MCT: Tuesday, August 18, 2020

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HOT TEMPERATURES are forecast to occur across the interior today. Slightly cooler weather will then develop Wednesday through Friday, followed by hotter temperatures this weekend. (NWS)

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WANTED, ARMED & DANGEROUS

Jackson, Jameson - 34 years old

Description: white male adult, 6'02'' tall, 185 pounds, short cropped brown hair, hazel eyes, and a brown goatee. Last seen wearing a black shirt and blue jeans.

Jackson is considered armed and dangerous. Do not approach or confront, please call 911 or 707-463-4086 to report any sightings or information regarding Jackson's whereabouts.

Jackson is wanted in connection to a homicide Covelo, CA.

facebook.com/MendocinoSheriff/photos/a.264516632966/10157473839832967/


Ed Note: Jackson was convicted of the murder of Joan Leafeat as a juvenile about 18 years ago during a robbery of the Brooktrails store. Earlier this year he was arrested for domestic battery.

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MENDO COVID, AUGUST 17 (15 new cases)

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STATEWIDE FLEX ALERT ISSUED ROTATING POWER OUTAGES LIKELY TO OCCUR

Post Date: 08/17/2020 3:56 PM

In an effort to prevent or limit power outages during this heat wave, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued a statewide Flex Alert, a call for voluntary electricity conservation, for today and extending through Wednesday. The Flex Alerts are in effect from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. each day.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) issued a press release notifying the public that based on current energy supply forecasts, rotating power outages are likely to occur today, Monday, August 17, 2020 from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Outages are estimated to last one to two hours. PG&E’s Emergency Operations Center is activated and working closely with the CAISO to support this event. 

According to the ISO, California’s record-breaking persistent heat wave has put extraordinary strain on the ISO electric system, as air conditioners are working harder and longer to keep spaces cool during the high temperatures. Because of high heat and limited energy supplies, rotating power outages are likely over the next two days. These outages are not Public Safety Power Shutoffs, which are called during specific high fire-threat conditions.

PG&E strongly urges customers to reduce electricity use during the Flex Alert on Monday, especially during the afternoon and evening, when air conditioners are typically at peak use. Customers should also follow these conservation tips:

Raise the thermostat: Cool homes and use air conditioners more during morning hours. Set the thermostat to 78 degrees when at home during the rest of the day, health permitting. Turn it up to 85 degrees or turn it off when not at home.

Use a ceiling fan: Turn on a ceiling fan when using the air conditioner, which will allow the thermostat to be raised about 4 degrees to save on cooling costs with no reduction in comfort. Turn off fans and lights when you leave the room.

Cover windows: Use shade coverings and awnings so the air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to cool the home.

Avoid using the oven: Instead, cook on the stove, use a microwave or grill outside.

Limit the opening of refrigerators, which are major users of electricity in most homes. The average refrigerator is opened 33 times a day.

Clean clothes and dishes early: Use large energy-consuming appliances like washing machines and dishwashers earlier in the day or late at night after 10:00 pm.

For more information regarding the potential PG&E outages visit www.pge.com. To learn more about Flex Alerts and to get more electricity conservation tips visit the ISO’s Flex Alert website at http://www.flexalert.org/. For more information on impacts to City of Ukiah visit http://www.cityofukiah.com/ or 24 hour power outage hotline (707) 463-6288. 

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OLD HIGHWAY 101

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THE UNIQUELY TROPICAL weather of the past few days has meant rolling blackouts in many areas of the state. Governor Newsom has signed an emergency proclamation that temporarily allows some energy users and utilities to use backup energy sources to relieve pressure on the grid during peak use times.

The California Independent System Operator, which monitors the state’s electricity and power grid capabilities, issued a statewide Flex Alert, asking consumers to conserve electricity Sunday through Wednesday especially between the hours of 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. 

California ISO enacted rolling blackouts Friday evening, which was a first for the state since 2001. Blackouts were ordered again Saturday evening as temperatures reached 111 degrees in Sacramento. 

Cal ISO Chair Steve Berberich said Monday "It is near certain" that utilities will have to cut off power to "millions" of people this week. 

Newsom is also calling for an investigation into the service disruptions of this past weekend.

"These blackouts, which occurred without prior warning or enough time for preparation, are unacceptable and unbefitting of the nation’s largest and most innovative state,” Newsom said in a letter. “Residents, communities and other governmental organizations did not receive sufficient warning that these de-energizations could occur. Collectively, energy regulators failed to anticipate this event and to take necessary actions to ensure reliable power to Californians. This cannot stand. California residents and businesses deserve better from their government.

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WELLS-FARGO STAGE, HOPLAND, 1898

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THE ANDERSON VALLEY BREWING CO. in Boonville is listed on PG&E’s list of 13 planned Community Resource Centers during planned power shut offs this year. The list is part of a long presentation PG&E is delivering to the Supervisors on Tuesday. “Locations will be activated as needed, depending on event scope and potential customer impacts,” says PG&E. “During a PSPS event, the locations will be made available on pge.com/pspsupdates and via social media, local news and radio.” Resource Centers are expected to provide covid health & safety info, restrooms and handwashing, device charging, wi-fi hotspots, bottled water, snacks, tables/chairs, some blankets, and some will have bagged ice and heating and cooling provisions. They will be staffed and operate from 8am to 10pm. Some of them will be mobile/trailers, others will be tents, and many will be indoors. 

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FROM FORT BRAGG COUNCILMAN BERNIE NORVELL:

This was sent to the County for the 8/4/2020 agenda

Good morning Board of Supervisors,

The City of Fort Bragg is committed to providing affordable housing for all. This goal can only be attained through a transparent process that includes its citizens and City Council. Only after establishing a clear understanding of what is needed and by whom, should the Council move forward with seeking funding to purchase and provide adequate and affordable housing. Last week, the Homeless Ad Hoc Committee members were approached by county staff to explore the possibility of grant funds related to “Project Homekey,” the next phase in the state of California’s effort to house the homeless during the pandemic and beyond. At a July 29th meeting, County CEO Carmel Angelo pushed for the City of Fort Bragg to make a decision to identify a hotel or motel property for purchase, using Project Homekey funding through the county’s application to the state. The hotel or motel property in or very near Fort Bragg had to be identified prior to by August 13, 2020, when the grant application is due, and must be occupied by December 2020. Faced with identifying a hotel or motel in town to convert to homeless housing in less than two weeks, we explained the failures associated with a similar project, the Old Coast Hotel (Hospitality Center) only a half-decade ago. We further reminded the county officials how this situation divided our community and continues to do so. In that light, moving forward in haste simply because a large amount of money may be available does not seem to be in the best interest of the community. Making decisions in haste is a practice the current City Council has endeavored to change. Rather, we strive for more professionalism and plans that are well thought out. Surrendering another hotel or motel in Fort Bragg to this project without due consideration would have a direct negative effect on the City’s general fund in the form of lost transient occupancy tax (TOT). More than likely a hotel/motel of choice would be conspicuously on Main Street. We are a tourist destination and this could easily affect other lodging establishments. With homeless numbers having continued to decline in the past three years, this project may make Fort Bragg a go-to stop for transient homeless. An opportunity to really evaluate the needs and fit for our community would place the City and County in a position to apply for the second round of Project Homekey funding or future funding offered by the state.

Perhaps the need for alternative housing is what’s best for Fort Bragg. For example, low income, family, workforce, affordable housing available for purchase by locals or veteran housing done on a scale that is appropriate to our needs and capacity. The City of Fort Bragg has been working with Danco over the last few years to secure support and funding for an affordable housing project (the Plateau Project). This would create sixty-eight affordable housing units, a manager’s unit, and other in common structures at 441 South Street. Twenty-three of these structures will provide family/workforce housing; twenty-five units of affordable/low income senior housing; as well as twenty units of permanent supportive housing (PSH). This project will be completed in the next year and half. It is expensive to live on the Mendocino Coast. Job opportunities are sparse. In the midst of a pandemic our focus should be on economic recovery not doubling down on an increase in homeless population.

City of Fort Bragg Mayor Appointed Homeless Ad Hoc Committee

Vice-Mayor, Bernie Norvell

Councilmember, Jessica Morsell-Haye

City Manager, Tabatha Miller

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SQUAW ROCK WRECKAGE REMOVAL

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A LOCAL NOTES: “What fun these Anderson Valley Grange Drive-In Theater nights are for everyone, including children, who for the first time get to experience outdoor movie showing! Rolling snack bar, Covid-busted bathrooms, and social distancing protocols galore! Heard this Grange fundraiser is gonna happen every other week throughout the summer! You can even Venmo your donation to @AVgrange!”

DRIVE IN MOVIES AT AV GRANGE. We've tested the big screen, the sound system and snacks. Everything is working wonderfully. We are registered with the county and are following all Covid protocols. We plan to show movies every other Saturday evening starting at dark until the rain chases us away. The lot opens for parking at 7:30 or thereabouts.

COMING UP Sat. Aug. 29th at dark: “The Muppet Movie.” Not just for kids, and by all accounts it's the best of the Muppet films. So come prepared with your masks and help us all stay safe. Bring a donation and a thank you to the Grange for finding a way to share safely.

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2017 EVENTS

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WITH LITTLE FANFARE because fan’s fares are preoccupied with weightier affairs, Mendo finds itself these days with several new news outlets staffed by young reporters. There’s the newly hired Alicia Bales at KZYX who’s been doing a good job of getting local officials on the radio waves to talk about the pandemic and its data and implications. She seems a natch for radio — pleasant voice, unafraid to ask real questions. KZYX’s Sarah Reith sticks to KZYX's formula of strictly nicey-nice, but she's a capable reporter who, in a less oppressive media context, might do some interesting work.

There’s two young ‘uns at MendoVoice who seem to have branched out from a heavy emphasis on marijuana to other subjects, heavily covid-related but their term paper prose is off putting. (All the young talent write like their older than old growth, and one reads in vain for the slightest evidence of spark, fun and funny seemingly beyond these dull normals.

There’s newcomer Matt LeFever at KMUD, KymKemp and his own new MendoFever.com, who stays on top of breaking news pretty well. There’s even a new kid named Lana Cohen whose reports for KZYX and the Mendocino Voice have focused primarily on local environmental subjects, albeit delivered like What I Did On My Summer Vacation. On the older side of the local journalo ledger there’s the always solid local reporter Justine Frederiksen holding on valiantly at the Ukiah Daily Journal, a paper on life support whose editor, KC Meadows is also a fine reporter when she ventures forth to do some reporting. And there's old reliable Mike A’Dair at the Willits Weekly, Jim Shields, long-time editor and close observer at the Mendocino Observer in Laytonville, Paul McCarthy at MendocinoSportsPlus, and, ahem, the codgers at the AVA.

If you're uninformed in this county, it's your fault. But all of us are overly-dependent on press releases from the usual subjects: the Sheriff, County government press releases, and an occasional questioning quote from an official or the Grand Jury. With the exception of Shields, A'Dair and the AVA, there’s little to no context, criticism, background, analysis, opinion or skepticism presented with news of events.

The upshot is we get reliable and near-breaking stenography and pass-throughs of what the authorities want to tell us, but very little else. 

But some big Mendo subjects remain no-go zones: Grapes and the wine industry’s toxic, water-sucking, minimally enforced march across the rangelands, the utter failure of the cannabis permit program, the stalled talks on the Potter Valley Project, the waste and sloth of the Measure B Committee, the domination of local government by CEO Carmel Angelo, the still unexplained last minute firings of at least ten local officials that we can think of in the last two or three years, the looming budget crises at all levels of local government, the fragility of local emergency services, the alarming increase in overdoses and suicides as briefly mentioned by the Sheriff a couple weeks ago.

We’d sure like to see more depth from these newer, younger, presumably vigorous reporters . (Mark Scaramella)


SOME ON-LINE COMMENTERS noted that we missed a few local news outlets in the above round up/commentary.

• ICO Editor Chris McManus writes: “No mention of the Independent Coast Observer in Gualala or either of our two radio stations, all of which are independent. Nothing new about the south coast being ignored by the rest of Mendocino Co. PS. We do not do on-line updates except rarely on Facebook.”

• Joe Wagner at KNYO: “Anybody see KNYO on the front page of the Advocate? I read the tag line under the picture and left it alone. Looked like a puff piece about media with nothing critical in it. I imagine the writer was not really in tune with how radio and media actually operate. Oh well.”

• Paul McCarthy at MendocinoSportsPlus: “And we note there was not one mention of what passes for weekly newspapers in Mendocino & Fort Bragg.”

WE ALSO SOMEHOW OVERLOOKED the AVA’s own solid coast correspondent Malcolm Macdonald who certainly does a lot of local history and local reporting and consistently digs into stories behind the stories.

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ALBERTO THE TORCH. A street guy named Alberto Acosta was arrested last week for setting several fires in South Ukiah. Described initially as either an Indian or a Mexican with a pony tail, a flurry of on-line comment soon debated the suspect’s ethnicity on the basis of his hair style, several people arguing that the perp must be an Indian “because Mexicans don’t do pony tails.” Acosta is of Mexican descent. Bail was set at a million dollars for the penniless suspect.

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‘A JOG DOWN MEMORY LANE’ is former Mendo distance runner Jim Gibbons’ fast paced, fascinating personal history of running in 56 stand-alone stories that will hold the interest of current runners, former runners and even non-runners alike. Checking out on Amazon.com under the title. Please download onto Kindle Tablet, Phone or Ereader. It is anticipated that this will be available in print sometime this fall.

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RAINING DOWNTOWN WILLITS: Drama in the Sky

photo by Sara Mann

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ED NOTES

THAT TWO-HOUR power outage a week ago Monday has been attributed to a downed power line near the CalTrans yard at the north end of Boonville. Fortunately, no fire on a hot afternoon with a stiff breeze blowing in off the Pacific.

AND THIS MONDAY the 17th of August? The morning was overcast and muggy until 11:10am when lightning flashed, thunder rumbled and a heavy rain poured down for exactly 8 minutes, stopped, and resumed heavy at 11:35, stopped, started, stopped for good by 12:30. There was a reports of trees (plural) on fire from a lightning strike near the junction of Mountain House Road and 128, with both Boonville-based and Cloverdale firefighters responding.

AND the day thundered on with bursts of heavy rain falling in brief downpours. A Boonville man said the rain added up to a quarter inch at his place. Another man engaged in love drug production said rain in August won't hurt Mendocino County's number one export crop, "but would be catastrophic a month from now." Wine grapes? An Anderson Valley farmer put it this way: "This is just educated guesswork. I think that we haven't had enough rain to cause much damage, though I am less familiar with thin-skinned Pinot noir than I am with thicker skinned Zinfandel. One concern, if the grapes have not gone through veraison, is that they will mildew in this wet/humid environment. Veraison is when the grapes go from green to red. Once they are red they are impervious to mildew, though botritus (sp?) can then be a factor. Again, this hasn't been a lot of rain and I think things are probably drying out pretty quickly. For us up here, we harvest really late and we often get rained on late in the season (late Sept - early Nov); we know the grapes can handle some of that but if there's going to be several inches we then have to make a decision as to picking. I don't think this will do too much damage."

JILL BIDEN'S EX said today that Jill and Joe have lied about how they started dating, that they actually had an affair that broke up her first marriage with him, a fellow named Bill Stevenson. Stevenson claims he and his then-wife met Biden in 1972, when they worked on then-New Castle County Councilman Biden's first campaign for the Senate. At the time Biden was married to his first wife Neilia who died with their daughter Naomi in a car crash between the election and Biden taking his Senate seat. "Jill and I sat in the Bidens' kitchen," Stevenson said. "We worked on his campaign. I gave $10,900 to his first campaign - in cash." Stevenson said he first suspected Biden and Jill were having an affair in August 1974; He was then 26, Jill was 23 and Biden was 31. "One of her best friends told me she thought Joe and Jill were getting a little too close," Stevenson said. That October Stevenson got confirmation when a friend informed him that Biden was driving his wife's car and the two of them had goten into a fender bender. Stevenson said: "'I asked Jill to leave the house, which she did... I considered Joe a friend. I'm not surprised he fell in love with Jill."

BIG TWITTER DAY for Trump on Monday, as he denounced New York City mayor Bill de Blasio as "a communist fool who has destroyed New York" and recommended an anti-covid concoction made from oleander juice marketed by Ben Carson. That was a morning's work. Later in the day the president told a Minneapolis audience that "the pandemic is God testing me." Trump's Korean soul bro, Kim Jong-un, announced that dogs and household pets are now illegal because they represent bourgeosie decadence, besides which they're needed to make up the country's meat shortages. Shootings are up everywhere in our country as city real estate prices slump as the well-heeled move to the more secure 'burbs.

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FROM PEBS TRIPPET:

Good work.

Bruce - Your outstanding interview with Frank Cieciorka covers it all -- from activity in Dubois Clubs with Terence Hallinan to his iconic left-handed fist popularized in the '60s when our uprising for human rights and against the status quo was real -- the draft and a widening war, Black and Chicano community control, woman's right to control her own body, universal child care, marijuana freedom, equality and justice. Cieciorka touches on some of these issues from direct experience. I first got wind of him in the '70s-80s via his realistic sketches inside jail cells, as a weed defendant and artist. His excellence was obvious and we shared the same cause. Thru your interview, I get to visit all this experience again. Thank you.

Mark - Your piece called 'Imagine' is absolutely the best article on weed legalization I've ever seen. Please elaborate. Some visionary could 'imagine' a constitutional challenge, using your regulatory comparisons of weed and wine, to create an equal protection/due process case with a fighting chance in the courts. Despite your known bias against it, your concern here is fairness and giving weed a fiar shake to meet a dire financial need in the county. The title "Imagine" was Yoko Ono's gift to John Lennon for his hit tune where he got sole credit. Titles are the inspiration.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 17, 2020

Amezcua, Medina, Norbury, Palma

RODRIGO AMEZCUA-GONZALEZ, Ukiah. DUI, reckless driving.

RAUL MEDINA, Ukiah. Domestic battery. 

AARON NORBURY, Redwood Valley. DUI, evasioin, resisting, failure to install interlock.

AURA PALMA, Clearlake Oaks/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, misdemeanor hit&run.

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WALTER MITTY AT THE PLATE: Confessions of a Fantasy Baseball Hero

by Steve Heilig

Game tied, bottom of the ninth. Two runners on base, and any one of us scoring now means we win the whole enchilada. The pennant hangs in the balance. But I can't afford to even begin to think of that right now. The pitcher has been throwing hard and well and I've let a few go by, both balls and strikes. At his speed one has to make the decision to swing just as the ball leaves his hand, and hope for a best guess on what is coming and where it will pass. The crowd has been roaring like a pack of Blue Angel jets overhead but I've tuned that out, and it's just that windup, a short 90 feet away, and the white blur of the pitch, like a comet headed my way. Years of training and study and endless practice with both real pitchers and pitching machines, and it still comes down to this second, tuning out all distraction, blocking out everything but the incoming pitch, ignoring that dozens of colleagues are holding their breath and maybe millions of fans likewise; just focus and make that split-second decision.

He throws; everything goes silent; as if a gift, that rare but wonderful phenomenon where things slow down in a surreal slow-motion-type vision descends upon me and I see, for a split second, without a real thought, that he has perhaps misjudged a call from his catcher, maybe even slipped up a bit in his delivery, this is one I can probably hit, and I swing. The thwack of the wood hitting the ball is solid, loud, feels right as it vibrates down the bat to my hands. I know I connected hard as I drop the bat and begin a few steps towards first, looking up as the ball heads high and begins to descend. The sound in the stadium has reignited but I am still focused on that ball, seeing it go as high and far as I could hope, and glancing at my teammates out on the baselines, both halfway out between the bases, waiting to see if the ball is caught and they have to go back or can run like hell for the next bases, or maybe even home for the win.

There's a moment where all hangs in limbo and then we all see the fans' hands reaching up in the stands, the ball dropping into the stands, it's gone, that's it, we win, the roar is intense, I am rounding first as it sinks in what has just happened and then second as it becomes reality and then third as in a dream and coming home where a mob is gathering, everybody shouting and jumping with joy and I am about to be mobbed and even dog piled by all my big colleagues and I have no idea how to think of what and even about how I am really feeling right now, every inch of my skin is tingling and my hair standing on end and even now I can sense that I have never been and will never again be as intensely ecstatic as I am at this moment, and very few people ever have been so blessed as to feel like this anytime in history, amen.

All that really happened, more or less, years ago, but alas and of course it wasn't me out there at the plate, it was San Francisco Giant Travis Ishikawa, sending his team to the World Series against so many odds and expectations, including likely his own, as he'd just recently not even been on the field and barely on the team. But for a second there my mind slotted me into his place, and it was me hitting the homer and getting the glory. I admit it. And I expect - heck, I know - that countless other people, mostly men, had a similar experience of some kind, whether they admit it or not.

At that moment, more Americans, especially men of all ages, probably wanted to be Ishikawa than anybody else alive. It's not really envy, or any coherent wish, but a human fantasy reaction of "what must that feel like?," rooted in boyhood experience and dreaming, and then we come back from glory to reality and our lives, for better or worse. If it's for worse, it's the pathetic sorry sadness of fictional Walter Mitty, the would-be war hero/surgeon/assassin office worker, forever immortalized by James Thurber in a short story in 1939. But for most of us it's a harmless, even fun flight of fancy. So I admit it, I'm a Walter Mitty, sometime.

Not that I really have any regrets about my own long-gone baseball non-career. I had fun, in little league and in unofficial games. I was a decent enough player, given my small stature - a fast runner, decent hitter and fielder, usually playing third base or outfield. My accurate and fast throwing arm was probably my best feature, at least in the infield (very long throws from the far outfield were more difficult), and I'd even done some pitching. Some of my best pals were much better overall and I was never among the first chosen for teams, but wasn't shamed in that ruthless process either.

Then one year I unaccountably found myself on the All-Star team. Much later I wondered if my dad, a big shot in town, had given some money to the local league officials or something to help bring this about, but that was absurd - I think he was barely even aware I was playing, caught up in his own business and travels. My parents had never even come to see me play, which was fine by me - I would have been too self-conscious with them there. But somehow they found out I would be in the All-Star game - OK, I might have let that slip at dinner or something - and he was in town, so they showed up. I was at third as the game began. Playing third struck me as the most intense position after catcher and pitcher, and some called it the "hot corner" as the line drives from right-handed hitters would come at you so fast there it was almost like hitting pitches, but instead trying to catch them or at least knock them down and keep them in the infield. And it was a long throw diagonally across the diamond to first, often with no room for error or delay if the runner was halfway fast. In the All-Star game there were batters from all over the area we didn't know, so we were told to assume they were all hard-hitters and to play well back and ready. And the first guy up, one of the strangers, was indeed a big, tall guy.

The first pitch of the game came; I was crouched down, waiting, and he smacked it hard and a bit to my left, so I was able to hop over without too much of a stretch and grab it on one bounce, set myself for the throw, and fire it as hard as I could towards first. Everything went sort of white for a second and I barely heard a cheer, not knowing if the runner was out or safe over there. All I knew was that something was wrong in my body, mostly my throwing elbow, but really all over. I just stood there, stunned, feeling pain like I'd never felt radiate up and down from that spot. I must have stayed immobile for some time, as soon I noted that our pitcher was winding up again, and another batter was in the box, ready.

Mutely, I just turned right and walked over the base and towards the side of the field. Soon enough somebody noticed and yelled "What the heck are you doing?" I couldn't even reply. I just held my elbow in my glove and shook my head. It hurt too much to even cry (that would come soon enough). It turned out to be pulled ligaments, and that arm was in a sling for weeks, and that was the end of my baseball career. My parents got to see one pitch, one play. Thankfully, it turned out that runner was indeed out. No longer that into playing, as adolescence was coming on anyway, I did one stint as an umpire the next season. That was fascinating, but not so fun when friends gave me grief about calls they didn't agree with. What were worse, though, were the truly Mitty-ish dads, pathetically living through their embarrassed sons, who yelled and bullied me and made fun of my slightly-lengthening hair: "I didn't know GIRLS could umpire," taunted one sad case. I even forfeited one game when the players intentionally kept throwing their bats while smirking at me and I borrowed a tactic from major league player and broadcaster Joe Garagiola's famous book Baseball is a Funny Game: "If that bat hits the ground, your team loses." Power!

That caused a near-riot and soon after I was outta there, as it just wasn't worth the minimum wage and aggravation and paranoia - I had scary fantasies of angry dads waiting for me on the walk home after games. Maybe my big dad's reputation in town did save me there. In any event, from then on it was just random pickup hardball and softball games, as we moved through our teens and many of my cohort evolved into drug dealers, drunks, scammers and sailors, bringing cases of beer and other bottles and all manner of illegal substances to the games but still playing seriously and with skill. That all faded away too with time, as the nearby waves and other distractions became ever more compelling.

So nowadays, especially in these trying pandemic times, I just watch, sometimes, randomly, being, like many others in San Francisco, a fairly fair-weather fan. If I actually go to the lovely and ever more expensive and segregated waterfront park, the relentless blare of commercials and terrible songs - I mean, Journey? - and silly chatter over the overly-amplified loudspeakers mostly irritates me, as do many of my fellow fans with their ever-constant cameras and phones and blather. It seems anything resembling a quiet moment is a sin against capitalism and modern baseball, or something. On television, it's not much different, although one can control the volume if not in a dreaded "sports bar." The three TV and radio announcers - when I was a kid, there was only one guy announcing the Dodgers games, Vin Scully, and he was plenty - rattle off endless ridiculous statistical trivia, just because they can: "That was the sixteenth left-handed Hispanic hitter to swing at a low curve from a rookie right-hander in post-season game with two outs and a man on second and one relief pitcher warming up in the bullpen with ...." etc etc and so on, almost all of it silly and meaningless stuff, a curse of technology.

Either way, the commercials and sponsorships and so forth are in your face and hard to tune out. The players, far from being the loyal team we wish they were, are all super-highly paid businessmen raking in much more from the sponsors and others and ready to jump to the next higher-paying team at the drop of another million or so dollars. It's just the way it is now. And yet still I'll jump at any opportunity to show up and see it all happen, nonetheless. I mean, a man can dream,

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SHERIFF ALLMAN WITH SEIZED POT GROW GUNS

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Very near where I live are four small homes used as short term rentals in regular times. I think now some are being used longer term due to Covid. Recently I have noticed an elderly woman, somewhat frail looking on one of the big porch in the evenings, and now I see a man who appears likely to be her son joining her. I think the car with California plates is his, and they sit together on the porch. These four houses often have americans staying in them in the summer months for music festivals, etc. Always license plates from Washington State. I feel certain the woman has been brought here to protect her from exposure to Covid given her age. The border closed in March, but remained open to americans needing to get home to Alaska. They are not supposed to stop anywhere but go straight to Alaska. I don’t care if they’re breaking the rules. We’ll protect her at any cost. Circle the wagons.

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LONG BEACH, 1898

photo via Susie de Castro

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NO ONE GETS OUT OF THIS THING SOBER

The Official 2020 Democratic National Convention Drinking Game

by Matt Taibbi

Imagine a four-day Zoom meeting in which the likes of John Kasich, Michael Bloomberg, and Nancy Pelosi warn us for the fifty through sixty millionth times about the “existential threat” of Donald Trump, and one comes close to envisioning both hell on earth and what we’re all in for this week with the Democratic Party’s Biden/Harris virtual coronation.

The alternative is to start drinking early.

The 2020 DNC represents the culmination of one of the most exhausting, repetitive, and depressing primary races America has seen. It was extreme both by number of candidates – the official count seems to be 29 – and by sheer quantity of identical-sounding rhetoric. The race from the start was itself like a giant drinking game, in which candidates were rewarded in polls for delivering the most pleasing versions of oft-repeated terms like “kids in cages,” “fascist,” “white supremacy,” and “this is not who we are.”

The stretch run of the primary, a clash between centrist Joe Biden and reform-minded Bernie Sanders that ostensibly represented a serious ideological split within the party, essentially came down to a battle of talking points, i.e. “this president” versus “corporations.”

“This president” ended up winning, and the upcoming DNC will reflect the relentless Trump-centric strategy of the victors (the same strategy the party deployed four years ago). It will be light on policy and heavy on market-tested barbs about Trumpian perfidy. 

A year ago, we’d have been drinking most to terms like “Ukraine” or “rule of law”; this year, it’ll be “post office” and “birtherism” (take two shots for creative variations like “neo-birtherism” or “birtherism redux”).

One point makes me nervous. This convention could obliterate the boozing public with a single word, previewed in about a thousand headlines when Kamala Harris was named Biden’s running mate last week:

Trump re-election complicated by historic VP pick

MSNBC

Why Kamala Harris is a historic VP pick for Joe Biden

BBC News

My favorite:

Reese Witherspoon shares heartfelt story in wake of Kamala Harris’ historic VP selection

ABC News

Turn on your TV to CNN or MSNBC right now. The odds aren’t bad – I’d put them at 7-2 – that the word “historic” is in the chryon. You will hear this word five thousand times, at minimum, per day of convention coverage. Out of respect for human life, you’ll therefore be asked to drink to “history” or “historic” only when uttered by actual convention speakers. I hope readers understand, without it being included on the list, that any mention of “Malarkey” is an automatic drink.

To Substack subscribers who may not have signed up for this, I apologize. This reprisal of a Rolling Stone tradition won’t happen often, and I do have other content coming this week. A beer-based regime is recommended, as political drinking games tend to get out of hand quickly. Do not politics and drive. I’ll be on Twitter moderating the game beginning at 7 p.m.

For the first time, I’ll be experimenting with a Bingo version (see below).

Without further ado, drink EVERY TIME to:

“Post office,” or any variation thereof (i.e. “postal service” or “mailbox”). 

“George Floyd.”

“Soul of America.”

“History” or “Historic.” Drink only when uttered by a convention speaker.

Existential threat.”

This president.”

Let me be clear.” Double shot if what comes after is not clear.

Access,” as in “access to affordable health care” or “access to a good education.” You may drink twice if this comes in conjunction with an argument about “opportunity.” 

“Systemic,” “systematic,” “structural,” “fundamental,” or “fundamentally.” Double-shot if the words are uttered by someone who has never voted for or supported a systemic reform.

Someone speaks positively of a Clinton (h/t to @percandidate). 

“This is not who we are.” 

“Above the law.”

(Something something) Mitch McConnell, (something something) is a human right.

“Trump is (rehearsed witticism).” Also, “golf.”

Russia.

Birther.

(Attempts to speak Spanish)

Unity/civility.

“Uncharted waters.” Drunk rum if you have it here, and yell “Aargh” like a pirate (h/t to @C00LDad77).

“Democracy itself.”

Drink ONCE PER HOUR to:

“Racist,” or “Black Lives.”

“Lies.”

BONUS RULE: Drink every time someone blames Trump for coronavirus deaths. Make your own group judgment as to whether or not the blame is deserved.

WOKE MAD LIBS EXCEPTION: If an MSNBC commentator or a speaker uses any of the following terms, you may stop drinking for an hour to “reclaim” your sobriety: performative, white-adjacent, Latinx, decolonize, invisibilize, interrogate, normalize, privilege (as a verb), dismantle, erase, lived experience, heteronormative, habitus, cultural appropriation, essentialist, or trigger.

Genderfuck or melanated ends the game. 

For Bingo players:

I’ll tune in for the first and last nights of the convention only, and make MSNBC the official medium, updating with slightly tweaked rules for the Biden speech.

See you in hell.

* * *

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ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] The importance, or lack thereof, of good leadership is becoming painfully apparent in the current presidential race in the USA. The inability of the Democrats to find a credible candidate to oppose Pres. Trump exposes a deep lack of leadership ability within the Democratic Party. It should have been easy. Leaving aside his many personal flaws, simply running against Mr. Trump’s record would be a winning strategy for the Dems, if only they had good leadership within their party. Perhaps this is Mrs. Clinton’s final legacy/revenge. Having failed to get her elected to the position that she felt entitled to, Mrs. Clinton left behind a party bereft of any effective party leadership. Overall, the failure of the political elites in the USA to put forward credible candidates is a tragedy of historic significance. It will all end in tears.

[2] On a daily basis I now have to monitor my food supply. I’m always on the lookout to buy silver at the lowest premiums – they’re currently at 25-30% over spot, which is ridiculous. Ammo is real hard to get – it’s almost impossible to buy on-line, at least without constant monitoring, the way I used to have to check for good concert tickets at Ticketmaster when an on-sale started. We’re getting ripped off all the time. I mentioned before we have ice cream once a week; it’s on Wednesdays. We’re addicted to sugar and have to carefully monitor our intake, hence our strict adherence to dessert on Wednesdays, kind of like monitoring our gambling addiction and not going to the casino too often. It ain’t easy, but doable. That’s the price we have to pay to indulge ourselves a little. Anyway, we love Haagen Dasz ice cream. When we buy ice cream, we buy a pint – 16 ounces, Yesterday we went shopping for it. We saw the same pint package at the same price, but upon reading the label, we saw that it contained 14 ounces. If you didn’t look at the contents or didn’t know a pint is 16 ounces, you would never know. This is 12.5% inflation. Of course, the government says we only have 2.5-3% inflation, but that’s a lie. What burns me is the dishonesty. Instead of raising the price 12.5%, Pillsbury sneakily downsizes the amount and keeps the same price. Sleazy. You know, I’ll kind of be happy that the system will be crashing.

[3] No Trump is not Julius Caesar. He is King Lear. As a study on self pity, King Lear has no peer. “I am a man more sinned against than sinning.” Sound familiar. “No president has ever been treated this badly by the press in our history.” As a modern day King Lear, Trump must also have a tragic flaw. As JohnAZ said, election of a democrat government will result in catastrophe. I think we passed catastrophe many moons ago, but nevertheless Catastrophe has a very specific meaning, deriving from Aristotle. Paraphrasing him, the catastrophe is an element of a tragedy and comes directly from the hero’s realization of his or her tragic flaw. It represents the demise of that hero and those people around them, and it precipitates the conclusion of the tragedy. Literally, it means an “overturning”. We retain mainly this sense of it in contemporary usage. What is Trump’s tragic flaw? Like King Lear, self pity, but also hubris- the overreaching arrogance, the overburdening pride. Sure, all of those would work. Trump’s tragic flaw is his need for adulation. During the 2016 campaign it was his strong suit since networks covered them he spent a pittance on his campaign, almost got elected for free. Ahhh, but Karma is such a bitch. When Trump first heard of the highly contagious respiratory illness in China, his mind immediately went to his rallies. If this becomes a pandemic, no more adulation. When Paula Reid asked him what he had done with the month of February, he was busted. You could it all over his face. They’re going to find out. Normally his rallies were every month, sometimes every 2 weeks. But in the month of February 2020 he did 5 rallies, 6 if you include March 2, which is OK since his first February rally was not until February 10. 6 rallies in less than a month, so he could get his last fix, his last chance at adoring crowds. Inside that arena there are no bad polls, no pandemic, and no economic crisis. The enemies that surround him are nothing more than foils for his unsurpassed wit, there to be knocked down a few pegs with insightful put-downs while his supporters cheer their encouragement. In the arena, victory in November is assured, as is his acknowledgment by history as America’s greatest president. America has been made great again. If Trump could spend his every waking moment in that fantasyland, he would. But alas Fantasyland is over. And Americans are dying in droves because Donald Trump chose to spend his time being adored, rather than preparing for the greatest public health crisis in a century. Tulsa sealed the deal. The packed to the rafters, people cheering, mindless chanting, ocean of white faces is now gone forever. Without that, this job is no fun for Trump. Now the only reason he has to win is to get it back so he can have his mindless shit eaters once again cheering and adoring him. How pathetic is that?

[4] Full HazMat suits with respirators will be all the rage in 2021. And who knows, after the novelty of the virus wears off, perhaps we’ll go in for a radiological scare of some kind as we well? We’ll need dosimeters to measure day to day exposures along with some regularly scheduled internal biometric lab work. All payed for by the individual, of course. Available for low monthly payments now at your friendly neighborhood HazMart! Gonna be a lot of people begging for a bolt stunner to the head before this is all over with. No country for old men indeed!

* * *

MENDOCINO HIGH SCHOOLERS, 1907

* * *

MICHELLE MA BELLLLE

As I write, the universe awaits the manifestation of the One True Michelle to kick off this one true digital nominating convention which will crown the transformative candidates Joe and Whatsername, and Tom Steyer, California's populist billionaire, is on TV about how thrilled he is and how transformative this new administration will be, etc., telling me that "Steyer" rhymes with "liar," because he knows damn well our previous admin of the corporate lawyer (her) and the constitutional scholar (him) was a disappointment and fraud, in the best American tradition, and that's too bad because I thought I liked Tom--but what the hell, it's just politics, which means (now and always) organized mendacity, like Barack and Michelle. They were a spectacular organization until they grabbed the brass ring, after which it was only a holding action and longing for the death of President Mitch McConnell.

To interrupt this celebration with a cool shower of reality, all is not necessarily lost because whatever else they are, Biden and Harris are genuine political animals--"genuine" in that single, critical respect that they are magnificently changeable, keenly atuned to the direction of the popular wind, and if we hapless unimportant ones make a mighty wind telling them to be transformative or be gone, they will surely do the former because in the end the people rule, in Italy, in Rumania, in Germany, Libya, as we know when we contemplate the tattered corpses of the former leaders of those and many other countries where the bosses overstayed their welcome.

The people rule, in captive countries no less than free ones, and when they're fed up enough (or, actually, fed too little--of truth, fairness and food), they get restless and dangerous. 

Uneasy rest the heads that wear the crowns on accounta this, so, if we hold Joe and Kammie's feet close enough to the fire they might appoint good people, read good bills and (probably resisting every step of the way) oversee a tiny bit of actual transformation. 

It will not be enough. We will just approach the abyss a bit slower, but we will act as if a new day has dawned, not just the old day with a pinch of this and that added, and an awkward and painful jubilation will happen in January, painful because in our heart of hearts, which can see truth when the rest of our vision is impeded with trump and, ultimately, bidenish lies, in that sacred place that actually stirs to "sacred" when it sees it, we know it won't be enough to save us. 

We will not save ourselves. We have forgot what "hard" means and what it is to be that way and how essential is that trait at this moment in earth time.

I'll get back to the Biden-Harris report ASAP.

Mitch Clogg

* * *

UKIAH RAINBOWS

* * *

A WEEK OF WONDERS & MARVELS

by James Kunstler

Don’t the Democrats know that we can do better than mail-in voting? How about a national show of hands? Say, around four p.m. on Tuesday, November 3 — just after lunch for west coasters and after nappy-time back east? Ready, set… hands up (don’t shoot!). Or maybe just a voice vote: all in favor of blank, say aye…. Wouldn’t that be the most heartwarming moment since Michael Jackson led the all-star chorus of We Are the World?

I’m struggling to understand exactly how the Dems put over the idea that voter ID amounts to voter suppression. I suppose it’s just another instance of the old Joe Goebbels principle that says if you repeat a big lie enough times, people will take it for the truth. The nation used to be immune to these assaults on reason and decency so easily employed by despotic regimes in foreign lands because we were able to watch their insane antics at a comfortable remove. But now that the Dems have gone full Orwell here, you see how easy it really is to bamboozle the home-folks. War is Peace… Freedom is Slavery… Diversity is Uniformity…Vote early and often…and all that.

Traditionally, in New York State, one registers to vote. You sign a document and submit it to the local Board of Elections. This has long been regarded as a logical and necessary obligation of citizenship, like registering a car or a deed to property. On election day, you go into your polling place, and the volunteer officials open a big book of alphabetized names… and, voila, there you are, along with a record of your signature, going back all the elections you have lived in that voting district. You are who you claim to be, and you get to vote… once.

Through the eighteen four-year election cycles I’ve lived through, nobody objected to this until very recently, when the Democrats realized that the more than ten-million illegal immigrants they had jammed through the border could be enlisted in service to the Party’s elections. In states controlled by the Democrats, like California, it works like a charm to ensure one-party rule — and then one-party rule works like a charm to bankrupt and destroy the state in a feeding-frenzy of “entitlement” freebies. And now they seek to use the same method to destroy the nation as a whole.

In New York’s June 23 primary this year of corona virus, 21 percent of mail-in ballots in New York City were invalidated by the Board of Elections for arriving late, lacking a postmark, or a voter’s signature, 84,000 in all. Reminder: this is a country that used to send officials like former president Jimmy Carter around the world to instruct “less developed” peoples in how to hold a fair election. Perhaps Cameroon and Tajikistan can send some counselors to New York and North Carolina now.

The object of this new scam, apparently, is to so severely cripple the vote-counting process that the hopelessly botched election will be thrown into the House of Representatives, where a Democratic Party majority can see to producing the correct outcome. There are a few things possibly wrong with this game-plan. One is that the Democratic Party candidates might lose despite massive voting fraud, since most of the fraud will be perpetrated in states that are expected to go blue anyway, namely, California, New York, and New Jersey. A more ominous outcome might be that they will ignite Civil War 2 with this final of a long series of insults to common decency against their political rivals, most particularly the four-year seditious coup to overthrow the winner of the last national election: RussiaGate, MuellerGate, UkraineGate, et cetera.

Nancy Pelosi has called Congress back from its campaign recess, to convene next Saturday after her party’s nominating convention, to try to lay whatever groundwork she can to use the mail-in vote controversy to invalidate the election. This assumes that the Dems can get through their convention without some humiliating crack-up — for instance, if enough delegates break through the Emperor’s-New-Clothes wall-of-silence that has protected their mentally incapacitated putative nominee, Joe Biden, so far, and just…say…no.

Sometimes in US history, party conventions go their own way, despite the best-laid plans of party bosses. William Jennings Bryan, age 36, hijacked the 1896 Democratic nomination with his rousing “Cross of Gold” speech. In 1912, a fracas between the forces of incumbent President Taft and former President Teddy Roosevelt provoked TR to break away and run on a Progressive Party ticket. (Taft and Roosevelt split the vote and Woodrow Wilson was elected president.)

Such a brawl hasn’t happened lately, as the convention formalities ossified, and became a largely ceremonial confirmation of the primary election process. But the dodgy primary victory of Mr. Biden — especially the Super Tuesday vote that mysteriously elevated him from the crypt of loserdom to a triumph of the undead — was itself probably an act of DNC-sponsored voter fraud. And since that business was all seemingly settled, Mr. Biden has gone on to demonstrate a gift for falling on his face whenever they dared to trundle him out of his fabled basement.

And so today, the Democrats’ janky-ass Zoom national convention opens in Internet Nowheresville and Gawd knows what virtual shenanigans may be in store, since the stage is set for all manner of spoofish fakery. If it comes down to it, Mr. Biden’s acceptance speech is certain to be a marvel of pre-recorded post-production wizardry. They won’t dare allow him to do it live, al fresco. But they’ll have to tell the viewing audience that the speech was pre-recorded… and if they don’t, you can be certain the fact will come out pronto… and when it does, that may be enough to sink the fake candidacy of the old grifter from Scranton.

Meanwhile, what’s going on in the Clintons’ Chappaqua castle keep? Surely a lot of vodka guzzling, but what else? Are instructions emanating from there? Or threats? Rumor is that designated vice-president candidate, Ms. Harris, was installed at HRC’s insistence. Are we coming to that magic moment when She-Who-Will-Not-Be-Thwarted-Again kicks doddering old Joe to the curb and swoops into the top spot on an all-gal, women’s suffrage centennial edition, can’t-lose ticket? I can’t stand the suspense.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

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FOUND OBJECT

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