- Marine Layer
- Revised SIP
- Smartphone Zombies
- Philo Rollover
- Goodnight Irene
- Elder Abuse
- Go Gentle
- Sacto Suckers
- Budget Shortfall
- Crush Demise
- Social Distancing
- Baseball Chatter
- Charity Game
- Outdated Food
- Sideways Motion
- Ed Notes
- Yesterday's Catch
- Danger Joint
- Gas Masks
- Twilight Zone
- Favorite Hobbies
- Extinction Candidates
- Candy Thing
- Sucked Nuts
- Pete's Square
- Extra Action
- True Fall
- Medical Gut
- Strange Times
- Sniffy Joe
- Grocery Orders
- Big Data
- Found Object
TEMPERATURES IN THE INTERIOR are expected to warm up slightly this weekend as a deep marine layer gradually diminishes. Marine air and onshore breezes will keep coastal areas much cooler. (NWS)
MENDOCINO COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER ISSUES REVISED SHELTER-IN-PLACE ORDER; Now allows limited park access by foot traffic.
Post Date: 04/10/2020 11:43 AM
On March 18, 2020, Dr. Noemi Doohan, Mendocino County’s Public Health Officer issued the first Sheltering in Place (SIP) order in alignment with the six big Counties of the San Francisco Bay Area who released their orders together 2 days earlier. The end date for this first Mendocino County SIP order, requiring all residents to stay home except for essential needs was April 7, 2020.
On March 24, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom released California’s Sheltering in Place Order which had an open-ended date and more restrictions than Mendocino County’s original SIP. County SIP orders can be more restrictive, not less restrictive, than the Governor’s order. On March 24, 2020, Dr. Doohan issued a new SIP order reflecting the increased restrictions mandated by the State and the open-ended date in the Governors order.
Today, April 10, 2020, the County Health Officer Dr Doohan issued a third revised SIP order that goes into effect at 10:00 p.m. today and will be in place until May 10, 2020. The major changes to the Order include new directives on essential activities including outdoor recreation, funerals, essential businesses, social distancing protocols for businesses and organizations, and live-streaming events. The order is enforceable by imprisonment and/or fine thus we urge all residents to closely read the order and follow it. The Order is available for review on the County website.
On April 3, 2020, Dr. Doohan released a guidance on facial coverings for the Public and Social Distancing Protocols for Businesses. The guidance documents work to strengthen the protective force of the SIP order. The new SIP order builds on these two prior guidance documents in the following ways, by example:
• Wearing facial coverings in public is strongly encouraged and made mandatory in certain instances such as during recreation in parks.
• The new SIP Order now requires Essential Businesses to create and post social distancing protocols.
All of the Health Officer’s COVID-19 SIP Orders are issued to ensure that the maximum number of people shelter in their places of residence to the maximum extent possible, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Order directs all residents to remain at their place of residence, except to conduct Essential Activities, Essential Business, and Essential Government Functions (defined in the Order).
This Public Health Order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most basic and essential needs, and prohibits transient lodging for non-essential purposes. To the extent that individuals must use shared or outdoor spaces, all must maintain social distancing of at least six feet between themselves and others while outside their residence and wear facial coverings to the extent possible. Our goal is to protect the public’s health by minimizing the devastating impact of this pandemic.
“While this new SIP order in no way means we are weakening our resolve as a County to Shelter-In-Place,” said County Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan, “We do hope they will help make Sheltering-In-Place a bit more bearable by specifying an end date of May 10 and allowing some slight expansion of allowed activities. If our County is to survive this pandemic, it is critical that we all work together to continue to keep ourselves physically distanced from others to the extent possible. The end date of this SIP is not the end of the hardship ahead. All SIP orders are meant to be accompanied by limited reopening that occurs alongside expanded testing, increased health care surge capacity, isolation of cases and quarantine of their contacts in appropriate housing, and appropriate personal protective equipment for first responders and health care workers. Every day we SIP now and maintain physical distancing and wear facial coverings in public is a day we help contain this deadly disease and give us more time to prepare for the pandemic to hit us with full force. ”
Essential Activities (exemptions to the Shelter-In-Place Order) include:
• Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, such as obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor;
• Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, such as getting food and supplies, pet food, and getting supplies necessary for staying at home;
• Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking or running provided that you maintain at least six feet of social distancing and be we within walking/biking distance from home (please note additional clarification is include in the order);
• Performing work providing essential services at an Essential Business or Essential Government function (defined below);
• Caring for a family member in another household;
• To attend a funeral with no more than 10 individuals (including staff) present, and at which members of different households or living units maintain social distancing from each other;
• Caring for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons;
• To move residences, but only if it is not possible to defer an already planned move, if the move is necessitated by safety, sanitation, or habitability reasons, or if the move is necessary to preserve access to shelter.
The business community is advised to refer to Section 9 of the Order attached for the clarifications regarding essential business.
Violations of this Order are considered a threat to our county’s health, and adherence is enforceable by law. The Health Officer will continue to evaluate this rapidly evolving situation, and may modify this Order if needed.
• Keep a distance of at least six feet away from others
• Don’t shake hands
• Wash your hands thoroughly and often
• Don’t touch your face with un-washed hands
• Cover coughs and sneezes (into your elbow and away from others, not hands)
• Regularly clean high-traffic surfaces
• If you are sick stay home unless you need to seek medical care in which case you should call ahead
Attachments: Mendocino County Health Officer Order 4.10.20
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.
FORT BRAGG COUNCILMAN LINDY PETERS ADDS:
Regarding County update April 10 on Possible Park Openings: The City of Fort Bragg will not be opening up the Coastal Trails for Easter Weekend. Please don’t drive here expecting them to be open. This is in the best interest of our community’s health. Look for a press release soon. Things may change, however no changes in our policies will occur until the full Council convenes on Monday night. — Councilman Lindy Peters
STATE PARKS REGIONAL DIRECTOR LOREN REX ADDS:
All State Parks and Beaches in Mendocino and Sonoma County remain closed.
State Parks has developed a one-stop resource center – http://www.parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve — to find park safety and closure information, and messaging and graphics from the “Flatten the COVID-19 Curve at Parks” social media awareness campaign. Please check this webpage regularly, as it will be updated with new information as it becomes available.
CHP PRESSER, April 9, 2020.
On Thursday, April 9, 2020, at approxiamtely 4:15pm Nicholas Rhoades, 27, of Boonville was driving a 1995 Toyota pickup eastbound on Highway 128 approahcing 5700 Highway 128. Rhoades was traveling at a speed unsafe for the roadway in this location and his vehicle went off the roadway and collided with a tree. Rhoades was not wearing his seatbelt and was fully ejected from the vehicle during the collision. Rhoades was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial for treatment of his moderate injuries. Alcohol was determined to be a factor in the collision. Rhoades was released from police custody to receive immediate medical attention. This incident remains under investigation.
AV FIRE CHIEF ANDRES AVILA ADDS:
We responded to a traffic collision near Navarro Vineyards in Philo for a single vehicle rollover with extrication. The first-in fire unit arrived to find a Toyota Pickup truck rolled over on its roof with the driver ejected from the vehicle. The patient was a local man. Fire and EMS personnel immediately transported him to a helicopter landing zone across from Gowan's Fruit Stand and he was sent to Santa Rosa Memorial for trauma injuries.
I asked your mother for you
She told me that you was too young
I wish dear Lord that I'd never seen your face
I'm sorry you ever were born
Irene good night
Irene good night
Good night Irene, good night Irene
I guess you're in my dreams
Sometimes I live in the country
Sometimes I live in town
Sometimes I haves a great notion
Jumping in, into the river and drown
Stop ramblin' and stop gamblin'
Quit staying out late at night
Go home to your wife and family
Stay there by the fireside bright
I love Irene, God knows I do
I love her 'til the sea runs dry
If Irene turns her back on me
I'm gonna take morphine and die
— Huddie 'Lead Belly' Ledbetter (1888-1949)
DO NOT GO GENTLE…
On April 9, 2020, at approximately 6:35 p.m., Fort Bragg Police officers were dispatched to the apartment complex at 400 South Street for the report of a medical alert activation reporting a possible domestic violence altercation between a husband and wife.
Due to the report of an active domestic violence incident, Officers responded to the scene within a few minutes. Once on scene, Officers interviewed both parties and determined that the 81-year old female, Irene Scott of Fort Bragg, assaulted her 89-year old husband, causing an open wound on his hand.
The female suspect was placed under arrest and transported to County Jail on charges of Domestic Violence and Elder Abuse. The victim was transported via ambulance to the Mendocino Coast District Hospital Emergency Room for treatment of his injuries. He was held overnight and transferred to the care of Adult Protective Services the following morning.
Anyone with any information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Sergeant O’Neal at (707) 961-2800 ext. 167 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Fort Bragg Police Presser)
DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
— Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)
THE SACRAMENTO SUCKERS at my place today!
STEPHEN ROSENTHAL WRITES:
Re the budget shortfall: Here’s an idea. Start by cutting the salaries of the Supervisors and County Department Heads (including and especially Angelo) by 35%. Then cut the handouts to the “non-profit” helping agencies that can’t account for their expenditures in a formalized line-item budget by 50%. That should save at least a few million dollars. Won’t happen though. They’ll go after the slaves again.
(VIA MSP) SAY GOODBYE - CRUSH ITALIAN RESTAURANT CLOSES IN UKIAH AFTER LAWSUIT
MSP received a message from a viewer Friday morning saying, "Looks like Crush took down their Facebook page. Basically, they filed for bankruptcy as it seems they lost a lawsuit back in November. From what I could see, some employees sued them and won. So they are closing the restaurant. The postings got ugly, so I'm sure that is why they took down the page."
MSP managed to get a screengrab of the letter posted - then taken down, the person who posted the letter on their personal page wrote:
"This restaurant was more than just a job, we are a family. I have never felt so strongly about a company. 2 years ago I was brand new to Ukiah but when I walked into Crush Italian Steakhouse I was welcomed with open arms and have never felt more accepted in my life. Every single one of you have impacted me in someway or another and for that I am ever grateful. It has been an absolute pleasure to work at Crush. I will miss the amazing energy and the family-like community that made us who we were. It’s upsetting to know that there will be one less place in Ukiah to come together and I know it will be missed by many. Thank you for the unforgettable opportunity and letting be apart of such an unbeatable team."
HOW TO SOCIAL DISTANCE
IF THE MLB SEASON DOESN'T HAPPEN IN 2020, IT WON'T BE FOR LACK OF TRYING.
Major League Baseball and the player's union has reportedly been discussing a wild scenario for restarting the season in May, that would see all 30 teams play their games in Arizona and require the players and coaches to live in relative isolation. The plan is still in its infancy, and would hinge on having access to sufficient coronavirus testing.
Even if all that is worked out, the next question becomes: Are the players open to it? According to Larry Baer who joined Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks, the answer is yes:
"The feedback we're getting, I think Farhan [Zaidi is] getting, that Scott Harris is getting, is that the players want to play," the Giants CEO said. "'Give us the ground rules, we'll work on it, we'll talk to you about it.' I think we're getting overwhelming feeling -- it's great because it's aligned with the owners."
Giants broadcaster Jon Miller hopped on with Papa & Lund and brought up another wrinkle that will have to be figured out, since there might still be rules prohibiting 50 people from gathering in one place:
“How would you do that because you have 25 players — or now it’s 26 players — on each team, so you’re already over 50 plus the coaches, the manager and what not. This is one idea that I’ve heard through the grapevine … you would have your 40-man roster every day. The 40-man roster that you can use in September or have been able to in the past. But you would only be able to activate 16 players on a given day.”
Until all of this is figured out, keep it locked onto KNBR 104.5 FM / 680 AM as we try and hold you over until whenever baseball season starts. This weekend we are turning the clock back to 2014. On both Saturday and Sunday we'll be running the NL Wild Card win vs. the Pirates (9 AM - Noon), NLCS Game 5 vs. the Cardinals (Noon - 3 PM), World Series Game 7 vs KC (3 PM - 6 PM) with Marty Lurie closing things out from 6 PM - 8 PM.
As always you can stream live on KNBR.com.
MARIN BASEBALL, 1952
WHEN DONATIONS ARE NOT DONATIONS
With so many vacation home owners in the community now, choosing to stay home at their getaway home, donations made to the Gualala Food Bank should be fresh, edible items, not old, outdated items from the pantry. Please do not “donate” old, outdated pantry items; throw them out. You don’t feed outdated food to you children, so why should we?
Thanks for your generosity during these challenging-more-than-usual times.
The Sea Ranch
BY APRIL 5th, 31 percent of apartment households nationwide had not made any rental payments, according to data released by the National Multifamily Housing Council.
A BAY AREA READER WRITES: "I noted in ALL the grocery stores around here that NOBODY has a single bag of flour. Even went to several online sites to order some — no dice. Strange. Why flour? I doubt the mainstream fast-food generation all turned into bread makers overnight. I spoke with Zach Schat in Ukiah and he told me that if anyone locally really needs flour he'll sell them some as long as he has it but he isn't having any problems getting flour from his Dawn Foods supplier in Union City, one of his two suppliers. He theorized that the major sellers - General Mills, Cargill, Kellogg, may be buying up the smaller supplies. I called, in rough order, Dawn, General Mills, and Ardent, and not one gave me a call back. Even called 7 on Your Side, which also did not call me back. I smell a rat but don't have nearly enough information to even speculate about the whys of it. Haven't figured a way in and may not in today's corporate climate."
MENDOCINO COUNTY is strewn with abandoned towns, most of them so completely disappeared you wouldn't know they had been there if it weren't for old maps and some old timer accounts of life in them. My late friend Vivian Weatherhead, a retired math teacher and resident of Airport Estates, in the years before her passing, grew up in Mina, a once-thriving community north of Covelo on what is now called the Mina Road. Mina was complete in itself with a store, a school, a church, a meeting house. People were pretty self-contained, too, eking out their livings on their ranches.
HERE IN THE ANDERSON VALLEY, we have Peachland and Hop Flat, to name two communities that once were large enough to have their own schools. Hop Flat not only had a school but a hotel and an early telephone exchange. It was locally renowned for its weekend “hops” or dances and its general joie de vivre, hence Hop Flat.
COMPTCHE historian Katy Tahja writes, “According to my Western Railroader magazine, the old rail line at the Navarro end of the Anderson Valley, did go to the Navarro Mill but it was via Sunny Slope, Keene Summit, down Flynn Creek Road, then east… up Neefus Gulch where the Boy Scout camp was… to Navarro, Wendling, and just beyond Floodgate to Christine (Reilly Heights). Between Wendling and Floodgate it crossed the Navarro River and went up Perry Gulch. All of this was after Albion Lumber was gobbled up by Northwestern Pacific RR which melded together Albion, Stearns, Mendocino, Salmon Creek, Navarro and Elk lumber companies. Navarro Lumber Co. Railroad DID stop at Hop Flat, at the end of the line.”
MRS. TAHJA describes the logging railroad as it approached Navarro from the west. In addition to hauling logs and lumber, day trippers could ride it to Albion and back to the Navarro end of the Anderson Valley.
BUT WHERE EXACTLY was Hop Flat? We know it was logging and mill-based, and we know it was located between the town of Navarro and the Pacific.
GENTLEMAN GEORGE HOLLISTER, of Comptche, locates the town for us; other locals remember when former residents of Hop Flat had a kind of alumni association that held regular reunions.
HOLLISTER WRITES: “Tim O'Brien [retired Mendocino County Superior Court Judge] told me it was either at the 4.5 mile marker or the 5.4 mile marker. My son might remember what Tim said, he heard him say it and has a better memory. It was on both sides of the river. Jim Gowan told me his father delivered produce there. And I think he told me he tagged along when he was a kid as well. I have been curious about the place for a while.”
SWEDEN'S daily death toll and its number of new coronavirus cases both fell Thursday as the country continues to hold out against imposing a lockdown. The 77 new deaths - down from 106 Wednesday - bringing the total from 793 to 870, according to figures from Sweden's public health agency. This "success" without a mandatory lockdown is already being cited by all the wrong people as evidence that the U.S. should re-open for business. Sweden has a total confirmed cases of 9,685.
NATE COLLINS: "Re NPR. Holy cow I heard the absolute crowning jewel of phony bullshit. They had David Brooks and EJ Dionne on talking about coming together getting past the blue/red divide and David Brooks starts crying to EJ Dnione, well really to the massive audience, and saying how much he loves him. I have never heard anything as sappy syrupy fake phony farce in my entire Life."
I'M HAPPY not to be alone in my opinion of National Government Radio. It's really just one long insult every hour it's on. Used to be even here in this retro county with its wholly undeserved rep as some kind of "progressive" bastion, that KMFB, Mendo-Fort Bragg, offered a morning talk show featuring as hosts the incomparable Ed Kowas and his faithful sidekick, Lindy Peters. And KUKI in Ukiah also featured talk on local matters, the only matters that most of us who live here care about. Now it's all canned stuff of the NPR type and the tamest, locally-generated talk imaginable. So local radio is merely one more distraction added to the daily deluge of on-line chatter.
LESS than a month into the crisis and…six thousand families lined up in their cars for hours at Traders Plaza in San Antonio for a food distribution event on Thursday. The San Antonio Food Bank said it distributed one million pounds of food over the course of the day - including fresh fruit, vegetables and other non-perishable goods that have become hard to find in traditional stores as panic-buying leaves shelves empty. 'The need is that great,' San Antonio Food Bank President and CEO Eric Cooper said of the huge turnout. 'We are moving through food so fast, this is our second big distribution this week, but there are hundreds of distributions that are going on all the time.'
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 10, 2020
KENNETH DEWITT JR., Ukiah. Parole violation.
JEREMIAH RAPP, Ukiah. Felon with stun gun, parole violation.
IRENE SCOTT, Fort Bragg. Elder abuse, domestic abuse.
THIS TOO SHALL PASS: TALES OF 19, CANNABIS & RUMI
by Jonah Raskin
Would the AVA's resident expert on the media, Flynn Washburne, regard this story as newsworthy? Probably not! After all, it’s not about his backyard and not about anyone he knows. Chances are, you don’t know the person at the heart of this story, either and don’t really care that she has been coughing and sneezing lately. No, Heather Despres, 41, doesn’t have COVID-19, hereafter referred to as just 19. Rather just ordinary allergies that hit her hard every year when heaps of pollen is in the air. Still, 19 has altered Despres’ life. No more flying around the country and no more visiting and checking up on cannabis dispensaries, cannabis farms and manufacturing centers.
Like millions of other Californians, Despres works online from the relative safety of her home in Santa Rosa, where she lives with her wife, a social worker who has been allowed, by the county, to go to her office and do whatever social workers do. Despres has also been at home schooling a nine-year-old. She has her hands full and a lot on her plate. She’s also as cool, calm and collected as can be expected with body counts rising and too much sneezing and coughing around town.
Despres is the Director of Patient Focused Certification at Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the largest cannabis organization in the country, with thousands of members, including doctors and scientists coast-to-coast. Call her a “good cop,” though she wouldn’t use that phrase. Her job is to monitor every aspect of the cannabis industry, from seed to shelf. Hey, someone’s got to make sure that dispensary workers are savvy about the hazards that can be associated with smoking pot. ASA also provides top-notch training and reliable certification. As a third party independent, Despres' word can be trusted.
The cannabis industry as a whole, she tells me, hasn’t always done what it claims it’s doing. She wants it to reform its ways, before the government cracks down and closes businesses. She’s on the side of patients who need cannabis for a variety of medical conditions. Right now it’s essential that people not spread the virus by sharing joints, pipes, bongs, roaches and the like. It’s not as easy as it may sound. Some heads, stoners and medical marijuana patients have been smoking joints for decades. Old habits do die-hard. Despres says, “In regular flu season, people shouldn't share joints. The same holds true now, only more so because 19 is so contagious.”
The drug culture, as it has been called, urged pot aficionados not to “Bogart that joint,” a phrase made popular originally by the rock ‘n’ roll band, Fraternity of Man, and by the movie, Easy Rider with Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson. It’s still a catchy tune, though everyone who wants to avoid 19 might try cannabis edibles, salves and ointments, which are safer than joints.
I recently switched to gummies, which can take a couple of hours to kick in. The experience is pleasant. What’s not so pleasant is buying them at a dispensary: about $20 for 10 gummies. I purchase the kind that contains both THC and CBD. The gummies don’t always work. It’s hit or miss and unpredictable, too. Despres calls CBD “an amazing compound.” She also believes that some proponents of CBD have disseminated misleading information about its wonder working powers. “We don't want false information out there,” she says.
The Project CBD website recently published an article titled “CBD as a steroid sparing treatment” that called the compound “an unexpected contender for a novel steroid sparing treatment of the future.” One had to read to the end to learn that CDB is not “a proven and safe alternative to steroids.” Despres’ vigilance is essential.
A native of New Hampshire who moved to California about 18 months ago, she has a Masters in Chemistry and experience working in a nursing home. She also ran cannabis-testing labs. She’s totally suited for her job, which is to protest patients, who often find themselves on the shitty end of the stick these days.
That’s because California has in large part turned its back on medical marijuana and opted for capitalist marijuana with taxes, regulations and a bloated state bureaucracy and Lori Ajax, the czar at the top of the agency, who came over from the world of alcohol and knew little about cannabis. Two steps forward and one-step back. The good part is that most folks don’t go to jail anymore.
Despres urges cannabis patients to work with their own medical doctors, though she allows that many doctors are poorly educated about cannabis. Then, too, she says, many users don’t disclose their cannabis habit. It’s still taboo in many circles.
In the present crisis she feels that masks are essentials for doctors, nurses and health professionals. Indeed, they can help contain the spread of the virus. “Homemade masks give people peace of mind,” Despres says. “But if you're not sick they won’t provide total protection.” She gives the State of California pretty high marks in the campaign against the virus. “Shelter in place slowed down the spread,” she says. “19 has not moved as quickly here as it has other places because California acted quickly.”
After a conversation by phone, we found we agreed about a great deal, including the slogan often heard these days that makes more sense to me than any other. Maybe you’ve also heard it: “This too shall pass.” It's attributed to the Persian Sufi poet, Rumi, whose verses are helping the anxious, the fearful, the sick and the families in which a parent or grandparent, a child or a friend has died as a result of 19. Rumi wrote his verses more than 700 years ago. Maybe, by Flynn Washburn’s standards, that’s too long ago to be considered news, but I always went along with Ezra Pound who said, “Poetry is news that stays news,” and “make it new” which applies to poets and reporters alike.
RISINGS & FALLINGS
by James Kunstler
In the corkscrewing anguish of the social sequester, with careers, savings, futures, and dreams whirling down the drain, voices rise above the din of conflicting statistics to ask: what is going on here? To some, it looks like a deliberate attempt to demolish what’s left of the economy for political advantage. Clouds of suspicion gather over the two medical superstars of the Daily Briefing show, Doctors Fauci and Birx, as they somewhat sheepishly revise their numbers for contagion and death downward and attempt to “balance” the formula of modeled projections versus mitigation efforts. Was the stay-at-home panic necessary, after all? Will it save the day or kill off modern life as we knew it?
Well, everyplace else in the world was shutting down, weren’t they? Did they all go off their rockers, too? At least a hundred doctors died in Italy heroically tending the stricken, so they say. South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore opted for flat-out medical Gestapo action. Britain, Spain, France, and Germany about the same, but minus testing at the grand scale and tracing of contacts. Honestly, how is it possible the whole planet punked itself?
I certainly don’t know the answer to all this, though readers are twanging on me to declare the whole Covid-19 story “a hoax,” which I’m not ready to do. I do know this: America has become utterly intolerant of uncertainty. And in the absence of certainty, that age-old human cognitive skill called pattern recognition, which has made us such a successful species, kicks into high gear scanning the field-of-view for answers. Any string-of-dots that affords even the slimmest plausibility goes on the table for review, including a lot of stories tagged as “conspiracy theories.”
I know this, too: the financial side of the gasping global economy was running off the rails well before Covid-19 flew out of its bat-cave into somebody’s soup bowl… or out of China’s Wuhan virus lab, if that’s how you like it… or before it seeped out of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s ark of world-saving secrets. In the USA and Europe, finance had come to mostly eclipse every other human endeavor of wealth production – with the catch that finance actually didn’t produce any real wealth, it only winkled and swindled wealth (or the mere ghosts of wealth) with its asset-stripping magic, from the places where wealth once did truly dwell. Or else it ginned up abstruse rackets that attempted to replace the utility of money with sheer math. Or, when all else failed, it just resorted to plain old accounting fraud… until, finally, there was so much there not actually there, that the whole holographic fantasy flickered out.
The pre-Easter bear market rally on Wall Street has been a wonder, don’t you think? As the numbers of able-bodied people out-of-work rocketed up past ten million during the same period, the stock indexes shot up three, five, six percent a day? Say, what? You’re telling me that’s based on the prospect of magnificent earnings in the third quarter? With every business on God’s green earth writhing in the dust like squashed bugs? And every supply line for basic goods and the gazillion spare parts for everything… all choked off?
And meanwhile, the American public sequesters and festers, waiting for those $1,200 checks that will fix… everything! Let’s face it: this is a twilight zone between stupor and fury. Nobody is paying anything to anyone. All obligations are suspended: salaries, rents, mortgages, bills, loans, bets, and vigs, all up in the air somewhere, but definitely not moving to their assigned destinations. The velocity of money is zero and all the various new term facilities and structured vehicles conjured by the Federal Reserve and Congress amount to a mere shadow of money moving – even though they are represented by trillions of brand-new alleged dollars. For every ten points that the Standard & Poor’s rose this week, somewhere down the line as many hedge funders will be dribbled like so many basketballs to the hoop of judgment.
The nation now has the long Easter weekend to stew and ruminate over its fate with spring achingly vivid and beckoning beyond the grim, streaked windows of sequestering. Those little cans of Easter Spam with pineapple rings won’t offer much consolation, combined with the abject discovery that even Netflix only has so many sequels to Frozen for children going catatonic with ennui. Kids are generally not so excited by stock and bond markets, but that’s probably where the genuine melodrama picks up on Monday. The weeks ahead there will give the phrase down-to-earth a whole new meaning.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
ENTERPRISES THAT SHOULDN’T SURVIVE COVID-19
- Private health insurance
- Private-equity-owned health care services & hospitals
- Factory farms
- Pay-day loans
- Cruise lines
- Private prisons
- Drug companies
- Spring break
- Republican Party
- Democratic Party
(Jeffrey St. Clair)
RUSS EMAL WRITES:
Many years ago my son Ryan and myself were sitting on the deck at Roger Hecht’s house. He was describing a carpentry job he was asked to look at and wanted me to join him. I had lived off the grid for many years and this job had to do with a 12v to 110v conversion. I had experience in this type of situation. Why I start this story at Roger’s place was due to what was happening as he told us about the job. I had my terrier dog with me and about every 5 min Patsie Cline, the dog, would bring us a recently captured and killed one foot long rat. Over our one hour visit Patsie brought us half a dozen rats. But the job he was describing to me was was at the house of recent Nobel Award winner Kary Mullis .
Kary invented PCR. Polymerase Chain Reaction is a method used widely in molecular biology to make millions to billions of copies of a specific DNA sample rapidly, allowing scientists to take a very small sample of DNA and amplify it to a large enough amount to study in detail. Mullis invented PCR in 1983. PCR is today being used to replicate Covid 19, the Corona virus. Kary was a real genius yet very quirky. Over the next two years in close contact with Kary, I found out how quirky he was.
Kary’s house was a mess. Weirdly, the one story house had several levels. Mullis liked sunken everything. The bedroom had a lower and upper level separated by about 5 feet. Several people noticed there were no rails. Thankfully the lower level was a bed. Falls happened several times. The entry to every room brought you either up or down several steps. One part of the job was to make every room one level. The walls were being sheet rocked but no wiring was in place. The wiring was all to be sized for a 12v system. I was able to change his mind and we brought in PGE and gave him a 110v system and new walls.
Kary had fun in interesting ways. He designed and built potato gun rifles and pistols. All of his neighbors knew of his interest in these guns and always knew when he was firing them. True they were loud. But that is not how they knew it was potato gun shooting time. Kary’s favorite target were their houses.
On the property was a rather large pond. And in it he had maybe one hundred koi-carp. They had been in the pond for many years and they were huge. Some must have been weighed twenty pounds. On the pond was a floating deck where we would sit and toss into the water dry cat food. The water would explode with hungry fish literally jumping out of the water. The color display was amazing.
Mullis, as the world’s most renowned scientist on the subject of PCR, was in great demand for his knowledge. That is why he became O. J. Simpson’s expert on the subject. Because of this he appeared in court many times and OJ’s lawyers visited his home several times. As I was at his place every day I always sat in on the conversation. Wendy, my wife, often came over when she knew one of these lawyers would be there. Mullis told these men that OJ could not be convicted based on PCR. The testing was done wrong and the results were invalid. In fact, it was Kary’s view that was used in Simpson’s defense in regards to PCR.
Not only were there fish in the pond, there was also a volcano. A Mullis man made volcano. Into the pond Mullis placed a 100’ long hose. It was connected to a propane tank. Many nights he would open the propane tank valve and lite the gas bubbling out of the water. The fire rose 50’ into the night sky. The neighbors preferred the volcano more than the potato guns.
One night Mullis had a poker game I attended. I play poker and have played at many friend's homes. As a rule people bring beer and/or some snacks to games. I brought a nice bottle of wine. But no one else came with any food. After a while I asked Mullis if he had any snacks in the house. All he had was a large box of chocolates. A box of chocolate macadamia nuts from Hawaii. While I love chocolate, I do not like macadamia nuts. So I just sucked the chocolate from the nuts and tossed the nut into a bowl.
After a time a few more people arrived to play. One fellow sat down next to me and spied the bowl I was using to deposit the nuts into. He said, "Macadamia nuts, I love them." And tossed a handful into his mouth. No one had the heart to tell him where they had been. No one said a word!
DEBRA KEIPP WRITES:
Miss all y'all immensely. Here's some funny video from years gone by: 2008 Point Arena Parade!
I've been busy cooking, gardening, painting and spending alot of time with my horse. It's a bad year for ticks! But, it's been a great mandatory vacation away from work. Something quite strange about having upstanding employment as a bodyworker for thirty years, to now being shut out of my job with the threat that the health department would arrest me for doing my job. So perverse. What a world, what a world… Speaking of perverse… I was sorting through old video from Point Arena days, and found this. Point Arena's 100th Birthday Party in 2008, and my farewell to Point Arena.
Along about 3:30 seconds into the above video, the flag girls are at the City Park where they were to perform with the band, but they forgot their pompoms, back at camp! Un-phased, they each reached to the ground, and grabbed a hunk of dried grass before stepping on stage, and used dried up old grass for their pompoms! The parade usually begins simultaneously with the parting of the clouds when the sun bursts through thick fog… about noon or 1 p.m.! Extra Action Marching Band was paid to perform throughout the entire weekend, which started on Friday night. I think I remember about 8 performances altogether. All weekend long they'd show up spontaneously at a business, like Bookends, and the flag girls would be dancing on the table tops as local Robert Harper, for instance, held onto the table to keep it from tipping over! The crowd would follow and congregate, New Orleans style; a progressive party walking around town.
It was the last year I'd own land in the Point Arena City limits; the meadow along Point Arena Creek on Mill Street. The Point Arena Burning Man folks wanted to have a special gathering during PA's 100th party, and I was delighted to hear Extra Action Marching Band was invited to perform several times/venues over the 3-4 day weekend. They were the perfect choice for Point Arena! I hosted them, camping on my meadow. Point Arena has a history as a theatrically active community, which over the last thirty years, has involved many infamous characters, from music, theater and dance, to comic book and Burning Man community. Many famous artists lived on the South Coast: Millard Sheets; Co-Founder of KPFA and poet, Richard Moore; Steve Oliff of Marvel, DC Comics and Anime fame; and Dan Brubeck, son of Dave, who convinced his dad to perform with his sons at the Arena Theatre, (before George Bush, Jr., got elected and Dan and his young family fled America to move to Canada…). Best $50 for a concert, I ever spent! Best seats, too.
Did the Fireworks Festival include the Bicycle Rodeo that year? Bicycle Rodeo was another performance art troupe worth seeing. Complete with a two-person peddled Ferris Wheel, and Merry Go Round where the kids do all the peddling while the adults ride along, peddle-less, and sip a cocktail! So civilized. The Bicycle Rodeo had a dog-roping cowgirl on a unicycle, and the jousting performers on two story bikes were significantly suspenseful when more than once, they lost control and veered off into the thick crowd of people standing in place to watch the event! If you have any pictures of these events, send me one! …or a few!!
By October of 2008, Extra Action Marching Band and the Flag Girls went on to encore David Byrne's tour. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJMstYz1yJE
Extra Action Marching Band is/was spontaneous, interactive, New Orleans-style swagger, with alot of horns, and the sleeziest, campiest flag girls you'd ever wanta witness! They got right in your face and make you part of the act. Flag Boys, too! Wearing their torn fish nets and ski masks…, and the girls, too!
The Yacht Tub folks also camped out on my meadow for a 4 day weekend. The Yacht Tub was a small motor boat re-purposed into a hot tub via propane heater and pulled behind a car like a regular boat. Bubbles were used during the parade to obscure the bare breasts of the women IN the Yacht Tub. Due to high winds, several tries were made at keeping the bubbles in place. But, alas, by the time the Deputy made the Yacht Tubbers put on their bathrobes, instead of congregating nude, at the end of the parade route, the Tubbers were pretty dried out by the use of all that Palmolive.
The Point Arena Parade is mostly a one-lane affair, even though Highway One through Point Arena is a two-lane highway, complete with stripes. During the 2008 Point Arena Parade, a red Vet or Mazerati was headed northbound when one of the Extra Action Flag Girls removed her flag from her holster and mounted that Mazerati right there in the parade route! She began undulating on the hood of car as her friend tried to climb in with the driver, butt first. This all takes place, 6:40 seconds into recording, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-s5qwIYxDw
What got me onto reviewing old footage of these guys? I was waiting for the crime rate to go up with all the unemployment. Got to wondering about the use of surgical face masks as a disguise of robbers, and looked it up on the internet, when I came upon the Extra Action Marching Band Flag Girls, who used black ski masks as part of their costumes, but were not robbers.
Sorry, bored at home. Getting alot done, though. Hope to see you all one day again.
As the Queen says, "We will meet again!".
I know old Liz has a good sense of humor, but that's not funny!
Good night! Sweet dreams!
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I sit through a number of Zoom conferences each week with the other mayors and county officials for “updates”. I don’t have the stomach to sit in on those hosted by Trenton or our state officials. Everyone thanks everyone for the oh so “useful” information on how much PPE is on the way. I am developing a severe disgust at even hearing that term anymore.
I have begun commenting on how our county, touted as being so “wealthy” is really more like being more credit worthy than wealthy, and that we had better have one heck of a recover this Fall if anyone expects anything that even faintly resembles normalcy to return. I get silence at my comments and have to tell them that I am done talking so they can ignore what I said and go back to reminding themselves how they are there to help and all we have to do is ask. Of course the checks aren’t in the mail and the hours spent waiting on the phone for Social Security to report a death or the banks to report the fraud cases helps kill the time. Or try getting through to unemployment much less actually securing any checks from them. I am told that their computer system is 40 years old and not very functional. Have computers even been around for that long? I can’t recall, all I know is that everyone that I know including me has machines that are new or only a couple of years old. Personally, I think we are screwed. Wait until Fall, if we make it that long. Funny that they call it Fall, isn’t it?
LETTER FROM AMERICA #3: COVID-19 Strikes Home
by Lawrence Reichard
Friday, April 10, 2020: The news came yesterday. For a couple of days I thought we might escape the worst of COVID-19 here in my small midcoast Maine town of Belfast, population 6,700. We started social distancing before our county, Waldo County, had a single confirmed case.
But then all that changed. Tall Pines senior housing suddenly reported 13 cases. In an instant Belfast went from zero cases to almost double the U.S. per-capita number. Then Tall Pines reported one death. Then another. My mother is in senior housing, a big brick building full of seniors, one mile, less than two kilometers, from Tall Pines. COVID-19 had finally struck home.
I spent much of yesterday working on federal COVID-19 grants for Native American health centers. My brother has for years written Indian Health Service grants for tribes, principally the Kalispel Tribe of northeastern Washington state. Now he’s swamped with tribes applying for federal COVID-19 Indian funds, $8 billion for general use and $1.3 billion for healthcare. My brother writes and I edit.
My brother is swamped with conference calls - some run three hours. I cover some of them, listening and taking notes. I had to leave one call because I wasn’t a tribal leader. And yesterday I drew the short straw – my brother got the interesting, if bleak, call.
My call featured a cameo by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who perkily welcomed and thanked everyone on the call for their work. He sounded competent, a rarity in the current administration, and he sounded like an administration cheerleader - everything sounded gleefully fine and under control. Not so rare.
But my brother’s call drew a bleak, harrowing picture of res life right now. In recent years tribes have come to rely on casino revenue. In the blink of an eye, that’s gone. Completely. Other tribes rely on energy, and oil prices have plummeted. Tribes are now selling oil for less than production cost, but they have to keep pumping or wells may become inoperable.
Around the country, tribal income has collapsed. Food insecurity, the new term for hunger, is stalking Indian country, the poorest place in America. Indians often live entire extended families cramped into small homes, sometimes only two bedrooms. Social distancing is impossible. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.
As Bernie Sanders said recently, we are all as vulnerable as the most vulnerable among us. We may be too late to heed those words.
Disaster capitalism also stalks the land. Five-hundred billion dollars for corporate bailouts. That’s $1,530 for every man, woman and child. It’s 30 times the cost of TANF, the basic federal welfare program. And it’s all borrowed money. The federal debt service – just interest - is $479 billion. That’s 10.1 percent of the pre-pandemic federal budget, up 16 percent from 2019. And it’s 29 times the 2020 TANF outlays. The debt is literally taking food from babies’ mouths. Now it will take more.
And disaster capitalism stalks Belfast. Fifty days after the first U.S. coronavirus diagnosis and one day before the W.H.O. declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, Nordic Aquafarms, a Norwegian company, asked the Maine Board of Environmental Protection to rush judgment on its application to build a massive land-based fish farm in Belfast that would daily spew 1,600 pounds of nitrogen and 100 pounds of phosphorous into Belfast Bay, use 630 million gallons of fresh water per year, and destroy a hiking trail and scores of acres of wetlands and habitat of at least one threatened species, the bobolink, an extraordinary bird. We bombarded the BEP with emails. BEP denied the Nordic request and scolded opponents for inappropriate language and for commenting outside official comment periods. No scolding for Nordic’s blithe indifference to a global pandemic.
But the BEP pushes on, moving its corporate acquiescence from office to home.
Two days ago Bernie Sanders stopped his campaign for president, leaving only Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Vast oceans of ink have been spilled over this, but no one is talking about the 800-pound gorilla in the room. Both Trump and Biden are clearly suffering from cognitive decline and by the general election seven months from now both candidates could be babbling complete incoherencies. They’re already half-way there. The withering skeleton of U.S. democracy may be laid bare for the world to see. I took out a help-wanted ad in a local paper: Seeking competent administrator without daddy issues. Resume and cover letter to Human Resources, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20500.
The supermarket remains low on toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning products. And no hand sanitizer. Only 75 people at a time. Two people at the door keep count. I don’t know why they need two. Jerry laughs at my mask and bounds into the store laughing, oblivious to the counters. In the throes of a pandemic, the odd remain odd.
After shopping I met Lew for an illegal six-foot beer in Waterfront Park. I live only three kilometers from the waterfront, but I hadn’t been there since official stay-at-home began. It seemed odd that the bay was still there, the same, nothing had changed – when all else had changed.
Lew’s partner Aimee made me a bright cheery mask. I wear it when I shop. Aimee soaked it in tea oil. She says it’s a natural disinfectant, but it’s pungent and it makes it hard to breathe. You have to rinse the mask, Aimee says.
Driving home I pass by my old house, where the new owners have a lawn sign urging a months-ago vote to allow philosophical exemption to mandatory vaccines. I wonder how they feel now.
But wait, the sign has moved. It’s now more prominent. Wow. Strange times.
The United Sates is the strangest country in the world, and it is odd to be in such a place in the age of COVID-19. In the midst of a global pandemic I see a man blowing minute amounts of dirt off a roadway with a leaf blower. The wind promptly blows it back. He attacks a leafless lawn. I have no idea why. A neighbor starts her car from within her apartment and lets it run for 20 minutes, to avoid a slight chill. Shoppers leave their cars running while they shop. It’s a modern form of madness.
It snowed last night. A foot, 30 centimeters. Heavy, wet snow. We lost power and my laptop battery is running low. Trees are bent from the heavy snow. The birch outside my bedroom window might not make it. I may lose a friend, and the planet can use every tree it can get. I trudge out to my car and retrieve my camping stove to make coffee. I’m grateful for the stove.
I haven’t drunk alcohol in a week. COVID-19 could last months and I don’t need the heavy hand of depression on my shoulder.
Heidi in Cologne says some German studies indicate echinacea, an herbal immune booster, may help ward off COVID-19. I check the co-op every day, and after several days they get some. I scoop it up.
I guess I’ll see whether it works. The snow is melting and the birch is coming back.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY #2
I have been sheltered in place for over two weeks. I have had a bad cold and didn’t want to expose anyone to it. I ordered groceries for delivery from Harvest and from Safeway.
I ordered the first time from Safeway on March 26. According to Instacart to be delivered between 1 and 3 the same day. After receiving 6 texts about an hour apart saying they were behind but would deliver an hour later I got a text saying It would not be ready today and I should choose a new delivery time. My only option was several days later. I cancelled the order.
My second order from Safeway on Instacart went better. I re ordered my first order and received it two days later.
Today I am still waiting for an order I placed on April 2. It was due to be delivered April 4 between 7 and 9 pm. At 5:39 on the 4th, a text reminded me that my order was due at 7 to 9pm. At 8:01 I was texted that due to high demand they were running late and would get to me as soon as possible. At 8:44 I was texted that my order would be delivered by the first available shopper at the latest April 9 before 2pm. That’s 5 days later! It is now 9:00pm on April 9. 7 days after my order was place, 5 days after it was to be delivered. I have received 9 texts and 2 emails today, each pushing back the delivery by ½ an hour to an hour. The last one said by 10pm. It’s now 10:47, I haven’t received any emails or texts. On their website it says my delivery rescheduled to between Friday and Wednesday. 1 to 6 days from now. I have cancelled the order.
Both my deliveries from Harvest were scheduled 4 to 5 days after placing them. They arrived at the date and time they said they would deliver.
Long story short, Safeway/Instacart, made delivery promises it couldn’t come close to meeting and strung me along with short delays and promises of next available shopper.
Harvest told me when they would deliver and did so.
To the Editor:
In a new partnership with Carnegie Mellon University's Delphi Research Group, Facebook and Google are entering a new realm of privacy concerns.
As we know, Facebook and Google have as their business model something called "Big Data".
Big Data Collection. Big Data Analytics. Big Data Mining.
Big Data is a field that treats ways to analyze, systematically extract information from, or otherwise deal with, data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software.
Current usage of the term Big Data tends to refer to the use of "predictive analytics", "user behavior analytics", and certain other advanced data analytics methods that extract value from data.
Algorithms and AI do the heavy lifting.
Our obsession with cloud computing, social media, and cell phone technology only enable companies like Facebook and Google to do what they do.
So here's the thing.
As of this week, Facebook and Google agreed to help gather data from those people who voluntarily choose to report whether they’re experiencing Covid-like symptoms.
Facebook will target a fraction of their U.S. users with a CMU-run survey, while Google has thus far been using its Opinion Rewards app, which lets users respond to questions for app store credit.
The hope is this new information will allow Delphi to produce city-by-city and county-by-county projections in the U.S. that will help policymakers allocate resources more effectively.
Neither Facebook nor Google will ever actually see the survey results; they’re merely pointing users to the questions administered and processed by Delphi.
Delphi will also never share any of the raw data back to either company.
Still, the agreements represent a major deviation from typical data-sharing practices, which could raise privacy concerns. If this wasn't a pandemic, I don’t know that companies would want to take the risk of being associated with or asking directly for such a personal piece of information as health. Health is personal. Take a wrong step, and you've committed a HIPAA violation.
Without such cooperation from Facebook and Google, the researchers at Delphi would’ve been hard pressed to find the data anywhere else. Several other apps allow users to self-report symptoms, including a popular one in the UK known as the "Covid Symptom Tracker" that has been downloaded over 1.5 million times. But none of them offer the same systematic and expansive coverage as a Facebook or Google-administered survey. The project will collect many millions of responses each week.
What we don't know is whether the collaborations with Facebook and Google will last once the pandemic is over. Without the urgency and pressure of the global crisis, privacy rights activists and constitutional law experts aren't sure the platforms or their users will still be willing to give up such intimate health information.
No doubt Delphi is grateful for what the cooperation from Facebook and Google they're getting now, but where do we go from here?
Now we take the next step.
Today, April 10, Apple Inc. and Google unveiled a rare partnership to add technology to their smartphone platforms that will alert users if they have come into contact with a person with Covid-19 by using the Big Data that was aggregated by Facebook, Google, and CMU's Delphi Research Group.
Users must opt in to the system, but it has the potential to monitor about a third of the world’s population.
The technology, known as "contact-tracing", is designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 by telling users they should quarantine or isolate themselves after contact with a self-reported infected individual.
Apple and Google said that they are building the technology into their iOS and Android operating systems in two steps. In mid-May, the companies will add the ability for iPhones and Android phones to wirelessly exchange anonymous information via apps run by public health authorities. The companies will also release frameworks for public health apps to manage the functionality.
This means that if a user tests positive for Covid-19, and adds that data to their public health app, users who they came into close proximity with over the previous several days will be notified of their contact. This period could last 14 days, but health agencies can set the time range to be even longer.
In other words, the platform for worldwide surveillance is being built as you read this.
Keep in mind, there are three steps to contact-tracing. Contact identification is only the first step. It's followed by contact listing, usually in a national and local register or database. Contact listing is followed by contact follow-up, usually by a public health or other government official.
Our technology has already betrayed us. The future is here. The day come when we are surveilled on the basis of our political and religious beliefs, our social networks, and our demographics.
I'm guessing gunowners will be next. Or maybe investors who own gold. Maybe libertarians. Or constitutionalists.
Or old hippies, like me.