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Mendocino County Today: Sunday 6/16/24

Dad's Day | Breezy | Noyo Bookstore | AV Today | Local Events | AVUSD News | Foxglove | Gualala Silt | Barn | Correction | Transporting Marijuana | Unpublished Opinion | Pet Mogli | Electoral Panic | Flea Market | 66 Hairdos | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Rehab Hurdles | Let's Eat | Marco Radio | Which Way | Nursing Home | Jesse's Mom | Big Bastard | GTO | Perverse Insurance | Return Diploma | Selective Service | Class Warfare | Antisemitic Strawmen | People Stand

DRY WEATHER is expected through at least the first half of this week. Interior temperatures below seasonal normals today, then begin a slow warming trend through the work week. Breezy to windy westerly to northwesterly winds develop today. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A hazy 49F this Sunday morning at 5am but it will clear out quickly. Another windy today into Tuesday.

Bookstore, Noyo Harbor (Jeff Goll)


Hendy Woods: Invasive Plant Removal
Sun 06 / 16 / 2024 at 10:00 AM
Where: Hendy Woods, 18599 Philo Greenwood Rd, Philo, CA 95466
More Information (

The Anderson Valley Museum Open
Sun 06 / 16 / 2024 at 1:00 PM
Where: The Anderson Valley Museum , 12340 Highway 128, Boonville , CA 95415
More Information (

AV Village Monthly Gathering: Volunteer Appreciation Party!
Sun 06 / 16 / 2024 at 4:00 PM
Where: Private Address, please log in to see more
More Information (



Dear Anderson Valley Community,

Both sites were busy with construction this week. The elementary parking lot under the direction of Northwest Construction is looking good. The area has been reconfigured a bit, widening the drive lanes to make it safer. The striping and concrete blocks will finish the job.

We ran into an unexpected issue with the elementary floor and have had to test the mastic, which is the old glue from the decades-old tile installation to make sure that it is not asbestos. We will keep you updated as to next steps on that. There is no health issue as the material has not been disturbed, it just means we would need to build in a mitigation plan, if results are positive.

We continue to wait for DSA to respond to our elementary kitchen second round comments. We have put in a reminder email to them asking for a status update. As soon as a permit is received, it will go out to bid. I am grateful to all of the families that wrote to officials last year and to Congressman Huffman and his staff for the $500,000 federal award that was to be used for our septic. We had to do some negotiations with the USDA to allow it to be used for the high school kitchen remodel, as the septic had already been completed as it was an emergency health and safety hazard. We have been told this will be funded within the next two weeks, which is just incredible. The funds will augment the elementary kitchen budget.

The transformation at the high school was rather magical this week with the entire library wing gutted and the asbestos abatement well underway. Friday, the science rooms were stripped and the abatement will start there at the beginning of the week. Additionally, the concrete walkways around the back of the high school wing were completely demolished in preparation for the new walkways and patios. Exciting times.

The interior bathrooms in the office building are yet to be demolished, but should be underway by next week. I wish to thank Casey Cupples for running such an organized and efficient job. No time was lost with the subs running in quick succession to get things done. We are looking forward to a productive summer. My understanding is the windows will be installed in July. The reconstruction and finish work will commence as soon as abatement work is completed.

The DSA track comments are being responded to by our civil engineer and architect and the plan should be resubmitted to DSA next week. Hopefully, we can get that out to bid within six weeks. The high school gym seismic project phase 2 drawings are well underway and have to go to an estimator. Once we receive the cost estimate to retrofit, we resubmit to DSA to have a determination made as to whether it is a retrofit or a replacement eligibility. That cost would be funded by the state. I am confident that the cost will exceed a replacement valuation. My hope is that a new gym would be constructed over the new track so that students could concurrently use the old gym until construction is completed. This is a process that will take two years to move through and you just have to work the system.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board of Trustees for their support. I cannot express my gratitude enough for the leadership of Richard Browning, Saoirse Byrne, Erika Gatlin, Justin Rhoades, and Linnea Totten. Serving on a school board in some districts is one of the most contentious and thankless jobs. Anderson Valley is lucky to have such a steady and thoughtful governance team. Their ability to work together and do the right thing for kids is truly remarkable. I am grateful to them for their time and care.

Please remember, if you signed your student up for elementary summer school or a high school credit recovery class to please make sure they attend. High school is being held in the outbuilding at the elementary school that was formally the Family Resource Center. There is no summer school for middle school.

A couple of reminders from Coach Toohey to make sure that your student has their required sports physical and starts practice on time. The clinic is happy to schedule an appointment over the summer, even if your current physical has not yet expired. Don’t wait because your student will be out of practice and play if they have an expired physical. Coach also wants to reiterate that sport reporting dates are August 12th, with the exception of football that will start July 29th! Please make sure you are here, or you may not be eligible.

A reminder that all vaccinations are required for TK amd K and those transitional vaccination grades. This comes up as an audit finding for us if we have admitted students that don’t have their vaccinations. The rules are strict from the state. Your students’ attendance can be affected by not having those vaccinations in place. Please make sure you have done so.

I hope you have a wonderful week ahead.

Sincerely yours,

Louise Simson, Superintendent

AV Unified School District

Foxglove at Caspar Pond (Jeff Goll)


Gualala river is getting further destroyed by a logging plan that was just approved called "Steam Donkey". Huge amounts of silt from erosion caused by past logging operations on the river is blocking the mouth of the river about 90% of the year. Why would this project be approved after research shows that the river mouth was never blocked until the present day massive logging operations began? Who has CalFire in their pocket and why would they pretend this was about fire safety when we all know that big redwoods are fire barriers? Why would they be allowed to log within a 200 foot clearance from river when we know that a 100 foot redwood can have a rootspan of at least 100 feet? When that tree is cut; the roots dry up and no longer hold the soil in place which is why (along with a lack of proper drainage systems) we are experiencing the blockage of silt at mouth. What do you plan to do to bring attention to this recurring problem of logging permitting being in such a lax state of being here? Consequences of this are: 1) River mouth blocked 2) Toxic algae buildup 3) People who swim in the river occasionally get swimmer's rash (which only happens in a river with stagnant water that does not flow) 4) Untold amounts of damages to ecosystem.

Blue Roof by Suzi Long

CORRECTION, Re: Mural on Tap Room

Credit for the artist: Suzi Long.

And Braggadoon has opened a shed shop on their north side selling products relating to all the Fort Bragg murals! 435 N Main St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437 – (707) 964-5050

Suzi Long will be there
July 3 11-2pm
July 4 5-8pm
July 5 1-4pm
Please stop by to say hi!


by Matt LeFever


Narcotics detectives with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office arrested 28-year-old Redwood Valley resident David Giglio after he was found with over a hundred pounds of cannabis.

As per a press release issued by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, On Thursday, June 13, 2024, detectives made a traffic violation stop on an SUV traveling along Interstate 5 in Fresno County.

Sheriff’s K-9 ‘Cash’ picked up a scent of narcotics and alerted detectives. A search of the vehicle revealed 130 lbs. of processed, packaged marijuana. Detectives seized the marijuana for evidence and destruction. Giglio was released with a citation for transporting marijuana for sale.

The press release specified that while the possession of small amounts of marijuana (1 oz.) is legal for recreational use in California, the possession of large amounts of marijuana remains illegal.

130 lbs of cannabis Fresno County Sheriff’s Office detectives reportedly confiscated from a Mendocino County man and later destroyed [photo from FCSO]



To the Editor:

I just learned that Mendocino County submitted a 97-page document asking to have an important appellate court opinion be "unpublished" -- the opinion in which the Vichy Springs Resort prevailed against the County of Mendocino and the City of Ukiah and their twisted distortion and self-serving perversion of CEQA and land use zoning ordinances.

The county belongs an organization of counties, the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), and they ganged up and to join Mendocino County and requested the same.

It begs the question: Why the secrecy?

Attorneys for Vichy Springs Resort submitted a 2-page rebuttal.

We shall see how the court rules. This case is about 6 years and running.

I have the 34-page opinion for an attorney wishing to see it. Email me. If appropriate, I'll send it. Again, it's an important precedent. CEQA and land use zoning law have been misapplied by counties for a long, long time.

The case number in the Court of Appeal of State of California, First Appellate District, Division Four, is: A165345, A167000.

The Mendocino County Superior Court case number is: SCUK-CVPT 2018-70200.

John Sakowicz



Mogli is a happy and energetic young dog. This cutie pie has a very curious personality and he’s interested in EVERYTHING going on around him! Mogli loves to play with toys, and after his evaluation, he grabbed a stuffy toy and took it back to his kennel with him! What a smarty-pants! Mogli is a Lab mix, 10 month old puppy who weighs in at a sweet 40 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.


Charles Acker: What do you really know about Kennedy for President 2024? Come Learn and Share! Video and Discussion, Fort Bragg Library, Monday June 17, 5:30-7 pm. Be curious!

“C.M.” responds: Please don’t waste your vote! Please do not give this man the attention he is seeking to satisfy his own ego when he well knows there is no chance for him to win the election. This is utter Folly! Ask Ralph Nader. Ask Ross Perot. Ask Julie Stein. There is no way all the liberal Democrats I know will vote for Kennedy. And there is no way all the people who love Trump will vote for Kennedy. He has NO chance. He knows it and is running anyway. That is supremely selfish.

JIMA SHARED, “The Flea Market at the Caspar Community Center will be happening again this year, this is number 19. It's on Sunday, June 23rd starting at 9am and going until 2pm. It happens on the same Sunday as the long running & successful monthly 4th Sunday fund raising breakfast. Welcome are sellers/vendors of arts, crafts, imports, produce, antiques & collectibles, household stuff, tools, extra stuff from garages, closets & attics, thing-a-ma-jigs, what-ya-ma-callits and special gew-gaws. Basically anything that's not dangerous or illegal. If you would like to receive information about the flea market and an application, reply to this email and I'll send it to you. Email me with any questions you have about the market. jima@mcn(dot)org

1966 AV vs Pt. Arena - definitely the “good old days”. No comments about the hairdo please. Check out the purses.


THIS ON-LINE COMMENT neatly sums up the huge public expense that DA Eyster is imposing on the taxpayers of Mendocino County as he pursues his personal vendetta against former county auditor, Chamise Cubbison: “700 pages of new documents to review at $400 an hour. And then the county will have to defend itself in a civil suit, all on the taxpayers’ dime. No matter the outcome, it’s a feeding frenzy for the attorneys involved.”

AND HUGELY UNFAIR to Ms. Cubbison with her worker bee, Ms. Kennedy, dragged along as collateral damage, as Ms. Cubbison, presumably a person of ordinary means, pays mightily for her own defense while Eyster and his jive “special counsel” run up monster legal bills they charge off to the County of Mendo, eternal victim to serial grifts.

ALL OF THE ABOVE might have been smothered in its conjured cradle if just one of the five supervisors had demanded of Eyster, “Show us your evidence against Cubbison before we fire her.” Not a peep, which is what happens when irresponsible people are seated at the power levers.

WE’LL eventually discover that the evidence against Cubbison was and is non-existent. So five supervisors, without comment, suspended an elected official purely on the say-so of DA Eyster! Only in Mendo. It's too bad that the supervisors and Eyster can't be held personally liable for this cruel farce, enabled of course, by Eyster’s pals sitting as superior court judges.

JUDGE SHANAHAN, or is is Ann Moorman now?, or one of their interchangeable colleagues, will shove this expensive charade forward for trial when it should be tossed at the endlessly postponed prelim on July 25th, and note here the indefensibly long intervals between court processes, another crime against Cubbison and the public interest, the lawyer bills accumulating. So far, it has taken Eyster's special counsel three months to read 700 pages to see if she can find the DA's non-existent case. (It has taken me three weeks to read David Foster Wallace's 700-plus page masterpiece, Infinite Jest, downing it in random gulps of an hour here, two hours there, and it’s a lot more complicated than a non-case brought by an expense account chiseling, vindictive DA with more power than he should be entrusted with.)

THE ALL-TIME most spectacular Mendo traffic disaster occurred on the Albion Bridge nearly 30 years ago. It was a Monday morning at 10:30 when a double-trailer log truck, its driver frantically braking to avoid the Toyota Celica that had suddenly appeared in the truck's lane near mid-span of the bridge, struck the Celica, and then plunged over the side, falling 150 feet before landing on its roof on the river's southeast bank only a few feet from the water.

THE NORTHBOUND Celica, driven by Neil Wood, 53, of Fort Bragg, driving drunk, was struck by the oncoming log truck and upended in the middle of the two-lane bridge, the last wood bridge in the state in use on a state-maintained highway. With Wood pinned inside the wreckage of his Celica, Albert Oompling, 51, also of Fort Bragg, was sailing over the side in his airborne log truck to the Albion River below, his eerily slow-motion fall witnessed by a horrified number of motorists, campers and fishermen at Albion Flat, and several residents of nearby homes on both sides of the river whose attentions had been drawn to the bridge by the ominous sound of screaming brakes.

MR. OOMPLING, the driver of the log truck, said he was conscious throughout his terrifying fall; he was alert and talking to the rescuers who immediately boated across the river from the campgrounds on the Mendocino side of the river to offer him whatever help they could. But Oompling was pinned in the wreckage of his cab amidst a pick-up stick array of scattered logs he'd been carrying north to the Gibney Lane mill in Fort Bragg. A jaws-of-life apparatus from the Mendocino Fire Department soon appeared on the north bank of the Albion. It was ferried across the river by boat where it was put to work to free Oompling, alert and talking to his rescuers, from what might well have been his death chamber.

THE TRUCKER, fortunate to have survived the fall had, however, suffered major injuries. He was first taken to Coast Hospital before being airlifted to Memorial Hospital, Santa Rosa.

MR. WOOD, the cause of the accident, also had to be cut from the wreckage of his crushed, upturned Toyota, and also sustained major injuries. He remained at Coast Hospital. Both men were expected to recover.

CALTRANS FEARED that the bridge's south wooden support had been struck by the log truck as it fell, perhaps thus imperiling the bridge's structural integrity. As a small army of Caltrans personnel, emergency services workers and policemen swarmed the closed bridge, through traffic was turned around and routed through Comptche the rest of the day.

AH THE HIPPIES. Kinda miss the shaggy beasts and their odd experiments, among the oddest of which, I'd say, was an announcement by a Comptche woman called Bloodroot that she'd developed a unique restorative she once marketed as a “penis soak.” As described in the straight-faced if not straight-jacketed but counterculturally-crucial New Settler Interview, for a few bucks a guy could dip his wick in a kind of penile mud bath whose magically invigorating ingredients were known only to Bloodroot. I waited for years for testimonials from satisfied customers that they'd limped into Comptche with their exhausted members hanging dejectedly in their jockeys for a quick header into Bloodroot's mysterious Mason Jar Peenie Pond and presto! Mount Priapas! But I never heard another word, and darned if I was prepared to risk mine rotting off to the elbows merely for the sake of investigative journalism!

WHY IT'S CALLED JIVE JUICE, and why I delight in re-posting this timeless deconstruction of the industrial wine industry by Adam Sage, now thirty years old: “Drinkers have long suspected it, but now French researchers have finally proved it: wine ‘experts’ know no more than the rest of us,” reports Sage. “Their rituals as they pronounce judgment have been revealed as little more than self-delusion by an award winning French study. They base their views as much on color and labels as upon a wine's bouquet and flavor.”

“The truth is that you cannot define taste objectively,” declared Fredéric Brochet, a researcher at the Amorim Academy in Bordeaux, France, whose study won an award from the academy. “The opinions of the so-called connoisseurs are no better and perhaps worse than that of the occasional drinker,” he said. “The greater the expertise, the greater the cultural baggage that prevents you from perceiving the actual taste in your mouth.”

Mr. Brochet carried out two rather obvious studies to prove his point.

In the first, he invited 54 of Bordeaux's most eminent wine experts to sample different bottles, including a white wine to which he had added an odorless, flavorless substance that gave it a red color. Not a single expert noticed. “It is a well known psychological phenomenon,” said Brochet. “You taste what you are expecting to taste. They were expecting to taste a red wine, and so they did. Similar experiments elsewhere had come up with similar results.”

According to Brochet, only about 2-3% of people (a number so small as to be equivalent to no one) can detect the white wine flavor, but invariably that tiny number has little experience of wine culture. Self-described “wine connoisseurs” tend to fail to detect any difference. Conclusion: The more training you have, the more mistakes you make because you cannot avoid being influenced by the color of the wine.

In his second test, Brochet gave 57 “experts” the same ho-hum bottle of Bordeaux two separate times. The first time the vin ordinaire was labeled as a high-prestige grand cru, and the second time it was labeled as a cheap table wine. When the “experts” thought it was a grand cru, they described it with such terms as “agreeable, woody, complex, balanced and rounded.” When they thought it was box-wine, they said it was “weak, short, light, flat, faulty” and came with a low-end booze sting. Forty of the experts said the wine was good when they thought it was expensive, but only 12 liked it when it was cheap.

Mr. Brochet adds, “This is why wine frauds are virtually never detected on taste alone, but because someone tips off the police who look at the paperwork.” (In pseudo-socialist France, government inspectors actually check the wine paperwork now and then. It rarely, if ever, happens here in Mike Thompson-landia. You can put pretty much write whatever you want on your wine paperwork here in wine country, and that's exactly what everyone will say is happening. Wine shysters routinely re-route the cheaper grapes to their “second label” which is almost as expensive as the first, but without the first label’s “appellation” and therefore made with much cheaper grapes.

Mr. Brochet also pointed out that the molecule that gives what is described as the taste of black currants, red currants or raspberries in red wine is chemically identical to that which gives an apricot or peach taste to white wine. The description of the “connoisseurs” changes only because the color is different.

In other words the difference between a wine “expert” and a wine “drinker” is the price you pay. And if you buy (or sell) an expensive bottle of wine, you’re living proof that you don’t know Boone's Apple Farm from syrah.

BACK IN THE 1960s, I worked at a liquor store in Fresno that had just received a palletload of a cheap knockoff brand of bulk-fermented champagne called LeJon. (Bulk fermented champagne gets its second fermentation in a large vat; then the lees are filtered off from one tank to another through a nitrogen pressurized plumbing/filtration system. It’s a much cheaper fermentation process than the one used at, say, Roederer here in Anderson Valley, where each bottle is individually fermented and the dead culture removed by “riddling and disgorging” — tipping the bottle in a rack and jiggling it in the classic French manner until the lees accumulate in the bottleneck. Then they freeze the neck, after which the bottle is gently warmed slightly and the neck’s contents are carefully splurped out before the bottle is recapped while still cold. I understand Roederer’s brilliantly innovative Michel Salgues has mechanized this process, however.) The store owner where I worked got the cases of cheap champagne from a wholesaler who was offloading unsold bulk inventory. He displayed the champagne initially for $1.29 a bottle. Very little was sold. After a couple weeks, he told me, “Watch this,” and jacked the price up to $5.99 a bottle. It sold out immediately. — ms

CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, June 15, 2024

Banda, Hernandez, Keyes

JESUS BANDA-MARIN, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, damaging cellphone, probation revocation.

ADRIEL HERNANDEZ, Hopland. DUI, cruelty to child-infliction of injury.

CHRISTOPHER KEYES, Ukiah. Robbery, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

Muchison, Nunez, Olstad, Ousey

NEIL MURCHISON, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, paraphernalia, failure to appear.


RICHARD OLSTAD, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, county parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

KRISTO OUSEY, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

Owens, Serrano, Wolfe

SHEILA OWENS, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, probation revocation.

FERNANDO SERRANO, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Under influence.

JEVIN WOLFE, Willits. DUI, suspended license for DUI, probation violation.


I would just like to make a statement. For people that are on probation, or who have committed crimes, face significant challenges in finding stable housing and employment due to their criminal history and actions. For example landlords and employers conduct background checks that reveal past felonies, leading to discrimination and rejection. And we all know that evwn if they say equal opportunity employers, that it does not work that way and that creates a cycle of instability and continuous struggles for those trying to reintegrate into society after serving their sentence, being placed on probation, or who have just committed crimes. If these people commit crimes. Where do they go if they get kicked out of their home for say drug use… they'll go to the streets to continue drug use… why cant any private contracted apartment complex who contract with the federal government offer rehabilitation, or mental health staff on site?

Federal housing policies often result in the separation of family members who have committed crimes in the past and present or who are facing charges. Due to the drug free community. Isnt that discrimination? What if these people need help? These policies may restrict individuals with criminal records from living with their loved ones in public housing, further straining relationships and complicating reentry efforts. This separation can have a devastating impact on both the individual who committed the crime and their family members, leading to increased stress, financial burden, and emotional hardship.

Overall, these barriers to housing and employment create additional obstacles for individuals on probation, making it more challenging for them to successfully reintegrate into society and rebuild their lives. It is crucial for policymakers and communities to address these issues and provide support for reentry programs, second chance programs to help break the cycle of recidivism and promote rehabilitation. Especially those struggling with addictions and criminal records.

My question is, how are these people rebuild. Where do they even start to correct their mistakes? I'm not glorifying drug use or criminals. But rehabs and jails are at maximum capacity. Where is the faith in humanity and kindness.

We strip people of homes and jobs, they end up on the street. Most of the time turning to drug use, loosing custody of their children, living on the streets. Then adding continuous to the homelessness epidemic.

We should take note of how Finland handles these same issues. And not only is that country the happiest country in the world they have decreased homelessness and helped criminals and addicts. By providing homes. And those struggling started to succeed and strive.

— GossipGirlSevenOhSeven


"Every neutrino is left-handed, Jack. That’s how I knew Professor Sheinbaum was the killer. It’s over. Call off your mathboys.”

Here's the recording of last night's (Friday 2024-06-14) 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 essay 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. That's what I'm here for.

Besides all that, at you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together, such as:

Veronica Lake, real-life Jessica Rabbit.

Watch a man persevere through adversity to make a Telecaster-style guitar body and neck entirely out of cast bronze. It ends up weighing forty pounds, /after/ he took seven pounds off by making the body smaller and thinner than the plan. With pleasant, comprehensive narration. One of the things I made in school was a heavy bronze fantasy stage-prop religious human sacrifice knife that perfectly fit my hand, whose blade extended like a flap of metal skin from the bird-claw-like tip down around the outside of my fingers to a heavy two-inch sphere at the base. One time years later when I went back to visit, it was in the garage. My stepfather Roland had been using it for a hammer and a pry-tool, and then he died of a heart attack when he was out on a business trip. The damage to it actually made it look more real, like something someone would get cursed for stealing from an ancient alien crypt. That’s something I wonder about: where that ended up. It survived their house burning down. But then where did it go? It’s out there somewhere. The gay art teacher of the class where I made that knife was later beaten to death outside a restaurant in Sacramento, which was awful, but I don’t think there’s any connection, though in fiction a man is beaten to death with an electric guitar by a crooked politician in a season 5 or 6 episode of /Elementary/. (Spoiler.) I don’t believe in curses. I think it’s mostly probability and the Brownian motion of society, where a small but significant number of people will become hair-trigger mad dogs no matter what you do, and drugs, including alcohol and caffeine, don’t help, nor does it help that the people who carry around guns with them everywhere they go, loaded and ready to shoot someone, are exactly the wrong sort of people to have a gun in easy reach when events become frustrating or anything startling or confusing or insulting happens. And it ends up like that video you might have seen of a whole floor of mousetraps and the guy tosses a pingpong ball in and the place goes crazy, everything chaotically snapping everything else, only its not mousetraps, it’s people with guns who fantasize about being a hero and, inside, they know they’re the opposite of a hero, that’s why they want a gun. A word we don’t use anymore, because it’s not acceptable, for a person like that if it was a man was pussy. That was the word.

And Lola de la Mata, tinnitus-suffering musician (say TIN-ih-tuhss), gives back. “An uneasy and often jarring mixture of high-pitched rings, deep scrapes and dull thuds, she employed tuning forks used during the Rhine & Weber hearing test, as well as a Canna Sonora, a rare instrument consisting of aluminium poles arranged vertically across a rack.” Aluminium, that’s the way much of the world says it.

Marco McClean,,


by Paul Modic

I was walking down the long hall at my mother’s nursing home when I heard a bright cheery “Hi!” behind me. I turned around and saw a woman in her nineties rolling toward me in her wheelchair with a big smile on her face.

“Hi,” I said. “I'm heading down this hallway.”

“Let's go!” she said.

“What's your name?” I said. “Mine's Paul.”

“Leti,” she said. “Leticia. Take me with you.” (I think she liked me, and I started to wonder, hmm…)

“Well, I'm going to visit my mother,” I said. “We'll be coming back this way to go outside to the orchard and I'll introduce you. See you soon.” I continued down the hall then took a left into her room.  “Hi,” I said, sitting down. She had dozed off in her wheelchair with a book in her hands and MSNBC on the tube. “I just met someone here.”

“A visitor?” she said.


“Someone who works here?”

“No, a resident named Leticia. I think she escaped from the Memory Unit, maybe we can take her outside to the garden with us?”

“No,” my mother said.

“No? No share-zies?” I said. “Well, are you ready to go?” I started wheeling her out of the room and noticed Leticia rolling in. “Hi Leticia,” I said. She wheeled herself back out, grumbling and mumbling. “That's the woman I met, I wonder how she found us?” I asked.

“Maybe she heard your voice,” my mother said. (I should have talked to Leticia for a few minutes when I met her in the hall and got her story, instead of being in a hurry to get to my mother's room.) 

Out in the garden we found a spot where there was sun for her and shade for me, blackbirds and seagulls hovered around on the low roofs waiting to pounce on the fruit. “I'm feeling really low energy, like Jeb Bush.” I said. “I've been making a list of what I like and what I hate: I like food, weed, wine, beer, scones, following politics, writing, conversation, reading good books, watching sports, and dancing. I hate to shop, cook, clean, do laundry, do my physical therapy exercises, and limp around on this bad hip. I might be depressed, maybe I shouldn't have come here today. If you really want to know, it feels depressing coming to this nursing home every day.”

“Well, how do you think I feel?” she said.

“Ten times worse,” I said.

“Don't look at your watch, that's rude.”

“Everyone's having fun but me. Kate, John, and Jessie (my sisters and brother-in-law) are all at Lark music camp. Carl is always having fun, Bergen is probably having fun, I'm just limping around. I think I have to get serious about planning for the hip replacement. You know how sporty people get their hip and knees replaced so they can resume their active lifestyles, like biking and mountain-climbing? I just want to be able to walk normally again, do you think I'll be able to dance for another ten years if I get the operation?”

“Yeah, probably.”

“I might not come tomorrow, I'm feeling really low energy.”

“Well, it's a long day if no one visits.”

“Does Kate come every day when she's in town?”

“Well, if she can't then John will usually come. It might be a little boring for him at first, but then the conversation gets going.”

I took her back to her room. “I hope Leticia doesn't come in here and strangle you in your sleep.”

“What?!” she said.



by Gregory Thomas & Daniel Lempres

It had been several days since anyone had heard from Downieville resident Patrice Miller.

Miller, 71, lived alone with two cats in a dilapidated yellow rental house near the heart of the small mountain town, across the street from the county courthouse. She mostly kept to herself, growing orchids and house plants, and got around with the aid of a walking stick, having endured multiple organ failures earlier in life.

Last November, her friend, Cassie Koch, who delivered groceries to Miller’s home, grew concerned when the elderly woman hadn’t checked in with her. She called the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office to request a welfare visit.

When a deputy arrived at Miller’s home, the first thing he noticed was her garden hose “draped across the porch steps,” spraying water “in all directions” from what looked like bite punctures. There was no answer to a knock on the front door.

The deputy turned off the water. Then he peered through a small window, sweeping his flashlight across the home’s interior.

Blood streaks marked with paw prints crisscrossed the living room floor.

He drew his gun and opened the door. The scene inside was gruesome. Miller’s body was on the kitchen floor, badly mangled by claw marks and bite wounds and partially eaten. The cabinets had been torn into and the floor was a mess of garbage and food.

The kitchen window appeared to be the point of entry. It had been broken into; its security bars had been pried off “and remained hanging by a single bolt,” according to a coroner’s report.

A survey of the premises led the deputy to surmise that a bear had found Miller in her bed and dragged her across the house. A pile of bear scat was found in the living room.

At first, Sierra County officials believed that Miller had died of natural causes and that a bear later broke into her home, ravaged her body and scavenged the place. But a full autopsy report, completed weeks later but not disseminated publicly until six months after the incident, determined that the woman had suffered crushing injuries and been mauled to death.

The case is a grim milestone for California: the first documented human fatality caused by a black bear in state history.

Some wildlife experts had anticipated a tragic outcome like this for years. The state’s black bear population is growing and the animals are increasingly pressing from the forests into neighborhoods and city centers. Reports of conflicts between bears and people appear to be as high as ever, according to state records.

But the Downieville investigation, in which authorities first mistook the victim’s cause of death and would later misidentify the culprit bear, marks a shift in officials' understanding of California’s bears and what they’re capable of. In a conversation with the Chronicle, Capt. Patrick Foy of Fish and Wildlife’s Law Enforcement Division was candid:

“We’re in new territory.”

Harassed For Months

“Big bastard” was the nickname Miller gave to the large, chestnut-colored bear that had stalked her home and harassed her for months.

Black bears are curious creatures and opportunistic eaters, and in their natural state they are skittish around humans. The more habituated among them in the Sierra Nevada, however, are known to pry open dumpsters or break into cars for food.

Downieville, a remote town with a population of about 100 people and two rivers running through it, is “right in the middle of where bears like to be,” said Catilin Roddy, environmental program manager for Fish and Wildlife’s North-Central region. The animals there rummage for trash knock over backyard bird feeders and nose into people’s homes. The most bothersome ones develop reputations and earn epithets.

“When I was a kid, you never saw a bear in town,” said Miller’s friend Koch, 55, a longtime Downieville local. “Now, they’re all over, making their rounds. It’s easy pickins for them.”

Miller’s yard presented an easy means to a meal: She had cultivated a vegetable garden and compost pile and, according to Koch, wasn’t always diligent in disposing of trash — factors that officials say likely made her home a target.

Last year, one bear was becoming increasingly aggressive in its intent to enter Miller’s house, showing up almost daily. During one encounter, Miller “had physically hit (a bear) to keep it from entering her residence,” according to the coroner’s report.

“Every time I’d see her, something would be brought up about the bear trying to get into the house,” Koch said. “At first, it was like, ‘Oh, this pesky bear.’ But then she seemed scared about it.”

The state’s black bear population has grown from an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 in 1982 to upward of 65,000 as of last year, according to Fish and Wildlife. About 40% of them are believed to live in the Sierra Nevada, where the abundance of human food accessible in mountain towns has upended bears' natural ecosystem. The situation is giving rise to a strain of creatures unusually comfortable living among humans and, in turn, an uptick in dangerous confrontations. There’s a concern that bear behavior once considered extreme is becoming more common.

A draft of a new Black Bear Conservation Plan, published by Fish and Wildlife in April, shows that an average of 674 bear conflicts per year were reported to the department between 2017 and 2020, mostly involving property damage. That average jumped to 1,678 reports per year in 2021 and 2022.

Large, fearless bears seen breaking into homes and cars in the Lake Tahoe basin, thought to be the densest area of bear activity in California, have drawn national media attention for their brazen behavior and prompted the state to station a team of human-wildlife conflict biologists there to educate people on how to co-exist with bears (though the team’s funding runs out this month).

Reports of bear attacks are rare, though a small number have occurred in Tahoe in recent years. Officials interviewed for this article weren’t aware of another bear attack having occurred in Sierra County.

The bear that harassed Miller is a particularly concerning type known to officials as a “public safety bear” for its repeatedly aggressive behavior. To keep the animal at bay, Miller installed steel bars across her windows, but the bear persisted.

One warm night about two weeks before her death, Miller was awakened by one of her cats hissing at the cracked bedroom window, her friend Koch said. A meaty bear arm was through the opening, pawing to get inside. Miller pepper-sprayed the animal and blasted an airhorn before it retreated.

“Seemed like every other night the bear was trying to break into her house,” Koch said.

Last September, Miller reported the bear to Fish and Wildlife, and the department offered her a depredation permit, a last-resort option the state grants people to shoot a problem animal before it causes serious harm. She declined it, according to the department.

“She didn’t want the bear hurt. She was a sweet person,” Koch said. “She just wanted the bear removed.”

Mistaken Identity

Sierra County Sheriff Mike Fisher oversaw the investigation into Miller’s death. He has dealt with all sorts of wild-animal problems. In an incident several years ago, he said, the remains of a woman who had driven into the backcountry and died were eaten by a bear, Fisher said. But Miller’s case was different.

“I was shocked that we were dealing with this kind of thing right here in town,” Fisher said.

After Miller’s body was discovered in November, Fisher’s first call was to Fish and Wildlife, which is empowered to capture and euthanize bears that threaten public safety. A department wildlife officer arrived and gathered DNA samples from Miller’s body to establish the animal’s sex.

In the early aftermath, authorities were guided by two initial determinations: that the bear responsible for breaking into the house was male, and that it hadn’t killed Miller but had mauled her posthumously. The first conclusion was grounded in hard science; the second was a qualitative assessment by Fisher, who is also the county coroner, that would prove incorrect once a full autopsy was conducted weeks later in nearby Placer County.

Beginning the morning after Miller’s body was discovered, and for days after, Fisher received calls about a bear breaking down makeshift barricades at Miller’s house and re-entering. It was likely the same animal, he believed. County officials ultimately kept the bear out by installing a sheet of plywood over the front door and securing it with 40 screws.

After some bureaucratic back-and-forth, Fish and Wildlife granted a depredation permit to the home’s landlord, effectively allowing the sheriff and his deputies to dispatch the bear. The department also contacted a trapper with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to help capture the creature.

A large metal cage, baited with food and outfitted with a trapdoor, was placed on Miller’s property. On the second morning after it was set, authorities found a bear inside. Fisher believed it matched the description of the one that had torn through Miller’s home.

But after taking a look at the animal, a Fish and Wildlife biologist concluded that it was female. Fisher was told it would need to be released. He wasn’t satisfied with the evaluation, but officials were without the tranquilizers necessary to perform a hands-on assessment to verify the bear’s sex.

Fisher then ordered the trap seized and padlocked with the animal inside to ensure the bear wouldn’t be freed until its sex was confirmed. He also issued an ultimatum to Fish and Wildlife: examine the animal thoroughly or he’d call the local news media to document the bear’s release.

“I said, ‘We’re not releasing this bear until we know for sure,’” Fisher said.

That evening, another Fish and Wildlife biologist arrived in Downieville with the needed sedatives. The biologist examined the unconscious bear: It was male. The trapper dispatched it on the spot using a high-caliber pistol.

Mauled To Death

In January, two months after Miller’s death, a full autopsy report detailing the lacerations, puncture wounds and other injuries to Miller concluded that she had been mauled to death.

But Fisher said Fish and Wildlife did not share its findings that DNA taken from the trapped bear matched samples taken off of Miller’s body. It wasn’t until May, six months after discovering Miller’s body, that he could confirm — after obtaining the department’s DNA findings — that they’d captured and killed the right animal back in November.

Key Fish and Wildlife officials say they didn’t learn about the autopsy report findings until May, when word of them filtered up through the department’s law enforcement ranks. According to Morgan Kilgour, Fish and Wildlife’s regional manager for its North-Central region, the department “wasn’t withholding information from the public” about the fatal bear mauling, “we just didn’t have the documentation.”

Kilgour acknowledged that the department and Sierra County could have communicated better but rejected the notion that Fish and Wildlife was responsible for any delays in the investigation or dissemination of information. “Our team was very responsive and took this situation very seriously,” she said.

The sheriff says he is frustrated by the state’s response to Miller’s death and what he called a “breakdown in communication” with Fish and Wildlife in its aftermath. He believes the department’s bear management policies aren’t practically suited to the escalating animal behavior he’s seeing.

“I’m not looking to euthanize every bear that comes into my community,” Fisher said. “But every once in a while, we get a bear that exhibits different behavior than our town bears and it needs to be dealt with.”

Fish and Wildlife officials say that if the mauling had been correctly attributed as the cause of death from the start, their course to exterminating the bear would have been clearer, their actions swifter and more decisive. “It would have been handled completely differently logistically, more efficiently,” said Foy of Fish and Wildlife.

A debriefing on the case between Fisher and Fish and Wildlife officials occurred in May, just as news began to emerge of the autopsy report. Both Fisher and wildlife officials said the conversation was productive.

“I’m hopeful that this incident has brought to light some issues that if, God forbid, Sierra County or any other county is dealing with this, I think the response will be different moving forward,” Fisher said.

Roddy of Fish and Wildlife said it’s impossible to know whether a fatal mauling could happen again.

“We hope it won’t, but it’s not a zero-percent possibility in any given year,” she said.

Roddy stressed that humans need to help keep bears wild through simple practices like storing trash and food appropriately but also by maintaining a healthy respect for the primal distinctions between us and them. “Bears should be afraid of people,” Roddy said. “We don’t want to be their friends, we want to keep a safe distance.”

Some, though, feel the tide may have already changed, that Miller’s death signals a frightening new era of violent bear behavior.

“I’ve lived here since 1980 and I’ve never been afraid to go outside at night, but I am now,” said Koch, the friend of Miller’s in Downieville. “I don’t leave my house at night unless I’ve got the floodlights on because I don’t know what’s out there. A lot of people in town are the same way now.”

‘Final Straw’

Last month, Fisher’s office began receiving calls about a cinnamon-colored bear breaking into occupied homes in Downieville. An elderly resident had reportedly woken up from a nap and found the animal standing in his living room “staring at him.”

“That was the final straw for me,” Fisher said.

Fisher took the unprecedented step of issuing a decree declaring the bear to be a public safety threat, in effect authorizing his deputies to trap or shoot it on sight. He notified Fish and Wildlife about the declaration, he said, but didn’t wait for its approval to act.

One day soon after, the sheriff received a call that the cinnamon bear was trying to break into the middle-high school cafeteria. Deputies arrived at the school too late to catch it, but by then, had heard that it had broken into a nearby house. They pursued it on foot, tracked it down in the woods, and shot it to death with a rifle.

(SF Chronicle)


by Dipti S. Barot

There is no experience more uniquely, more perversely, more quintessentially American than a sick patient battling their insurance company.

In the case of my father-in-law, Dan, he was a Stage 4 cancer patient, hospitalized and recovering from his most recent infection, fielding a call about the latest rejection for an MRI obtained two days earlier. His doctors got the imaging done in preparation for his first cycle of chemotherapy to treat cancer that that had seeded into various organs and lymph nodes throughout his body and robbed him of his bladder and replaced it with a bag.

Incredibly, his insurance company, Anthem, had deemed it unnecessary and said they would not cover it.

I watched Dan take that call recumbent in his hospital bed, PICC line in one arm, IV in another, a nasal cannula up his nostrils supplying 4 liters of oxygen, fluids and antibiotics hanging off the IV pole. And I became enraged all over again at this system that seems determined to kill him so that it can save another buck.

I am a doctor, and Dan’s daughter-in-law — his doctor-in-law someone joked — and even with all of my education, insights, advantages and resources, I can’t protect him from a health care industry whose only goal is to maximize profits by minimizing care.

The CEO of Anthem’s parent company Elevance, Gail Boudreaux, raked in $21.9 million in compensation last year, up from $20.9 million the year before, with a CEO-to-employee salary ratio of 389 to 1. The headlines about the company’s revenue boasted: “Elevance controls medical costs to $6B profit in 2023”

Controls Medical Costs.

Think about that phrase. Ruminate on its precise meaning. What does that mean for an average American family dealing with a loved one undergoing a life-altering medical diagnosis?: delays and denials at every turn. Pushbacks for home health nursing, physical therapy, chemotherapy and imaging. Jumping through needless hoops and an endless rigamarole of fighting back, appealing and speaking to supervisors in a war of attrition that the insurance companies always, ultimately and inevitably win.

That’s exactly what Dan had to deal with.

Earlier that week, Anthem had called to deny him the eight sessions of physical therapy deemed necessary by a physical therapist. Anthem claimed he only needed three. The cancer had robbed Dan of over 30 pounds by then, leaving him deconditioned and a fall risk, made worse by a weakened leg after his bladder removal surgery. When we requested an expedited appeal with a 72-hour turnaround time — which we only knew to ask for after a prior rejection — Anthem decided it did not warrant the urgency of an expedited appeal. It would take up to 30 days.

Last month, when we had readied ourselves for the then-imminent chemotherapy, Anthem denied it at the last minute. The company said it was because Dan’s metastatic cancer was not metastatic. When our doctor’s office asked for an expedited appeal, Anthem said the request missed the 24-hour window the company allows doctors to appeal decisions over the phone. This was Anthem’s position even though our doctor’s office said it never received a call informing it of the denial of coverage as is the supposed protocol. When asked where to fax the appeal, Anthem said it was experiencing a systemwide fax issue and provided a snail-mail address in Ohio. When I spoke to Christina, our authorization representative at one of the top 10 cancer hospitals in the nation, she assured me about the normalcy of the ever-increasing pushback of insurance denials, but she had never been given a physical address to send a paper chart.

That morning, white-hot anger coursing through me, I jumped the hoops to reach a supervisor at Anthem. The supervisor said she had no idea what the prior representative was talking about and had not heard of a systemwide outage. Though Christina had documented all of the details, including the name of the representative, the time, date and details of the mysterious snail-mail conversation, Anthem didn’t seem the least bit interested in investigating and instead told us to start all over with an appeal that would take up to 30 days.

Of course, there is no recourse for any of this. No fines, no punishment, no comeuppance for the lies, the gaslighting, the putting of patients through the wringer. CEO Boudreaux likely will pocket another $1 million raise this year. They get to waste our time and shorten our lives, and we get to suffer. This is what controlling costs looks like to get that juicy $6 billion for your shareholders.

After delays, back and forths, wasted time and effort, and stress and anger to prove that metastatic cancer was, indeed, metastatic, we got the approval, but of course, the chemotherapy was delayed.

Dan has worked ever since he could pedal a bike on a newspaper route and proudly proclaims that he was never sick a day in his life until he was 75. He was the fun dad in the cul-de-sac who did a Halloween raffle with cash prizes, where one lucky kid could walk away with 100 bucks, the one who’d drop a 50 at your kid’s lemonade stand. He spent his entire career representing injured workers fighting, ironically, these very insurance companies for denying care and compensation deserved for on-the-job injuries.

The insight he gained resulted in a deep compassion for working people, one manifestation of which is the largesse of his 50% tipping. When he is hospitalized, he often chats up the staff about their rights to collect compensation for their cumulative trauma. He has paid into the system and has earned the right to receive the care he needs at his most vulnerable time, without having to fight and claw within an inch of his life.

Though story after story comes out about the despicable activities of insurance companies and their unconscionable denials, precious little is done and their profits continue to soar. Their CEOs continue to get paid in the tens of millions by denying an MRI here, a chemo drug there, a home health visit here. And they get rewarded for our misery, our lost hours of taking on this fight, and all of the ways they shorten our lives. This is by design — a feature, not a bug. The impediments, the roadblocks, the inconsistencies, the red tape, the endless obstacles, sucking us dry till we finally give up and go home to die.

One day I spoke with yet another supervisor at Anthem, attempting to throw around my doctor-weight to get Dan what he needed. Unbeknownst to me, my mother-in-law had been observing. Once I was off the phone, she asked, “So what do regular people do when they are dealing with all of this?” I turned to her and said, “They suffer needlessly and die early.” The words hung in the air between us, as sharp and true as any uttered.

Five months after his diagnosis, after delays by infections and insurance, Dan finally started his chemo. My fervent wish is that he can spend the time and energy he has left fighting the bladder cancer trying to kill him instead of fighting the insurance company willing to do the same.

(Dipti S. Barot is a primary care doctor and freelance writer in the San Francisco Bay Area. Twitter: @diptisbarot)


by Dennis Kucinich

Our government is planning a big draft, conscripting millions of young Americans for an even bigger war!

I call to your attention a Democratic amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was slipped into the almost trillion-dollar Pentagon war spending bill, by voice vote, in the House Armed Services committee.

The Democratic Amendment to H.R. 8070, the National Defense Authorization (NDAA) reads:  

Section 531. Selective Service System:  Automatic Registration.  SEC. 3. (a)(1) “Except as otherwise provided in this title, every male citizen of the United States, and every other male person residing in the United States, between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, shall be automatically registered under this Act by the Director of the Selective Service System.” 

This amendment is in the NDAA legislation and there is no pending amendment to strip it from the bill.  So, when the NDAA passes, as early as this week, Congress will have taken steps to make automatic conscription the law of the land.

Why an automatic draft?  Members of Congress and the President have an obligation to explain to the American people to which foreign land will their sons, and perhaps their daughters, be sent to die?

The U.S. has been in a continuous “State of Emergency” since September 11, 2001, which provides a president with over 100 powers he would not ordinarily have.   Notwithstanding that the automatic draft provision will go into effect in a year,   a presidential order invoking emergency powers and/or an Act of Congress, could readily move millions from their civilian lives to the front lines of a war.


We know that America is fomenting wars around the world

We know that the military industrial complex controls our government

We know that we are on the precipice of a global war, provoking aggression rather than resolution with Russia, China and in the Middle East.  

The only winners in these wars are the war profiteers.

They’re now going to take our children to fight in unnecessary, destabilizing, dangerous, debt-creating wars.

Just today President Biden committed the U.S. to an additional decade of support for Ukraine’s war with Russia.

There is no other conceivable reason to require more than 16 million American males to be automatically registered for the draft, other than to prepare for a large-scale war. 

The Selective Service System is the vehicle by which individuals are inducted into the armed forces.  This NDAA Automatic Registration amendment facilitates an efficient, large-scale draft.

The new law will automatically register all males between the ages of 18 and 26.  Selective Service will notify in writing every young American male that they have been registered and will prescribe regulations which can require the registrant to provide “date of birth, address, social security account number, phone number and email address….”

There are members of Congress who advocate that young women also be included in any draft, which could bring to 32 million the number of Americans of draft-eligible age.

The U.S. currently has over 1,300,000 men and women, career soldiers, as well as volunteers, serving in the all-volunteer armed forces.  

According to the new automatic draft law, undocumented immigrants, between the ages of 18 and 26, numbering at least 1.5 million, could also be conscripted, if it were to apply to women as well as men.

A government conscription edict covering the undocumented could ironically do damage to the so-called “replacement theory,” where draft-eligible undocumented immigrants could decide to retreat to the other side of the border.  Military service may appeal to others as a path toward citizenship, since immigrants serving during “period of hostility,” can seek immediate naturalization.  

The last time a draft was instituted in the United States was during the Vietnam War, when 1.9 million Americans were conscripted.  

A total of 8.7 million Americans served during the course of that war, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, including married men, who were subject to the draft by Presidential order.

Of 58,220 U.S. service fatalities in the Vietnam War, 17,671 were draftees.  

President Biden’s recent D-Day speech, quoted in Politico, contained this noteworthy warning for young Americans: “The price of unchecked tyranny is the blood of the young and the brave.” 

Years ago I had a conversation with then-Vice President Biden, who mused, painfully, about his own sons’ lives potentially being at risk in combat.  His deep love for his sons is reflective of all Americans’ love for their children.  Those parents and grandparents with a first-person understanding of the human cost of wars in Vietnam and Iraq may have a powerful  aversion to exposing their children and grandchildren to deadly conflict, unless there is a direct threat to the territory of the United States.

Ukraine understands the price paid for war, having lost hundreds of thousands of its courageous sons and daughters in the ongoing war with Russia.  

As Ukraine turns to conscription, there is push back coming from those who are subject to service but who understand they could well be facing a death sentence.   

In Israel, the growing ultra-orthodox worshippers have been exempt from military service since the founding of Israel, but the government is being pressed to expand its military ranks creating a political squeeze on the Netanyahu ruling coalition.  

Conscription is under discussion in Germany and Italy, while at least nine other European Union countries already use the practice to replenish their armed forces.

Resistance does occur during a draft.  I well remember anti-Vietnam war rallies with the cry “Hell, no, we won’t go!”   But for a heart murmur and a high draft number, I would have joined my brother Frank Kucinich, Jr. on the battlefield in Southeast Asia.

During the Vietnam war, an estimated 60% of all draft-eligible young men found a means to avoid getting conscripted, (including future a President by the name of Bill Clinton).  Some, fearful for their lives, fled to Canada or Sweden.  

The Vietnam War ripped apart the country.  The protests over the war, fueled by compulsory service and rising casualty numbers of US troops, led President Lyndon Johnson to decide, on March 31, 1968,  not to run for reelection.  The draft was ended in 1973 and was reinstated by President Carter on January 23, 1980.

We must have a national debate over America’s forever wars which have led to the automatic draft. Just what, exactly, are America’s interests?  Our nation’s leaders’ diplomatic skills seem limited to putting a gun on the table and saying “Let’s talk.”

Why does our government choose war over diplomacy?  

As directly-elected representatives of the people, Congress, a co-equal branch of government, has a responsibility under Article One, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution to decide to formally take  this nation to a state of war.  

Yet this congress, and others, have been content to appropriate money for war and then let the President take the responsibility, something the Founding Fathers sought to avoid in devising a system of checks and balances.     

Congress must take up the question of war, long before the country institutes an automatic draft. An automatic draft is a preparation for war, dramatically altering the lives of young Americans. They deserve an answer.  We all deserve an answer. America’s future is literally on the line.

Postscript:  For my part, as a former member of Congress who is seeking re-election to the House of Representatives in November - upon my return to Congress, I will bring forth legislation which will abolish automatic registration for the draft. I believe it is honorable, a sacred obligation, to serve in defense of one’s country. But our leaders have a deeper obligation, a solemn duty to explain why. They have not done so.



by Caitlin Johnstone

Celebrity progressive congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez held an appalling livestream the other day with two liberal Zionist “experts on fighting antisemitism” in which the three spent their time finger-wagging at the American left for opposing the genocide in Gaza in ways that upset the feelings of some Jewish people. These supposedly “antisemitic” offenses include supporting BDS, opposing Zionism, using the word “Zionist” as a pejorative, excluding Zionists from progressive events, and supporting the Palestinian resistance.

AOC goes out of her way to make the point that US progressives should only be opposing “the actions of the Netanyahu government” (as opposed to opposing the murderous apartheid state of Israel), and take great care not to be seen as “antisemitic” while doing so.

Let’s be clear here. If you are helping to validate the completely fictional narrative that there is an epidemic of antisemitism on the political left, you are a facilitator of Israeli atrocities. You are helping the imperial war machine murder children.

It is un fucking believable that eight months into a genocide the conversation is still being dragged kicking and screaming back to a completely fictional antisemitism crisis on the left. There is no epidemic of antisemitism on the left. It is not happening. The people pushing these conversations know it is not happening. It is utterly transparent bad faith concern trolling, but they’re managing to monopolize the conversation with it. They’re using a fictional story to steal the spotlight from a real genocide.

Everyone from AOC to RFK Jr has been going mask-off over Gaza and exposing themselves as the fraudulent imperialists they are. This is because they all understand that facilitating the imperial war machine is the price of entry for high-level political leadership in the US, particularly with regard to Israel and the middle east.

“Israel has a right to exist” really means “Israel has a right to exist as a murderous and tyrannical apartheid state, with the full military backing of the most powerful empire that has ever existed.” That’s all that phrase is ever actually used to convey.

It would absolutely be possible for there to be a state in that region where Jews and Palestinians coexist peacefully, but it would require a significant restructuring of the status quo of genocidal racism, inequality, injustice and apartheid. Because ending this unjust status quo isn’t regarded as an option, the only other option is to maintain it, which can only be done through nonstop violent force — both against the state’s pre-existing inhabitants and against its neighbors. Since that state cannot sustain this violent force on its own without either (A) being militarily overwhelmed or (B) poisoning itself with nuclear fallout by using nukes in its own immediate surroundings, it can only maintain its unjust status quo via the intimate and ongoing military facilitation of the US-centralized empire.

“Israel has a right to exist” is only ever uttered to argue for the continuation of all of the above, whether the people uttering it acknowledge this or not. And what’s absolutely insane is that you’ll often hear this slogan of support for endless warmongering, racism and apartheid from elected officials who are widely regarded as sitting on the “far left” of western politics.

No nation or government has a “right to exist”. Governments don’t have rights, people have rights. Unless they’re Palestinian, apparently.

Video clips of Biden wandering around in confusion are coming out with pretty much every public appearance he makes these days. And I think it’s important to keep repeating that the takeaway here is not “This man isn’t mentally competent enough to run the United States”, it’s “The president doesn’t run the United States”.

The way the empire has continued to trudge onward completely unimpeded by the fact that it has a dementia patient for a president proves conclusively that the official elected government doesn’t actually run things, which means the behavior of the US government is in no way responsive to the will of the electorate.

The one thing that’s certain about the US presidential election is that the US empire will roll on completely unchanged and uninterrupted regardless of who wins. In effect all arguments about who Americans should vote for is really an argument about what outcome will make you feel better while you pretend that you live in a democracy and that your vote made a difference. You may as well be arguing about which prayers you should pray over what actions your government will take, or which magic spells you should cast to determine the decisions US policymakers will make.

It’s a ritual they let you participate in to let you feel like you have some control over the behavior of a power structure they’ll never actually let you control the behavior of, and I place emphasis on the word “feel” here. That’s why the whole electoral race is always so emotion-laden; it’s not about actual actions and policies, it’s about feelings. It’s a security blanket they let you hold onto while you suck your thumb and passively watch the empire do what it’s going to do regardless of who wins. They just let you vote on whether that security blanket should be red or blue.

One of the empire’s strongest defenses is the fact that the people who could speak out most effectively against the imperial status quo are precisely those who are least likely to, because those with the largest platforms are rich people who benefit from status quo systems.

The vast, vast number of people who have been entirely failed by the system — or who have been directly victimized by it — are left without a voice, because in a capitalist system the ones who control the capital control who gets to have a voice. The wealthy people who control our society’s largest and most influential platforms universally refuse to platform anyone who attacks the status quo systems upon which their wealth is premised, and they handsomely compensate the reliable stewards of the status quo whom they do choose to elevate, so the only people who get elevated to immensely influential platforms are those handsomely compensated empire supporters for whom the system is working perfectly.

This creates the illusion that the system really IS working perfectly, since everything in mainstream culture tells you that it is. Therefore if you are one of the majority of individuals who have been abused and exploited by the system, you will look at all this information being artificially placed in front of you and conclude that the failure must be with you as a person and not with the system.


  1. George Hollister June 16, 2024

    SUPERVISOR TED WILLIAMS is making many statements that are unsupported by facts.

    • Bruce Anderson June 16, 2024

      I think we’ve mis-attributed that statement to Williams. It doesn’t sound like him. Sounds more like someone writing to him. Maybe the supervisor will deign to clarify.

      • George Hollister June 16, 2024

        Hopefully you are right.

      • Ted Williams June 16, 2024

        That’s not my statement or a statement I’ve relayed. No idea. Where did you find it?

        • George Hollister June 16, 2024

          That’s good to hear.

    • Harvey Reading June 16, 2024

      Hell of a statement for you, of all people, to make.

  2. Call It As I See It June 16, 2024

    Well, no matter what, Bowtie Ted should read your Ed Notes. And answer the question-you asked.

    Why would you remove an elected official not knowing what the evidence against them is?

    Here is a couple more,

    How long did it take Bowtie for you and Basement Dan to come up with Cubbison plan?

    How many emails or conversations did you have with DA Dave, when you figured out your plan of trying to blame Cubbison for everything wasn’t working?

    How many lies have you told, there are three sets of books, accusing Cubbison of not answering your communications when you never sent any, no financial reports?

    When combining offices, how much homework do you and fellow Stupidvisors do, like costs, talking to person in charge of office and their employees?

    Why the secrecy, pushing things through without public being aware? Example, veterans office and the latest the City of Ukiah annexing land.

    I won’t hold my breath in anticipation of Bowtie’s answers.

  3. Harvey Reading June 16, 2024


    I wouldn’t vote for a Kennedy any more than I will vote for braindead Biden or the brainless mutant running against him. The dems are driving themselves to extinction with their stupidity in selecting candidates worthy of office.

    …and now, the government is about to openly make freedom of speech illegal if the Zionist protection bill passes the senate. If the trash passes, it may finally trigger a REAL insurrection, and we’ll learn just who REALLY is in the majority here in “freedomlandia”…

  4. Bob A. June 16, 2024

    Looks like Cash might have gotten into Bloodroot’s Mason Jar.

  5. Matt Kendall June 16, 2024

    “We strip people of homes and jobs, they end up on the street.” “People are failed by the system” as long as we continue to provide excuses we won’t get over these issues. I see a lot of people failing society and their fellow humans let’s focus on the actions of the offenders.

    The main focus of our social justice program begins with inmates taking responsibility for their actions. Owning their crimes is where it begins. From there we work to bring education and opportunities forward. Some will take the opportunities while others will ignore them. We can’t make them clean up and go to work every day, they have to do that for themselves.

    One thing that is always missing in these conversations is the perspective of the people who have been victimized. No one is talking about them any longer and it’s high time we start. People talk about our criminals as if they are Nelson Mandela when in fact they are often someone who has had a long history of victimizing everyone around them. Thats a choice they make.

    Statements like these leave me scratching my head. When someone decides to break the law there are consequences. Well there used to be consequences. As a society are we responsible for people’s condition because of the decisions they have made?

    With rare exception such as a particularly heinous crime like murder most inmates aren’t sent to prison until they have really gone off the rails with multiple crimes, one after another. Most have extensive criminal histories and many chances to clean up their act with assistance coming from all directions.

    A state prison sentence has become a lifetime achievement award for the most persistent criminals who have refused several levels of supervision. These folks have continued forward with the life of crime without regard for the chances they have been afforded.

    The criminal justice system is constantly blamed for failures in our social fabric. How many failures have occurred before 911 is dialed?

    • Me June 16, 2024

      Thank you. Victims of these crimes are sacrificed every step of the way by most everyone. Where is their justice?

    • mark donegan June 16, 2024

      Still mad at you for bullying me, but those are some very accurate words. I’ve been saying them for a long time, though I unfortunately have recently been introduced to a group of people who incite that behavior on the streets. I am very happy to hear that is your attitude for repeat violent criminal offenders. I’m hoping we can find a way to get Ukiah City Council to hear you without citizens making things worse through vigilante actions for those we can save. Wish you and Ukiah City Council members would make the trip to Ft. Bragg this month for the BHAB meeting, we just might run into the people who had made the biggest impact in the county, the Mayor of Ft. Bragg and its Police Chief.

      • Matt Kendall June 16, 2024

        Mark If asking someone to be polite is bullying…..
        I guess a woman asking for my seat on the bus must be robbery.

        • mark donegan June 16, 2024

          If you had an invisible disability and they themselves demeaned and attacked you just because you were a man. Yes. Many times. What kind of compassion is that? Certainly no way to have a proper discourse. Some people just have to have their way and say. I simply will not engage with that atmosphere.

    • Lazarus June 16, 2024

      The government has had since 1981 to humanize mental health care and whatever facility they deem appropriate to house them. I’ve watched Psychiatric Health Facilities aka PHFs come and go over the decades. Now we are to believe that the con job perpetrated through Measure B is actually going to develop a State-of-the-art PHF on Whitmore Lane. And never mind the so-called experts who spend Measure B’s money and have no concern and likely no idea where the workers to run the place will come from.

      Perhaps a better idea would be to call in the military and Bivouac a tent city for the mentally ill who walk the streets of Ukiah and elsewhere throughout the County. Have the National Guard supply rations and security. I’m sure the County has a piece of property that would suffice for just such a facility. Who knows? Maybe Whitmore Lane would do.

      But if the experts get their way, all that money will likely go to consultants and other experts on writing reports that nobody considers, let alone reads. Institutionalization is what worked in the past, and it will work again now. Unfortunately what the government is doing now with the mentally ill is more inhumane than locking them up for their safety and the safety of others. The time has come…
      Have a nice day,

  6. Me June 16, 2024

    Is the reinstatement of the draft true?

    • Bob A. June 16, 2024

      No. As much as I enjoy Dennis the K., he sometimes leans a bit too hard into the clickbait. President Jimmy Carter reinstated the Selective Service registration requirement on July 2, 1980 through Presidential Proclamation 4771.

  7. Harvey Reading June 16, 2024


    Leave the bears alone. The human population needs severe thinning. Bears are just doing their part.

  8. Harvey Reading June 16, 2024

    GTO Photo

    Just looks like an old car to me, one that was popular for a while…and overrated, complete with a song about it…

  9. Harvey Reading June 16, 2024


    A stupid move and another sign of our impending doom. Too many domination-driven idiots (and liars) in government…and they keep getting reelected. What a stupid damned bunch we are.

  10. Harvey Reading June 16, 2024

    Caitlin Johnstone

    One of the few voices of sanity left. She’s probably been targeted by Mossad…

  11. O sole mio June 16, 2024

    Mom gave me diamonds,
    Dad gave me beads.

    Spent my whole childhood,
    Thinking Dad was cheap.

    An old woman
    Living in Mendocino,
    I shop at thrift stores,
    And see diamonds in those beads.

    • Chuck Dunbar June 16, 2024

      I like your poem–thanks.

      • O sole mio June 16, 2024

        Thank you, Chuck

  12. Mazie Malone June 16, 2024

    Hi… just wanted to say Happy Fathers day to all the dads here on the AVA.. I hope you enjoyed it with your loved ones.

    mm 💕

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