MCT: Sunday, August 9, 2020

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AN INTERIOR WARMING TREND will continue through Monday, with mild but mostly sunny conditions along the coast. There is a slight chance for thunderstorms over the interior mountains of Trinity and Mendocino Counties on Monday. (NWS)

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COVID-19 DAILY UPDATE – 8/8/2020

51 additional cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Mendocino County, bringing the total to 431. [39 of the 51 new cases are categorized as Hispanic.]

34 of today's 51 additional cases are the result of a UCSF lab transition and process change, as Mendocino County received 34 COVID-19 positive test results dating from July 31 to August 8th on Saturday from UCSF.

Ultimately, this lab transition will enhance our ability to eliminate duplicative test results. We are continuing our efforts to ensure timely response and we are working closely with UCSF on this developing situation.

In addition, it has also come to our attention that 1 COVID-19 case this week was categorized as Ukiah Valley, rather than South Coast. This has been corrected in today's stat tracker.

— Mendocino Public Health

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UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK - BENJI

Benji is a very handsome Collie X, who's as affectionate as he is sweet. He enjoyed his meet and greet with fellow shelter guest, Radio, so a home with a doggie housemate might be just the ticket. Benji is mellow and has good indoor manners, but he also likes to be outside and explore. We think Benji will do nicely in a home with children. All and all, Benji is a lovely dog. AND THOSE EARS!!! Benji is 2 years old and 63 pounds.

There's more Benji photos at www.mendoanimalshelter.com/dogblog/benji. To see our canine and feline guests, and for information about our services, programs, events, and updates about the county covid-19 closure and the shelter, visit: mendoanimalshelter.com. We're on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/. For information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.

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ONE OF THE LAST items of business at last Tuesday’s Supes meeting was Board Chair John Haschack’s report out of closed session when he announced without elaboration that the County had purchased the old Nursing Home on Whitmore Lane (south Ukiah) for $2.2 million. 

Previously the County had “commandeered” the building and entered into a six month lease back in early May. At that time CEO Angelo said that the facility “establishes surge capacity as an emergency protective measure related to the COVID-19 pandemic for emergency congregate shelter and housing for members of the public, including but not limited to housing individuals awaiting test results or in quarantine due to having the virus. The site is leased for six months, with an option to extend. The monthly lease rate of $31,550 is approximately $415 per bed, per month. The building had been vacant for an extended period of time, and work has been completed to re-establish utility services and ensure full functionality. After-the-fact authorization to establish a Capital Improvement Project for this work will be brought to the Board at a forthcoming meeting.”

The County bought the property from a pair of doctors from India based in Modesto who apparently own a chain of California nursing homes, Dr. Joseph Pallivathucal and his wife Dr. Teresa Pallivathucal. The lease agreement in May required the Pallivathucals to upgrade, remodel and maintain the building, with several substantial repairs and remodels. Maybe there was a problem getting them to do it. As far as we know nobody has been quarantined or isolated at the 76-bed facility yet. It’s also not clear if the feds will reimburse the County for the building nor what the plans are for it beyond isolation and quarantine, if any. Possibily for fear of wasting the CEO’s precious time, none of the Supervisors asked about the plans for the building or how it might be staffed in open session. 

The $2.2 million price tag seems reasonable, and maybe moreso if the feds will reimburse the county for at least part of it. Haschack didn’t say where the $2.2 million was coming from and, of course, it hasn’t been on the County’s list of planned capital acquisitions so somebody must of “found” $2.2 million somewhere. Of course, the building will probably retain its value and could be sold on the open market in the future if necessary, if they could find a buyer.

From here, it looks like a least part of the facility would make a very good Crisis Residential Treatment Facility since it’s ready to use and it’s not likely that all 76 beds will be necessary for pandemic isolation purposes and it would be available immediately, not years from now when or if the Measure B project(s) get built. But that kind of slightly creative thinking is probably beyond the Measure B Committee and the Supervisors who seem intent on wasting many more Measure B millions on a new motel-like structure on Orchard Avenue next to the Schraeder’s current operations with only a few rooms/beds.

(Mark Scaramella)

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UKIAH COURTHOUSE

1910
1920
1938

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PROGRAM TO HELP MENDO COUNTY RESIDENTS GET 'FIRE SAFE'

Hey Mendocino County! Chipper Days are here!! The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council has the opportunity to offer many days of professional chipper service throughout the county in the next few months. The main requirements are that 1) you collaborate with enough neighbors to clear enough brush and woody material to keep a crew busy all day and 2) that it is for critical fire safety work -- clearing 100' of defensible space around homes or roadside emergency ingress/egress clearing. I.e., this is not an opportunity for clearing larger acreage. You can get full details at https://firesafemendocino.org/publications/2020-community-chipping-program/.

But please note that the requirements can be flexible. If you can meet some but not all, you should talk with us. Chipping is expensive. This PG&E funded opportunity can save you and your neighbors hundreds or thousands of dollars. It will also make it more likely that your neighborhood will survive and thrive in our wildfire-prone environment. Those are powerful benefits. Please consider taking advantage of this opportunity.

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FROM CHRIS CALDER: Two seats were open on the Fort Bragg City Council. City residents to current council members: "Nah. None of us really wants to be in charge of this sh*tshow right now. You go ahead."

Also, city government here seems in general on pretty good terms with the local populace right now, with a minimum of, really no, bickering amongst themselves or other time/energy/$$$-wasting ego trips.

Also, this place gets about a disaster a year it seems like, between fire refugees, very severe PSPS experience (I still have flashbacks), and now this. Local government officials, like everybody, are getting used to it by now.

And finally: you have to eat some time and there is no escape from angry constituents in the grocery store, and there are only three (big ones). Keeps the city Moms and Dads* focused.

*Old time headlines, at least in the Fort Bragg Advocate c. 1950s, called city council members 'City Dads'. Those were the days!

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UNION LUMBER

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JOHN HUFF: 

"Recently I made a rash decision to resign from the Mendocino Coast Recreation & Park District Board of Directors due to the direction of 'inaction' a majority of the board was taking. After my resignation letter went public I received an unexpected outpouring of support from the community. Notably among the emails and Facebook messages were three that stood out. 

• Former MCRPD Board Chair Bill Hayes messaged me “I’ve always thought that you were a positive influence on the District…..you need to do what is best for you but it sounds like you are needed there if you decide to go back”

• Mendocino County Supervisor John McCowen emailed me and quoted #99 The Great One….. 'you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So I understand not being able to get the ball across the goal line. I do not understand not making your best effort to do so.'

• And last but not least, I had an in-person conversation (socially distanced and masked of course) with community member Keith Stiver, whom I have a great deal of respect for. Keith told me “…I’ll run for a board position, but only if you will.”

With the emails and social media comments, I have decided to run for a position on the MCRPD board again on the November 3rd 2020 election on two main fronts. 

1. The MCRPD Regional Park project has changed its direction and scope. Some members of the current board wish to “just sell off the property” rather than work with recreation user groups and regulatory agencies to create a regional park benefit the community. Prior iterations of the MCRPD board tried just that with the only effect being public property becoming a dumping ground and a hazard to the residents around it. I will work with the community, recreation user groups, walkers, hikers, runners, equestrians, school groups, and yes…..OHV riders, and regulatory agencies to make sure that we ALL have place that will benefit the community foremost and bring revenue to the community and MCRPD. I disagree with the concept of “a park district with no park”

2. COVID-19 is here whether you agree with it or not, but that doesn’t mean we all have to sit in our houses doing nothing. Especially our kids. Its past time MCRPD got off the fence and started providing recreation opportunities for the residents of the district, the tax payers. ALL the residents, from Gualala to Westport.

In the words or Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Highway, it’s time to 'Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.'

MCRPD has a stellar recreation programming staff that need to be allowed to 'Improvise' new classes and programs, 'Adapt' existing programs to facilitate smaller group sizes, social distancing, stable groups, and 'Overcome' the barriers that COVID-19 has placed before us. 

If you agree with my positions and direction then vote for me on November 3rd. If you do not agree…… now’s your chance to make sure that you push your agenda of inaction, but you’ll also have to get out and vote for that."

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STOREFRONT, FORT BRAGG

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MENDOCINO IF YOU'RE LISTENING

I LIVE IN GUALALA

WHERE'S MY BALLOT BOX!

I WANT A BALLOT BOX!

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PAROLEE RELEASED FROM PRISON ON WEDNESDAY DIES OF OVERDOSE IN UKIAH HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT

Van Patten said officers noticed the 34-year-old male lying on the ground struggling to breathe. One of the tenants told the officers that the man had ingested a significant amount of heroin moments before, reported Van Patten. At this point, officers attempted to administer three doses of Narcan, a medication used to counteract an opioid overdose’s effects. Van Patten described those life-saving efforts as unsuccessful.

mendofever.com/2020/08/07/parolee-released-from-prison-two-days-ago-dies-of-overdose-in-ukiah-homeless-encampment/

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 8, 2020

Anderson, Davey, Devita, Garner

RICHARD ANDERSON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

COREY DAVEY, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

ELISHA DEVITA, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

CEAN GARNER, Cloverdale/Ukiah. Controlled substance while armed with loaded firearm, competency status.

Heath, Joaquin, Lopes

DANIEL HEATH, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

ANGIE JOAQUIN, Covelo. Probation revocation.

ANTHONY LOPES, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)

Malicay, Panagua, Prickett, Rodriguez

ELIANA MALICAY, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.

MARIO PANAGUA, Willits. Criminal threats.

CONSTANCE PRICKETT, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

MARIO RODRIGUEZ, Covelo. Domestic abuse, failure to appear.

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GIANTS & WARRIORS GIVE THEIR WORKERS THE BOOT

by Marc Norton

I got the email firing me from my job at the Giants ballpark on Monday evening, July 27. On Tuesday evening I learned from the San Francisco Examiner website that I was also being fired from my job at the Warriors new stadium, and that there were 2,154 other food service workers being shown the door at these two sports venues. That was a pretty cold way to get the news.

Stadium workers are overwhelmingly people of color. San Francisco stadium workers in particular have a large contingent of Black workers, in part because the Giants and 49ers old Candlestick Park stadium was located in Bayview-Hunters Point. Both the Giants and the Warriors have been bragging about supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, but they are now kicking their Black, Latino, and Asian workers to the curb.

Since 2013, I have sold garlic fries and beer to untold numbers of fans. Back in the 1980s I cooked hot dogs for the vendors at Candlestick. Now it looks like my jobs at Oracle Park and Chase Center may be going the same way as Candlestick.

I grew up in Los Angeles, where I was a fan of the Dodgers, Jackie Robinson’s old team. But I have lived in the greater San Francisco Bay Area since I was 17, for more than five decades, and now I am a Giants fan. And a Warriors fan. It’s just that they don’t seem to be a fan of me anymore.

None of us at the Giants ballpark or the Warriors stadium have been working since March, when San Francisco shut down in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. But we had been assured that this was just temporary, until things got better. 

“This will not result in the termination of any individual’s employment with the Company.” 

That’s what the company wrote in March.

But now it’s July, and they have changed their minds. 

According to their email, “We have to eliminate a number of positions [2,154 to be exact], including yours.”

It’s not as if the Giants or the Warriors are in some kind of dire financial straits. Each team is worth multiple billions of dollars.

As a recent article in The Nation said, the teams we work for “are among the most profitable corporations in the country, and… the owners who control those companies are among the wealthiest individuals in the nation.” Major league baseball teams alone “are worth over $55 billion. The 30 principal owners of these teams are worth $78 billion.”

Larry Baer, the Giants CEO, said in an April 1 statement that stadium workers are “the people that work hard, work diligently and serve our fans, which is the lifeblood of our sport and our business.” 

Perhaps, in the light of our firing, this was meant to be an April Fool’s joke. 

As others have pointed out, MLB (Major League Baseball) is BLM spelled backwards. Unlike many stadium workers, I don’t think many of our sports team owners worry about being stopped by the cops on their way home from work.

We should be thankful for small favors. When we were furloughed in March, the Warriors gave us each a check for $1,000, and the Giants ponied up $500. What we didn’t know at the time was that this was our severance pay.

I need to clear up one little legal detail. We don’t work directly for the Giants or the Warriors. We work for their food-service contractor, a big-time corporation called Bon Appetit. Does that name make you hungry for more? Bon Appetit is part of an even bigger corporate giant called Compass.

Bon Appetit is the food service contractor at both the Giants and Warriors stadiums. That way the Giants and the Warriors can claim to be somehow uninvolved in all of this, while their hatchet men do the dirty work. But does anyone really think the Giants and the Warriors don’t know what Bon Appetit is doing and aren’t consulted in little moves like firing 2,000-plus people?

Bon Appetit is trying to soften the blow by promising that we have recall rights, perhaps with seniority, for 12 months at the Giants ballpark, and 24 months at the Warriors stadium. The Giants bit is in our expired UNITE HERE Local 2 contract, so thank you very much. I haven’t seen anything in writing yet about my expired Warriors stadium job. I am pretty sure we will all be hearing a lot more from Local 2.

Curiously, I got the “see you later, alligator” email on the very same day that I got my last $600-per-week pandemic unemployment payment. That $600 is bye-bye now, courtesy of the Republicans in the Senate. That was a double whammy day. What timing.

Bon Appetit told the San Francisco Chronicle that “We look forward to a time when venues reopen and hope to rehire many of our former employees as service levels return to normal.” 

You know the old story about how good it feels to stop hitting yourself in the head with a hammer? I guess we got fired so our bosses could “look forward to a time” when they can rehire “many” of us.

(Marc Norton has worked in the food service and hospitality industry his entire life and was last fired from his job as a bellman at a small downtown hotel after Wells Fargo Bank took over the hotel and launched a not-quite-successful union-busting campaign. His website is MarcNortonOnline.wordpress.com. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)

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SWIMMING HOLE

photo by Carston Butters

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SLIP-SLIDING AWAY

by Marilyn Davin

During all the long years of my fulltime corporate employment I had a skewed view of the world. Not because of boardroom policies or existential questions about who or what benefitted from my 50 or so hours of labor each week; not because of the empty futility of what seemed at the time to be urgent concerns about raises, promotions, or how far from the coveted glass-walled corner office I sat; not because of the hours of speculation about who screwed up to warrant the latest management memo changing some meaningless office procedure; not about the pecking order, every bit as rigid as the one in the chicken coop at my childhood home, where the smallest, weakest chicken lived at the sisyphusean mercy of the bigger, more aggressive chickens that pecked her head bloody; not about the self-important privileges like who got to park in the corporation’s basement parking spaces or who had the greatest freedom to write off so-called “working” lunches at the many fine Financial District restaurants that spread in every direction from the corporate high-rises like spokes in a wheel; not even about the money, per se, since we all fed at the corporate teat to a greater or lesser degree. 

This skewed view, which I couldn’t see because I lived in its embrace, was that I was safe, protected from the day-to-day problems that plagued the less fortunate profiled during the holidays in the San Francisco Chronicle, which we awaited anxiously every day at the paper’s blue metal box in front of the building to see if our company had been dissed overnight in its pages. Though basically nobody got fired back then, there were still mild consequences in our cloistered world if some bigwig on the executive floor was “misquoted,” criticized for cluelessness or, worse, for some sort of malfeasance, true or not.

We were educated, for the most part debt-free (U.C.’s tuition was under a hundred bucks a year), nearly all Baby Boomers (though the designation had yet to become the trendy designation it is today), overwhelmingly white, mostly male (I was hired in 1981, the first year that women were hired for non-clerical positions), and richly protected from everyday problems in the outside world. We had wall-to-wall healthcare, fully funded by the company (and welcomed by doctors and dentists everywhere); paid vacations and sick leave; a paternalistic environment that encouraged (paid) attendance at our kids’ soccer games; job security, and predictable raises and annual bonuses for our labors. We didn’t see it then, but this slice of time would be the last years of a real middle class in our country. 

Even back then, there were poor people, of course, though they were less visible than they are today, and I can imagine someone reading this thinking “typical entitled white bitch.” But that would be a knee-jerk reaction. The conditions that mattered most in those years benefitted everybody. Yes, there was racism, yes, there was sexism, but consider this:

College was affordable for everyone. I had friends who paid their way through school with part-time jobs like working in a shoe store or serving breakfast at a downtown cafe. When you graduated, you could pretty much get a job anywhere. I walked off the street into General Electric armed with my history of art degree from Berkeley and was hired on the spot in the accounting department (!). Since I became pregnant with my first child while I worked there, even though I had moved to the East Coast before my daughter’s birth, the company fully paid my hospital bill – all except a 7-dollar phone charge. By today’s standards rent in the Bay Area was incredibly cheap; nobody rented closets back then. And when I was hired in 1981 at the corporation briefly described here, every single person in my office owned his or her own home – every secretary, every clerk, everyone. 

Like the comprehensive benefits that came with these jobs, their erosion similarly affects everyone. The corporation I worked for dumped its defined pension plan and generous healthcare benefits as soon as the unions representing its employees became too weak, too cowed by the company’s threat of job loss, to fight back anymore (“You now have full control of your own retirement,” the HR employee brochure read, when pensions were dumped.) There’s still a 401k plan, but that’s federal, beyond the reach of the corporate scalpel. There is now a “menu” of levels of health insurance, none fully subsidized. You now have to think twice before missing any work for personal reasons: too many corporate strivers, sensing weakness and working in an environment that promotes ruthless internal competition, are waiting in the wings for a leg up on the corporate ladder if you fall. Can you even believe that back then one of my colleagues spent months at the bedside of a dying parent, fully paid, with nothing more than a beeper in the unlikely event somebody back at the office needed to reach her? 

But I digress: Back to the economic erosion that affects everyone, rich, poor, or in the tiny slice that is what’s left of the middle class. Unless you worked for the same corporation for over 30 years, even in those halcyon days your pension wasn’t enough to live on in the manner to which you had become accustomed. Now that pensions are gone, you’re thrown back on whatever you managed to save and, in the case of the pricey Bay Area, the value of your home if you’re a homeowner and willing to sell and move somewhere cheaper. So for us (now) older folk, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are more important than ever for keeping the wolf away from the door. 

And how is our government, tasked with ensuring our “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” responding to this greater need? In the New America, which more closely resembles an impoverished banana republic than a western democracy, our elected protectors – of both parties – have feathered their own nests and richly rewarded the already-rich rich with tax cuts, corporate welfare, and, despite election-time rhetoric, largely turned a collective blind eye to the needs of the poor and the poor-in-waiting. The rich may publicly reflect tearfully on the struggles of their impoverished immigrant ancestors, but make no mistake: being rich in America has come to represent a weird kind of moral superiority, while the poor are shamed for their poverty, perceived now as a character flaw. Like the beaten-down employees who voted away their benefits when their unions caved to management’s ominous threat of job elimination, as a nation “We the People” have adopted the same cowering fear. We’ve lost the hope, the will, to collectively demand our power back and, more importantly, lost the courage to do so.

A few years ago I did some part-time (minimum wage) office work for one of my neighbors, an audiologist. In the course of my duties I delivered something to a busy medical office nearby. Displayed prominently in the receptionist’s window was a sign that read: “We no longer accept Medicare.” Stunned, I asked the perky receptionist what they did with their patients when they turned 65. “We keep the patients we already have,” she replied, nonchalantly. “But we don’t accept any new ones.” This is a peek at our collective futures as our government whittles away, bit by bit, the benefits that have buttressed seniors and poor people against financial disaster since the middle of the last century, in retrospect a golden age unlikely to return in our lifetimes and guaranteed to relegate our children and grandchildren to impoverished serfs in the richest country on Earth. 

Many historians believe that the spark of revolution ignites during times of rising expectations. What will it take for our ever-poorer, demoralized, frightened people to scrape together the will and the courage to rise up together for better, more just lives for ourselves, our progeny, and our fellows?

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FORT BRAGG, 1906 QUAKE

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130 DEGREES

by Bill McKibben

So now we have some sense of what it’s like: a full-on global-scale crisis, one that disrupts everything. Normal life—shopping for food, holding a wedding, going to work, seeing your parents—shifts dramatically. The world feels different, with every assumption about safety and predictability upended. Will you have a job? Will you die? Will you ever ride a subway again, or take a plane? It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

The upheaval that has been caused by Covid-19 is also very much a harbinger of global warming. Because humans have fundamentally altered the physical workings of planet Earth, this is going to be a century of crises, many of them more dangerous than what we’re living through now. The main question is whether we’ll be able to hold the rise in temperature to a point where we can, at great expense and suffering, deal with those crises coherently, or whether they will overwhelm the coping abilities of our civilization. The latter is a distinct possibility, as Mark Lynas’s new book, ‘Our Final Warning,’ makes painfully clear.

Lynas is a British journalist and activist, and in 2007, in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate conference, he published a book titled Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet. His new volume echoes that earlier work, which was by no means cheerful. But because scientists have spent the last decade dramatically increasing understanding of the Earth’s systems, and because our societies wasted that decade by pouring ever more carbon into the atmosphere, this book—impeccably sourced and careful to hew to the wide body of published research—is far, far darker. As Lynas says in his opening sentences, he had long assumed that we “could probably survive climate change. Now I am not so sure.”

The nations that use fossil fuel in large quantities have raised the temperature of the planet one degree Celsius (that’s about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above its level before the Industrial Revolution. We passed the mark around 2015, which was coincidentally also the year we reached the first real global accords on climate action, in Paris. A rise of one degree doesn’t sound like an extraordinary change, but it is: each second, the carbon and methane we’ve emitted trap heat equivalent to the explosion of three Hiroshima-sized bombs. The carbon dioxide sensors erected in 1959 on the shoulder of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii recorded a new record high in late May of this year, showing an atmosphere of about 417 parts per million CO2, more than a hundred above the levels our great-great-grandparents would have known, and indeed higher than anything in at least the last three million years.

As we drive and heat and light and build, we put about 35 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere annually. At the moment oceans and forests soak up slightly more than half of that, but as we shall see, that grace is not to be depended on into the future, and in any event it means we still add about 18 billion tons annually to the air. That is by far the most important bottom line for the planet’s future.

A survey of the damage done at one degree is impressive and unsettling, especially since in almost every case it exceeds what scientists would have predicted thirty years ago. (Scientists, it turns out, are by nature cautious.) Lynas offers a planetary tour of the current carnage, ranging from Greenland (where melt rates are already at the level once predicted for 2070); to the world’s forests (across the planet, fire season has increased in duration by a fifth); to urban areas in Asia and the Middle East, which in the last few summers have seen the highest reliably recorded temperatures on Earth, approaching 54 degrees Celsius, or 130 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a one-degree world that has seen a girdle of bleached coral across the tropics—a 90 percent collapse in reproductive success along the Great Barrier Reef, the planet’s largest living structure—and the appalling scenes from Australia in December, as thousands of people waded into the ocean at resort towns to escape the firestorms barreling down from the hills.

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THE CULTURE OF DRINK endures because it offers so many rewards, confidence for the shy, clarity for the uncertain, solace to the wounded and lonely, and above all, the elusive promises of friendship and love...In the snug darkness of saloons, I learned much about being human and about mastering a craft. I had, as they say, a million laughs. But those grand times also caused great moral, physical, or psychological damage to myself and others...I started writing this book when some of my friends from the drinking life began to die. They were decent, talented, generous, and humane. But as they approached the end, physically ruined by decades of drinking, I remembered more of their good times than they did. In a way, this book is about them, too.

— Pete Hamill

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BUILDING FLOODGATE EXTENSION, WENDLING

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Pardon me for smiling regarding the economic hit on professional sports. These modern contracts are obscene and so if they disappear then Xmas has come early. Also obscene is the money that so called celebrities are paid, and I include Ms. Oprah into that mix. If Americans are forced to stand down from supporting these people, then Covid is worth it. No, no socialist here, but i do enjoy the celebrity suffering. But more enjoyable is the media’s job losses which are growing. Hooray I say. I wish I could comment on social media but I’m not part of any of that. I read about Facebook and its tyranny but friends who use it seem to have no interest in quitting it. Same with Twitter and Instagram. I frankly don’t know what those really are except that we have a president who communicates via Twitter while using the toilet. Fitting.

The current days are far more dangerous than any other part of our history. The ship is sinking. The government is installing screen doors and windows. NYC and Chicago and Seattle and others are already under water.

* * *

MSP'S 'WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?' DEPARTMENT

California state prison officials are now saying that as many as 17,600 inmates may be released early due to the coronavirus, 70% more than previous estimates.

Early releases have included murderers, robbers, stalkers, arsonists and those who used deadly weapons in their crimes.

Over 90% of all prison inmates currently serving time in California have committed violent or serious offenses, as violent and serious crimes are defined in the Penal Code.

Be informed. Be vigilant. This is not good. #betrayalofjustice

kmph.com/news/local/california-ups-early-inmate-release-estimate-amid-objections

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* * *

WHEN I SAY CHICAGO

capital city of the flyover.

crown jewel of the jailhouse.

a town in love with its own blood,

a blood browned on its own history & funk.

this hometown of the riot & the riot gear,

the gang & the loitering law.

misfit blocks of dark skinned cousins &

thick knuckled Slavic uncles

who call each other their worst names.

what this country know about a rustbelt

dipped in salt & vinegar & sold as

marked up & rustic?

my city is the city.

not your close enough suburbs not

subject to the suppression of tape

& the tapping of phones.

how can you say anything about our blocks

& schools & children that you refuse to see.

you do not govern what you do not love.

when i say Chicago

i mean that first Haitian cat who could pronounce it right.

i don’t mean the fresh out of undergrad looking for adventure

& a consulting job.

when i say Chicago

i mean the stopped & frisked.

i mean the euphemism of frisk.

i mean the beat down & tight cuff.

i mean the drop off in Bridgeport

or Mount Greenwood.

i mean the lessons

taught to an uppity one.

when i say Chicago

i mean the lake

(& i mean all of it).

i mean the candy lady at Rainbow

& the paleta man at Calumet

& the kids careening across the green at Montrose

& the jogger in midwinter daring a death for fitness.

when i say Chicago

i mean Cabrini & Stateway & Ickes & Ida.

i mean the city i’ll tell my kids in the past tense.

i mean the rents that sometimes

make me mean Georgia or Indiana or Dolton.

when i say Chicago

I mean the restaurants with no chairs,

just a window & a bulletproof sneeze guard.

i mean a Michelin star for all the ethnics slanging

their seasoned meats & language.

when i say Chicago

i mean my mama’s house

that was my grandma’s house.

i mean the neighborhood

that was our neighborhood

because fear left

& we said:

we’ll make a home here

& we’ll stay.

— Nate Marshall

* * *

THE PARTY'S OVER?

Pension Spiking Not Protected By California Law Top Court Rules

For two decades, it was a treasured perk for some county employees across California: the ability to boost their pensions by cashing out unused vacation or sick leave, or working extra hours, at the end of their careers. In some cases, workers received more in pension payments than they earned while working.

But with the state’s economy struggling and a pension crisis looming, then-Gov. Jerry Brown backed a sweeping reform measure in 2013 that prohibited county workers from “pension spiking.” Labor unions sued to overturn the new law. 

On Thursday, in one of several closely watched pension cases, the California Supreme Court sided with the state, unanimously upholding a provision of the 2013 law that prohibited pension spiking by county workers.

In a decision written by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, the court said the law that ended pension spiking for county employees was enacted “for the constitutionally permissible purpose of closing loopholes and preventing abuse of the pension system…”


Rob Anderson comments:

I posted about this way back in 2010 based on a Civil Grand Jury report, Pension Tsunami: The Billion Dollar Bubble.

From my post:

But the Grand Jury found that some cops and firemen are gaming the retirement system to puff up their pensions. It's called "pension spiking." The year before they retire some workers "artificially inflate their final compensation just before retiring, in order to increase their pensions," as the 2008-2009 Grand Jury reported ("Pensions: Beyond Our Ability to Pay"). Pension spiking by increasing your overtime has been illegal since 1976, but, with the necessary collaboration of fire and police management, it's now done by simply assigning favored people to a higher rank a year before they retire.

The Grand Jury found that firefighters were the most common offenders. Still true? Maybe it's time for an updated report.

* * *

THE OBJECTS BELOW.

The recording of last night's (2020-08-07) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg is right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0396

Hiroshima and Nagasaki stories never told until recently. San Francisco Mime Troupe: The Good Cop; it’s kind of a Twilight Zone story, because the world is kind of a Twilight Zone story now. The two-bit obits including the San Francisco Chronicle’s memorial to beat poet (r)uth (w)eiss. Andrew Scully's The Albion Incident. A chapter or three of El Sereno by Jay Frankston. The Lucky Strike, by Kim Stanley Robinson, about an alternate world where one man with a functional imagination (because of being a reader) was on the crew headed off to drop the first atomic bomb on a city full of people, so things went a little differently than they did for us. Announcements, petitions, alarums and excursions, the usual unusual, and it ends with Doug Nunn's latest Snap Sessions podcast, minus the fifty-minute interview with Bill Stoneham, creature-maker for films, among other talents he has. If you want to hear the whole unabridged Snap Sessions session, or any of them, that's here: 

Furthermore, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile educational items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:

"The only rational frying and shortening medium." Really? I remember being little and asking my mother or grandmother, “What is short'nin',” They said, "It's this," and showed me. Shortening is white fat. It's like melted soap. "Why is it shortening?" And they're like, "It’s this. Taste it." But why is it shortening? That was years before I read Pogo, Stepmother Goose, the part about Simple Simon and the Pie Man ("Let me taste your ware." "I'm where? I’m here." "No. Your ware. Your ware. Let me taste it!" SPLORTCH. And it was even longer before I heard Who's On First. And only just now, this late in my life, it occurred to me to find out, so look, from HuffPost: "Shortening got its name because of what it does to flour. Introducing fat into baked goods interferes with the formation of the gluten matrix in the dough. As a result of its interference, gluten strands end up shorter which in turn creates a softer, more crumbly baked good. It's the reason that cakes and pastries are soft and breads not so much." Oh, sure, 200 years ago they knew about the gluten matrix? No. Continue: "Shortening got its name way before anyone knew anything about the chemical reaction of fat and gluten, and that's because the word short used to mean tender in reference to food." Ah. Thanks. Three little children lyin' in bed, two were sick and the other one dead. Call for the doctor, doctor said, Feed those children short'nin' bread… 

http://www.weirduniverse.net/blog/comments/cottolene

The Beach Boys sing Short'nin' Bread. Apparently Brian Wilson was obsessed with this and he arranged hundreds of different versions. They had to distract him with other things to get him away from it. He'd go back to it, they'd have a meeting about what to do, sure, why not, record it, maybe that'll get it out of his system, like in The Wedding Singer when Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore are each engaged to someone else but are uncomfortably attracted to each other, connected by an invisible rubber band; of course they belong together, but their families and fiances will be hurt and confused, and Drew Barrymore says, "Maybe we should kiss just once, you know, get it out of our system." And the other person in the room, Drew Barrymore’s girlfriend, looks away and sighs. That was a golden moment in cinema for me. I could hear in my head all the other people who ever watched that movie getting to that point, and going, "Oh, no," because that's not how people work, and at the same time, "Oh, good. Finally," because that's how people work. That moment was the kernel of the screenwriter's dream. The whole story before and after that is just a scaffold for that moment. You need everything else, but then you don’t. It stays up there by itself after that. 

And the music really makes this. You can feel how hard they were trying. It’s not just silly and pathetic. They tried so hard. I especially like the one at about 6:12, where he brushes a wing on the ground, drags the other wing on the ground, and continues, gets up in the goddamn air! and of course crashes — but then, tadahhh! The triumphant gesture, he’s fine! He’s not killed. He flew in the air. It really worked for a second. Worth it all. Back to the drawing board. Next time, you’ll see. 

Next time.

— Marco McClean, memo@mcn.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com

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