville weekly long ago concluded that scarifying events are a fact of life, but this one could be more than scarifying if Netanyahu, the least rational person involved including Biden's handlers, decides to counter-attack Iran directly, prompting Ms. Pandora to leap clear outta her box to unleash unhappy consequences for the entire world.

THE LATEST: Iran mounted an immense aerial attack on Israel on Saturday night, launching more than 200 drones and missiles in retaliation for a deadly Israeli airstrike in Syria two weeks ago, and marking a significant escalation in hostilities between the two regional foes. The strikes caused only minor damage to one Israeli military base, and most of the airborne threats were intercepted, Israeli military officials said. The United States said it had helped to shoot down some drones and missiles. — NYT

UPDATE: ISRAEL STRIKES: Israel has struck a building in east Lebanon as it vowed a response to Iran's 300 missile attack - as the Middle East holds its breath amid fears of World War III.  A source within Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah group said Israel struck one of its buildings in Lebanon, close to the Syrian border today, as tensions soared after Iran directly attacked Israel. The source told news agency AFP: 'The Israeli strike targeted an area... near Baalbek and targeted a two-storey building belonging to Hezbollah,' adding that there were no casualties reported. Lebanon's state-run National News Agency also reported that 'an enemy air strike targeted a building' in the village of Nabi Sheet and 'destroyed it'. It comes after Israel said it 'foiled' Iran 's unprecedented attack on its country and revealed 120 ballistic missiles along with 200 drones were used. The strike marks the first time a direct military assault has been launched by Tehran on Israel despite decades of enmity dating back to the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution. — DAILY MAIL

JUST HEARD a guy say he was heading to fill up "because gas prices are going to jump at least three bucks a gallon overnight." An expanded war in the Middle East certainly won't lower fuel prices, but trouble in the ME has always been a handy pretext by Big Oil to gouge us. Maybe Biden will freeze prices at the pump? “What? Freeze gas pumps? Why would I do that?”

BAY AREA COMMUTERS to SF are being told to work from home Monday because demonstrators demanding a ceasefire in Gaza are promising to shut down Bay Area bridges.

THE LOCAL ANGLE: Mark Scaramella, USAF ret., once briefed the Shah of Iran on radar defenses. The Shah was quickly inattentive, falling asleep soon after the major commenced his tutorial.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: Baby Reindeer on Netflix, a stalking saga based on the real life experience of Richard Gadd, who has turned his painful ordeal into high art. Gadd's ordeal began when he committed a random act of kindness, which ignited an obsession in its obese, unhinged recipient that resulted in him receiving over 40,000 emails, 740 tweets, 350 hours of voicemail, 100 pages of letters, and 45 Facebook messages over the following five years from her.

UH, I wish I'd skipped episode four of this stalking saga because it veered off into some extremely creepy sexual territory only tangentially relevant to Martha's pursuit of our hero. Episode five I'll risk tomorrow.

UKIAH AUTHORITIES seemed to reduce the recent skate park “gang” fight to a mere skirmish between wayward youth, but the kid attacked was struck in the head more than once with a metal baseball bat, which oughta get the gang mope who did it an attempted murder charge.

GAYE LEBARON once wrote a column for the Press Democrat called, “Did Jack London invent Sonoma County mystique?” Doubt it, Gaye. I'd be surprised if the old boy ever once used the word in all his many thousands of words, seeing as how mystique is an ad man's word deployed only when there's more cement than mystery, as is now the case in the SoCo and Napa areas of wine country. 

NOT Hard to imagine what a socialist of London's vintage would say about contemporary SoCo, but the Bohemian Club hasn't had a real artist among its membership since it expelled the original ones, and London's beauty spot hasn't been beautiful in any sense that would be recognized by him for at least fifty years.

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JEFF GOLL: travelling on Gobbi Street in Ukiah I passed the Rail Trail and thought to myself, "that's a depressing rail trail."  Comparing that trail to many others in Mendocino County really makes this one stand out for its bleakness.  Looking North on the trail were a group of homeless people maintaining a kind of inertness.  It seems Caltrans and the City of Ukiah put up some signs and designated this abandoned railway the Northwestern Pacific Rail Trail. 

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by Miriam Martinez

The Unity Club's Annual Wildflower Show is scheduled to open at 10 a.m. in June Hall on the 27th of April. The show will go from 10 to 4 on the 27th and 28th of April. Admission is FREE!

When you enter the Hall you will be greeted by friendly faces, surrounded by excellent Silent Auctions items donated by the membership and local artisans and merchants. To your left you will see plants for sale, including many pollinator-friendly host plants. To your right you will see the Tea Room, with beautiful photographs of Anderson Valley Wildflowers, and yummy snacks and beverages. Looking straight ahead you will see the stars of the show, our exceptional specimens of Northern California Wildflowers.

Anderson Valley has many different ecological environments surrounding it. The Coastal Mountains separate it from the inland valleys. The Sequoia Sempervirens (Coast Redwoods) march through the Valley, all the way to the Pacific Ocean, where the environment changes again. Throughout we have mixed forests and pasture land that host their own unique communities of plants. Thanks to the foresight of early conservationists and present day farmers and ranchers who set aside blocks of green belts, we have a most diverse selection of Wildflowers. Proceeds from the plant sales and silent auction go to support our many scholarships, youth development grants, support of many community agencies, the Lending Library, beautification, and public safety.

Plant Identification experts will be on your left, just past the plant sales. They will have magnifying glasses and resources to help you identify any plant you bring in. Plant ID classes have been ongoing for 5 weeks, now. On April 23rd the teams will go out into the various environments to begin the collection process. Meanwhile other members will be busy filling specimen bottles with water, and making up name cards for each plant collected. These are grouped by families, so you can see similarities and differences.

The AVHS students' Art Show will be featured. We will have information on Lyme Disease and the California Native Plants Society. I hope they have some of those big beautiful posters of shrubs and flowers.

Special Treat! The AV Lending Library will be open from 10 to 4 Saturday, April 27th, and they're holding their Spring Book Sale. For $5 you can fill a grocery bag full of books. Don't miss out on the Sale of the Year. Come to the Home Arts Building and snag a bag of books.

A.V. Unity Club's Wildflower Show 10 to 4 on April 27th and 28th, in June Hall, Fairgrounds. Free Admission. Bring your Granny and the babies to the Wildflower Show and Silent Auction. Winning bids will be announced both days before 4 p.m.

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Casanova is a happy-go-lucky, fun dog. He knows basic commands such as sit, down, and walks politely on leash. Casanova is more than happy to play with toys and loves him a game of fetch! Casanova enjoyed meeting other dogs at the shelter and would probably do well with a canine housemate. Casanova looks like he has some herding dog in his DNA—breeds such as the Border Collie—and they are very smart dogs with lots of energy. We recommend older children in Casanova’s new home due to his high activity level. Mr. C is 2 years old and 56 pounds.

To see all of our canine and feline guests, and for information about our services, programs, and events, visit: Join us every first Saturday of the month for our Meet The Dogs Adoption Event at the shelter. 

We're on Facebook at:

For information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.

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THE HOUSING PROB, an on-line comment:

“Homelessness exists because we have a housing market; the homeless and the landlords are two sides of the same coin.

These unproductive rent-extractors, imposing a tax for the right to sleep indoors, are parasites, and public attention and pressure ought to be brought to the connection. From a policy standpoint, in the short-term, we can either continue subsidies to bribe landlords so that they won’t throw more people onto the streets – this was the effect of the emergency pandemic relief funds, and is the essence of most policy in this area – or we can enact rent control policies.

A main difficulty in attempting this is that landlords make significant contributions to political campaigns, and also to local, state, and federal revenues by the payment of property tax. It stands to reason that when local politicians tout their successes lowering property tax, the main beneficiaries to whom they are signaling their support are not homeowners and the middle class, who own their own home and pay one tax, but landlords who own multiple large properties, many costing in the millions. This presents difficulties in trying to relieve the pressure of rents on poor and working people, not only in that the political power of landlords has to be faced, opposed, and beaten, but because of market effects on policies which would aim at forcing landlords to pay more, or earn less, which are in effect the same to him, to try to disincentivize landlordism. If a landlord is taxed at a higher rate, he will increase the rent to make up for his losses; that he will pass on his losses to the renters has to be taken into account in any responsible approach to the problem. Multiple avenues of escape have to be cut off.

Are there examples of markets which do not tend towards monopoly? “Markets concentrate” seems like an axiom in the same way as “dogs bark”. Putting the essentials of life in the hands of Mr. Market – how’s that working out with the water in the UK, or with the medical system in the US? Increased homelessness is one of the first visible symptoms of the terminal direction our economic system is headed in; the ultimate destination is feudalism.”

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ELENA CASANOVA in concert Sunday, April 21, 2:00PM at the MC Center Theatre.

There will be a piano center stage, and Elena will take command of it looking stunning and wearing a new pair of signature stilettos.

Vocalists, dancers, and other musicians will occasionally join her on stage.

There will be a multi-media dimension to her performance.

Following the concert, there will be a catered reception for our season members, to give you an opportunity to mingle with Elena and the other artists.

You can purchase your season ticket at the concert this Sunday and join us at the reception.

For 2024-25 (November through May) the cost for the season is still just $120 for four fabulous concerts!

Individual tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. Advance tickets are available on the UCCA website and at Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah and Mazahar in Willits. 

As part of our on-going Educational Outreach Program, free tickets are available to youth 17 and under when accompanied by an adult, and to full-time (12 units) college students. Free tickets must be reserved in advance by calling 707-463-2738 with name, phone number and email. 

For more information, contact the UCCA at 707-463-2738 or email us at


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THE BOONVILLE LODGE, or the Bucket of Blood

Has breathed it's final breath

We could only stand and watch

As it died a fiery death

It didn't go down easy though

It fought a valiant fight

All through the hours of the afternoon

And well into the night

Than finally when the flames died down

And the smoke began to clear

I could hear the clinking of glasses

And the sloshing of ice cold beer

I could hear the banging of pool balls

And the juke box’s sad, sad song

And the off key voices of a couple of drunks

As they tried to sing along

I could hear the shuffle of feet

As couples danced across the floor

And the creak of rusty hinges

As someone came in through the door

But then there was only silence

Smoldering embers all that remained

Life in our little country town

Would never be the same

— Ernie Pardini

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, April 12, 2024

Basaldua, Garcia, Jones, Lucas

THOMAS BASALDUA, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

SELENA GARCIA, Covelo. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, resisting.

RYAN JONES, Willits. Domestic battery, disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.

MICHAEL LUCAS, Ukiah. County parole violation.

Roberts, Shaw, Valadez, Vizzuett

CHERRI ROBERTS, Ukiah. County parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

VERA SHAW, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

MICHELLE VALADEZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery, paraphernalia.


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I don’t know if you know about this site…

I have been a fan of Maria’s works for about five years. She has an incredible gift in the way she tethers all these writings/art/poetry together with thoughtfulness and skill.

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Raised garden beds at a senior living community

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MEMO OF THE AIR: Too soon old, too late smart.

Here's the recording of last night's (Friday 2024-04-12) 8-hour Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) and (and, for the first hour, also 89.3fm KAKX Mendocino):

Coming shows can feature your story or dream or poem or kvetch or whatever. Just email it to me. Or include it in a reply to this post. Or send me a link to your writing project and I'll take it from there and read it on the air.

Besides all that, at you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not-necessarily-radio-useful but worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together, such as:

Memento. Otnemem.

Trina Robbins, artist and comic book historian, died Wednesday at 85. “Struggle, Amazon, yes. Struggle in vain. You have failed. Your allies have deserted you. Your world is mine.”

Glass Beams. They seem like people in Mirrormask, one of my favorite movies, a gently edgy modern Wizard of Oz-like story but where the little girl performs in her parents’ traveling circus and the crisis that precipitates her adventure in the Other World is her mother's medical collapse. Neil Gaiman wrote it. Jim Hensen's puppet company made the costumes.

Glass balls. This is a real exhibit, a real place that you can walk around in. It also makes me think of Mirrormask. Not just because of the mirrors. With video.

Mirrormask (the full film, 100 min.).

And 100 years (1915-2015), 100 movie clips, in 6 minutes. Set to lush heavy music whose name escapes me at the moment, but that would be perfect for a montage of the destruction unleashed on the dock-town in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novel where Nemo’s daughter Janni (a Pirate Jenny analog) has had enough of being enslaved and raped and comes back into her power on the return of the Black Ship. It would also work for an extended ending of Lars von Triers' film Dogville, a similar situation.

Marco McClean,,

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by Jonah Raskin

When I grew marijuana in northern California from about 1977 to 1986, I did not once think or imagine that one day it would be legal to do so. I was not a cannabis activist or a cannabis advocate. I wrote about weed, but I did so for High Times and other publications under the pseudonym, Joe Delicado. I tended to my garden and kept a low profile.

I certainly never imagined a day like April 5, 2024, the first day of SF Weed Week, when Mayor London Breed spoke to the organizers of the event and to fifty or so participants and gave the whole extravaganza her official blessings.

“San Francisco is where legal cannabis began and has proudly stood as the birthplace of the movement and industry,” Breed said. “Today, our City is home to the most exciting week that celebrates cannabis.” Breed didn’t hang around. It was the opening day of the baseball season and she was off to Oracle Park to see the Giants. “So happy to join the fans and team today to kick off this season,” she tweeted. “Let’s Go Giants!”

I suppose that a week devoted to the worship or at least the admiration of weed was bound to happen. Yes, Weed Week runs for more than seven days, and yes it culminates on 4/20 with a rite and a ritual that takes place on Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park where hippies, hipsters and their friends have shared weed for decades.

I also suppose that Weed Week was bound to happen in San Francisco where for decades citizens spearheaded the nationwide drive to make medical marijuana legal and sought to make it available for free to anyone and everyone who wanted it and needed it. Still, back in the day, I didn’t feel comfortable in the company of advocates and activists such as Dennis Peron, who worked both sides of the street, and kept one foot in the underground economy and another in the very public political arena.

When something is illegal, as cannabis was for too long a time, advocates for normalization and acceptance are often forced, for their very survival, to do a kind of intricate dance. It was no fun to be demonized by the mass media, by so-called medical experts and by law enforcement agents who depicted marijuana as the devil’s own weed and marijuana users, aka stoners, as brain-dead dumbasses.

On April 5, 2024, I felt totally at home and comfortable with the organizers of the event, including longtime cannabis journalist, David Downs, who heard about SF Beer Week a year or so ago and knew he wanted to do a similar shebang for weed. Downs assembled a team and reached out to many of the key players in what’s now called “an industry,” though it was once known as part of the counterculture, then became an agricultural crop, and morphed into a business often abbreviated as the cannabiz.

I’m glad that Downs decided to call it “Weed Week,” and not cannabis week or marijuana week. After all, it’s the peoples’ weed.

Xóchitl Selena Martinez, an Apache, a Yaqui and a 10th generation San Franciscan, honored it on April 5 and at the start of Weed Week with her drumming.

Ever since the 1960s, the weed world has evolved rapidly, so much so that the original hippies who grew it in the hills and valleys of northern California, probably would not recognize it today. Many of them assumed that one day it would be legal and that they would not be arrested and sent to jail for growing it, but what the brave new weed world would look like, they didn’t know.

They certainly didn’t imagine government taxation, government regulation and enforcement and the arrival of corporate weed. In the 1970s and 1980s, I didn’t know a single grower or dealer who grasped what the weed world would look like in the 21st century, and I knew dozens of growers, dealers, and users.

Marijuana is a strange and a wonderful plant. It seems to have a mind of its own and to frustrate the plans and the hopes and wishes of those who want to destroy it and alternatively those who harness it to make lots of money. Some may think I’m superstitious or just plain stupid. But read the history of marijuana and the role it has played in human societies and cultures from ancient times to the present day, all around the world, and see if you don’t agree with me that it has special properties, unlike any other plant.

I didn’t arrive on the first day of Weed Week with any marijuana. But I didn’t need to bring any with me. There was plenty of it on hand. I asked a fellow who had a jar filled with marijuana buds to roll me a joint. He did. It was a perfect joint, not an easy thing to do. I didn’t smoke it at the event, but I took it home and smoked it there. It helped me relax. It might not have inspired me but it certainly didn’t prevent me from writing crisp sentences, creating paragraphs and using correct spelling and punctuation.

Marijuana can be a valuable tool. It can help those who smoke it or eat it – which is healthier than smoking — to cook, write, run, play sports, enjoy music, sex, and conversations with friends and family members. I’m glad I wasn’t busted for growing a plant and glad I never went to jail for growing. Millions of Americans have gone to jail for growing, transporting and selling. Some are still arrested and in jail. Now, that’s what I’d call a crime.

Maybe one day marijuana will be universally recognized and lauded for its medicinal uses. That day can’t come soon. If SF’s mayor, London Breed, came out in favor of weed week, other mayors in other cities are likely to follow her. After all, marijunistas are also citizens and voters.

Those who grew weed when it was illegal to do so might be viewed today not as criminals or even as outlaws, but rather as men and women who practised civil disobedience of the sort that Henry David Thoreau practiced and that Martin Luther King, Jr. and members of the civil rights movement employed to end segregation.

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Audit finds state hasn't kept track well.

An estimated 171,000 people are homeless in California, which amounts to roughly 30% of all of the homeless people in the U.S.

by Tran Nguyen

California spent $24 billion to tackle homelessness over the past five years but didn’t consistently track whether the huge outlay of public money actually improved the situation, according to state audit released Tuesday.

With makeshift tents lining the streets and disrupting businesses in cities and towns throughout California, homelessness has become one of the most frustrating and seemingly intractable issues in the country's most populous state.

An estimated 171,000 people are homeless in California, which amounts to roughly 30% of all of the homeless people in the U.S.

Despite the roughly $24 billion spent on homeless and housing programs during the 2018-2023 fiscal years, the problem didn’t improve in many cities, according to state auditor's report.

Among other things, the report found that the California Interagency Council on Homelessness, which is responsible for coordinating agencies and allocating resources for homelessness programs, stopped tracking spending on programs and whether programs were working in 2021. It also failed to collect and evaluate outcome data for these programs due to the lack of a consistent method, the audit found.

Some data regarding the number of program participants and bed inventory in the state system might not be accurate or reliable, the audit found.

The council, which lawmakers created in 2017 to help deal with the state's homelessness problem, has only reported on homelessness spending once, according to the audit. Without reliable and recent data on its spending, “the state will continue to lack complete and timely information about the ongoing costs and associated outcomes of its homelessness programs,” the report says.

Democratic state Sen. Dave Cortese, who requested the audit last year after touring a large homeless encampment in San Jose, said the audit depicts “a data desert” when it comes to homelessness. The biggest issue is the lack of transparency at every level, he said.

“Despite (the auditor office’s) professionalism and best efforts, they are at this time unable to … draw conclusions about things like whether or not overhead is appropriate or too high,” Cortese said, though he stopped short of calling for a halt to future spending on the homelessness issue.

Republican state Sen. Roger Niello said the lack of accountability is troubling.

“California is facing a concerning paradox: despite an exorbitant amount of dollars spent, the state’s homeless population is not slowing down,” Niello said in a statement. “These audit results are a wake-up call for a shift toward solutions that prioritize self-sufficiency and cost effectiveness.”

California funds more than 30 programs to tackle homelessness. The audit assessed five initiatives and found that only two of them — one that converts hotel and motel rooms into housing and one that provides housing-related support — are “likely cost-effective.”

The state auditor also reviewed homelessness spending in two major cities, San Jose and San Diego, and found that both failed to effectively track revenue and spending due to a lack of spending plans.

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TRIBAL CHIEF LUCY THOMPSON is an important figure in the history of the Yurok tribe. She was born in 1856 in the village of Tsewenaldin, located in Northern California, and passed away in 1956. Thompson was a writer and the first person to document the history and culture of the Yurok tribe.

Thompson was the daughter of a Yurok warrior and was raised in the traditions and culture of the tribe. She attended school in Oregon to learn English and later worked at a paper mill near her native village, where she began documenting the stories and legends of the Yurok people.

After getting married and having children, Thompson continued to write about the history and culture of the tribe and wrote the book ""To the American Indian: Reminiscences of a Yurok Woman"". This book is considered one of the most important documents on the history and culture of the Yurok tribe.

Thompson worked tirelessly to protect and promote the culture and history of the Yurok tribe to the outside world. She is honored as one of the greatest Yurok tribal chiefs and writers in the history of the tribe. Her works and contributions are still passed down and play an important role in the preservation and development of the culture and history of the Yurok tribe.

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The workers on the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore came from Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, diplomats from those countries told the Associated Press. They were doing night work, the most lethal kind of work, and were taking a break in their trucks when the bridge fell beneath them. Legal? Undocumented? Waiting? Families in Baltimore? Or Tegucigalpa?

Bridge builders, grape harvesters, hop pickers, cattle ranchers, strawberry pickers, tree planters, road crews, house cleaners, fast food workers and sous chefs are all essential workers. Their hard work and work ethic benefit all of us, their employers and our overall economy. If former President Donald Trump succeeds in rounding up, imprisoning and deporting workers “suspected” of being in America illegally, who will work the night shift filling potholes on the Francis Scott Key Bridge?

Judy Kennedy

Santa Rosa

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ON JULY 21ST, 1979 JAY SILVERHEELS, became the first Indigenous Native to have a star commemorated on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Harold Jay Smith, was a full-blooded Mohawk, born May 26th, 1912 on the Six Nations Indian Reservation in Ontario, Canada. He excelled in athletics, most notably in lacrosse. In 1931 he was among the first players chosen to play for the Toronto Tecumsehs, where he earned the nickname "Silverheels". And in 1997 he was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame as a veteran player. In 1938, he placed second in the middleweight class of the Golden Gloves tournament.

This led to his working in motion pictures as an extra and stuntman in 1937. Billed variously as Harold Smith and Harry Smith, before taking the name Jay Silverheels. He appeared in low-budget features, mostly Westerns, and serials before landing his much loved and iconic role as Tonto on national tv from 1949 until 1957 along with two movies.

In the early 1960s, he was a founding member of the Indian Actors Workshop, in Echo Park, Los Angeles. Where Native actors refine their skills. Today the workshop is still a well established institution. Silverheels died on March 5, 1980, from a stroke, at age 67, in Calabasas, California. He was cremated at Chapel of the Pines Crematory, and his ashes were returned to the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario.

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by Maureen Dowd

When Jimmy Buffett was dying last August, Paul McCartney came to Buffett’s house in Sag Harbor to sing to him.

“He was in a pretty bad way but he still had a twinkle in his eye,” McCartney recalled. One of the songs was “Let It Be.” And on Thursday night, Sir Paul came to the Hollywood Bowl to play the piano and sing the song about an “hour of darkness” to more than 15,000 parrot heads who came together for a pirate’s wake.

Hawaiian shirts and grass skirts as far as the eye could see. Buffett’s music echoed through the Hollywood Hills, a celebration of oysters and beer, surf and sailing, drinking and, well, let’s call it bold barroom flirtation. “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and …” Not to mention margaritas. (Including a giant green one slurped by the former Beatle onstage.)

A wild mélange of musical and Hollywood royalty showed up to honor their friend precisely because he refused to allow any hours of darkness if he could help it. Don Johnson, who hung out with Buffett in Aspen in the cocaine-fueled “Miami Vice” days, choked up as he read a Jimmy quote about making life a magical voyage. Even though there were storms and he “bounced across the bottom on occasion,” Jimmy said he relished the thousand ports of call behind him and wanted a thousand more.

Jane Fonda said that “Jimmy has the ability, like Tinker Bell, to spread happiness all over” — his generosity of heart and spirit always at the fore. She, John McEnroe and others paid homage to Jimmy’s love of weed with a running gag about smoking joints with him in outlandish places like the roof of the Vatican and center court at Wimbledon.

The Emperor of Key West, as he was known, was a sunny, magnetic presence in a world where the algorithms are always torquing up conflict and hatred, in a country where no one can seem to get along or even talk to one another.

Harrison Ford shared the story of a “boozy lunch” with Buffett and the “60 Minutes” correspondent Ed Bradley. “I saw both of them had earrings, so right after lunch I got my ear pierced,” Ford said of his infamous piercing in his 40s. “That’s how infectious Jimmy’s coolness was.”

Dolly Parton, beaming in on video, reminded everyone that Buffett was more than just a guy in flip-flops. He wrote books and stuff, she said.

That stuff made him rich but he always kept the vibe of a lucky dude from the Gulf Coast who happened to busk his way to monumental success.

* * *

* * *


A couple of days ago, I don’t know if this happened to you, my phone suddenly blew up with texts from politicians, other journalists, all sorts of people who normally I’d be talking to about real news stories, but the subject was NPR, and it was because Bari Weiss’ Free Press had an article by a fellow named Uri Berliner, and we’ll just show the, let’s show actual screen here, and he’s now being described as a whistleblower, by the way, which is interesting. I don’t know. Do you think whistleblower applies? I’m not really sure if that’s the case. Maybe it is because they’ll want to fire him probably.

But anyway, the headline is: “I’ve been at NPR for 25 years. Here’s how we lost America’s Trust.” And he has a lead that’s very provocative, “You know the stereotype of the NPR listener: an EV-driving, Wordle-playing, tote bag-carrying coastal elite. It doesn’t particularly describe me, but it’s not far off. I’m Sarah Lawrence-educated, was raised by a lesbian peace activist mother. I drive a Subaru, and Spotify says my listening habits are most similar to people in Berkeley.” So this is the person who’s been driven too far by working at NPR, and he talks about how NPR has always had a liberal bent, but in recent years it’s changed.

“We were nerdy but not scolding. Today, those who listen to NPR or read its coverage find something different: the distilled worldview of a very small segment of the US population. An open-minded spirit, no longer exists within NPR. And now, predictably, we don’t have an audience that reflects America.” This talks about how there’s been this dramatic shift in its listenership. So in 2011, 26% described them as conservative, 23% is middle of the road, and 37% is liberal. Now it’s 67% liberal, 21% middle of the road, and 11% said very or somewhat conservative.

Walter Kirn: I always wonder about those people. How could 11% of people think NPR is conservative?

Matt Taibbi: Oh, no, these are the listeners.

Walter Kirn: No, I know, but how could 11% of NPR’s listeners think that it’s a conservative broadcast?

Matt Taibbi: Well, no, they’re describing themselves.

Walter Kirn: Oh, okay, I see.

Matt Taibbi: But there’s an equally pertinent question, which is, how could conservatives listen to the station? Maybe they hate listening to it. I mean, that’s the sort of Howard Stern model of media.

Walter Kirn: Well, I’ll tell you what, something that people don’t realize about NPR is for those who, like me, sometimes live in the country, way out in the country, the NPR signal and the NPR broadcasts are the only news you can get.

Matt Taibbi: That is true. That is true. And if you’ve ever had to drive across country for work, you know that your choices are often narrowed to a gospel station or NPR.

Walter Kirn: Right.

Matt Taibbi: Right. But then he went on and did two things that I think were really interesting. He cited specific examples of areas where the station had made a mistake. One was putting Adam Schiff on the air too many times during the Russiagate thing. And this paragraph right here is, I think, pretty significant. I should have highlighted it before.

“It is one thing to swing and miss on a major story. Unfortunately, it happens. You follow the wrong leads.” But then he says, “What’s worse is to pretend it never happened, to move on with no mea culpas, no self-reflection.” I mean, that’s a big thing to say. And then he goes on to say, it happened also with the Hunter Biden story and so on and so on, and there was a great gnashing of teeth after this came out. And we can talk about the response to this, but Walter, what did you think first when you read this? It was a significant thing to come from someone who, ostensibly, I guess, is still employed there.

Walter Kirn: First of all, I think it’s a misnomer to call him a whistleblower. A whistleblower reveals something that’s secret. None of this is a secret, especially. What did I think? Well, I used to be an avid NPR listener, mostly because I lived on a farm way out of town, and it was the strongest signal, and it was the only source for news and discussion. The AM radio has talk radio, call-in shows, so on. But those are of limited use in trying to understand stories for the first time, get your news, you might listen to them, you hear it analyzed, or opinion, or opined about. Anyway, I stopped listening to NPR many years ago, and for a very simple reason, it got incredibly repetitive, and incredibly boring, and incredibly smug, and almost unlistenable, frankly.

Matt Taibbi: Yeah.

Walter Kirn: The parts of it was back when Car Talk and various jazz or classical music shows and so on. But the current events segments were unendurable for me, not because I disagreed with them, but because they were just so monotonous, and like anything that goes on too long and becomes too comfortable with itself, they became self-parodic, and once the polarity of the self-parody had worn off, it was just exhausting. It took a lot though to chase me off from NPR because, let me tell you, I was positively disposed. Not only did I like the fact that they broadcast clearly into the country, but I’d grown up in Minnesota. I probably mentioned this before. I knew Garrison Keillor a little when I was a kid, and I lived in one of the towns that was the basis for Lake Wobegon, and my mom lived next door to an NPR producer and an NPR personality in a little town called Marine, Minnesota.

Minnesota Public Radio is a producer of a lot of content for the National Public Radio in those days. Not just Prairie Home Companion, but a music show called From the Top, I believe, and a cooking show, and so on. And I, as a writer, had used NPR’s hyper-literate audience many times to publicize my books and was quite grateful that they would do these long-form interviews with me and other authors. And I benefited from that many times.

Matt Taibbi: Me too, yeah.

Walter Kirn: And the interviews were often great, really well-prepared, and searching, and thoughtful. So for me to stop listening to NPR was not an easy thing, but when they started injecting their pet obsessions into every single story, much like I just said about the weather. Weather was always about race, suddenly, so was sports, so was everything. And they had this new form of story in which they could take a pretty interesting story and then turn it upside down and balance it on its tip using the subjects of race, social justice, and so on.

And it wasn’t that it just all became such an editorial trick that one got tired of it. It became a kind of rant, as though I needed constant edification from them. You made your point yesterday, and the day before, and the day before. I know exactly-

Matt Taibbi: And two minutes ago.

Walter Kirn: Yeah, and two minutes ago, and this is becoming kind of like a re-education program or something. Don’t worry, I understand. Some of it I agree with, but no one who listens to NPR is just a few who are doing it, are doing it for the first time. You don’t have to keep converting me to your insular, enlightened point of view. You can’t just talk about things. And when they stopped doing that, I just couldn’t bear it anymore.

* * *

Drafted men reporting for service at Camp Travis in San Antonio, 1917.

* * *

“I SPENT 33 YEARS and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

— Smedley Butler, Major General, United States Marine Corps

* * *

“JUST AS NONE OF US is outside or beyond geography, none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography. That struggle is complex and interesting because it is not only about soldiers and cannons, but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings.”

― Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism

* * *

* * *


The weather in my state this weekend is sunny and a warm 72 degrees. The daffodils and tulips are in full bloom. The Callery Pear blossoms make the trees look like they are loaded with cotton candy. The sky is a start blue and the mountain tops gleaming with white snow. This is a beautiful world and we are part of this world. This is also a mortal world and all things in this world eventually die or expire and so shall we. Death is not the end in the journey of the human soul. It is just the entrance to the next phase of our journey.

Clearly the daffodils, tulips and Callery pears don’t give a fuck about the problems man creates for himself. The mountains don’t care either. They sit in quiet majesty and observe the insanity of we little ants scurrying about on the surface. All of this points to evidence that there are so many things far greater than we humans. Those mountains will be there long after we are long gone and the tulips and daffodils will still be blooming.

* * *


by Jeffrey St. Clair

Bob Gibson, who died October 2, 2020 at the age of 84, was one of the three or four greatest pitchers in the history of baseball. He won the Cy Young Award as best pitcher twice. He was twice named MVP of the World Series, once in 1964 and again in 1967. He was the rare pitcher to win the MVP for the National League. Gibson set the modern record for the lowest earned run average in a year. He was deemed so unhittable in the 1968 season that the league’s owners ordered radical changes to the game, including shrinking the strike zone and lowering the height of the pitcher’s mound. He was named to the All-Star game nine times and voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot. But still, Bob Gibson would have preferred to play basketball. The reason might be found in Gibson’s experiences in Columbus, Georgia.

Gibson grew up in Omaha, graduated from Creighton University, and then signed a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, who sent him to their minor league team in Columbus. Gibson had experienced racism his entire life, of course, but it hadn’t prepared him for what he encountered in the Deep South.

The Cards’ Columbus affiliate played in the Southern Atlantic (Sally) League, which had refused to admit Black players until 1953 when 19-year-old Henry Aaron, who landed in Jacksonville, blew through the Jim Crow league, blitzing everything the white pitchers threw at him. It wasn’t a smooth integration. Dead black cats were thrown at Aaron when he took the field. He and the league’s two other Black players–Feliz Mantilla and Horace Garner–got death threats, were derided with racial slurs and spit at by fans and routinely harassed by local cops and sheriff’s deputies.

It wasn’t much better four years later when Gibson showed up in Columbus. He couldn’t dine or room with his teammates. He had to stay at the local YMCA and eat on the Black side of town. Gibson said he was followed wherever he went: back and forth from the ballpark, out to dinner, even to the barbershop.

Despite these conditions, Gibson proved himself to be one of the best players on a largely white team. Soon Gibson began to hear himself introduced by the PA announcer when he took the field or came to the plate as: “Gatorbait Gibson.” He thought he’d acquired a new nickname and he eventually asked the team doctor what it meant. In his memoir, Gibson says the doctor told him: “Some of the fellas round here used to grab a Black boy, tie him up, and toss him in the swamp to lure the gators, so they could trap ’em. Don’t worry, they didn’t let the gators bite the kid. No use wastin’ good bait, I suppose.” This was in 1957, 10 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball.

Gibson’s talent took him out of Columbus after a few months. Others weren’t so lucky. In 1964, Columbus became the affiliate of the Yankees. To prove to their fans they weren’t actual Yankees, the team’s owners ordered Confederate flags sewn on the jerseys. That year, the only Black player on the Columbus team was the 20-year-old Roy White, who had grown up in Los Angeles. White was forced to play two seasons wearing a Confederate flag on his sleeve, before going on to a stellar career as a switch-hitting outfielder for New York.

Gibson left Georgia not for St. Louis and the Cardinals rotation, but for the Harlem Globetrotters. He’d had it with baseball. Gibson said he always considered basketball his best sport and “the one least likely to discriminate against me.”

* * *

Bob Gibson was born in 1935, three months after his father, Pack, had died of tuberculosis. He grew up on the north side of Omaha, Nebraska in a household of seven siblings overseen by his widowed mother, Victoria, who worked 14 to 16 hours a day at two jobs, toiling in a laundry during the day and cleaning the floors and bathrooms of a local hospital at night.

Gibson was a frail kid, suffering from Rickets, a bone disease caused by Vitamin D deficiency, and asthma. The primary influence on his young life was his brother Josh, an Army veteran, who had returned from the war disillusioned with the persistence of racism back home. Josh earned a college degree (and later his Master’s) from Creighton, the nearby university run by Jesuits. He later organized sports leagues for Black youths at the local YMCA, programs which turned out some of the best athletes in Nebraska history.

Despite his health issues, Bob became one of Josh’s first prodigies, excelling at nearly every sport he played: basketball, track, football, and baseball. The problem was that once Gibson entered Omaha Tech High School several of these sports, football, and baseball, were off-limits to Blacks.

Gibson became the star player on Tech’s basketball team but wasn’t permitted to play baseball until his senior year, when a new, less bigoted manager took over the squad. But he’d already made his mark in the summer leagues, where he’d traveled with Josh’s team playing in tournaments across Nebraska and Iowa, knocking the cover of the ball from Lincoln to Dubuque. Among his many talents, Bob Gibson was probably the best-hitting pitcher since Babe Ruth.

After graduation, pro scouts came calling from St. Louis, Chicago and New York. But none were offering the 18-year-old much money, despite his impressive skill set. When the prodigy demanded a signing bonus from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ scout, he was laughed at: “You’re not naïve enough to think you can play major league ball, are you?” The Dodgers would eventually eat those words.

With no immediate future in professional sports on the horizon, Josh convinced his reluctant younger brother to try college. Gibson had gotten a few scholarship offers from small schools in Nebraska and Black colleges. But Bob had set his sights higher. He wanted to play at Indiana University, which was the first Big 10 school to recruit a Black player, Bill Garrett, and had just won the national championship. The head coach at Omaha Tech wrote a letter to IU’s coach Branch McCracken recommending Gibson, highlighting his superb stat sheet and All-State credentials. A few weeks went by before the terse reply came back from Bloomington: “Your request for an athletic scholarship for Robert Gibson is denied because we have already filled our quota of Negroes.”

When I read the letter sent to Gibson’s coach, I was shocked, though I probably shouldn’t have been. Quota of Negroes? I grew up in Indiana, was a devoted fan of IU basketball, and had met Bill Garrett several times as a teenager. My father was his lawyer for a few years, before Garrett, then an associate dean at IU’s campus in Indianapolis died of a heart attack at the age of 45. It had always been my understanding that IU had shattered the color barrier, desegregating Big 10 basketball when they recruited the sharp-shooting Garrett in 1947, the same year Jackie Robinson stepped onto the grass at Ebbets Field. So what was all of this about “quotas” for Black players six years later?

I contacted the University historian and archivist to see if they had any record of the quota system. Neither could find anything in writing, except for a reference in a biography of Garrett to a “gentlemen’s agreement,” which had been in place since the 1940s. These gentlemen, the presidents and athletic directors of the Big 10 universities, were too shrewd to put their racist policy down on paper. It was an unwritten rule that IU was the first to violate, largely at the behest of the school’s new president Herman Wells, who was trying to desegregate the entire campus. Violate it, up to a point. After Garrett took the court, even IU apparently agreed that they would only recruit one Black player a year and maintain a total of no more than two Blacks on the varsity team. This was at a time when freshmen weren’t allowed to play varsity ball. This system prevailed through most of the 50s. A similar covert quota system was in place in pro basketball from 1950, when Earl “Big Cat” Lloyd became the first Black to take the court for an NBA team (Washington Capitols), until the mid-1950s when Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Elgin Baylor demolished it once and for all.

Curiously, the Big 10 “gentleman’s agreement” only applied to two sports: swimming and basketball. Why? Since the policy was unwritten, we can’t know for sure, but an informative essay published by the Historical Bureau of the Indiana State Library suggests–persuasively precisely because it sounds so absurd–that in the image of Black athletes competing against whites in swimming trunks and basketball shorts was considered simply “too intimate” for the white public to endure.

Rejected by I.U., Bob Gibson ended up following in his brother’s footsteps to the campus at Creighton, just a few miles from home. A couple of years later, he attended an IU basketball game when the Hoosiers played in Lincoln. Gibson wanted to see who had gotten his slot on the team and decided it must have been Hallie Bryant, a guard out of Indianapolis’ all-Black Crispus Attucks High School (the same school that produced Oscar Robertson). After watching Bryant play, Bob told Josh: “They picked the wrong Negro.” Bryant was good. He went on to play for the Globetrotters. But Bryant was no Bob Gibson. Few were.

* * *

In the 1950s, Creighton wasn’t the basketball powerhouse it is today. It was a small Catholic University in Nebraska that mostly played against other Catholic schools: Marquette, DePaul, Duquesne, Notre Dame, Xavier, and St. Louis. Its baseball team was largely an afterthought. Gibson was the first Black to be admitted to Creighton on a basketball scholarship and he dominated in both sports, even though the teams were bad.

During his sophomore season at Creighton, Gibson got his first real taste of Black life under Jim Crow. The team traveled to Oklahoma to play Tulsa. It was only his fourth game as a varsity player and his coach pulled him aside and told him he wouldn’t be staying with the rest of the team that night. The news came as a shock to Gibson, in part because for the past few years, he’d been rooming with Glenn Sullivan, both at Creighton and during overnight trips in high school. In his memoir, Gibson says if he’d been told about the situation before leaving for Tulsa, he’d have stayed in Omaha. But all he could do at the moment was cry. His pal Sullivan rode with Gibson across town to the private house where Bob was staying. Sullivan offered to spend the night with him, but Gibson sent him back to the team’s hotel, wanting to be alone. The next day the team gathered for a pre-game meal, but the restaurant would only serve Gibson if he ate in the kitchen. He refused and played that night on an empty stomach, pouring in 18 points. But it wasn’t enough to exact revenge on Tulsa, which beat Creighton by 15. A typical night for Blue Jays basketball.

Still, Gibson was named an All-American in the Jesuit league, which also included the likes of Bill Russell, KC Jones, and Tommy Heinsohn, all of whom would become future stars for the Boston Celtics. Gibson was disappointed that his performances for Creighton didn’t attract any offers from NBA teams, which were just beginning to draft Black players. So when the Cardinals came calling with an offer, he took it. But before he headed off to the minors, the Globetrotters showed up in Omaha as part of a national tour of games against college all-stars. In order to draw more fans, the Globetrotters made a point of recruiting one local player to suit up for the all-stars in each city. Bob Gibson got the call. Up to that point, the games hadn’t been very close. The college players had only won twice in 20 matchups. Gibson sat on the bench for the entire first half and the third quarter. After the hometown crowd started chanting his name, he was finally inserted into the lineup. In a mere 12 minutes of play, Gibson torched the Trotters for 10 points, five rebounds and a couple of steals, leading the college kids to an improbable win. After the game, the Globetrotter’s manager Parnell Woods asked Gibson if he was interested in joining the team. Gibson told Woods, he’d just signed with the Cardinals. Woods told him to look him up if baseball didn’t work out, which is exactly what Gibson did after his unsettling experience in Columbus.

* * *

Gibson spent the winter of 1956 playing with the Globetrotters. For the first couple of months, he roomed with Meadowlark Lemon, the Clown Prince of Basketball. Gibson was the shortest player on the team, but he was a magical ball-handler and could make acrobatic, behind-the-back dunks, a style of play that was just beginning to take hold on the streets and gyms of urban America. Although Gibson enjoyed his season with the Globetrotters, the pay was too meager–about $500 a month– to raise a family on and the Trotter’s performances, mostly against the paid-to-lose Washington Generals, were becoming more clownish and theatrical. Even playing two games a day under these circumstances didn’t satisfy Gibson’s thirst for competition. He needed to prove himself. So when he was approached about returning to the Cardinals organization that spring, he accepted on two conditions: first, that he would be paid a signing bonus equal to what he was being paid per season by the Trotters, and second, that he wouldn’t have to return to Columbus. The Cards agreed and Gibson packed his bags for the team’s spring training camp in St. Petersburg, where he soon discovered that conditions for Big League Black players in Jim Crow Florida weren’t much different than they were for the minor leaguers in Columbus.

On the train down from Omaha, Gibson was assaulted by three rednecks. He got off the train and carried his own bags to the Bainbridge Hotel, the winter residence of the Cardinals. Well, most of the Cardinals. The hotel’s manager quickly whisked Gibson out the back door and called a cab to take him to a private house in the Black section of town, where the team’s Black players, including Curt Flood and Bill White, were compelled to stay. Gibson later noted laconically: “If nothing else, we ate better than the other players and didn’t have the coaches banging at our doors at curfew.”

The situation didn’t change until Bill White, who would later become the first Black executive in MLB, told an AP reporter about the absurd conditions some Cardinals’ best players were forced to endure during Spring Training. After the story ran, Black papers and Civil Rights leaders in St. Louis called for a boycott of Anheuser-Busch, the family-controlled beer company that owned the Cardinals. Then two of the team’s top white players–the great Stan Musial and Ken Boyer–both vowed to move in with the Black players unless the management agreed to find a hotel that would accommodate all the players, regardless of race. Under mounting pressure from outside and within his own team, August Busch finally relented, marking a small, but decisive victory for desegregation in the Deep South, six years before the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

* * *

After his masterful performance against the Yankees in the 1964 World Series, where Bob Gibson stifled the likes of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, he was named MVP of the series and awarded a new Corvette as a prize. A few days after the series ended, Gibson was driving from St. Louis back to Omaha when he was pulled over by a cop in a small Missouri town. The cop demanded to see the title of the car. Gibson didn’t have one, he explained, because the car was brand new. He asked the cop why he’d been stopped and the cop said there had been a report of a stolen Corvette just like the one Gibson was driving. Gibson couldn’t restrain himself and blurted out: “Bullshit.” He told the cop he just didn’t think a Black man could come by such an expensive car honestly. He showed the cop his license and told him he was the Cardinal pitcher who’d just pitched the winning game in the World Series. The cop let him go.

Gibson got off lucky and he knew it. He sold the Corvette and started driving more inconspicuous cars, which were less likely to turn him into Cop Bait.

Forty years later, Robbie Tolan, the son of Gibson’s friend and former team-mate, Bobby Tolan, was driving home with his cousin from a late-night visit to the local Jack-in-the-Box in Bellaire, Texas, a predominately white suburb of Houston known as the “City of Homes.” Robbie was himself a minor league player for the Bay Area Toros, a minor league affiliate of the Washington Nationals based in Texas City. As Robbie and his cousin got out of the car in the Tolan family’s driveway, the two young men were surrounded by cops, pointing flashlights and guns at them. The police ordered Tolan to the ground. At this point, Bobby Tolan and his wife emerged from the house and asked what was going on. One of the cops said that Robbie and his cousin were suspected of driving a stolen car. Then another cop car pulled up driven by Jeffrey Cotton, a 10-year veteran of the department. But instead of calming the situation, Cotton confronted Robbie’s mother Marie, who was trying to explain that Robbie had driven his own car to his family home. But Cotton wasn’t hearing it and shoved her against the wall of the house. Robbie, who was lying prone at the time, began to rise and was almost immediately shot by Cotton, the bullet piercing his lung and liver.

Officer Cotton later claimed that Tolan had been reaching for a gun. But Tolan was unarmed and an analysis of the shooting showed that Robbie had been on all fours facing the ground when he was shot in the back. Cotton was charged with aggravated assault and some lesser offenses, but was quickly acquitted of all charges by a jury of 10 whites and two Blacks. Robbie Tolan survived but never played baseball again.

The Tolans filed a federal Civil Rights suit against Cotton and the city of Bellaire alleging racial bias, profiling, and discrimination. The suit was dismissed by Federal Judge Melinda Harmon on the grounds of qualified immunity. But the Tolans persisted, appealing to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where they lost again. They followed this with an appeal to the Supreme Court, where they struck a limited blow against the Qualified Immunity doctrine when the high court remanded the case back to the trial court. Before the trial started, Judge Harmon arbitrarily removed the City of Bellaire and rejected all of the Tolans’ expert witnesses. Exhausted by the seven-year ordeal, the Tolan family finally opted for a settlement.

By the way, Robbie Toland’s father, Bobby, had been a graceful centerfielder for the Cardinals until St. Louis traded him to Cincinnati in 1970. Tolan had a tremendous first two seasons with the Reds, hitting over .300 in both years. But in 1973, he had a subpar year and the Reds connived a reason to dump him from their payroll, claiming he had violated team rules by playing pickup basketball and growing an Afro and beard. The Players Association filed a grievance on Tolan’s behalf and won. But Tolan didn’t get his position back and the Reds organization never apologized for defaming him. His career never recovered, although he later became Tony Gwynn’s first and favorite hitting coach, which gives you a good idea of how much Bobby Tolan knew about the sport of baseball.

* * *

As Gibson’s strikeouts, shutouts, complete games and wins mounted, he acquired the reputation of being the angry Black man on the mound, a pitcher whose success was largely the result of a “natural talent” to throw hard and the lack of a moral compass that allowed him to throw hard at people. Under this noxious scenario, Gibson’s success was a function of his ability to intimidate hitters, especially white hitters. Even one of Gibson’s first managers for the Cardinals, Solly Heumus, said he “didn’t think, he just threw.” Gibson was called a “head-hunter,” with all the ugly racial connotations that the term implies. It’s a remarkable slander against one of the most cerebral athletes of the 20th century and, to use one of Gibson’s own favorite phrases, it’s bullshit.

Yes, Bob Gibson threw hard. But not as hard as Bob Feller, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, or Nolan Ryan. Yes, Bob Gibson threw inside-to-back batters, especially power hitters, off the plate. All good pitchers do or they don’t last long. And, yes, Bob Gibson occasionally hit batters intentionally, usually in retaliation for the other team’s pitcher hitting a Cardinal batter. Again standard baseball practice–assuming you want to keep the respect of your teammates. In his career, Bob Gibson hit a lot of batters. But he didn’t hit them more often than most of the top throwers of his era and, it turns out, he hit them quite a bit less often than some of the biggest names in the history of the game, most of them white pitchers. I looked up the numbers. In his 17-year-long career for St. Louis, Bob Gibson hit 82 batters, which ranks him 89th in that category in the history of the game. By contrast, the much-heralded Walter Johnson hit 205 batters. Randy Johnson drilled 190. The iconic Cy Young nailed twice as many as Gibson. Roger Clemens, one of the hardest throwers of his time, even when not on the juice, hit 159, one more than Nolan Ryan. One of Gibson’s great rivals, the Dodgers’ Don Drysdale hit 154. Greg Maddux plunked 137. Max Scherzer has hit 107 and Justin Verlander 104 and both are still throwing.

Gibson intimidated hitters. But not because they feared getting hit. They feared not being able to hit him. At his peak, from 1964 through 1969, few could.

His fierceness and evil intent on the mound were often attributed to what many perceived to be Gibson’s scowling demeanor. In fact, the infamous scowl was actually a squint. Gibson had poor eyesight and had a hard time focusing on the catcher’s sign. Gibson used to tell a very funny story about showing up with Bill White at Willie Mays’ house for dinner. When Mays opened the door, he looked at White quizzically and said, “Who the hell is that?” White replied, “C’mon, Willie, that’s Gibson. He’s struck you out several times.” Mays laughed. “Gibson? Gibson wears glasses? Why don’t you wear ’em when you pitch, for God’s sake? Shit, man, you’re gonna kill somebody!”

* * *

Gibson’s politics were fairly radical, but he mostly expressed his activism from the mound, a Black pitcher striking out some of the great white power hitters of the era: Mantle, Yastrzemski, Kaline, Bench, Matthews, Cash, Santo, Harrelson, and Pepitone. Still, it was the sixties and baseball’s calcified economic structure–which Gibson’s longtime roommate Curt Flood compared to a plantation house–was being cracked open from within. After decades of unsuccessful attempts to unionize, in 1966 the Major League Players’ Association was finally formed. It would be led by the brilliant Marvin Miller, a former economist and contract negotiator for the United Steelworkers Union. Gibson was named the player’s rep for the Cardinals and within three years there was talk of baseball’s first strike.

In the winter of 1969, Miller urged the players to walk out during spring training. MLB had just secured a new television deal that would increase the League’s annual revenues from $500,000 to $17 million. But the owners were trying to slash the player’s cut of the new income stream from TV. By coincidence, Johnny Carson had invited Gibson to appear on The Tonight Show and Gibson used the opportunity of a national audience to explain why the players were thinking of walking out on strike. Gibson explained that while many people griped about how much some players were making, they rarely mentioned how much more the owners were pocketing. Gibson said the players just wanted their fair share, the same percentage of the TV deal they had enjoyed in the past.

Gibson’s comments didn’t go down well with the owners of the Cardinals. Augustus Busch, the patriarch of the family brewing empire, convened a meeting of the team and told them their salaries were already “inflated.” Then he disparaged Gibson for speaking out publicly. Busch left the meeting without taking questions from the players and promptly distributed a copy of his inflammatory remarks to the press.

In the end, the players didn’t strike. But the Busch family responded by dismantling a team that had played in three World Series in five years, winning two of them. Within a few weeks of Gibson’s appearance on the Tonight Show, the Cardinals’ front office traded away the hard-hitting first baseman Orlando Cepeda, who, along with Gibson, was one of the team’s leaders both in the clubhouse and on the field. By the end of the summer, they also had traded away (or tried to in Flood’s case) Gibson’s favorite catcher, Tim McCarver, and his longtime roommate, Curt Flood, one of the league’s best centerfielders. Flood, one of the unsung heroes of the American labor and Civil Rights movements, challenged the trade in a federal lawsuit claiming that the deal over which he had no say treated him as property and violated his constitutional rights.

“I always likened it to a plantation owner, allowing his players to play for him in the same way that the plantation owner allowed the sharecropper to work his land while at the same time keeping him deep in debt and constantly beholden,” Flood later wrote. “I couldn’t stand to be treated that way. When I was traded, it drove me up a wall.” Flood’s suit against the so-called Reserve Clause went all the way to the Supreme Court, which, in a split decision, ruled in favor of the owners, saying that MLB was protected from such challenges by players by its Anti-Trust Exemption. Still, the first blow had been struck and in 1976 a federal arbitrator finally upheld the players’ rights to bargain for their own contracts and have a say in where they played and who they played for. The age of free agency had begun, largely thanks to the courage of Flood, even though he didn’t realize the benefits. Neither did Gibson.

In that tumultuous summer of 1969, Gibson met Jackie Robinson for the first time. The scene was the Nixon White House at a reception and dinner in celebration of the All-Star game, which was held in DC. Robinson and Gibson decided to bail on the long reception line, which led to a handshake with the unappetizing duo of Dick and Spiro. Robinson, a lifelong Republican, had denounced Nixon during the campaign for “prostituting himself to the bigots in the South” and had no interest in observing the niceties of the occasion. As the pair wandered around the Rose Garden getting acquainted with each other, they were button-holed by Attorney General John Mitchell. Jackie began to interrogate Mitchell on the administration’s Civil Rights agenda and Mitchell, missing Jackie’s point about as badly as he would have missed a Gibson slider, began to babble about a secret policy his Justice Department was developing to quell “urban unrest.” Gibson said: “That sounds like a lot of bullshit.” And Jackie followed up by telling Mitchell that it appeared his plan for the cities had “more to do with protecting the interests of whites than helping people in Black neighborhoods.” Thus was the friendship between the two iconoclasts forged.

* * *

By the 1970s, as the cartilage in Gibson’s knees wore down and he approached the end of his playing career, he began negotiations with Busch about acquiring a beer distributorship, which the Busch family had provided for two other recently retired Cardinal stars, Stan Musial and Roger Maris. Maris was handed one, even though he only played with St. Louis for two seasons. Then in 1972, the Players Association went on strike over the owner’s miserly contributions to the players’ pension fund. The strike lasted 13 days and the Players’ Association prevailed, the first of many victories for what soon became the most powerful union in the country. Gibson was still the Cards’ player rep and the Busch family apparently blamed him for the labor stoppage and ended all discussions about the distributorship that Gibson had been led to believe would secure his family’s financial future after baseball.

Gibson pitched his last game against the Chicago Cubs in 1975. He knew his body was shot after giving up a grand slam home run to a weak-hitting part-time player named Pete LaCock, the son of gameshow host Peter Marshall and the actress Joanna Dru. It was the last week of the season and the Cards were supposed to finish up by facing the Mets in New York. Gibson chose not to make the trip, in part because the last time the team had played in New York he’d gotten a death threat, a serious one apparently. After 17 years in the big leagues, Bob Gibson still managed to get under people’s skin like no other player in baseball.

When he told Cardinals General Manager Bing DeVine, who’d been with the team Gibson’s entire career, that he was hanging up his cleats, DeVine picked Gibson’s brain about the status of the team and what kind of changes the club needed to make another run at the pennant. DeVine told Gibson there might be a future for him in the organization. But Gibson writes in his memoir that after he left DeVine’s office, he never heard from the Cardinals again.

The closest Gibson came to hearing back from St. Louis was in 1982 when he was offered the managerial position for the Louisville Redbirds by club owner A. Ray Smith. Gibson wanted the job. But the Redbirds were the AAA affiliate of the Cardinals and the Busch family vetoed the hiring, still aggrieved with Gibson seven years after he’d thrown his last pitch.

Gibson knew that there were consequences for Black players who spoke out and he paid them his entire career. So he picked his moments. Gibson’s wife Charline was a Civil Rights activist and regularly attended protests in Omaha and St. Louis, often with the two Gibson daughters, Renee and Annette. Gibson would drive them to the demonstrations but didn’t trust himself to get out of the car and join them on the streets. He said that if he saw a bigot or a cop throw something or spit at a member of his family, he feared he would become violent.

“There are two distinct branches of the Gibson clan,” Gibson said. “One that practices civil disobedience and one that doesn’t. Like my mother, I was of the latter branch.”

* * *


Bob Gibson with Phil Pepe, From Ghetto to Glory: the Story of Bob Gibson, Popular Library, 1968.

Bob Gibson and Lonnie Wheeler, Stranger to the Game: The Autobiography of Bob Gibson, Viking, 1994.

David Halberstam, October 1964, Villard, 1994.

John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro, One Nation Under Baseball: How the Sixties Collided With the National Pastime, University of Nebraska, 2017.

Tom Graham and Rachel Graham Cody, Getting Open: the Unknown Story of the Integration of College Basketball, Atria Books, 2006.

Casey Pfeiffer, “Bill Garrett and the Integration of Big Ten Basketball,” Indiana Historical Bureau, Indiana State Library, March 15, 2016.

Jeff English, “Jackie Robinson: Republican,” Jackie: Perspectives on 42, Society of American Baseball Research, 2021.

(Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3.

* * *


  1. Mazie Malone April 14, 2024

    Re; Catch of the Day….

    How does one manage to be arrested 5 x in a week, maybe it’s been a week and a 1/2? I can only speculate since I do not know the details nor want to. WTF, we are going to hell in a hand basket or to jail in a straight jacket…. 😂🤪😎🤘🚓👮‍♂️

    I think I will start calling the pokey a jokey … lol

    mm 💕

    • Chuck Dunbar April 14, 2024

      And then there’s today’s line-up of 8 arrestees, 4 men-4 women. We know women and men are equal, at least in the theory of our laws, but I wish it weren’t so in this one area of life. As others have also commented, it is weird and troubling to see so many women here. “Going to hell in a hand basket” says it well. (And where on earth did that old saying come from? Regardless, it conveys its meaning clearly.)

  2. Cantankerous April 14, 2024

    Mendocino Land Trust update on Chamberlain Creek Fish Passage Project.

    Highest praise.

  3. Stephen Dunlap April 14, 2024

    I was born in St. Louis Mo in 1957 & grew up with Bob Gibson & the Cardinals. I sure never knew all that history of him. I very vaguely recall Stan Musial hitting a home run in the old Sportsman’s Park, we were on the first base side. thank you

    • peter boudoures April 14, 2024

      Small world. My dad was born there in 1951

  4. Cantankerous April 14, 2024

    Jimmy Buffett

    First date with late hub.

  5. Cantankerous April 14, 2024


    Maria Popova is a gift.
    I liked the old name “brain pickings”, best.

    I prefer shopping at Ross.

    • Mazie Malone April 14, 2024

      thank you she is amazing!!!!!… I also preferred the name…. Brain Pickings.

      I shop at Ross too… lol

      mm 💕

  6. Chuck Dunbar April 14, 2024

    A GIFT

    “On Monday in New York City, I will be forced to sit fully gagged,” said Trump, the first former U.S. president to face a criminal trial. “I’m not allowed to talk. Can you believe it?” Politico, 4.14.24

    It is hard to believe, isn’t it. No more unfettered interference with a legal process, what a novel idea. And it is a gift from the gods and goddesses. As is the criminal trial before a jury of his peers—finally a calling to account for his lies and frauds in at least one case. May justice be done.

    • Lee Edmundson April 14, 2024

      Don’t count on it. All it takes is for one juror to hold out for acquittal. Hung jury. DJT goes free. Bets?

      • Chuck Dunbar April 14, 2024

        You are right, Lee, for sure, no guarantees. But at least the trial finally is on, and an accounting is possible. Just the fact that Trump sits in the court room as a criminal defendant is a gift to the country. And again, we can hope that justice is done.

      • Bob A. April 14, 2024

        IANAL, but I do know that if a jury deadlocks with no hope of reaching a verdict the judge will declare a mistrial. The judge will then hold a hearing where the prosecution can declare its intention to try the case again. This does not constitute double jeopardy.

  7. Joe Lynn April 15, 2024


    “suspected” of being in America illegally…”

    Judy, Judy, Judy

    Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, and the U.S. are geographically located IN America, therefore people from the aforementioned regions are American, not illegals.

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