- Robert Myers
- Jirons Again
- Couple Inches
- Navarro Outlet
- The Flu
- Costco Coming
- B Overseers
- Ed Notes
- Little Dog
- Justice Delayed
- Yesterday's Catch
- Private Simon
- Sevigny Show
- Oprah Ideology
- Free Press
- Offshore Slam
- Library Events
- Sondheim Follies
- Winter Schedule
- Speak Ill
- Mystical Reality
- Poet Sleigh
ROBERT NELSON MYERS JR. 58, of Ukiah, has been identified as the man who died Saturday in Santa Rosa when, southbound on Highway 101 about 4:30pm near the Mendocino Avenue overcrossing, he unaccountably left the road and slammed into a tree. Myers was pronounced dead at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital an hour later.
LAKE COUNTY SENIORS WITH POT GIFTS ARRESTED AGAIN IN NEBRASKA
A Lake County couple arrested in Nebraska last month for carrying 60 pounds of marijuana they described as family Christmas gifts have again been arrested in Nebraska, this time on suspicion of carrying drug money.
NOT THIS BAD in Mendo where most places got about two inches of rain in the last couple of days.
MENDOCINOSPORTSPLUS’s close up photo of the Navarro after it finally broke through the sandbar Monday morning:
IF YOU'RE SICK, STAY AWAY
Mendocino Coast District Hospital Announces Flu Restrictions
Fort Bragg, CA - January 9, 2018 - Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) has announced that they will be restricting visitors to the hospital until further notice due to an increase in local flu cases and flu-like symptoms. As of today there will be no visitors under the age of 14, and no visitors with a flu-like symptom. These symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If you are seeking care and you have one or more of these symptoms, MCDH will provide a mask and require that the patient perform hand hygiene. All of these measures have been implemented to stop the spread of influenza in our community. Here are some ways to combat the spread of the flu:
- Get the flu shot!
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Wash your hands often
- Limit contact with anyone that is ill
- Clean and disinfect your home and work place
- Practice healthy habits: eat well, get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, exercise and manage stress
If you think you have the flu, please seek care at our Immediate Care Clinic or in the Emergency Department. You can also seek care at North Coast Family Health Center by calling (707) 961-4631. Thank you for helping keep our community healthy and stop the spread of flu.
Director PR & Marketing Communications
Mendocino Coast District Hospital
UKIAH ON PINS & STERILIZED NEEDLES
APPOINTMENTS were made Tuesday to the Measure B Mental Health Facilities Oversight Board. There are eleven of them now. Sheriff Allman, the Measure’s key advocate, of course; plus County Auditor Lloyd Weir, County Mental Health Director Janine Miller, CEO Carmel Angelo, Donna Moschetti of the local chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), Mental Health Board Chair Jan McGourty, plus five appointments by the five Supervisors: Dr. Ace Barash, Shannon Riley, Jed Diamond, Bill Mertle (Owner of Fort Bragg Electric), and Ross Liberty (of Factory Pipe, Ukiah).
Their first meeting is set for later this month.
CEO WIT! When Supervisor Carre Brown asked if staff was considering another dog license amnesty program, CEO Carmel Angelo replied, “Yes, we are emBARKing down that road.”
MENDOCINO COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION SEEKS CANDIDATES FOR INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS
In the wake of Superintendent Warren Galletti’s resignation that goes into effect January 31, the Mendocino County Board of Education is looking for candidates to serve as Interim County Superintendent of Schools from February through December 2018.
Candidates must possess an administrative services credential and appropriate experience. Those interested should submit a letter of interest to the Mendocino County Board of Education, attention Becky Jeffries via mail or in person to 2240 Old River Road, Ukiah, CA 95482 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 10:00 am on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.
Letters of interest should explain why candidates are interested in the position and how they meet the qualifications, including competency regarding the responsibilities of the position, experience, talents, education and skills. Candidates can refer questions to Becky Jeffries at 707-467-5030.
CONFIRMING rumors that he'd resigned, County Superintendent Galletti made it official via a press release today (Tuesday). It is not known why Galletti left the easiest job for the most money in Mendocino County, but if you have the necessary credential, and they seem available for the asking, MCOE is looking for an interim figurehead to sit in a large office where the phone never rings, and you're out when you're in, and in when you're out.
CRUISING MCOE'S butterfly-strewn website, we count three confidential secretaries and an array of nebulous but fully staffed positions in Ukiah and Fort Bragg. I remember when the office was out on Low Gap Road where the staff consisted of Lou Delsol and a couple of secretaries who checked credentials and did what work there was to do. I walked in off the street one day to ask a single question of one of the nice ladies and Delsol, like a man marooned by himself on an island far from the Pacific sea lanes, shot out of his office and invited me in for a chat. Which went on for two hours, during which his phone never rang, no one popped her head in the door to say something like, "Lou, don't forget your two hour free lunch."
THE OFFICE began to burgeon under Delsol to include, as it developed, two criminals and several of their unindicted co-conspirators, three of whom inevitably became superintendents themselves. The office grew so rapidly via any number of new state and federal programs vaguely aimed at varieties of edu-uplift that the enterprise moved from its trailer complex on Low Gap to the old state hospital dairy at Talmage, suitably re-modeled of course at great expense out of educational funds. Hell, we couldn't have the educational leadership of Mendocino County operating out of a grungy doublewide! The old dairy's bulls were put out to pasture, the bullshit moved in, so to speak, but no expense has ever been spared by MCOE in service to our nation's future!
MCOE doesn't do anything the individual school districts of the County couldn't do better and cheaper for themselves, but when was the last time anyone heard of a public bureaucracy being eliminated because it was redundant? When The Terminator was Governor and, truth to tell he was a good one, much better than Wind Tunnel Brown, he wanted to terminate county offices of education but was stymied when the entire state edu-apparatus, and their Democratic Party gofers, rose as one to scream, "How can you do this to the children?"
LIKE MOST PUBLIC budgets in the County, from KZYX to MCOE, edu-budgets are written to disguise the true money numbers and the destinations of that money. How effectively is the money being spent? On the off chance someone asks, the agency's captive trustees and whatever jive-o administrator happens to be present will stare back, at first uncomprehending, then offended.
NEAR AS WE CAN TELL, somewhere around $36 million every fiscal year flows through MCOE, more than half through an umbrella operation called SELPA, an acronymn that launches one into eye-crossing obfuscation even before one tries to figure out where the millions are going. In theory, the monies "provide a full range of services to students with special needs." Which turns out to be any kid who annoys or befuddles adults, which turns out to be all of them in one form or another. (Double the SELPA budget and you’d suddenly have twice as many special ed cases.) But do any of these loosely defined funding units turn out to be less needy after years of special MCOE-SELPA attention? We'll never know. They're kissed goodbye on their 18th birthdays when the money for them ends.
MCOE'S Talmage stalag contains a large number of extremely well-nourished women walking around with their coffee cups, prozac smiles on their faces. The visitor wonders if they relate whatever task they do to the big picture of Education Americano, a failed enterprise by any objective standard and discussed daily by media everywhere in the land. Despite the billions spent on it, American students, except for the rich kids in private schools or some of the public schools in wealthy suburbs, don't learn how to read at better than a 6th grade level, if that, can't write at all, and are so weak at basic numerical functioning they get ripped off every time they buy something.
MY FAVE MCOE story involves a portly degenerate named — well, look it up; he's suffered enough. This guy was SELPA director for years. At almost every meeting of the County School Board he reported on what a great job he was doing, often bringing in a few bewildered special ed cases to whom he'd present recycled golf trophies he'd bought at garage sales. The County School Board would beam out at the pure uplift of the presentation tableau and say,"Doing a great job, Hal, keep up the good work."
AT THE TIME of the trophies, the Superintendent, and we're talking post-Delsol who was at least a nice man, was retreating to Motel 6 with his private secretary, the better to focus on educational policy, while his Assistant Superintendent was signing over various items of state property to himself. The Assistant Supe later did a few months in the County Jail but, last I heard, was still roaming I-5 looting school districts up and down the state.
ANYWAY, the SELPA director owned a bar on North State Street where, in the back room, he made pornographic films with underage girls using expensive video equipment theoretically owned by the County Office of Education. Even by local educational standards this was considered over the line and the guy was packed off to the perv unit of the state pen. But all this stuff was going on at the same time! The County Office has never been as exciting! Finally, a couple of reformers, Don Lipmanson and David Colfax, got elected to the County School Board and managed to right the Good Ship MCOE to all its glorious, but more or less reputable, pointlessness.
EARLY ON, as a regular at public meetings of all kinds, it occurred to me that their boards of directors were interchangeable, that the five members of the County School Board could just as well be the County Board of Supervisors, and multiply them by a hundred and we'd have the Congress of the United States. Trump is not an accidental President.
TRUMP is not worried about the potential for an Oprah Winfrey 2020 presidential run, telling reporters Tuesday that he would defeat her. “Yeah, I’ll beat Oprah. Oprah would be a lot of fun,” he said during a brief presser. “I like Oprah. I don’t think she’s gonna run. I know her very well.” Trump also boasted: “You know, I did one of her last shows. She had Donald Trump—this was before politics—her last week. And she had Donald Trump and my family. It was very nice.”
LITTLE DOG SAYS “Need a good laugh? Watch Skrag ‘hunt.’ He stationed himself at a gopher hole just as the goph was digging. The goph pops up, Skrag lunges. Misses. Goph pops up again, Skrag lunges. Misses. Goph musta popped up ten times and every time Skrag missed. I thought cats were supposed to be quick. Not this cat. The only time he moves fast is meal time.”
PETER KEEGAN, indicated for murder, has died, bringing the end to criminal proceedings against him.
Peter Keegan died of cancer on November 13, 2017, seven years and two days after the murder of his wife, Susan, and three months after he was arrested for that crime. The case against him has been closed – due to the “death of the offender,” in the District Attorney’s legal parlance.
With that, the work of this blog comes to an end. Peter’s indictment, by a 19-member Mendocino County Grand Jury on the charge of second-degree homicide, stands as the most compelling statement we have about what occurred that tragic night in 2010. Seventeen witnesses, including the defendant, told their stories in 700 pages of testimony, which have now been made public. The evidence they provided will remain online across all time – and it offers a persuasive portrait of guilt to anyone seeking truth. (Read highlights of the case and follow links to the six volumes of court transcripts here.)
While we celebrate that achievement, it would be a disservice to Susan not to consider the troubling questions raised by the seven-year journey that followed her murder. One of Susan’s unique gifts was an ability to seek larger themes in the particular stories of one individual. And the theme here is one that mattered deeply to her – justice and the failure of systems intended to serve the people of a democracy.
Susan’s story lends truth to the old saw “justice delayed is justice denied.” Something went terribly wrong with the legal process in her case, as local authorities have acknowledged both publicly and privately. The flawed early investigation is described elsewhere in this blog and in media articles that covered the story, and incompetent police procedures are revealed throughout the Grand Jury testimony.
Together, they show clearly that the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office cast off its responsibilities almost entirely the morning Susan died, during her autopsy, and afterwards. The officers responding to Peter’s 911 call brought their suspicions to the attention of people with the authority to act on it, but they responded indifferently. Numerous friends and family members howled at Sheriff Thomas Allman and many others in his office for months – barraging them with letters and phone calls, pleading that they do their duty and conduct a rigorous investigation. Those pleas fell on deaf ears.
District Attorney David Eyster stepped in shortly after taking office in January 2011. The strengths and weaknesses of his involvement in this case are more complex. There is no doubt that the Keegan indictment would never have occurred without the determination of the DA, and especially of his passionate and persistent detectives. Eyster inherited error-riddled findings from the Sheriff’s Office and insisted that his team dig further, deeper and harder to ferret out the truth. They gathered forensic evidence, summoned expert testimony, pursued multiple search warrants, paid for costly outside laboratory analyses, and attempted to revive lost evidence.
But responsibility for the seven-year delay in taking legal action against Peter Keegan also rests with the DA. The same evidence that was sufficient for the Grand Jury to bring an indictment in August 2017 could have been presented to the court perhaps five years earlier. Had that happened, there could have been a robust airing of the facts, undercutting the defendant’s attempts to spread vicious misinformation about his wife. A trial could have been held when Peter was alive to face his peers and hear the jury foreperson read out the words “guilty,” and when appropriate punishment could have been meted out. The DA has never explained his failure to act in a more timely way.
All told, the criminal justice system served Susan and the Ukiah community poorly. Citizens who believed in the structures set up to identify and prosecute wrongdoing were largely let down by their leaders. Who takes responsibility for that? Has anyone been held accountable? Are safeguards now in place to handle a suspicious death appropriately, even if it occurs in the home of a well-connected local resident? Have new protocols been established to prevent another violation of justice?
Those questions demand answers, and the elected officials charged with protecting public safety and pursuing criminals should provide them. No one can bring Susan back to life, but many people can learn from her death, and make broad changes as a result. Who is taking on that effort in the offices of the Mendocino County Sheriff and the District Attorney? When will they report back to the people whose taxes pay for their work?
The systemic problems that failed Susan surely deserve a public reckoning.
Sadly, we probably won’t get one, and that may be as frustrating to the dedicated, boots-on-the-ground investigators in the DA’s office as it is a relief to those in the Sheriff’s office who displayed such chilling ineptitude.
The friends and family members behind this blog longed for their day in court. Together with countless supporters, we fought hard to have the evidence against Peter Keegan heard in a public trial so that a unanimous verdict could be delivered. The Grand Jury indictment is the closest we came to seeing justice done, but it is only second best. The process should not have ended there.
Nonetheless, we are grateful that the case came as far as it did. One thing we know with absolute certainty is that Susan needed us to do what we could for her, and we take no small measure of comfort in having obliged. We’d like to believe that if the Keegans should ever meet in that mysterious place known as the after-life, Susan would look Peter squarely in the eye and say, in that firm, melodious voice of hers, “I knew you would never get away with this.”
And he did not. Rest in peace, Susan.
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 9, 2018
KENNETH ELLER, Willits. Probation revocation.
VIOLET MCALISTER, Ukiah. Burglary, attempted grand theft, controlled substance.
KEITH PRUITT, Ukiah. DUI w/priors, suspended license, failure to appear.
MELINA SALAZAR, Fort Bragg. Burglary, vandalism, probation revocation.
HAROLD SIMON, private soldier, born 1927 (Moravia-Prague)
The month of April was approaching its end. Nowhere did I see germinating seeds, nor birds, nor cats, nor any other creatures. It seemed as if even the animals had fled.
Again we had cleared a position during the night. Weary and dirty, we reached a town. I saw a sign: "Ruederswalde." Somewhere in Moravia.
We occupied a trench on the town's edge. Supported by artillery, tanks and the particularly feared, low-flying ground attack planes of the Ilyushin II type, the Russian infantry attacked. Long red flames licked from the firing cannon of the aircraft. The sun shone on this inferno from an immaculately blue sky.
Then shot caught me in the face. I was suddenly engulfed in total darkness. Someone shouted through the noise of battle, telling me to hold on tight. He gripped my hand. I felt a belt. Later I lay on my back on a cart and my feet dragged over the ground. At some point I was given injections. Then I was in train. Later someone took off my dirty uniform. I felt warm water, then a bed. Everything around me was still in darkness. I asked what was wrong with my eyes. A nurse said my left eye was destroyed, but I still had my right eye and an eye specialist was bound to be able to sort it out. Thank God, the darkness was only temporary. I longed for an eye specialist. There was none here. The doctors had fled apart from one dentist. He tried in vain to relax my lockjaw. Every day a nurse pulled splinters of bone from my face. In a handout of tobacco I received 80 cigarettes. Even though I couldn't smoke I was pleased by this incredible bounty and kept feeling around for the four packs on my bedside table. One day they weren't there, and they never reappeared. That brought it home to me that defenselessness represents a temptation to morally weak people because it makes it possible to do evil without risk to oneself.
(From Swan Song: A Collective Diary of the Last Days of the Third Reich, 1945, by Walter Kempowski)
OPRAH WINFREY: ONE OF THE WORLD'S BEST NEOLIBERAL CAPITALIST THINKERS
Oprah is appealing because her stories hide the role of political, economic and social structures in our lives. They make the American dream seem attainable
by Nicole Aschoff
In Oprah Winfrey lore, one particular story is repeated over and over. When Oprah was 17, she won the Miss Fire Prevention Contest in Nashville, Tennessee. Until that year every winner had had a mane of red hair, but Oprah would prove to be a game changer.
The contest was the first of many successes for Oprah. She has won numerous Emmys, has been nominated for an Oscar, and appears on lists like Time’s 100 Most Influential People. In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She founded the Oprah Book Club, which is often credited with reviving Americans’ interest in reading. Her generosity and philanthropic spirit are legendary.
Oprah has legions of obsessive, devoted fans who write her letters and follow her into public restrooms. Oprah basks in their love: “I know people really, really, really love me, love me.” And she loves them right back. It’s part of her “higher calling”. She believes that she was put on this earth to lift people up, to help them “live their best life”. She encourages people to love themselves, believe in themselves, and follow their dreams.
Oprah is one of a new group of elite storytellers who present practical solutions to society’s problems that can be found within the logic of existing profit-driven structures of production and consumption. They promote market-based solutions to the problems of corporate power, technology, gender divides, environmental degradation, alienation and inequality.
Oprah’s popularity stems in part from her message of empathy, support, and love in an increasingly stressful, alienating society. Three decades of companies restructuring their operations by eliminating jobs (through attrition, technology, and outsourcing) and dismantling both organized labor and the welfare state have left workers in an extremely precarious situation.
Today, new working-class jobs are primarily low-wage service jobs, and the perks that once went along with middle-of-the-road white-collar jobs have disappeared. Flexible, project-oriented, contingent work has become the norm, enabling companies to ratchet up their requirements for all workers except those at the very top. Meanwhile, the costs of education, housing, childcare, and health care have skyrocketed, making it yet more difficult for individuals and households to get by, never mind prosper.
In this climate of stress and uncertainty, Oprah tells us the stories of her life to help us understand our feelings, cope with difficulty and improve our lives. She presents her personal journey and metamorphosis from poor little girl in rural Mississippi to billionaire prophet as a model for overcoming adversity and finding “a sweet life”.
Oprah’s biographical tale has been managed, mulled over, and mauled in the public gaze for 30 years. She used her precocious intelligence and wit to channel the pain of abuse and poverty into building an empire. She was on television by the age of 19 and had her own show within a decade.
The 1970s feminist movement opened the door to the domestic, private sphere, and the show walked in a decade later, breaking new ground as a public space to discuss personal troubles affecting Americans, particularly women. Oprah broached topics (divorce, depression, alcoholism, child abuse, adultery, incest) that had never before been discussed with such candor and empathy on television.
The show’s evolution over the decades mirrored the evolution of Oprah’s own life. In its early years the show followed a “recovery model” in which guests and viewers were encouraged to overcome their problems through self-esteem building and learning to love themselves.
But as copycat shows and criticisms of “trash talk” increased in the early 1990s, Oprah changed the show’s format. In 1994, Oprah declared that she was done with “victimization” and negativity: “It’s time to move on from ‘We are dysfunctional’ to ‘What are we going to do about it?’” Oprah credited her decision to her own personal evolution: “People must grow and change” or “they will shrivel up” and “their souls will shrink”.
In an appearance on Larry King Live, Oprah acknowledged that she had become concerned about the message of her show and so had decided to embark on a new mission “to lift people up”. Themes of spirituality and empowerment displaced themes of personal pathology. For Oprah, the transformation was total: “Today I try to do well and be well with everyone I reach or encounter. I make sure to use my life for that which can be of goodwill. Yes, this has brought me great wealth. More important, it has fortified me spiritually and emotionally.”
A stream of self-help gurus have spent time on Oprah’s stage over the past decade and a half, all with the same message. You have choices in life. External conditions don’t determine your life. You do. It’s all inside you, in your head, in your wishes and desires. Thoughts are destiny, so thinking positive thoughts will enable positive things to happen.
When bad things happen to us, it’s because we’re drawing them toward us with unhealthy thinking and behaviors. “Don’t complain about what you don’t have. Use what you’ve got. To do less than your best is a sin. Every single one of us has the power for greatness because greatness is determined by service—to yourself and others.” If we listen to that quiet “whisper” and fine-tune our “internal, moral, emotional GPS”, we too can learn the secret of success.
Janice Peck, in her work as professor of journalism and communication studies, has studied Oprah for years. She argues that to understand the Oprah phenomenon we must return to the ideas swirling around in the Gilded Age. Peck sees strong parallels in the mind-cure movement of the Gilded Age and Oprah’s evolving enterprise in the New Gilded Age, the era of neoliberalism. She argues that Oprah’s enterprise reinforces the neoliberal focus on the self: Oprah’s “enterprise [is] an ensemble of ideological practices that help legitimize a world of growing inequality and shrinking possibilities by promoting and embodying a configuration of self compatible with that world.”
Nothing captures this ensemble of ideological practices better than O Magazine, whose aim is to “help women see every experience and challenge as an opportunity to grow and discover their best self. To convince women that the real goal is becoming more of who they really are. To embrace their life.” O Magazine implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, identifies a range of problems in neoliberal capitalism and suggests ways for readers to adapt themselves to mitigate or overcome these problems.
Does your 60 hour-a-week desk job make your back hurt and leave you emotionally exhausted and stressed? Of course it does. Studies show that “death by office job” is real: people who sit at a desk all day are more likely to be obese, depressed, or just dead for no discernible reason. But you can dull these effects and improve your wellness with these O-approved strategies: Become more of an “out-of-the-box thinker” because creative people are healthier. Bring photos, posters, and “kitschy figurines” to decorate your workspace: “You’ll feel less emotionally exhausted and reduce burnout.” Write down three positive things that happened during your workday every night before leaving the office to “reduce stress and physical pain from work”.
Oprah is appealing precisely because her stories hide the role of political, economic, and social structures.
In December 2013, O devoted a whole issue to anxiety and worry. The issue “conquers a lifetime’s worth of anxieties and apprehensions”, an apt subject given rising levels of anxiety across the age spectrum.
In the issue, bibliotherapists Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin present a list of books for the anxious, prescribing them instead of a “trip to the pharmacy”. Feeling claustrophobic because you’re too poor to move out of your parents’ house? Read Little House on the Prairie. Feeling stressed because your current project at work is ending and you don’t have another lined up? Read The Man Who Planted Trees. Worried that you won’t be able to pay the rent because you just lost your job? Read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles. “Instead of feeling depressed, follow the lead hero Toru Okada, who, while jobless, embarks on a fantastic liberating journey that changes the way he thinks.”
Oprah recognizes the pervasiveness of anxiety and alienation in our society. But instead of examining the economic or political basis of these feelings, she advises us to turn our gaze inward and reconfigure ourselves to become more adaptable to the vagaries and stresses of the neoliberal moment.
Oprah is appealing precisely because her stories hide the role of political, economic, and social structures. In doing so, they make the American Dream seem attainable. If we just fix ourselves, we can achieve our goals. For some people, the American dream is attainable, but to understand the chances for everyone, we need to look dispassionately at the factors that shape success.
The current incarnation of the American Dream narrative holds that if you acquire enough cultural capital (skills and education) and social capital (connections, access to networks), you will be able to translate that capital into both economic capital (cash) and happiness. Cultural capital and social capital are seen as there for the taking (particularly with advances in internet technology), so the only additional necessary ingredients are pluck, passion, and persistence — all attributes that allegedly come from inside us.
The American dream is premised on the assumption that if you work hard, economic opportunity will present itself, and financial stability will follow, but the role of cultural and social capital in paving the road to wealth and fulfilment, or blocking it, may be just as important as economic capital. Some people are able to translate their skills, knowledge, and connections into economic opportunity and financial stability, and some are not — either because their skills, knowledge, and connections don’t seem to work as well, or they can’t acquire them in the first place because they’re too poor.
Today, the centrality of social and cultural capital is obscured (sometimes deliberately), as demonstrated in the implicit and explicit message of Oprah and her ideological colleagues. In their stories, and many others like them, cultural and social capital are easy to acquire. They tell us to get an education. Too poor? Take an online course. Go to Khan Academy. They tell us to meet people, build up our network. Don’t have any connected family members? Join LinkedIn.
It’s simple. Anyone can become anything. There’s no distinction between the quality and productivity of different people’s social and cultural capital. We’re all building our skills. We’re all networking.
This is a fiction. If all or most forms of social and cultural capital were equally valuable and accessible, we should see the effects of this in increased upward mobility and wealth created anew by new people in each generation rather than passed down and expanded from one generation to the next. The data do not demonstrate this upward mobility.
The US, in a sample of 13 wealthy countries, ranks highest in inequality and lowest in intergenerational earnings mobility. Wealth isn’t earned fresh in each new generation by plucky go-getters. It is passed down, preserved, and expanded through generous tax laws and the assiduous transmission of social and cultural capital.
The way Oprah tells us to get through it all and realize our dreams is always to adapt ourselves to the changing world, not to change the world we live in. We demand little or nothing from the system, from the collective apparatus of powerful people and institutions. We only make demands of ourselves.
We are the perfect, depoliticized, complacent neoliberal subjects.
And yet we’re not. The popularity of strategies for alleviating alienation rests on our deep, collective desire for meaning and creativity. Literary critic and political theorist Fredric Jameson would say that the Oprah stories, and others like them, are able to “manage our desires” only because they appeal to deep fantasies about how we want to live our lives. This, after all, is what the American dream narrative is about – not necessarily a description of life lived, but a vision of how life should be lived.
When the stories that manage our desires break their promises over and over, the stories themselves become fuel for change and open a space for new, radical stories. These new stories must feature collective demands that provide a critical perspective on the real limits to success in our society and foster a vision of life that does fulfill the desire for self-actualization.
(Excerpt from New Prophets of Capital by Nicole Aschoff, published by Verso Books. Theguardian.com)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
In a nation that has absolutely NO leaders of character and ability and has not been able to even offer up any that are even a suitable substitute for one, wondering what will be hurled at us next is anybody’s guess. Oprah is just about as “good” as any. It’s like being caught in an artillery bombardment, one foxhole is just as good as the next and just as likely to take a direct hit or get you through to tomorrow.
Those of us who are actually IN the political business have understood the absolute fact that elections are nothing more than popularity contests, sorry America so why not Oprah? You delude yourselves into thinking that somehow this magical merriment is how the most adept, the most competent, the “best” candidate is chosen for office. Bullshit! How can America not see that getting elected is probably the only “job” you can get in the country that has absolutely ZERO minimum requirements, no necessary talents, and requires little if any prior experience. And please nobody try to tell me that this IS a minimum age and “supposedly” birth requirements.
Oprah is undoubtedly popular, extremely well known and does in fact have the potential to get the woman president hurdle cleared and may even be able to be the first decent black president at the same time. In the end it does not matter IMHO because as Donald Trump is busy proving, the system is corrupt, the players are corrupt and the result will always be corruption. The only way for it to all be a happy ending is if the American public embraces corruption as a form of government. Oh, wait, they already have.
CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT IT
The weapon that brought down a corrupt presidency was words on paper, not one made of steel. Of the first two amendments, only number one remains immutable for all situations and times. America, by virtue of a free press and dissemination of truth, exists.
Over the centuries, free expression has exposed corporate crime, industrial malpractice and political misfeasance. The written word is the cleansing agent of society.
We now have, unlike the hoax “war on Christmas,” a real war on the institutions of the media. It started with the uttering, by an uninformed and ignorant candidate, the phrase “lamestream media,” to describe those who called her and her party on their ineptness. Little could she have known of its impact, but when more devious minds understood the possibilities, they seized on it for their own nefarious purposes. This demagoguery is a boil that needs excising. It’s effective in a bad way.
The easiest way to fix this is to use the ballot box. Vote for people who understand and support a free press. News gathered through dedication and vetted skillfully isn’t “fake.” Those who call it that, are. They are lying. Let’s make these equivocators irrelevant.
TIME’S UP is a self-indulgent campaign spurred on by the patronizing #MeToo movement that was largely fueled by finger wagging, the demonization of men, and the proud embracement of victimhood. Reputations were destroyed because the most benign gestures, wolf whistling and knee touching, were labeled as assault. Matt Damon was caught in the crossfires when he made rational, reflective comments addressing the above. His comments instigated a petition to remove him from Ocean’s 8. Anyone who dare speak out critically is treated with the same contempt as the accused rapists and labeled as ‘victim blamers’. Women who came forward were pleased with using trauma-based narratives when claiming victimhood on the most minor casual advances. The #MeToo movement devolved into an anti-male grievance fest, normalizing mob behavior and infantilization of accusers. There was no room for open discourse and dialogue.
— Rozali Telbis
NORTH COAST GROUPS, FISHERMEN SLAM TRUMP PLAN TO OPEN OFFSHORE DRILLING IN FEDERAL WATERS
by Dan Bacher
While there are lots of offshore rigs pumping oil under existing leases in federal and state waters off Southern California, fishermen, Tribal leaders and environmentalists have prevented the oil industry from drilling oil off the Northern California Coast — and they want to keep it that way forever.
The Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), the North Coast Environmental Center (NEC) and the Humboldt Baykeeper issued a joint statement blasting President Donald Trump’s plan to open offshore oil drilling off the North Coast. “Trump will have to go through us first,” they pledged:
"On Thursday, the Trump administration announced that it would open offshore oil drilling for nearly all continental waters in the United States, including here along our North Coast.
Trump will have to go through us first. Our organizations, the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), Humboldt Baykeeper, and the Northcoast Environmental Center, pledge that we will do everything in our power to fight offshore oil and gas development in Northern California.
President Trump’s reckless plan threatens our coast, our economy, and our way of life. We will defend our coast because we cannot suffer the same fate as Santa Barbara in 1969, Port Angeles in 1985, Grays Harbor in 1988, Coos Bay in 1999, and the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. We will not allow offshore drilling because we must move to a post-carbon economy. We will stand with our fishermen and oyster farmers who rely on clean water and a healthy environment.
We stopped President Reagan’s attempts to drill off the North Coast in the 1980s. We will stop President Trump too."
Noah Oppenheim, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA) executive director, also issued the following statement in response to the release of the Department of the Interior's 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas leasing draft proposed program:
"Today's announcement confirms what fishermen have known for months: the Trump Administration wants to put fish and fisheries at significant risk while lining the pockets of their oil industry co-conspirators. Meanwhile, more frequent oil spills and more intense ocean acidification and warming are guaranteed to ensue. The draft program, which is filled with obvious factual errors and omissions, could cost fishermen hundreds of millions of dollars if it is implemented. West Coast fishermen will not stand for oil and gas exploration and exploitation in our ocean."
Predictably, the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the trade association and head lobbying group for the oil industry in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona, applauded the decision.
“Our members produce energy in the most environmentally safe and sound way under the most stringent regulatory environment in the world,” claimed Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association. “This announcement could help California increase our domestic energy production.”
Reheis-Boyd served as Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California from 2009 to 2012. She also served on the task forces to create “marine protected areas” on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast from 2004 to 2012.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s draft Proposed Program (DPP) includes 47 potential oil and gas lease sales in 25 of the 26 planning areas – 19 sales off the coast of Alaska, 7 in the Pacific Region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, and 9 in the Atlantic Region. This is the largest number of lease sales ever proposed for the 5-year lease schedule of the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program).
VIRTUAL REALITY, TODDLER TIME, & MOROCCAN LANTERNS @ UKIAH LIBRARY
STEPHEN SONDHEIM'S FOLLIES AT ARENA THEATER
National Theatre Live from London, Saturday, Jan. 13, 1 p.m., doors 12:30 p.m. Please note that the performance of Follies includes strobe lighting. Runtime 155 minutes, no intermission. Tickets $18, $5 youth (18 and under), click on this link brownpapertickets.com/event/3186606 to buy tickets or get them at the box office. Stephen Sondheim's legendary musical is staged for the first time at the National Theatre and broadcast live to cinemas.
New York, 1971. There's a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre. Tomorrow the iconic building will be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves.
Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee and Imelda Staunton play the magnificent Follies in this dazzling new production. Featuring a cast of 37 and an orchestra of 21, it's directed by Dominic Cooke (The Comedy of Errors). Winner of Academy, Tony, Grammy and Olivier awards, Sondheim's previous work includes A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd and Sunday in the Park with George.
Arena Theater is located at 214 Main Street, Point Arena, California. 707-882-3272. Arena Theater is a member-supported community theater owned and operated by the Arena Theater Association, a 501 (c) (3) not for profit corporation. For additional information visit: www.arenatheater.org
“I’m on my winter-weather schedule—opening two hours late with limited services.”
SPEAK ILL OF EVERYONE
Refused permission to handle political stories--which weren't considered the province of women--[Oriana] Fallaci cut her teeth in Hollywood.
It was not a bad training ground for a hungry and ambitious reporter. She listened carefully when Hedda Hopper, the doyenne of gossip columnists, told her: "Don't spare anyone. Speak ill of everyone. Take pleasure in being known as a snake."
(Times Literary Supplement)
ON THE BEACH
Chillin' in Honolulu
Warmest spiritual greetings,
Since arriving in Honolulu on January 1st, residency has been established. Goodbye California...Hello Hawaii. I have been attending daily mass at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Today's message is that we are again entering "ordinary time", and that our response to the monotony of the common, of the unchanging ordinariness of daily life, is to prepare ourselves to be called to act in accord with the Divine Will. Today's message is that we need to be ready! Leaving the church after receiving Holy Communion, walking along Kaheka Street toward the Ala Moana Shopping Center, it was clear that not only Christ was with me, but also an attendance of angels. It was not a monotonous walk to the shopping center, but rather it was amazing! The forgetfullness of the larger mystical reality makes all hellacious, but the fact of the larger all encompassing mystical reality makes everything bright and alive. My only focus now is to continue living in this larger mystical reality, to be ready when called to act in accord with the Higher Will. This makes my move from California to Hawaii make total sense. I am waiting, but it will not be in vain.
Craig Louis Stehr
POET, TOM SLEIGH, SCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 31
We have a schedule change.
On Wednesday, January 31, at 7 pm, Pacific Time, we'll be broadcasting from KMUD's studio in Redway, CA. But we're going to move our show about HHS Secretary nominee, Alex Azar, and his ties to Big Pharma, to some Monday in February at KMEC. Instead, we'll be interviewing poet, Tom Sleigh.
The interview is live, but we're sending it out to NPR affiliates via Public Radio Exchange and Pacifica's Radio4All. It will also be available at KMUD's archives.
Why Tom Sleigh? Who is he?
Sleigh is an important poet, but he is more than just an important poet; he is what I would call a "poet-at-large".
A little bio: Sleigh is senior poet and distinguished professor at Hunter College. and has won numerous awards, including the John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Kingsley Tufts Award ($100,000), the Poetry Society of America's Shelley Award, a Fellowship from the American Academy in Berlin, a Guggenheim grant, and two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, among many others.
But Sleigh is much more than a mere poet.
Again, Tom Sleigh is a poet-at-large...somewhat in a way that Pablo Neruda was also a poet-at-large.
A little background about Neruda: Neruda was not just a Nobel Poet Laureate; he was a Marxist, a friend of CIA-deposed Salvador Allende, and Chile's ambassador to France, among other diplomatic posts. He was a man of the people, a poet of the people, a man of conscience.
In 1971, after Neruda won the Nobel Prize and returned home, Allende invited Neruda to read at the Estadio Nacional, and 70,000 people showed up. Many in the stadium recited Neruda's poems aloud, by heart, along with Neruda as he read to them.
I cried when I first heard that story. Could a poet be any more loved?
When the CIA-backed coup killed Allende, and installed General Augusto Pinochet, a war criminal, psychopath, and brutal dictator, as the head of Chile's new regime, Neruda exiled himself. Many said he died of broken heart for his country.
Neruda was not just beloved by the Chile's intelligencia. He was beloved by the people of Chile.
Meaning that Sleigh lives in the world, too, just like Neruda did. Tom Sleigh reports on the starving children of Somalia. He reports on Syrian refugees. Tom thinks about war, and famine, war crimes, and human suffering. He thinks about end times. See the links below. Sleigh is an important essayist and correspondent. And he is a playwright. Five of his plays have been produced.
For me, at least, Sleigh's great poem, "Songs for the End of the World", is reminiscent of one of Neruda's last collections, "Canto General". Both are a Whitmanesque catalogue of history, and ruin, of broken dreams, betrayals, and the coming darkness.
The great poets working today -- the truly great poets -- are essential. They are important, now more than ever. And they speak to the people about the people.
They write about "things beyond measure"...like watching a child starve to death. They write about "things in the offing"...like global warming, rising oceans, nuclear proliferation, never-ending wars of regime change, end-stage capitalism, and end-stage patriarchy. They write about "things that can be sensed"...like the next Great Extinction. They write about "things that we long for, but may never have, because we are running out of time"...like world peace, social justice, participatory grassroots democracy, gender equality, and ecological sustainability.
And if great poets don't write explicitly about these things, then they think about these things, and these things inform their work.
Graywolf Press is publishing two new books by Sleigh. The release date is February, so our show with him will be timely.
Do your homework, folks. Let's make this a great show!
— John Sakowicz