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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Aug 2, 2015

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CalFire 6:45am update reports 19,000 acres burn overnight, 5% contained, new evacuations listed

In this morning's first "Rocky Fire" update @ 6:45 am, CalFire said the blaze jumped to 46,000 acres - burning 19,000 more acres overnight (up from 27,000 acres listed @ 9:25 pm Saturday night and that 27,000 acres was up 4,500 acres from Saturday morning). The fire is still only 5% contained.

CalFire added, "The fire is expected to have significant activity and growth. Current strategic constraints include lack of access to areas of the fire, very hot and dry weather, critical fuels and changing winds. And additional Mandatory Evacuations have been issued for the Double Eagle area. In total, all evacuations impact over 12,100 citizens living in over 5,156 residences."

Updated Perimeter & Operations Map (August 2, 2015, 2am):

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The Rocky Fire in Lake County is now expanding faster than firefighters can keep up. As of Saturday evening it was up to over 27,000 acres (just Friday evening it was at 18,000 acres) and still only 5% contained. 24 residences have been declared destroyed plus 26 outbuildings. CalFire says over 6,000 more structures are threatened by the rapidly spreading fire. Almost 2,000 firefighters are on scene with almost 200 fire engines, 37 fire crews, four airtankers, 19 helicopters, 56 bulldozers and 37 water tenders.



Mandatory: NEW - A Mandatory Evacuation order has been placed for Bear Valley Road from Highway 20 to Wilbur Springs Road. Wilbur Springs Road is also under a mandatory evacuation.

Jerusalem Valley area east of Soda Creek, Bonham Road, Quarter Horse Lane, Mustang Court, Bronco Court, Sunset Court, Morgan Valley east of Bonham Road, Canyon Road, June Bug Road, Cambell Ranch Road, Sloan Ranch Road, Sky High Ranch Road, Rocky Creek Road, Dam Road from the gate to the dam, Grizzly Canyon, Long Branch Drive, Lance Road, Cougar Road, Red Rocks, Meridian Road, Antelope Road, Mule Skinner Road, Flint Look Place, Moccasin Road, Roundball Road, Watertrough Road, Grigsby Canyon, Lucky Canyon, Remington Canyon, Walker Ridge, Walker Ridge Road, No Guns Road, Meriann Drive.

Advisory: All areas including east of Hwy 29 @ Raita Road east of Hwy 53 north to Hwy 20 including Ogulin Canyon Road, Spruce Grove Road, Noble Ranch Road, Black Bass Pass, Jerusalem Valley area west of Soda Creek, homes along Hwy 20 corridor between New Long Valley Road and east of the county line, Spruce Grove Road to intersection of Jerusalem Grade and Lake Ridge.

Evacuation Centers: Middletown High School, Kelseyville High School

Road Closures: Highway 16 is closed from Highway 20 to the Yolo County Line is close in both directions due to increased fire activity. Jerusalem Valley Road is closed to all traffic at Spruce Grove Road. Highway 20 from Highway 53 east to New Long Valley Road is open to residents with identification only. Highway 20 is closed to all traffic from New Long Valley Road to Highway 16.

An animal evacuation center is opened at the Lower Lake Social Services parking lot, 15975 Anderson Ranch Parkway, Lower Lake.


“The fire is expected to have significant activity and growth. Current strategic constraints include lack of access to areas of the fire, very hot and dry weather, critically dry fuels and changing winds. Additional Mandatory Evacuations have been issued for the Double Eagle area. In total, all evacuations impact over 12,100 citizens living in over 5156 residences.”

Calfire Operations Map, Rocky Fire, Aug 1, 2015

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ACCORDING TO the prevailing winds in the Clearlake area are from 8-15 mph primarily in the northeast direction away from Clearlake and Lower Lake. smoke pattern map for NorCal smoke pattern map for NorCal

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CHP REPORTS: Highway 20 at Highway 53 closed down due to the Rocky Fire. There is not estimated time for re-opening. Residents can pass the closure to return to their residences as long as their residence area is not under evacuation status. Highway 20 is also closed down on the Colusa County side at Highway 16

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A LAKE COUNTY READER WRITES: I live out in the Avenues of Clearlake by the dump. A guy who owns some apartments in downtown Clearlake let me and the animals stay in one of his empty apartments that he was remodeling. Evacuations in this area were lifted this morning, the fire is headed northeast now away from my house. It got within a mile, everything is covered with ash.

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ON TOP OF THAT, Calfire reports, Mendocino National Forest personnel are still searching for and identifying fires sparked by lightning from storms as early as Thursday and as recently as Saturday morning. So far more than 13 fires have been identified, with most of them either contained or declared out. The majority of these incidents are located on the west side of the Forest. The largest of these fires was the Blue Fire on the Upper Lake Ranger District, which was contained yesterday at 2 acres. The Etsel Fire on the Upper Lake Ranger District is approximately 32 acres and 60 percent contained. It is located in the Yuki Wilderness and is burning in heavy timber and brush. This morning’s lighting event resulted in two new fires, the Boardman and Deer Fires, both on the Upper Lake Ranger District. The Boardman Fire is approximately 5 acres, with a moderate rate of spread. It is near an old fire scar and there is currently an engine and helicopter working towards containment. The Deer Fire, burning southeast of Lake Pillsbury, is estimated to be 50 to 75 acres this afternoon. It is burning in mixed conifer with moderate to light fire behavior. There are three structures threatened. Two engine crews and one Type 1 handcrew arrived on the fire this afternoon. Air resources have been working on the fire today, but smoke on the east side of the fire is limiting them. As dry conditions and hot temperatures continue, firefighters anticipate discovering more lightning fires in coming days. There are additional thunderstorms in the forecast for the remainder of the weekend.

Forest visitors are asked to be aware of their surroundings and be prepared for changing conditions. This includes reporting visible smoke that could be from a wildfire. To report a fire, please call 911.

Reminder: the Mendocino National Forest is currently under fire restrictions. Visitors are asked to follow regulations and be careful with anything with a flame or that can throw a spark in the forest. For more information, please visit

For more information, please contact the Mendocino National Forest at 530-934-3316 or visit Updates are also available on Twitter @MendocinoNF.

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STATEWIDE: CalFire reports that as of midday Saturday briefing, they have about 9,000 firefighters working to contain 24 major fires across the state.

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A FEDERAL WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT has been filed by relatives of Steven Kellogg Neuroth, 55, of Ukiah. Formally diagnosed before his arrest as a paranoid schizophrenic, Neuroth died last June 11 in the Mendocino County Jail. The family alleges Neuroth died from a heart attack because of his jailers' "improper and excessive restraint."

THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT says Neuroth was found unconscious in his cell, and that staff tried without success to resuscitate him.

JAMES NEUROTH and sister, Joan Nygren, are alleging wrongful death against Mendocino County, Sheriff Tom Allman, California Forensic Medical Group, Inc., company medical director Dr. Taylor Fithian, who oversees the psychological welfare of jail inmates, and nurse Jennifer Caudillo and several jail deputies.

THE NEUROTH FAMILY'S ATTORNEY, Michael Haddad of Oakland, said Steven Neuroth had not been injured prior to his arrival at the Mendocino County Jail, but the post mortem showed "widespread blunt force injuries, a fractured rib, organ injuries and other serious physical injuries."

NEUROTH was arrested the evening of June 10, 2014 by the Willits Police Department. From the description by the arresting officers Neuroth was seeing snakes and imagining people trying to kill him. From their description, it sounds like Neuroth was maxed out on methamphetamine, but, because he is also mentally ill, one can't know for sure which caused him to go off. What one can know for sure is that the County's privatized mental health system was of zero assistance to the guy. And what we also know for sure is that the police of Mendocino County are, by default, the mental health care providers for all of Mendocino County despite the County's expenditure of roughly $15 million annually to care for the mentally ill.

APPARENTLY THE DOOMED MAN continued to resist restraint at the jail where he had to be forced into a cell. Happens all the time in every jail in the country. Did Neuroth's jailers proceed to beat the crap out of him for the recreation of it? Doubt it. If that happened in our County Jail we would have heard of it. Could Neuroth's injuries have been sustained during the frantic efforts to revive him? Maybe, because that also happens during resuscitation efforts. Could his heart have given out because of the combined effects of meth and the efforts of police to subdue him? Happens all the time.

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Thanks for mentioning the death of Steve Neuroth. In Off the Record, Sept 10th you reported that he was found dead in his cell at the County Jail. Steve worked for me as a laborer 20 years ago and was well known in Ukiah. He also had friends and family in the Laytonville area. Steve came around to various contractors' job sites and often got to make a bit of money doing clean up and other chores. Steve loved music and I believe played some guitar himself. Steve was a gentle soul trying to make his way as best he could. I was in contact with Steve just prior to his death as he came by my job site looking for a little work. He was in good spirits and, while he looked a bit thin, he appeared healthy. I last saw him on the Thursday before he died, standing at the bus stop on State Street by Safeway. I am very interested in the autopsy results as in my contacts with him he never appeared under the influence of drugs or alcohol or of being severely depressed. So when the newspaper reported he was picked up for being under the influence, something didn’t seem right. Thank you again for keeping the circumstances of Steve’s death at least on the table. Please keep asking the question. There are a lot of us who want to know what happened.

Hugh McAvoy, Ukiah (September 2014)

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FRANK HARTZELL'S excellent account in the Advocate of recent jail deaths (in the Advocate-News link above) brings us up to date on them. We note here that Ortner Management Group's role in Mr. Neuroth's death has not been commented on by Supervisor Hamburg, a staunch supporter of the privatization of the County's mental health services. OMG trundled the guy off to the County Jail without even giving him the drink of water that was his last known request.

HAMBURG did indeed ask the Sheriff about Murphy's death, and good on Hamburg for doing it: “I spoke with Sheriff Allman this morning regarding the death that occurred last Wednesday in Point Arena. According to the Sheriff, the officers had great difficulty subduing Mr. Saulsbury [the Point Arena man with a history of drug use who died after being tasered several times by police on the streets of Point Arena back in November of 2014]. This may have been due to his being ‘under the influence.’ The situation will be investigated but it does appear that the officers did all that they could to avoid the sad ending. I also asked the Sheriff about the October 8 death by hanging that occurred in the jail. He shared the autopsy report with me. It made no mention of any injury to Shane Murphy's “musculoskeletal system,” referring only to injuries associated with death by hanging. The Sheriff did mention that when CPR is administered, it is very common that ribs are broken.”

SHERIFF ALLMAN is not an info hoarder. Ask him a question, you get an answer, almost always an informative answer, too. Although, since Allman is one of the persons being sued in the Neuroth case, he can't be expected to comment on it. The Sheriff, in our experience, has always been forthcoming.

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DAVE EVANS at the Navarro Store reminds us that the inimitable Guitar Shorty will be back in the Valley to headline this Saturday’s big concert: August 8, at 6pm. (The Mighty T-Bones and the Thorn Petals will be opening the show starting at 3:30 and of course the famous Guy ‘The Real Deal’ Kephart will be at the grill all day with his fine barbecue.

GuitarShorty300EVANS also wants locals to know that Guitar Shorty is a much more interesting character than you might think. Born David William Kearney in Houston in 1939, Shorty was raised in Florida and has played with Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, and Willie Dixon and recorded his first single in 1957. Shorty married Jimi Hendrix’s half-sister in the early 60s.

Before taking up music as a full-time pro he worked days as an auto mechanic. Called by his fans, “a living blues legend,” Shorty cites as influences Albert King, Chuck Berry, T-Bone Walker, and early Hendrix. He’s been making his living with his unique guitar sound, both recorded and touring all over the world, ever since. “This is a show that’s simply not to be missed,” insists Evans.

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A MAJORITY of the new Ukiah City Council has decided against a "facilitator" when the City goes deep for its "Strategic Planning" sessions. And good for Jeff Trouette for his plain talk that seems to have slapped some sense into the Council. As quoted in the Ukiah Daily Journal, Trouette, a Ukiah-based plumber, said: “You don’t need to hire a babysitter… We should be able to look to the highly paid city manager for leadership [when it comes to making sure that tasks on the list of goals are being completed]. And if the city manager and department heads aren’t getting things done, they have to be held accountable — and that’s up to the council.”

TROUETTE said that many Ukiahans are fed up with “meeting after meeting where nothing happens,” and how the City had squandered redevelopment money on high end jobs and salaries rather than specific projects.

THE DISCONNECT between the civic behavior of the panjandrums of local government and the lives of the people they allegedly "serve" is an ever-widening gulf. I would imagine that when a guy who works as a plumber reads that his town of 16,000 is paying its city manager a quarter of a million dollars a year, the plumber, and everyone else in town who works for a living at a decreasing annual wage, becomes very angry.

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BREAKFAST AT THE FORT BRAGG GRANGE, First Sunday of the Month. The Grange-North of Fort Bragg. “The Best Breakfast in the World!”

(Downloaded photo provided by Susie de Castro)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Aug 1, 2015

Biord, Blackwell, Campbell
Biord, Blackwell, Campbell

CHRISTOPHER BIORD, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer)

ERIN BLACKWELL, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer)

ROBERT CAMPBELL, Ukiah. Robbery. (Frequent flyer)

Cooper, Delcarlo, Felix
Cooper, Delcarlo, Felix

SHAYLYNN COOPER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

JEFFERY DELCARLO, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

ELID FELIX, Oakley/Covelo. Fugitive from justice.

Halvorsen, Maldonado-Mata, Northrup
Halvorsen, Maldonado-Mata, Northrup

NICHOLAS HALVORSEN, Fort Bragg. Criminal threats, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer)

RAFAEL MALDONADO-MATA, Possession of drug paraphernalia, probation revocation.

AMANDA NORTHRUP, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault.

Pearce, Rodriguez, Simon, Story
Pearce, Rodriguez, Simon, Story


ANTONIO RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

ZACHARY SIMON, Willits. DUI-Drugs.

HASKELL STORY JR., San Leandro/Ukiah. Failure to appear, failure to pay.

Todd, C.Whipple, T.Whipple, Young
Todd, C.Whipple, T.Whipple, Young

BRYAN TODD, Potter Valley. Domestic assault.

CHARLES WHIPPLE, Covelo. Parole violation.

TINY WHIPPLE, Covelo. Drunk in public.

JONATHAN YOUNG, Willits. Probation revocation.

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Hello everyone,

This is an important update about MendoVito. The first chapter in establishing a VillageTown in Mendocino County is closing and the second chapter can begin now.

Over a year ago I came here with my family to establish together with Claude the feasibility for a VillageTown, which we gave the working title MendoVito and we quickly made progress. We met with many different people and got the impression it was doable. We found beautiful land and open-minded landowners who supported the idea. We discovered a very democratic way to get entitlement (the citizen sponsored land use initiative) and a local support group started forming.

In November we went public with the first presentation in Hopland, which had a great turn out and high energy. Some people hated it and some loved it, while most were somewhere in between, which is exactly what could be expected from such an unusual proposal. Afterwards we found more people expressing their opposing views, which I felt was great, because we were the talk of town and there is no such thing as bad press. Claude returned to New Zealand at that point and we started pursuing funding to get the project off the ground.

I, together with my family, carried on working with the local support group, the Friends of MendoVito. After a few months it became apparent, that Claude’s approach of seeking the angel investor to get start up funding didn’t produce results. I started investigating different ways for fundraising. That got me interested in crowd funding and since Claude didn’t approve of that idea, I suggested at that point to pursue two different approaches simultaneously. Claude kept looking for an angel investor, while I started working on a crowd funding campaign. It was also during this period that I realized, that Claude and I have very different styles of approaching people and working with them. Also people related differently to Layla, Moana and me alone, then before when Claude was present.

As I built a new website for the crowd funding campaign the concept kept evolving. We got the idea of starting an international platform to assist any kind of community project to get off the ground. Basically we would help with starting communities online and guiding them through the steps of implementation into physical reality. I realized that such a platform would also serve as a huge open source data bank, an incubator for all kinds of start ups and last not least, it would test the market, by asking people what kind of community project appealed to them most.

Eventually it dawned on me that I wanted to test the market for a town concept that was less defined then VillageTowns, where people can make even more design decisions right from the start. That was the beginning of Creative Towns. So what we ended up with, after three months of going with the flow on this project, is a new organization called Creative Communities Association and a new town concept called Creative Towns. The Creative Communities platform will host any number of community concepts and projects worldwide. My focus for the near future will be to promote this platform, to attract many people to propose concepts and projects and get them underway. Creative Towns and Village Towns will be offered side by side on the platform, since we are not competing, but complementing each other. People can propose locations for these concepts.

That’s what I meant in the beginning with a new chapter is opening. It is now up to you, the people of Mendocino County, to choose a concept, propose a location and make a town of your choosing happen here. Claude will support anyone who wants to work on a VillageTown here. I and my family will support those of you who will adopt the Creative Town concept. The Creative Communities platform will support both endeavors. Our highest goal is to empower people to create their own communities, regardless what the label may be.

In closing, I, Moana and Layla are leaving for Europe next week and we would like to thank all of you for your support and input over the last 1 ½ years. It was an amazing, interesting process which taught us a lot. We had fun, met great people and made wonderful new friends. If nothing else comes of it, that experience was already worth it. We are optimistic that some of you will pick up the lead and start creating a town, which we will love to support you in.

Please keep in mind that this is the beta version and not a finished product. We would greatly appreciate your feedback, either via email or by signing up for a free trial and then posting your feedback in the forum ( If you like what you see, we will certainly appreciate a FB like, a tweet or an email recommending us to your friends. Most of all we are looking forward to the early adopters among you, who get on board and start shaping this platform and start building communities.

Again, it has been pleasure getting to know you and we look forward to what you want to co-create with us in the near future.

All the best to all of you,

Andrew, Moana & Layla

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Dear Friends of MendoVito

As you will by now know, Andrew will be returning to Europe, to try a different approach to enabling people to build communities. However, that does not mean that the vision for a VillageTown in Mendocino County is over.

When I left in February, it was clear to me that until we secured funding, there was little more that I could do in Ukiah. Also, it also was a bit challenging for me to work through the dishonest hostility encountered after the November Hopland meeting. For the first half year, from April through October 2014, everything was falling into place so well. We found an approval process, we found land, and while there was scepticism that it could be done, it appeared folks were open to the idea and wanted to know more. There had been pressure from the beginning to call meetings, yet we found the one-on-one working well. It was my mistake to go along with the idea of the November meeting. It was not fatal, but it sure turned the whole vibe upside down. It was a bit mind-blowing to encounter the likes of Wendal Nicolaus turning the vintners against it - including ones who previously had expressed strong support. Sure, it's just politics, and there will always be opponents, but I began to understand what one insightful person meant when he said there are a lot of seemingly solid people in the Hopland region who have a few screws loose. When I got home, I took some time to detoxify as well as mend some fences (literally) since leaving our place for a year took its toll on the property as well as our bank account.

After I got home to NZ, Andrew had me readBold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter Diamandis and he then asked me what the "takeaway" was. He intended that the takeaway was crowd funding, but for me it was to secure super credibility. So before we go find funds, we need to bring on board key influencers who give it that credibility. Basically, it's time to put the idea into the national and international dialogue without the pressure of a fur-fight in Hopland. My understanding is that a lot of the opposition, as shown in the Nicolaus letter, is actually quite weak, and in fact, I would be opposed to what Nicolaus wrote about. Only thing is the proposal in his letter was not MendoVito, it was MendoVandal (the origin of the name Wendel is "Vandal"), a figment of his imagination.

So here is where I see we are:

The land is there, and I expect the Bilbros will be farming it for the next 30 years. If a VillageTown proposal comes back to them with the right money and a fully-approved Specific Plan, I expect they will sell. I don't see any time pressure there.

The citizen-sponsored land use initiative process is still there. If funding can be put together to implement a proper consultation and engagement process, I expect it will get the signatures and the votes. Again, no time pressure.

The pressure is regional, national and global. Things are failing. People are getting more desperate (especially Americans, I have to say). They want new answers, better solutions... especially parents of young children and Baby Boomers.

We need to work with that timing, not fight it. Go with the flow. It flowed until November, then the tide turned. It will turn again, but when it does, it will need VillageTowns to have attained super credibility.

Andrew suggested to me when we spoke last week, it probably should not be branded MendoVito. Bring in funding with a new name, with professionals taking control of the message so the people know precisely what is proposed, and the silliness of opposition like the Susan Poor letters don't gain standing. I don't have a problem people debating the facts - it will add 10,000 people to the county, but let's make sure we argue about a VillageTown and not someone's MendoVandal dystopian nightmare as Nicolaus presented.

I'm not sure what to do about the momentum. I understand FoM plan to have a booth at the Bioneers conference. People are still clicking like on the MendoVito web page. So I look to you for guidance... it is your county, not mine. I'm here to support. Feel free to pick up the phone and call me. (707) 320-1100 works, as does (510) 629-3000, both California numbers. Remember that when it is 5 pm in California, it is noon in New Zealand.

Thank you all for the great progress to date.

Claude Lewenz

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Headline in this week's Willits Weekly: "Wealth Management in Willits"

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THE MENDOCINO COUNTY APPLE FAIR is coming up September 18, 19, and 20th, but the deadline for entries is August 14 by 5:00PM.

That’s coming up soon folks!

Did you know that besides entering food, home arts and animals you can also enter your garden? That’s right, small garden plots are set up in June Hall for your planting pleasure. 1st and 2nd place for a large garden takes home $400/$325, respectively, while a small garden could bring in $300/$200. Don’t be discouraged if this feels ambitious. You can still be involved by entering any of your amazing houseplants, cut flowers from your garden or an original arrangement of your own design.

Just go to or the fair office in Boonville to get your 2015 fair booklet.

Thanks everyone for supporting your local fair.

— Taunia Green

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One. After being stopped by a police officer in Texas for a minor traffic violation, you light a cigarette. The officer asks you to put the cigarette out. The most sensible response would be:

  1. “Screw you, pig. I don’t have to take orders from you.”
  2. “It’s my car. I don’t have to put out my cigarette.
  3. “Yes, officer.” And you put out the cigarette.
  4. Just ignore the policeman and keep smoking.

Two. After being stopped by a police officer on the campus of a university where you are not a student, you are asked to produce identification. The most intelligent response would be:

  1. “Screw you, pig. I’m not showing you anything.”
  2. Make a rapid, unannounced lurch to open the glove compartment.
  3. Ask permission to open the glove compartment where you have your documents.
  4. Turn the key in the ignition, start the car, and attempt to drive away.

Three. You have just robbed a tobacco store and beaten up the Pakistani shopkeeper. You should:

  1. Walk unobstrusively on the sidewalk.
  2. Get off the street quickly.
  3. Walk down the middle of the street and bad mouth a cop who tells you to get on the sidewalk.
  4. Beat up another shopkeeper.

Four. You have 5 or 6 illegitimate children by five or six different women. You have a criminal history. You have been arrested more than 30 times for selling untaxed cigarettes on the street.

When the police stop you and question you, an intelligent response would be:

  1. Say: “I didn’t do nothing. Every time you see me, you want to harass me, you want to stop me.”
  2. Refuse to put your arms behind your back when the officers order you to do so.
  3. Speak respectfully, address the police as “Officer”, and do as you’re told.
  4. Tell the cops they are racist pigs.

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by Alexander Cockburn (2002)

Here’s why I’m against the UN as a promoter of federalism and world guv’mint. This just in from Geneva, Switzerland, via Reuter’s wire: “UN upholds French ban on ‘dwarf-throwing.’” It turns out that a diminutive stuntman who had protested against a French ban on the practice of “dwarf-throwing” has lost his case before some sort of UN human rights judicial body. The tribunal issued some typically pious UN claptrap about the need to protect human dignity being paramount.

The dwarf, a fellow called Manuel Wackenheim, argued that a 1995 ban by France’s highest administrative court was discriminatory and deprived him of a job being tossed around discos and similar venues. …

The U.N. Human Rights Committee said it was satisfied “the ban on dwarf-tossing was not abusive but necessary in order to protect public order, including considerations of human dignity.” It also said the ban “did not amount to prohibited discrimination.”

Dwarfs and their throwers will now have to search out venues, like prize-fighters in eighteenth-century England. Soon some place like Slovakia will be their only venue. No doubt a UN embargo will then ensue, with draconian sanctions, appointment of inspectors/spies, followed by the inevitable intervention, NATO bombing, and occupation.

So here’s a bunch of UN administrators, each of them probably hauling down an annual salary hefty enough to keep a troop of dwarfs in caviar for life, dooming poor little Wackenheim to the unemployment lines, before going home to scream at their underpaid Romanian maidservants or to get a blowjob from a 13-year girl from Kiev in the local whorehouse. (UN guys would do that, you ask? Oh yes they would, remember the nasty little sex scandal about UN observers in Kosovo?)

In the old days, dwarfs could stand proud, strutting down the boulevards, around circus rings, or forming part of some amusing display, or matching themselves against pitbulls (a popular nineteenth-century English pastime). I can remember dwarfs from my childhood in Ireland, along with other bodies remote from conventional anatomy. Walking down the main street of any Irish town reminded one of Breughel. Not any more. I guess even in Catholic Ireland the doc takes a look and chokes nature’s sports before they’ve got out of the starting gate.

If the UN had been around at the time, the hunchbacks of Philip IV of Spain would have been forbidden to pose for Velazquez, and Jeffrey Hudson (18 inches at the age of nine, albeit gracefully proportioned) would never have been permitted to step out of a pie on the dining room table of his boss, George Villiers, the first duke of Buckingham. Having emerged from the pastry, Hudson saluted Villiers’ guests, King Charles I and his Queen, Henrietta Maria who promptly adopted him.

Spared a UN sponsored abortion to save him from an existence incompatible with human dignity, Hudson led an adventurous life and survived two duels, one against a turkey cock and the other in combat with a certain Mr. Crofts. The arrogant Crofts turned up for the duel with a water pistol, but Hudson stood on his dignity and insisted that the engagement be for real. They put Hudson up on a horse to get him level with Crofts and he promptly shot the man dead. Captured by Turkish pirates, Hudson said his tribulations made him grow and having held steady at 18 inches from nine to 30, he shot up to 3′ 9″.

Another dwarf, Charles Stratton (aka General Tom Thumb) killed one of my favorite painters, Benjamin Haydon, who was exhibiting his vast work “The Banishment of Aristides,” in the Egyptian Hall in London. But the crowds preferred to gawp at General Thumb, on display in the same Hall. Thumb drew six hundred pounds sterling in his first week, while Haydon got only a measly seven pounds, 13 shillings. Haydon went off home to his studio and killed himself.

Dwarf tossing? The job came with the stature. William Beckford, the eccentric millionaire who wrote Vathek and built the famous folly at Fonthill, was one of the last to have a dwarf in private service, though E.J Woods, author of the useful “Giants and Dwarfs” (1860) says Beckford’s dwarf was “rather too big to be flung from one guest to another, as was the custom at dinners in earlier days.”

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By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

Bernie Sanders spoke from a house party in Washington, D.C., to supporters gathering in 3500 homes and other locations around the country in groups ranging from 7-8 to 80 or 90. He said it was a "historical night" and unprecedented to have these coordinated gatherings with an on-line streamed address so early in a campaign (in fact, it seems to me a little science-fictional­ has this ever been done before?)

Sanders blasted the rich for getting richer while the US has more children living in poverty than any other OECD country, blasted corporations for evading taxes, insisted that it is "wrong that people are working 40 and 50 hours a week and still living in poverty." He slammed 35% unemployment and underemployment rates among workers with a high school education or less. He criticized unaffordable tuition and unbearable student debt.

He blasted the treatment of African-Americans and "institutional racism," instancing the Sandra Bland case.

He argued for a new campaign finance system and pledged to overturn Citizens United.

Having been inclusive of African-Americans, he reached out to Latinos by promising to fight for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

He argued for an expansion of medicaid to everyone on a single payer basis.

He said that the only way to combat the dominance of American politics by a handful of billionaires was with a grassroots campaign of millions and millions of people, which he calls a "political revolution."

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Remember how women used to talk back in the day? Remember whispery Jackie O sounding like the reluctant virgin?

Remember Lesley Stahl reporting from the White House? She was the antidote. None of that nonsense for her. Chicks like Lesley started a new vocal trend, that of the straight-ahead-no-bullshit-this-is-how-it-is. What a relief.

This “uptalk” is just annoying. I listen to the youngsters around the dinner table. I start thinking a stint in the military bellowing sir-yes-sir, aye-aye-sir would do a world of good.

Remember how fucking suave guys like Frank and Sammy used to be? Remember how serious and earnest the folkies used to sound? Well, then came the opposite.

I don’t know what to make of vocal fry. My 20 year old niece is a practitioner. Preferable to up-talk. Maybe it’s the antidote.


  1. Judy Valadao August 2, 2015

    Very sad story of Steven Kellogg Neuroth’s death. He was diagnosed before his arrest as a paranoid schizophrenic? I do hope the family of Steven go over the minutes of the Fort Bragg City Council meeting when Mark Montgomery said if a mentally ill person was picked up and found to have drugs on board it was no longer a mental health issue. The mental health care provided in Mendocino County is at the very least a joke and yet the money keeps rolling in for OMG and the Hospitality Center in Fort Bragg. How many deaths have to occur before some real help is provided to those needing it? I realize the City of Fort Bragg needs the income generated from doing the paper work for the grants that support The Hospitality Center but anyone who believes it is anything more than a money maker for those in charge should really do some research into this. It looks good to the public that a County/City can be so caring but wouldn’t it even look better if they really were? If Steven were diagnosed before his arrest as a paranoid schizophrenic, wouldn’t make sense that he should have been treated as a mental health patient and not a criminal? Not accusing, just asking.

  2. Rick Weddle August 2, 2015

    re: political revolution and ‘virtual town meetings’…

    Hmmm. Maybe these electronic baubles will prove to be of some net usefulness, yet. Perhaps they could facilitate the evolution of our ‘democratic republic’ to a system of genuine, DIRECT democracy? Imagine not needing ‘representatives,’ senators, or any of the expense or bother that comes along with these archaic, errant systems. Picture a surveillance system (already in place) that monitors our public servants 24 hours a day, seven days a week, always, with body cams, ankle bracelets, the works. Bye bye to the horseshit electoral college, taxpayed faux campaigns, the whole ball of worms. You know the trillions spent by corpirate interests for their special agendas over the decades, largely to screw over us rank and file taxcattle? Know where they get all their stupid-huge wealth? You guessed ‘er, Chester: from us self-same citizens.

  3. Jeff Costello August 2, 2015

    Uptalk is a clear sign of crisis-of-confidence. When I hear it, the speakers are telling me they’re not at all sure of what they are saying – just seeking approval and attention without really knowing why. Vocal fry is exclusive to women and may have begun as an attempt to be “coy,” as sexist as that may sound. Both are quite annoying and make me try to avoid conversation with people who practice them. Terry Gross on NPR, advertised as the best interviewer going, uses uptalk seemingly as an indication of submission to the interviewee. At least she knows better than fry her vocals at the end of a sentence.

  4. BB Grace August 2, 2015

    “by default, the mental health care providers for all of Mendocino County despite the County’s expenditure of roughly $15 million annually to care for the mentally ill.”

    This has nothing to do with MCHHSA as the Sheriff has his own privatized provider: California Forensic Medical Group, Inc., company medical director Dr. Taylor Fithian.

    I’m sure that Sheriff Allman will prevail because Allman has earned respect and trust in this County for being open and honest. I hope we will find out more about California Forensic Medical Group, Inc., company medical director Dr. Taylor Fithian, and how to right the tragic wrong that resulted in death, a family’s grief and legal journey seeking justice, and a community reeling from one tragic mental health related shame to the next.

    The County privatized mental health providers are:

    Perhaps an opportunity for the community to come together and work on restructuring mental health happens Tuesday as the Stepping Up Iniative is on the Calendar acording to UDJ news:

    “On Tuesday, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will hear more about “Stepping Up,” a national mental health initiative that was supported by county officials in June. …

    “The HHSA, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office and the Public Defender are “sponsoring” the item on Tuesday’s agenda.”

    I am unable to locate a contact for where and what time the meeting will be.

  5. Harvey Reading August 2, 2015


    Ho hum. Sounds like another “conservative” bad-mouthing the younger generations while misremembering the past … Typical. Another example of why I prefer the company of those younger than me, and avoid my own generation like the plague.

    • Lazarus August 2, 2015

      So you don’t have distain for everyone after all…nice Harv, nice.

  6. Nate Collins August 3, 2015

    Regarding the fem croak. I have a 15 and a half year old going into her second year at Berkeley High. I have tried to identify and combat the lazy, self-important, I’m too good for all of you and all of this attitude she displays and its manifestations. She does this voice and it is part in parcel of making me incensed. Its part of a highly offensive package of things these young girls are doing. Thanks for the info. Point, dad.

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