- Lingering Showers
- Confirmed Cases
- Court Measures
- Election Results
- Red Cross
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- Online Friends
- Plague Journal
- Ed Notes
- Distant Stars
- Open Spaces
- Impossible Sale
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- Yesterday's Catch
- Attitude Adjustment
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ANOTHER ROUND OF RAIN is expected this morning with some lingering showers in the afternoon and evening. Dry and chilly weather is expected Wednesday and Thursday mornings with another chance for rain late Friday and into the weekend.
NEAR FREEZING or freezing temperatures are possible Wednesday through Friday with Thursday morning expected to be the coldest. (National Weather Service)
MENDOCINO COUNTY UPDATE ON CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES
Post Date: 03/30/2020 6:06 PM
Mendocino County has four confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Based on investigations done by Public Health, it appears that all four cases in Mendocino County are travel-related and do not appear to indicate community spread. None of the confirmed cases require hospitalization and all individuals have been able to safely isolate at home. Of the four positive cases, one has recovered fully and three are in active public health monitoring and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention home isolation guidance.
The Healthcare facilities where each case was identified used proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and handled the cases in a manner that protected their healthcare workers, staff and patients from exposure. Below is additional information the County can release regarding the confirmed cases without comprising their privacy rights. Public Health thanks our Health Care Partners, including hospitals and clinics, who are carefully screening, COVID-19 testing, and caring for patients in our community in the midst of this pandemic—as shown by the 137 commercial COVID-19 tests completed in the chart below.
For more on COVID-19: www.mendocinocounty.org
Call Center: (707) 234-6052 or email email@example.com
The call center is open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
JUDICIAL COUNCIL APPROVES TEMPORARY EMERGENCY MEASURES TO AID COURTS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
UKIAH, MARCH 30 - Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster said Monday that during a special teleconference meeting on Saturday, the state Judicial Council unanimously extended numerous measures by 90 days after the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted to help alleviate backlogs in the court system.
• Extend the 10-court day period for holding a preliminary hearing and the defendant’s right of release to 30 court days.
• Extend the time period in which a defendant charged with a felony offense shall be taken before a judicial officer from 48 hours to not more than 7 days.
• Extend the time period for holding a criminal trial by more than 30 days.
• Extend the time period to bring an action to trial by more than 30 days.
In addition to temporarily extending statutory deadlines, the council also directed the superior courts to make use of technology, when possible, to conduct judicial proceedings and court operations remotely.
This includes the use of video, audio, and telephone for remote appearances, reporting, and interpreting in judicial proceedings, the electronic exchange and authentication of documents in evidence, and the use of e-filing and e-service. In addition, in criminal and juvenile proceedings including arraignments and preliminary hearings, the measures direct the courts to prioritize use of technology to ensure defendants are not held in custody, and children are not held in custody or removed from the custody of their parents or guardians, without timely due process of law or in violation of constitutional rights.
The measures aim to continue essential court services while guarding the health and safety of the public, court employees, attorneys, litigants, judicial officers, law enforcement, and staff and inmates in detention facilities.
(District Attorney’s Office presser)
COYOTE NEAR CLIFF HOUSE in San Francisco
THE FINAL ELECTION RESULTS for Mendocino County were released on Monday. The only surprise was the Ukiah Unified School Bond Measure A which previously was ahead with 54.58%, just short of the required 55%. But the final numbers show it squeaking by with 55.15% of the vote, a 15 vote margin out of almost 11,000 cast in the district.
DAN GJERDE WON RE-ELECTION over Lindy Peters in the Fourth District with about 61%. Maureen Mulheren (42%) is ahead of Mari Rodin (32%) in the Second District in November, and Glenn McGourty (48%) came just shy of beating John Kennedy (30%) in the First District primary. In the Presidential primary Bernie Sanders got 46% of Mendo’s (Democrat and some independent) votes with Biden at about 19%, Warren at 14%, etc.
COVID LIFE, WEEK 3
by Anne Fashauer
It’s Monday the 30th, the third week of the reality of this virus and its associated disease, COVID-19. Life is very different for everyone, mostly not for the better, but for some better than for others. At our place we are still healthy and active and thankful for that. Like everyone else, we watch the news and cry for New York and its dead and its medical providers. It’s a tough time.
While most of the news is bad our every day reality is not too terrible. Yes, we watch the news and we worry and we pray. Yet, we are thankful as well. We are currently healthy and that is a large something. We are finding ways to keep busy even if those things don’t bring in any income. And we are keeping in touch with others, if only in the non-physical sense.
On nice days we have worked on the yard and garden and on rainy days we’ve worked on inside projects. My front yard is getting more attention than in years past and it feels good to be out there among the plants. My pantry got a complete overhaul - everything came out, the shelves were rotated and then things got put back. I used to stock by alphabet but this time I did it by category. We’ll see how we like that.
I have a couple of group chats with college friends which is really nice. We are taking the time we have to catch up and keep in touch. Two of my friends have husbands who are New York doctors. One has patients with COVID-19; so far they are all able to be at home and he uses tele-medicine to treat them. The other is an administrator and he is working to keep his staff safe and sane and also deal with people who come in with “a sore arm” (true).
A week ago my tenants/friends suggested we gather on Sunday afternoon in the vineyard for a BYOB happy hour. It was them, my mom, husband and myself and my brother and his family. It was wonderful. We liked it so much we did it again this Sunday. We build a fire in the fire pit and each sit/stand six feet apart and take turns stoking it. In some ways, we are doing something we have never done before: The nine of us have never taken the time to get together and visit like this. At the same time, this is only a small replacement for the many dinners we normally share with our friends or the Sunday dinners my mom usually enjoys at my brother’s. Until something changes, this will be our new normal.
Keep yourselves sane and safe. Tell everyone who is important to you how you feel. Keep in touch.
JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR
by Larry Bensky
Berkeley, CA. Week of 3/23 – There’s something basically distressing about having to gather almost all of one’s knowledge and experience remotely. Not by “being there.”
Phone calls and web contact, some of it accompanied by herky-jerk video, are all we have. And we’d be foolish to think we’ll have those consistently, or reliably, given the hackocracy that has metastasized in ill-controlled (or opaquely controlled) countries and regions world-wide.
Those of us with a habit of reading and listening to music have refuges. Those of us who think we can exist in those refuges for a long time have a rude shock coming.
In the past year, as I’ve transitioned from the World of the Well to the World of the Ill (bad accidental fall, multiple surgeries, disastrous, nearly fatal “side effects,” from anesthesia and medication). I’ve already become used to a vastly reduced radius of operation. Now I’m quarantined in it.
As I take in information, I am not encouraged. Not only was there vast, and vastly irresponsible negligence in emergency preparedness. There was and is also the Trumpoids self-righteous lack of focus on and recent commitment to structures and policies that might alleviate bad times. (For an excellent summary of what could/should have been done, check out science journalist Laurie Garret’s recent discussion on the New Republic’s podcast, “The Politics of Everything,” “An Emergency Decades in the Making.”)
The Main Stream Media are dipping their rarely dry hankies into the bottomless well of tears from victims and relatives of victims. But there comes a time when anyone who isn’t a TV news babbler runs out of tears, too.
Possibly the biggest common phenomenon, beyond uncertainty, that almost everyone shares is sadness. Samantha Hill, who works at the Bard College Hannah Arendt Center, writes most recently:
“If only we could all emulate Tom Hanks’s character in ‘Cast Away,’ who survived four years stranded on a remote island with only a volleyball—nicknamed Wilson, with a face crafted off an imprint of his bloodied hand—as a companion. But science shows us that anxiety and isolation exact a physical toll on the brain’s circuitry. They increase the vulnerability to disease—by triggering higher blood pressure and heart rates, stress hormones and inflammation—among people who might otherwise not get sick. Prolonged loneliness can even increase mortality rates. In 2015, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a neuroscientist and psychologist at Brigham Young University, published an analysis of seventy studies, involving 3.4 million people, examining the impact of social isolation, loneliness, and living alone. The results were notable in light of today’s pandemic. The review found that loneliness increased the rate of early death by twenty-six per cent; social isolation led to an increased rate of mortality of twenty-nine per cent, and living alone by thirty-two per cent—no matter the subject’s age, gender, location, or culture.”
Sunday’s mountain of ink-wasted paper brings substantiating accounts and pictures of how bad it is. And hints of how it may well get worse. Since no one (can you say Barack Obama, 2008?) seems to want to take up Bernie Sanders’ challenge to make this a teachable moment about health care and finance, there are plenty of money ghouls trolling for obscene profit from our miseries.
Insurance premiums, for those fortunate to be able to obtain and pay for coverage, are likely to go up by 40%, with larger co-payments and fewer medication allowances also likely. And the recent stock market “recovery” which may continue or have been reversed by the time you read this, is based largely on the pharmaceutical sector. Testing and treating the pandemic are gold mines. And the miners are out there on their laptops, world-wide.
In all this quick shifting of focus from what is still a Presidential election year has allowed some important factoids to be buried. For example, Michael Bloomberg, we now know, spent a mere $900 million dollars to get the 58 delegates (of a necessary 2,000) he won. The abundant (and abundantly paid) workers he employed are now suing him for breach of contract. Saying he hired staff with false promises and is now not honoring what they believe was an agreement to continue paying them, and their health plan costs, through the end of the year.
Had Bloomberg used his money (he’s estimated to be worth $46 billion) to purchase sorely needed face masks or working ventilators we might have a less critical situation than we do. (A great analysis, by Farhad Manjoo, of the face mask scandal appears in the 5/25 NYT, “How the World’s Richest Country Ran Out of a 75-cent Face Mask.”)
It might be, although unlikely, given the proclivities of our culture and politics, that some issues unavoidably being looked at as the crisis continues may obtain amelioration. Housing, for example. Not only are homeless encampments obvious breeding groups for viruses (and other germ-born afflictions), capitalism is an obvious breeding ground for homelessness. There are an estimated 46,000 empty homes in the Bay Area. Homeless people number an estimated 28,000. The math is easy to do. The politics much less so.
The unreal, slimy state of what passes for politics in this country has probably not reached its most surreal state yet. Religious fanatics are either denying that the Coronavirus is real, or that if it is real god had a reason to bring it on now, which we as flock to a The Big G’s pastorhood have no claim to know. Or that Trump opponents invented/imported the virus because Trump’s impeachment didn’t lead to a conviction, and this is another way for those who hate him to get him out of the White House.
Or that they are somehow immune to one of the few tactics that seems to have some success: shelter in place. Liberty University in Virginia (part of a $2 billion dollar empire) recently encouraged students to return to dorms and social actvities after winter break. Without screening. Unsurprisingly, they are turning out to have high rates of virus, and, after brief stays in Lynchberg VA (whose elected and health officials have denounced how the school has handled the situation), many have gone home. Some, no doubt, bringing some element of the virus back with them. Nut-ball congregations can be seen on You Tube bragging about how they’ll continue to breathe, hug, sing anywhere they please.
If enough of them comply there may be an upside to this horror after all.
Limited social distance. A lone boy appears up the street, wielding a big butterfly net.
“Caught any yet?”
“They usually like the pink flowers.”
He goes over and peers.
“There’s one!” I feel lucky. But his net is too big, he’s too small, the lovely Monarch is too fast.
His father, holding a babbling tiny baby, smiles approval from his porch across the oddly traffic-free steet.
As self-contained, we are perfect.
We know, as the boy can’t, that it’s highly temporary. At best.
CASPAR LOGGING COMPANY, 1890s, Old Fashioned Yarder
BOB MAKI of Starr Automotive Towing and Repair writes: “I would like to thank Gary Island and his crew at the Philo I&E Lath Mill for his generosity in putting out mill trim ends for the public to pick up. As we get older, it gets hard to find and cut wood. The only thing he asks is that you pick up the broken pieces and strings that are left on the ground. This is a great deal for everyone! Thanks, Gary.”
BOB MAKI’S ON THE JOB
Starr Automotive Is Open, my Anderson Valley friends and family. I know you all are hurting, I know everyone is trying to socially distance. My dad has stayed open because you can stand at the door and call first, cars still break down, need regular checkups, and people still crash. If you’re willing to socially distance and you’re mechanically inclined, plus you can pass a drug test, he NEEDS help (it's dangerous) he is working on cars by himself, he refuses to close for his community that he cares about and loves; the community that he donates thousands back into for kids sports, the boy and girl scouts, supporting the trade classes at the high school. He is always doing his part (so much so he has given up MANY family events, because he refuses to leave anyone in the valley without help). He got his care package from us with N95s, and essentials, nobody is allowed in the tow truck, he will get your car safely where it needs to be, he will help you arrange a ride for yourself, as he is at risk, with several co-morbidities. We were raised in the Valley, we were raised to step up when things go sideways. Let's all support local as much as possible. My thoughts go out to all the families in the valley doing the best they can. I pray daily for you all to stay healthy, stay local, support one another. (707) 895-2425. Please do your part to flatten the curve, while still supporting one another.
THIS SILENT CATASTROPHE is moving faster than the reports of its already dire consequences. In the Anderson Valley, people are self-isolating, meaning that citizens are heeding medical advice that social distancing is the best way to beat back the beast. Most businesses around the county, except those selling food (and a few construction operations), are closed.
HOWL DOWN THE PLAGUE. Lots of Bay Area communities are wolf-howling for a few minutes every night at 8pm. The idea is to howl support for the front line people whose work requires them to risk their lives. And solidarity in the face of this monster that’s swallowing our lives. I howled the last coupla nights out in front of the ava office, central Boonville. A dog howled back from the area of the Boonville Hotel. If anyone else heard me they probably assumed I’d at last gone totally 5150. I’ll howl every night from now until we’ve beaten it. 8pm. Be there.
AS OF LATE MONDAY, plague stats for Mendocino County reveal only four infections, all of them travel-related. Ms. Dukett of Public Health explained that Mendo's tests are sent by courier to a public health lab in Santa Rosa, the round-trip process taking 4-5 days. In theory. But given the number of pendings, it’s taking longer.
BOONVILLE’S a ghost town, the internet slower than slow. A computer wizard says the net is slow because everyone’s at home streaming movies, which takes up a lot of bandwidth, the magic cyber-highway on which the movies and all the rest of the round-the-clock deluge travels.
LATELY, this cyber deluge has included a whole lot of salacious invitations of the “Bruce, I really enjoyed our last meeting. Let’s do it again soon, big boy” type. I imagine myself slumped over dead at my computer with these lewd final communications on-screen as Boonville’s emergency services people say things like, “Gee, the old guy was quite the perv. Who would have thought?” Let the record show I do not know, and have never known, carnally or otherwise, anybody named Misty.
FORT BRAGG isn’t monkeying around with its social distancing directives. (Unlike Ukiah, where it’s all monkeys.) The Haul Road and the Big River beach and trail, and every other Mendo Coast public area, are cordoned off. It’s not as if the Haul Road is ever what could be described as “crowded,” but the shutdown certainly serves to reinforce the seriousness of our overall situation.
IRONY, I guess, is that the people deciding what is and what isn’t an essential service are themselves non-essential. For instance, if the County CEO’s office disappeared how long would it be before anyone noticed they were missing?
I’VE ALWAYS THOUGHT the late Norman Mailer’s theory that cancer was caused by rolling combinations of bad food, bad materials, bad architecture, and bad vibes, the whole of which shorts out the human system. If Mailer were still with us, he might say the comprehensive wrongness of our human habitat has begun killing us faster in greater numbers.
JUST FINISHED a history of the onset of World War Two that reminds me of our presently plagued dilemmas. It’s called “The Darkest Year: The American Home Front, 1941-1942” by William K. Klingaman. America was just recovering from the Great Depression. Millions of us were making money, often more money than we’d ever made, and World War Two kicks off, and suddenly there was rationing and all kinds of emergency restrictions, not to mention a draft and big military losses to begin with. And here we are not a hundred years later with our potemkin economy cooking right along when we’re suddenly struck by a silent attack that threatens to bring down the whole show.
WE ARE HEARING that some “essential” service offices — private, non-profit, and government — around the County seem to be trying to come up with their own impromptu screening processes for arriving employees with, ahem, mixed results. Temperatures are taken by various catch-as-catch can methods administered haphazardly by untrained people accompanied by quirky attempts to keep track of who’s at work, who’s tested, who’s washed their hands, who hasn’t, who’s home, who’s in charge, etc. Frustration is building. Some workers are saying they’re not going to put up with it for long unless management comes in and puts some standardized, effective procedures in place. But given that this is Mendo, that’s not very likely.
REMINDER: Most of the numbers of “cases” being widely reported, i.e., people confirmed to have the corona virus, are counts of the limited number people who have been tested. So, these numbers that we see regularly, some of which seem low and which at least one AVA contributor seems to think are nearly insignificant as a percentage, are clearly more of a reflection of testing rates than they are of people infected with the virus. And, as we know, the testing itself is unevenly distributed and takes days for results. So there are several layers of lag in the reports of confirmed cases and a corresponding lag in knowing the effectiveness of hygiene and distancing measures. We probably won’t know about the effectiveness of the measures taken to dampen the rate of spread of the disease until the testing more or less catches up with a statistically valid sample size of the population. The measures being taken are certainly helping contain the spread, but health officials probably won’t be considering relaxing any restrictions until the testing data properly reflects the penetration of the virus in any given area as a whole. (Mark Scaramella)
JEFF FOX COMMENTS:
Initially, before the visitor serving facilities were closed, there was indeed a flood of visitors fleeing the bay area. Both of the coastal supervisors have stated that the intent of the closure of parking lots, campgrounds, lodging and other visitor serving facilities was to discourage out of town visitors from bringing the disease in from more infected areas, especially the SF bay area. To that end, the closures have been wildly successful.
Closing the open space foot trails is not needed to keep tourists out, and in the end is counterproductive. Currently, there is little to no visitor activity in Fort Bragg, and what little outdoor activity is happening are local people. As someone who grew up in Mendo County and has been on the coast for 46 years, locals are easy to recognize, and they are the only ones taking outside walks. As locals we care about each other. I have yet to observe a single instance of someone not following the social distancing guidelines, not one.
Our county health officer needs to take a serious look at the efficacy of closing open space areas. Outdoor exercise and promoting good cardiovascular and respiratory health is one of the best ways to fight the disease, especially for older folks. Depriving locals of access to that open space does nothing to promote public health, and may even have a negative effect in the end.
By the way, I DO support keeping the parking lots and campgrounds closed, and even can tolerate keeping bathrooms locked. However, the foot trails should remain open.
ANOTHER VALLEY RESILIENCE COUNCIL CALL: Nourishing our Hearts and Minds
Anderson Valley Village
The Weekly “Virtual” AV Gathering - Anyone can join by picking up your phone or using computer/internet for a “group call/video conference call” to connect in a supportive, heart-centered time with your neighbors. No charge.
Reminder! This Tuesday 7-8 pm!
Email Us if you want Help with Zoom ahead of Time! You can use your land-line and no extra technology! :)
How it works: Use a smart phone, computer, or regular land-line phone to click a link or dial the phone # we will send you so that you can join live - by audio or video (your choice). To receive the phone # or link:
You must respond that you are interested by 2 pm Tuesday, March 31 by email (Laurie@riversbendretreat.org) — or message Laurie Adams or Abeja Hummel on Facebook. Each week, Tuesday 2 pm, we will publish the link/phone # to join the call.
IT COULD HAPPEN HERE!
Lawsuit Accuses Humboldt County Judge of Drunkenly Attacking an Attorney, Throwing Him Off a Boat, and Says County Employees Tried to Cover It Up
Rory Kalin, a deputy public defender, says Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Gregory Elvine-Kreis got drunk at a Memorial Day party, belittled him, called him anti-Jewish names and then threw him off a boat into Shasta Lake.
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 30, 2020
HUGO BARAJAS, Ukiah. DUI-drugs&alcohol.
EMMA BEALL, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse.
MARTIN BRIGGS, Ukiah. Robbery, grand theft, criminal threats, conspiracy.
JAMES JOHNSON, Willits. Domestic battery, probation revocation.
CHARLENE MARTINEZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery, smuggling liquor or drugs into jail.
ANTONE SCHLAFER, Mendocino. Stalking in violation of restraining order, violation of protective order, invasion of privacy with electronic tracking device.
PEOPLE GET READY!
by James Kunstler
The cable news announced the other day that Covid-19 patients placed in critical care may have to be on ventilators for 21 days. Only a few years ago, I went in for an ordinary hip replacement. A month or so later, I got the hospital billing statement. One of the line-items went like this: Room and board: 36 hours…$23,482.79. I am not jiving you. That was just for the hospital bed and maybe four lousy hospital meals, not the surgery or the meds or anything else. All that was billed extra. Say, what…?
Now imagine you have the stupendous good fortune to survive a Covid-19 infection after 21 days on a ventilator and go home. What is that billing statement going to look like? Will the survivors wish they’d never made out of the hospital alive?
Right now, we’re in the heroic phase of the battle against a modern age plague. The doctors, nurses, and their helpers are like the trembling soldiers in an amphibious landing craft churning toward the Normandy beach where the enemy is dug in and waiting for them, with sweaty fingers on their machine guns and a stink in the pillbox. Some of the doctors and nurses will go down in the battle. The fabled fog-of-war will conceal what is happening to the health care system itself, while the battle rages. After that, what?
One thing will be pretty clear: That the folks in charge of things gave trillions of dollars to Wall Street while tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 survivors got wiped out financially with gargantuan medical bills. Do you think the Chargemaster part of the hospital routine will just stop doing its thing during this emergency? The billings will continue – just as the proverbial beatings will continue until morale improves! In the aftermath, I can’t even imagine the ‘splainin’ that will entail. The rage may be too intense to even get to that. For some, it may be time to lubricate the guillotines?
Meantime, of course, the global economy has shut down which suggests to me, anyway, that any prior frame of reference you may have had about money and business and social normality goes out the window. The world is still here. We’re just going to have to learn to live in it differently. The American portion of the world is in need of a severe retrofit and reprogramming. We waited too long to face this in a spell of tragic complacency and the virus has forced the issue. Here are the main things we have to attend to:
Reconsider how we inhabit the landscape. Do you think $20-a-barrel oil is a boon to the Happy Motoring way-of-life? It’s going to at least bankrupt most of the companies producing shale oil, and that’s where way-more than half of our production came from in recent years. How many ordinary Americans will be able to finance car payments now? To say suburbia will not be functioning too well mere months from now is a merciful way to put it.
The big cities will not recover from the trauma and stigma of the virus, but that is only the beginning their problems. What, exactly, will the suffering poor of the ghettos do, under orders to remain cooped-up until the end of April? These are people who are unlikely to have laid in supplies ahead of time, and a month from now they are sure to be very hungry. How will the big cities be able to manage their infrastructures with municipal bonds massively failing? How will they provide social services when tax revenues are down to a trickle? The answer is, they won’t manage any of this. They grew too big and too complex. Now they have to get smaller, and the process will not be pretty.
What will the business of America be after Covid-19? If we’re lucky, it will be growing food and working at many of the activities that support it: moving it, storing it, selling it, making an order of smaller-scaled farm machinery, including machines that can be used with horses and oxen, breeding the animals. I’m not kidding. Growing food happens in the countryside, where the fields and pastures are. There are towns there, too, associated with the farming, where much of the business of farming and the activities that support it transact. I believe we’ll see impressive demographic movements of people to these places. There are opportunities in all that, a plausible future. The scale of agriculture will have to change downward, too. AgriBiz, with its giant “inputs” of chemicals and borrowed money, is not going to make it. Farms have to get smaller too, and more people will have to work on them. Farewell to the age of the taco chip!
If we want to get around this big country of ours, and move food from one place to another, we better think about fixing the railroads. Try to imagine what six trillion dollars might have done for that crucial venture. And I’m not talking about high-speed and high-tech; I mean the railroads that were already here. Where I live, the tracks are still in place, rusting in the rain. How did we let that happen?
Then there is the question of how do we behave? You may not think that matters so much, but we’ve become so profoundly dishonest that it’s impeding our relationship with reality. On top of that we’re surly, impolite, clownish, blustering, greedy, and improvident. Believe me, that is going to change. Hardship is a great attitude-adjuster. When Americans awake from the corona coma like millions of Rip Van Winkles, it will matter again to be upright and to act in good faith. This will be a different country.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
TRUMP’S MASS NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE DOESN’T LET DEMOCRATIC LEADERS OFF THE HOOK
by Norman Solomon
In the last few days, New York and Pennsylvania postponed voting in presidential primaries from April until June. A dozen other states have also rescheduled. Those wise decisions are in sharp contrast to a failure of leadership from Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee.
Just two weeks ago, the party establishment was vehemently pushing back against efforts to delay several mid-March primaries in response to the coronavirus emergency. DNC Chair Tom Perez issued a statement that The Hill newspaper summed up with the headline “DNC Calls on States Not to Postpone Primaries.” Perez put out the statement on the day that three states were holding primary elections.
Ohio was also scheduled to have a presidential primary that day, but at the eleventh hour it was postponed thanks to the state’s Republican governor. Incredibly, Perez quickly criticized the prudent delay of Ohio’s election, saying it “only bred more chaos and confusion.”
In Illinois, with the DNC’s encouragement, Governor J.B. Pritzker -- a billionaire whose billionaire sister Penny Pritzker was Barack Obama’s 2008 national campaign finance chair and later became his Secretary of Commerce -- refused to reschedule the March 17 primary. Just three days later, he announced a “stay-at-home” order for the whole state.
Think about it: On Tuesday, the governor enables an Illinois election that draws about a million voters and thousands of election workers to voting sites that day. On Friday, the same governor orders everyone in the state to stay home.
Perez -- who became DNC chair three years ago as the candidate of the party’s Clintonite so-called “moderate” (corporate) wing -- is clearly aligned with Biden, as Perez’s appointments to key committees for the party’s 2020 national convention have underscored. Postponing primary races in states where Biden was way ahead in opinion polls, as in Illinois, would risk slowing his momentum against Bernie Sanders.
Biden’s interest in going ahead with the March 17 primaries -- public health be damned -- was expressed by his campaign’s spokeswoman Symone Sanders during a March 15 interview on CNN. “I encourage people to get out there and vote on Tuesday,” she said. The spin included upbeat, patriotism-tinged rationales like: “In times of war, in times of strife, our country has always upheld our need to uphold our democracy. We have voted in war time; votes were held many times in this country after times of strife.”
In their zeal to boost the number of Biden delegates as fast as possible, the Biden campaign and the DNC chair ignored or distorted the guidelines that were in effect at the time from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Deeply disappointed that the DNC is willfully choosing not to listen to scientists during one of the most critical moments in recent history,” biologist Dr. Lucky Tran tweeted on March 17, when voters in three states were casting Democratic primary ballots.
By then, as CBS News noted, even the White House had “issued new guidelines designed to slow the rapid spread of coronavirus, asking nearly every American to stay home from work or school for the next 15 days.”
(An excellent account of this egregious saga is Katie Halper’s recent article for the national media watch group FAIR: “Media Silent as Poll Workers Contract Covid-19 at Primaries That DNC, Biden Campaign Claimed Were Safe.”)
Looking ahead, the postponements of primaries in some states may give enough time to implement widespread voting by mail. As Charles Chamberlain, the chair of Democracy for America, wrote over the weekend, “The public health risks from gathering in large numbers are real and volunteer poll workers, who are typically in the highest risk age group for getting the virus, should not be expected to spend hours on end helping neighbors vote. We must move immediately to establish automatic vote-by-mail procedures nationwide so elections can go forward safely with minimal risk to the general public.”
Trump bears the overwhelming responsibility for the deadly governmental negligence as the Covid-19 pandemic has spread in the United States. But that reality in no way made it okay for the Biden campaign and the DNC to forcefully advocate for retaining a primary schedule that was certain to expose people to the virus.
Even with the new heights of the coronavirus emergency in late March, mass emails from the Biden campaign and the DNC have been stale pitches for donations, often leaving the coronavirus unmentioned. At the same time, Biden’s TV interviews have ranged from uninspiringly passable to stumblingly embarrassing.
Meanwhile, along with raising millions of dollars for care-giving charities, the Sanders campaign has been energetic and creative online -- with efforts such as championing health protection for Amazon workers, calling for comprehensive healthcare for everyone in the country during the pandemic, fighting huge corporate rip-offs of the public, and providing strong progressive populist messages during TV interviews.
The anemic response to the Covid-19 emergency from Biden and his allies is another ominous sign that he is ill-equipped to rid the country of the vile Trump presidency. Another straw in the wind is a new Washington Post / ABC News national poll that shows an enormous voter-motivation gap -- with Trump supporters far more “enthusiastic” about their candidate than Biden supporters are.
The political strategy of reliance on emphasizing how bad Donald Trump is -- without offering dynamic progressive leadership -- was a catastrophic failure four years ago. Providing feeble alternatives, while reminiscing about real or imagined glory days of the Obama administration, is apt to prove woefully inadequate in 2020.
(Norman Solomon is co-founder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Solomon is the author of a dozen books including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”)
TOO MUCH TIME ON MY HANDS
Yeah, I'm sitting on this barstool, talking like a damn fool
Got the twelve o'clock news blues
And I've given up hope for the afternoon soaps
And a bottle of cold brew
Is it any wonder I'm not crazy?
Is it any wonder I'm sane at all?
Well, I'm so tired of losing, I got nothing to do
And all day to do it
Well, I'd go out cruisin', but I've no place to go
And all night to get there
Is it any wonder I'm not a criminal?
Is it any wonder I'm not in jail?
Is it any wonder I've
got too much time on my hands?
It's ticking away with my sanity
I've got too much time on my hands
It's hard to believe such a calamity
I've got too much time on my hands
And it's ticking away, ticking away from me
Too much time on my hands
(It's t-t-t-t-ticking away)
Too much time on my hands
(And I don't know what to do with myself)
Too much time on my hands
Too much time on my hands
Too much time on my hands
Too much time on my hands
Now, I'm a jet fuel genius - I can solve the world's problems
Without even trying
I got dozens of friends, and the fun never ends
That is, as long as I'm buying
Is it any wonder I'm not the president?
Is it any wonder I'm null and void?
Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?
It's ticking away with my sanity
I've got too much time on my hands
It's hard to believe such a calamity
I got too much time on my hands
And it's ticking away, ticking away from me
Too much time on my hands
Too much time on my hands
(And I don't know what to do with myself)
Too much time on my hands
Too much time on my hands
Too much time on my hands
Too much time on my hands
(Too much time on my hands)
(Too much time on my)
CHANGE AND CONTINUITY
Transformations of Pomo Life
WHO’S ON FIRST IN FORT BRAGG?
by Rex Gressett
As the city of Fort Bragg, and the patient honest people of Mendocino County, buckle down to the long haul of the Chinese virus quarantine, everybody is sitting at home and wondering. Me too — but a few things are becoming increasingly clear.
At the long-awaited emergency City Council meeting last Tuesday, City Manager Tabatha Miller told the city that she did not have any particular ideas about what ought to be done, but that she was all in for taking directions from the County. Thank God we have John Naulty at the Police Department. The emergency council meeting bumbled along for a while with Mayor Will Lee doing a little predictable pointless self-aggrandizing grandstanding and then, in a kind of throwing in of the towel, the council appointed Jessica Morsell-Haye and Tess Albin-Smith (privately a joke among at least some of the council) to an ad hoc committee.
What?? Really an ad hoc committee? You need to do SOMETHING city council.
Appointing a committee is like the last thing, the least effective thing, the most egregious abdication of responsibility imaginable.
So, of course, that’s what they did. It was a way to do nothing - but if you put the most generous spin on it - possibly perhaps the idea was to streamline the decision-making process, improve and focus communications and produce some creative ideas or, even dare I say, some hard policy.
OK, we can't count on the City Council. They are over their head. But at least we have a committee to ask questions up the food chain and maybe we will at least get some kind of information.
We waited for it and waited for it.
I sent emails and made increasingly frustrated demands for information. No Dice Tabatha Miller eventually reluctantly agreed to answer questions - but the ad hoc committee is either not in town or not speaking.
I’m betting they have produced no ideas, no policy, no nothing. They have the opportunity to inform the thousands of people at the Anderson Valley Advertiser, MSP, and Fort Bragg but sure don’t know about it.
Ok “ad hoc” committee - let’s assume you are clueless. Allow me. Here’s what you do.
- Test everybody. Yeah, that’s right, EVERYBODY. The city of Vo, a hotspot in poor suffering Italy, is a little smaller than Fort Bragg but they are comparable. They tested everybody and have NO CASES. Not enough tests? OK, that’s the job of the ad hoc committee to GET them. Get on the phone and push for them. Make yourself useful. If our esteemed ad hoc committee is doing that - tell the people that you are working for them. Bring some pressure to bear on state officials. Pressure comes from people, engage the city in your advocacy.
- If you don’t have enough tests to test everyone, GODDAMMIT test the employees in critical businesses that are going to have contact with the wider public. I simply can not believe that you have not tested the heroes that are working at Safeway. If you get any positives, quarantine them. THAT’S HOW YOU STOP IT.
- I asked Wayne Allen, CEO of MCDH (the hospital), if they had access to chloroquine. I know you know what I'm talking about. It appears to stop the virus and it appears to work as a prophylactic, preventing symptoms and contagion. There have been very plausible, PEER-REVIEWED studies that support that provisional assessment. The Governor of Nevada has banned the distribution of the drug because doctors across the state were apparently hoarding it for their own friends and families. Check it out. Find out where the bottleneck is and at the very very least get f’ing mad on our behalf if that is the case.
Here is what CEO Allen told me.
“Chloroquine is a medication that has indications for use in the prevention and treatment of malaria. It is NOT a medication stocked in our hospital as it has been primarily used for people who may be traveling to a country that has malaria risks.
There are currently investigations being done with this medication and others that may be useful for the treatment of COVID-19. As the studies about the virus treatment and prevention continue, the nationwide health care communities may need to adjust treatment plans accordingly. Currently, the manufacturer of this medication has no supply available through wholesaler channels. It is on the list of nationwide drug shortages. As the knowledge of the treatment of Covid-19 increases, this medication may become more available to health care institutions.”
Ok, fine. Something for the Ad Hoc committee to do. What Mr Allen did not say is that he was working on the problem. The ad hoc committee is sure not working on the problem - or at least they don’t seem to be. Actually, no one knows because they are not answering emails. SOMEONE SHOULD STAND UP FOR US.
Letting the County handle this is like having a drunk drive you home.
If you don’t think so, watch their infrequent, uncertain and deeply dysfunctional briefings. NO thanks. Fort Bragg is on its own. Let's act like it. Go get the damn drugs. Advocate, fight push and goddammit, let the people know what is going on.
Talk to the people. For our local leadership to be hiding in their houses is insulting and despicable. The city has its own TV channel, actually more than one. We need to talk to each other, we need to know that someone is DOING something.
I am not in a panic, there are apparently no cases. I don’t think the bottom has fallen out. I think we need a public dialogue because things MIGHT get worse. And because it's their JOB. Hello. And because there are things that they could do and they are not doing.
Even before this happened, the City Council has become a kind of irrelevant afterthought to the City Manager. The people of the city can’t tell the city manager squat. She gets paid no matter what. We elect a city council and when it really matters they turned out to be almost totally useless.
The ad hoc committee is a bad joke. A COMMITTEE???? Geeze.
Tell you what I will do. I will find out where and when and how we can obtain Chloroquine and Hydroxacloroquine or palaquein or whatever is out there.
I don’t promise I can get them. I do promise I can tell the story. It won't save the city, but it's more than the ad hoc committee is doing. When you have to depend on a hack reporter (if you could even call me that) I would suggest that you are in deep trouble. Maybe you need a new City Council.
Do me a favor - send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask her if she would condescend to answer a few questions for the many, many thousands of people that get their news from the Anderson Valley Advertiser & MSP. Let’s see what we can do as an AVA/MSP community.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I live in a small rural Ontario Canada village. We have many Amish/Mennonite small farms which I am very thankful for. At one farm you go in the garage to a fridge and get your fresh eggs. $3.00. The chickens are in the coop and yard next to it. The farmer posts the dates he is “harvesting” the chickens if you want to order one up.
The European folks down the road make bread in their beautiful wood stove oven brought with them from Europe. They disliked our wheat so much, they now grow their own. We have so many places like this that the town has printed up a map. Plus I go down to the Lake Huron shore when the fishing boats come in for fresh perch and white fish. But alas, we now have a snitch line for people to report abusers of the “social distance” rules. Even taking pictures of the people and posting on line. I think they are going to make me wear a yellow arm band soon if I don’t smarten up. Everyone is a health inspector now I guess.
by Marco McClean
The whole nearly 15 years Memo of the Air was on KMFB (KMFB, R.I.P., Halloween of 2011) I ended the show by reading from my own dream journal and also sometimes other people dreams from a Usenet newsgroup called alt.dreams that I posted to every day. The dream journal section was the last half-an-hour or sometimes hour or more of the show before I put on Chandu the Magician or Boston Blackie or Suspense or X-1 or one of the others I collected. When that radio-station-flipper schmuck destroyed KMFB I found I didn't want to even write dream notes anymore to type up later. I just stopped. I had an idea that I would naturally start again when they'd schedule my show on KZYX, but you know how that went; that's never gonna happen. And through all of KNYO and KMEC up to now it still didn't feel like a thing to do. But I just got up today and felt like it. I don't know how I'll feel about doing it tomorrow, but here: My dreams from 2020/03/29 (they're mixed up together because of being recalled all at the end and not, the way I used to do, punctuated by writing a note every time I woke up during the sleep period):
There's a thin 20-something girl with curly blonde hair; she looks like Meg, Chris Diurni's girlfriend when he died, who was nanny to a neighborhood lady's little boy Ian when I lived in Caspar with Tim Givon, just before I met Juanita, so 1985/86. (Ian was three or four and used to get out and wander up and down the street by himself, and he'd just walk right into the house and stand there and watch Tim or me soldering or fixing something --if it was nice weather the doors were wide open all day whether anyone was there or not, though not at night, because of the Caspar Inn-- and Ian would chirp, "Whatchu doin' da? Whatchu doin' da?" over and over like a cuckoo clock until Meg eventually noticed he was missing and came and found him and said sorry and led him away. One time she came over, just taking a walk, I guess; she seemed high on something; she stood just inside the doorway for a long time, and I almost said, "Whatchu doin' da?" but I said, "Never eat anything bigger than your head," and some more time passed, and the nickel dropped, or she heard something outside; she made a startled face and left.)
In the dream the Meg-person is maybe 18 or 20, she lives in a 1950s-modern house on a hill on the edge of like a national park of Sierra Nevada foothills. One day she goes out, leaves her older brother and parents (they're off somewhere; they'll discover later she's gone), no note, and she walks away from living there.
There's the sense of: a lifetime of things happen to her, to her family, many years pass. Ageless Meg, or perhaps her mother or daughter in another chapter of the story, is at a sprawling western-style college, pretending to be a regular student there, going to classes and things, hiding in the landscape or someplace inside to sleep, showering in the gym, using the library, making use of materials she needs. (This is a way a lot of young people in real life used to be able to live. I knew a few and admired them. Good for her, or him, I would think. Because they were accomplishing as much as anybody else there but the janitors.)
I'm in a tent next to another tent where my dream-only military-situationally-aware strange girlfriend, who I never look directly at so I don't know who she is, is planning the next step of our survival in this vague depopulated post-apocalyptic dystopia, because she's the boss. We can't stay here anymore; the intact motel bungalows nearby have attracted a helicopter that saw and went away and somebody will come, so I get out of my sleeping bag, go to the other tent.
Leaving is protracted, goes slower and slower without taking any more time. (This place feels like a years-ago dream of the iDEATH community in Richard Brautigan's In Watermelon Sugar but out where the Whale School used to be, and also like the Point Cabrillo cabins where Bill Kovanda lived when I'd go there to pick up the floppy disk of poetry to print it all out and cut it up and stick it in the paper.)
Meg, meanwhile, has been at the now somewhat more wildernessy but vastly larger college for long enough to be found out and ejected but also long enough to become familiar to see around as that weird art girl so it balances out. Two boys razz her about her art, whatever it is, and she says something about come see my movie to shut them up. (Oh, she makes movies. Come see it where?) They say, "When?" She points to the wilderness-office-building-like dormitories, says, "Tonight."
Now she has to deliver on this, make a movie or do something spectacular, project colored fog into the sky, play ghostly music and dance with veils on sticks, something.
I'm Meg's theater-tech friend. We go into a theater complex building/soundstage maze, evade the normal fraudish school noise of a drama professor directing some pointless activity, find a room of stored props, and the best thing available in all the mess is a corroded vacuum-tube amplifier chassis out of an old jukebox, and there are hundreds of spare tubes of all different sizes, capacitors, bags of resistors (Herb Jaeger's stash from where he lived in the old Albion School north of the river). Get all this. I'm hoping/knowing that the other friend (?), elsewhere, is stealing a klieg light. Default level of confidence: This is gonna work; just go forward.
I'm who I am, Marco, here. Meg and I sneak the amplifier and boxes of electrical crap in a garden cart to a rough bench in another room, in plain sight of the big corridor where people are going by all the time. My attitude: We belong here, busy here. Again: This is gonna work.
Soldering iron. Tools?
Before or after or during the college-life adventure Meg goes back to her family's house from the wilderness side of it, the back, which here is uphill from the house, so not the same house as before, to get something she left outside the garage end of it that she needs (?). Her older brother is doing yardwork or fixing something, going in and out of a garage on the other end. Lots of garages in that house. She/I doesn't/don't want him to see her/me and slow things down with, you know: Where have you been all this time? Mom and Dad were worried sick! and so on. Mom and Dad, whoever they are, are clearly not home. There will be real food in the fridge. Sliced ham, for instance, and other wonderful things. I take over for Meg and sneak like a pro, but it's no good; Biff-brother looks up, sees me, and as we approach each other I'm composing my lie to not get bogged down here, something like, "I need to go in and get my notebooks." Or start with, "I did leave a note; didn't you see it? Can you quick go to town and get (what? something) for the celebration (of my return)?" Just get him out of here and get the ham. Oh, make an iceberg lettuce salad and put ham in it.
That is so good.
He speaks first, "You didn't even leave a note! Where did you go? (and blah blah blah)" I say, "There's no time to explain. I need you to go to town and get something for me." I do the thing where you spin a kind of roulette wheel in your head for the right word, for what to tell him to get. Two-by-fours? Sodium?
Airplane noise, pet bird noise, I'm awake feeling oddly well rested for not enough sleep. Piss. Wash hands. Feed the bird. Make tea. Put off starting work. Read email. Worry about the rat traps I set inside when I left Albion two weeks ago thinking I was coming right back. I wish I could get my mail from Mendocino, 100 miles away; there'll be checks in the box by now.
This is not so bad. Yet. And there is actually iceberg lettuce and onions and a pound of sliced ham in the fridge here, and there's oil and vinegar and garlic and cayenne pepper. But the ham is in the back of the freezer. Taking it out now, for tomorrow. Thanks, memory Meg, for reminding me.
DON'T RELAX TOO SOON HISTORY TELL US
How Does A Community Flatten The Curve — And Keep It Flat?
Monday, March 30, 2020
By Debra Adams Simmons, National Geographic, History Executive Editor
If history is an indicator, we are in this for the long haul. In spite of our most fervent wishes to get outside and enjoy the rites of spring—college graduations, Mother’s Day, youth sports—life is unlikely to return to normal anytime soon. The great influenza of 1918, considered the deadliest pandemic in modern history, offers a social distancing roadmap for tackling today’s COVID-19.
After Philadelphia detected its first case of flu in September 1918, leaders warned people about openly coughing and sneezing, but ten days later the city hosted a parade attended by 200,000 people. The number of influenza cases continued to mount, and two weeks after the first case there were 20,000 more. Several cities (St. Louis's Red Cross motor poll is shown above) responded quickly and decisively—and had a strikingly lower initial death rate.
As the world grinds to a halt in response to the coronavirus, scientists and historians are studying the 1918 outbreak, which killed 675,000 Americans and from 50 million to 100 million people worldwide, for clues to the most effective way to stop the pandemic.
St. Louis strictly communicated and enforced social distancing, giving it one of America’s lowest urban death rates when the outbreak, known as the great influenza, swept the nation (and the world). Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and Columbus, Ohio, did the same thing—and had lower death rates the first few months.
But that’s not the takeaway—because St. Louis relaxed. It declared victory too soon.
The lesson from history—don’t cave to a restless, pent-up, impatient populace; it could be fatal. Even as the beauty of spring comes into bloom, keep your distance!
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
 Anyway. Beautiful early spring day out west here yesterday. Highs near 60, crystal clear blue skies, and nary a CV case in sight. Talked to the lady down the street who works records up at the hospital. ZERO cases reported thus far, with life proceeding in pretty much a normal fashion, other than the mandatory business closures. As an added bonus, I get to skip an upcoming totally unnecessary doctor’s appointment so that we don’t unnecessarily overburden the local medical system, which is currently showing no signs whatsoever of being unburdened. Another plus. The local hiking, running, golfing, and biking communities are having a field day with their time “at home,” evidently interpreting the rules of work from home quite liberally in their favor. A paid spring every day exercise break – what’s not to love? The fact that we don’t live in NYC or Seattle I guess. Not that I would ever consider that in my worst nightmares, even under normal conditions.
 Imagine being an insurer when a truly earth-shaking disaster hits, and you’re on the hook for all of it. Shouldn’t you be afraid of going out of business from all that liability? Now imagine being an insurer where there is simply no downward pressure on premiums, because people are infinitely motivated to pay through the nose No. Matter. What. Medical insurance in the USA needs to be abolished. Demand Medicare for All.
 If you take the expected events out of insurance, and make it true insurance, the price drops drastically, because most people don’t have major medical events requiring prolonged hospital stays and surgery.
I kept trying to explain this aspect of Obamacare to a young woman who thought she “needed” insurance. They put that “access to health care” slogan out there in the MSM and it amazed me how many people bought it.
Everyone knows that insurance companies hinder “access to health care.”
This woman had asthma. I asked her how much she spent in a typical year, for treatment of that “pre-existing condition.” Generally she spent nothing, but the amount she spent for “access” even with a subsidy, was always more than a doctor visit cost.
Then there was the specter of hospitalization. The insurance available on the bronze plan was lousy insurance.
So she spent more per month, to get “better” insurance, and still faced co-pays and an increased deductible.’
All this does is allows hospitals to charge more money for their services.
If they could only charge what people could afford to pay, they would go out of business.
People don’t understand that for the most part, they are self-insured.