- Cool Morning
- Fire Watch
- 1103 Cases
- Coco Grange
- Complex Update
- Thomas Street
- Noyo Views
- Cliff Fatality
- Slaughterhouse Blues
- Garden Apprentice
- Gone Fishing
- Ed Notes
- Kimbler's Post
- Windstorm Memories
- No Work
- Yesterday's Catch
- Humboldt Five
- Coast Barn
- Dollar Donation
- Mendocino Shoreline
- Grey City
- Fingered Meat
- Golden West
- News Suppression
- Wastewater Pond
- Spy Rockers
- Radical Conservatives
- Sorkin Farce
- San Juan
- Bubble Wubble
- Mendolib Score
- Garberville March
- Black Cats
- Women's Rights
- Both Obese
- Scary Election
- Weak Knees
- Help Hunter
- Claim Victory
- Marco Radio
- Found Object
WARM AND DRY CONDITIONS are expected across interior portions of Northwest California through Friday. Meanwhile, along the coast, periods of marine stratus will yield locally cloudy and foggy conditions during the morning hours, which will be followed by clearing afternoon skies and mild temperatures. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Yorkville 94°, Ukiah 94°, Boonville 91°, Fort Bragg 69°
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUES NORTH BAY WILDFIRE WEATHER WATCH STARTING MONDAY
14 NEW COVID CASES in Mendocino County reported on Sunday. Total now up to 1103.
Apparently the target for the County to move into a less restrictive state tier is an aveage of not more than 7 cases a day for a week with a week lag, and Mendo is close to making that threshold as long as the numbers stay relatively low. If so Mendo would move into the “red tier” and some previously restricted gatherings would be allowed with the usual precautions. But 14 on Sunday, doesn’t help the current average.
MORE DRIVE-IN MOVIES at the AV GRANGE
Coming up this SATURDAY night Oct 24th: ‘COCO’
Rave reviews, beautifully animated with a message about bringing people together through music and family.
The movie starts at dark, weather report says it'll be pretty cool so bundle up.
Showing these movies has been a lot of fun and the Grange will continue to show movies as long as weather permits.
AUGUST COMPLEX UPDATE: SOUTH ZONE
WILLOWS, Calif. – October 19, 2020 – Very little heat was detected Sunday within the fire perimeter. One isolated area of heat was detected but was well interior and no threat to any containment lines. A Fire Weather Watch is predicted for Monday night through Wednesday for mainly the eastern portions of the fire.
Firefighters completed control lines in the Eel River area and are now mopping up in efforts to hold and secure those lines. Resources will be available in the event of an initial attack or a need arises in other areas within the fire perimeter.
WEATHER: Relative humidity is predicted to be in the teens with temperatures ranging from 70 to 90 degrees in the lower elevations. Stronger wind flows are prompting the call for the Fire Weather Watch, predominately for the eastern side of the fire.
EVACUATIONS: In Mendocino County, several zones remain in evacuation order and evacuation warning status. For the latest evacuation information status in the South Zone, visit tinyurl.com/MendoEvac for Mendocino County, tinyurl.com/LakeCoIncidentViewer for Lake County, and nixle.com/county/ca/glenn/ for Glenn County.
CLOSURES: Order No. 08-20-14 is in effect for the Mendocino National Forest. Private properties accessed via a Forest System road may require a permit from the USDA Forest Service. Please contact the Mendocino National Forest at 530-934-3316 for more information. Hunting and recreation are prohibited within the August Complex South Zone Fire Area Closure area. Safety hazards in the area include unstable trees that may fall, loose rocks and boulders, burning stumps; and deep ash pits.
FIRE RESTRICTIONS: Order No. 20-22 for the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region, including the Mendocino National Forest, has been extended to Oct 22. Smoking and building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove fire are currently prohibited. Portable lanterns or stoves using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel within a Developed Recreation Site are allowed. More info is available at https://go.usa.gov/x7qyk. One less spark means one less wildfire.
ASSIGNMENT: UKIAH - PITY POOR THOMAS STREET
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
Poor, neglected, semi-abandoned Thomas Street, Ukiah’s orphan among its byways, and perhaps the only road that looks up to admire such shining wonders as Clara Street, Marshall Avenue and Burlington Drive. Poor, sad Thomas Street.
You know it well, even if you’ve forgotten. Thomas Street is a couple hundred yards of a poorly paved stretch between South State Street and Cunningham Drive, 15 or so houses lined up on the north side. Across the narrow, shabby lane, on the south side, is a very vacant lot.
Only half Thomas Street includes homes. Across Thomas and including the vacant lot, is Burning Bridges, the new hangout headquarters for the assembly line of transients who roll into Ukiah to reap the benefits our city provides.
The burden these semi-welcome newcomers bring to town is mostly, and unfairly, borne by residents of Thomas Street. How would you like to stand in your front yard while roving bands of homeless gather and disperse all day every day 200 feet away?
Yet Thomas Street appears to be holding its own. Go see for yourself. Take a 30 second drive from one end to the other. Look to the north and what you’ll see is an almost lovely collection of single family homes that residents struggle to improve and be proud of. There are no broken windows, no sagging rooflines, no refrigerators stranded in the yard. Thomas Street succeeds against odds that challenge no other neighborhood in Ukiah.
The modest houses show plenty of pride and are continuously being worked on. We’ll cross our fingers and hope improvements continue and the little street’s trajectory is on a long upswing.
What it needs is a dose of help from the City. The lone piece of sidewalk, all 25 feet of it, is just dandy until it abruptly halts and drops off into the dust. The street itself has no painted centerline nor side striping. The narrow road is a scant two lanes with ragged edges and broken clumps of concrete that disappear into the dust or mud, depending on weather. It needed to be repaved 30 years ago.
I live on the fancy west side and over here everything but our front yards and living rooms were recently repaved in fresh, aromatic black asphalt.
Thomas Street remains drab and ignored. Ukiah can do better.
The real heroes
Saw an emblem recently featuring silhouettes of today’s heroes and it was the usual trio: A cop, a nurse and a firefighter.
Worthy of commendation of course, but please remember that cops, nurses and firefighters all signed up for dangerous work and tough assignments. It’s their job. They get special training, special equipment, lots of money and tons of public support.
Now think about grocery store cashiers. They probably see more of the unwashed public in an hour standing at a Safeway register than the average police officer sees in a week, or a fireman in a month.
Think of a work shift lasting many hours and consisting of an endless parade of strangers, some of them friendly, others occasionally clean and well-groomed, putting their hands and money into yours all at a distance of, at most, four feet.
The least we can do is say Thanks! and let ‘em all know we appreciate their work.
Wouldn’t it make good financial sense and excellent public relations for insurance companies to take major creative steps in dealing with wildfires?
Why not a consortium of the big insurers helping fund controlled burns in off-seasons, and buying fleets of planes and helicopters to battle the blazes when they strike? Makes more sense than to pay out tens (or hundreds) of millions a year to homeowners who suddenly don’t have homes.
Just do it
Look, I know wearing a mask in public infringes all over your rights, so if you want to wander six miles into National Forest Lands without a mask I’m with you. Exercise those rights, baby! Just don’t cough on a squirrel or kiss a spotted owl.
But here in town we are in altered circumstances. Your neighbors have to inhale your fumes, so wear a mask in stores and shops and restaurants. Especially restaurants. Think of this: No Shirt, No Shoes No Service.
Make sense? Now add “No Mask.” Especially in restaurants.
Nobody wants to look at your flabby gut and hairy armpits while they’re halfway through an omelet at Denny’s. So wear a shirt.
And honking around Applebee’s without a mask is also icky, and maybe even dangerous. So wear a mask. The public expects your cooperation and deserves your willingness to waive your right to sneeze into their sandwiches, at least during a pandemic. Thank you.
(Tom Hine is a former journalist and retired criminal defense investigator who lives in Ukiah with his imaginary friend and co-worker, Tommy Wayne Kramer.)
SHANE MCCARTHY STARTS MENDOCINOSPORTSPLUS NEWS SPINOFF:
It's hard to believe its already been a month. Even though I'm still working through things, I wanted to update you on the future of this page.
I decided MSP will not be carried on by myself or another, but be a memorial in itself of the work my dad did. I couldn't bring myself to systemically delete every conversation (one by one) that he had over this decade of the page which would need to be done If I where to share editor access.
So Instead, a new news-sharing page will carry on the legacy of what my dad started: https://www.facebook.com/MendocinoNewsPlus/
I've had a lot of help from volunteers getting this set up, but the page is still in its infancy, and it will take time for it to find its rhythm. It will grow and evolve and I'm sure there will be some growing pains, but my hope is this will become a great community resource for you, to help fill the absence of my dad's style of reporting.
There will be multiple editors covering different beats, as well as cross pollination with other news outlets to try and make this a great hub for breaking news involving the local community.
Please give it a like and a follow.
Again, thank you for all of your support.
PS. For those of you who have asked about contributing to Paul's memory a Paul McCarthy Scholarship Fund has been set up. This is something Paul would be very proud of. You can make a donation simply by clicking on Paul's photo. https://mendocino-club-cardinal-gear.company.site/Donate-Now-c55622479
FATALITY, VEHICLE GOES OVER CLIFF on Highway 1 Between Elk and Manchester
RD BEACON ON SATURDAY'S FATAL ACCIDENT on Highway One: As for latest update from accident scene woman mid 30s. She's 1144. This entry CHP bird out of Napa to do a short haul of the body. No word on who the hookup will be all of the vehicle. When will count change (caltrans) put in a guard rail? How many people that it die first?
Notes from a small farm south of Boonville…
We're still here. The smoke has mostly cleared (at least it no longer looks like this photo).
It's back up to 95º for several days so the fear of fire hasn't diminished. Our ponds have shrunk, our wells are slow and the water tanks are very low (we count drops used), the ground is cracked and dry, and the hills are completely brown. We're hanging on awaiting rain which has not come since May. It's very scary to think that it may be another dry year but we will adjust.
I know I've talked about slaughter/butcher issues before, but with the supply chain meltdown that's occurring right now, the problems have just multiplied. Our closest slaughterhouse, two hours from us, closed to private farmers (most of them in the North Bay from SF to Mendocino) to focus on their own business providing USDA meat to the public. This forced all small farmers (some of whom are not small by our standards - hundreds of cattle, sheep, poultry, etc.) to find alternative USDA slaughter facilities all of which are at least a four hour drive from us and the other farmers. We all raise grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free animals, a time consuming and expensive endeavor, and taking them on a long twisting road trip to slaughter ruins the meat — as with humans, the stress hormones tighten and toughen it, and our hard work is for naught. Pigs are especially sensitive to travel; they are structurally closest to humans.
So, the two pigs we had ready for harvest in August had nowhere to go. We booked a professional to shoot them and take them to the butcher shop where we had a delivery date. Then the fires came and he didn't show. We booked another time with him and again he didn't show, this time not even returning our calls and we never heard from him again.
As a result we lost our butchering appointment and had to scramble for another place. (Our first choice butcher is now booking into 2022!) We were lucky to find one; our next challenge was to find a shooter and a processor; butcher shops require the skin, guts, and feet be removed before accepting an animal. A neighbor stepped up to shoot them. (We have a photo of Steve and Juan taking "live" weight of one pig on our antique scale), and Aaron, our kitchen manager, Juan, our field boss, and I, expressed interest in gutting and skinning them. Another neighbor volunteered his deer skinning shed and offered to train us. He was the perfect teacher in the perfect place, but it was very hard work and not what we have time for in the future. Steve and I drove them to the butcher two days later and the meat is now in the freezer with a big "Not for Sale" sign on it because USDA requires both a USDA slaughter and an inspected butcher facility. We will continue to sell it off the farm, but will not sell it at farmers' market.
What we went through for two pigs is repeated on a much larger scale by all local meat producers, resulting in hugely higher prices, damaged meat, overbooked butcher shops with stressed workers, plus more pollution due to long drives. If people want to continue eating good local meat, none of the above makes any sense.
We suggest you check out a couple of political actions that address the difficulties and inequities in meat world: the Prime Act (HR 2859) which allows animals to be slaughtered at a non-USDA facility if that facility is regulated by the state, and a move to require the USDA to change its regulations so only meat raised in the USA can carry the label “Product of USA,” unlike today.
On our end, we have become Founders of a meat cooperative, North Bay Rancher's Co-op (BARC), which is in the process of fundraising to buy a slaughterhouse right now. (Contact Sarah Silva of BARC's Fundraising Committee <firstname.lastname@example.org> if you are interested in donating.) We will not be picking up new piglets to raise until we are assured there is a USDA slaughterhouse to take them to.
Nikki Auschnitt & Steve Krieg
Petite Teton Farm, Yorkville
GREENLEAF GARDENS SEEKS APPRENTICE
In need of an apprentice
Greenleaf Gardens would like an apprentice who would like to learn frugal, organic, sustainable, ecological gardening. Hands on, share the work and veggies, fruit, and some plants and supplies from garden and greenhouses. Must have a vehicle and be available at least one day a week -- any day convenient. Experience is not necessary, but being ready to learn and being strong and flexible (bending, digging, weeding, moving things, etc) is required. The same person or another person might be interested in coming occasionally to learn about and help preserving food; canning, freezing, drying, making sauces, dips, no sugar jams, etc. I am a lifelong college level teacher and workshop leader, so this will be a free workshop experience with food added in exchange for your work. If interested in either area, please email me about yourself and your goals in working/studying with me. Please forward to those who might be interested.
Thank you, Judith <email@example.com>
THE GODDESS KNOWS I'm no Pelosi fan, my basic attitude being a plague on both houses, and probably yours too, but as I understand the basic stimulus beef holding up the next round of mass help is that the Trumpers want it to include millions for the undeserving rich who got millions in the first round. Nance correctly wants all the money to go to the struggling, of whom there are thousands more everyday. Of course it's nauseating to watch the food-secure on both ends of this discussion continue to take their long weekends while the food-insecure line up for food relief, many of them with children. A new stimulus package deal must be reached by Tuesday if Congress is to get it done by Election Day. The amount they're arguing over, by the way, is between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion, every dollar of it faith based but cash-good until it isn't.
DISTRICT 2 SUPERVISOR CANDIDATE, Mari Rodin, has circulated an email, which says in part, “Last week I learned I have cancer. I do not know what the future holds. But for the time being - through Election Day - I must focus all of my energy on my treatment and recovery. I do not take this decision lightly. It pains me to step back just when our momentum is reaching its peak.” … “Due to a recent cancer diagnosis, I am away from the campaign, focusing on my treatment and recovery. A deep, heartfelt thank you to the many volunteers and supporters who are continuing on with campaign activities. I am truly honored by your support and confidence in me.”
THAT'S AN ODD STATEMENT from Mari Rodin, candidate for 2nd District supervisor. Ms. R announced that although she's suspending herself from her campaign because she's being treated for cancer but she wants her campaign to continue. But given that thousands of Mendolanders have already voted, and given that the choice between Ms. Rodin and Ms. Mulheren has nothing to do with the issues or being a supervisor, and given that both have served (Ms. M. is still serving) on the Ukiah City Council as their home town slides inexorably towards hell, the election becomes more like the issue-free one you might remember from the 5th grade: I'm voting for Mo because I like her bicycle. I'm voting for Mari because she's inviting me to her birthday party. Anybody who has had political authority for Ukiah over the past twenty years has a lot to answer for, but this being Mendocino County where no one is held responsible for anything, and you are whatever you say you are, and County government having achieved a perfect entropy… Whomever is elected Supervisor will make no difference whatsoever.
WE UNDERSTAND Mendolib's herd bulls, Joe Tame Man and the little fella managing Mari Rodin's campaign, are unhappy with the UDJ's coverage of Ms. R's announcement that her campaign goes on without her. How anybody, even a learning handicapped character like Tame Man, can misread Ms. Rodin's withdrawal statement is beyond me, but Mendolib seems especially frantic to get their gal, dead or alive, onto the Board of Supervisors to go along with their guys Silent Dan Gjerde, Glen McGourty (presumed victor in the 1st District), and John Haschak. No idea where Ted Williams stands in the Mendolib cosmology, but he seems to elude their dead hand, fortunately for Mendo.
WAY BACK when there were still honest liberals, the Northcoast was represented by the Kennedy-esque, Clem Miller who died in a plane crash while campaigning for another term. Miller's opponent in that election was the Republican, Don Clausen who managed to lose to Miller although Miller was dead. Clausen stayed in office for years.
WOW! One seven-day week after County Clerk Bartolomie mailed out ballots, she announced last week that some 8,000 of them are already back to her, signed, sealed and delivered, which she says is more than 10 times higher than in past years. “Normally at this point, we would have received about 700,” she said.
MENDO LANDSLIDE for Biden, or Trumpers voting for the first time? The post-election breakdown of the Mendo vote is going to be interesting. Outside Mendo, election results seem likely to be downright thrilling.
UKIAH CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE TAKES FLAK FOR TRUMPISH FACEBOOK POST
Ed note: Ms. Kimbler's post has inland liberals reaching for their smelling salts, but a careful, perhaps overly generous interpretation of the candidate's views as expressed here (1) merely speculate on the Breonna Taylor event prior to the complete airing of the evidence which, hopefully, will ultimately inform the world as to what actually happened, and (2) the candidate expresses a common view among liberal and conservative Americans unhappy with the violent parts of MLB demonstrations. No big deal and, coming from a local candidate for public office, kinda refreshing.
GEORGE HOLLISTER WRITES: I remember the 1962 wind event. It blew over whole rows of windbreak trees, and buildings on the coast. I remember we had a 50 foot section of picket fence that was blown out of the ground, in tact, and moved about 50 feet before is lay on the ground. There were boulders on Heeser Drive as a result of the giant waves that broke over the bluffs and on to the road. There is a good story from the people manning the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, too. Our power was out in Comptche for a long time, it must have been weeks. Telephone service was knocked out as well. I was eight, and I remember there was no generator, and we kept perishable food in an ice chest. The ice must have come from Safeway in Fort Bragg. I don’t remember. There was an old cabin with a wood cookstove that we cooked on. Most of what we ate came from a can. Kerosine lamps were used for lighting. We continued to go to school, despite there being no electricity in either the Comptche School, or at Mendocino High.
It is worth noting the 1964 flood event, too. What it did to the Eel River should be a lesson to all who think that watershed can have long term structures placed in it or over it. Logging had nothing to do with what happened. What happened to the Eel is inherent.
‘THERE IS NO WORK’: Undocumented Sonoma County farmworkers left in despair
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 18, 2020
MICHELA CAMPBELL, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
JOSE CISNEROS-TOPETE, Santa Clara/Ukiah. DUI.
NOEL HOWSHALL, Ukiah. Taking vehicle withiout owner’s consent.
WAYLON KEETER, Efland, North Carolina/Ukiah. Fugitive from justice.
THOMAS MADDOX, Willits. Domestic battery, DUI, suspended license, probation revocation.
SHAYLENE MARRUFO, Santa Rosa/Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
ANDREW MAYNARD, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
JAMES MILES, Ukiah. Arson of property, arson during an emergency, parole violation.
DARIN SCOTT, Willits. Controlled substance for sale.
JACOB SELLMER, Ukiah. Arson of property, arson during emergency.
JOHN VANNOTE, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, protective order violation, probation revocation.
MIGUEL VELAZQUEZ-GARCIA, Covelo. Assault weapon.
POPULAR TRUE-CRIME SHOW EXAMINING HUMBOLDT CASES
A popular true-crime podcast called The Murder Squad has been examining select local cases of missing women, known as the “Humboldt Five.”
“Billy and Paul begin their look into the Humboldt Five with this first part of a two part series,” reads the synopsis for their October 12 episode. “They delve into the missing person cases of Jennifer Wilmer, Karen Mitchell, and Christine Walters. Each young woman disappeared near Humboldt County and hasn’t been seen again. The circumstances swirl around the California Redwoods, marijuana, the Grateful Dead, and an infamous potential serial killer.”
A DOLLAR FOR TOMMY WAYNE
To the Editor:
I’d like to give a big thanks to Tommy Wayne Kramer for his eye-opening statement about homelessness expressed in his last Sunday column. While he has clearly demonstrated a total lack of understanding about why we have homeless issues at the federal, state, county and local levels and he has not previously given us even the slightest hint of how he would deal with these issues, he has brought an interesting idea to the discussion. In a simple minded paragraph in that column he has reminded us of the good old days when we could hand a quarter to a street beggar and presumably solve their problems. Tommy pointed out how much cheaper that was than today’s efforts by non-profits.
By honoring his approach I will donate a dollar, to account for inflation, to Tommy to give to that poor beggar so they can solve their homeless problem forever. Tommy should be willing to do this even though it will take some buzz out of his future columns. He may have to resort to the humor that occasionally seems to occur to him.
— Mike Pallesen, Ukiah
THOUGH THE DARK BE COLD AND BLIND
Yet her sea-fog’s touch is kind
And her mightier caress
Is joy and the pain thereof;
And great is thy tenderness,
O cool, grey city of love!
— George Sterling
THE DIRT in the Hôtel X, as soon as one penetrated into the service quarters, was revolting. Our cafeteria had year-old filth in all the dark corners, and the bread-bin was infested with cockroaches. Once I suggested killing these beasts to Mario. “Why kill the poor animals?” he said reproachfully. The others laughed when I wanted to wash my hands before touching the butter. Yet we were clean where we recognized cleanliness as part of the boulot. We scrubbed the tables and polished the brasswork regularly, because we had orders to do that; but we had no orders to be genuinely clean, and in any case we had no time for it. We were simply carrying out our duties; and as our first duty was punctuality, we saved time by being dirty.
In the kitchen the dirt was worse. It is not a figure of speech, it is a mere statement of fact to say that a French cook will spit in the soup—that is, if he is not going to drink it himself. He is an artist, but his art is not cleanliness. To a certain extent he is even dirty because he is an artist, for food, to look smart, needs dirty treatment. When a steak, for instance, is brought up for the head cook’s inspection, he does not handle it with a fork. He picks it up in his fingers and slaps it down, runs his thumb round the dish and licks it to taste the gravy, runs it round and licks again, then steps back and contemplates the piece of meat like an artist judging a picture, then presses it lovingly into place with his fat, pink fingers, every one of which he has licked a hundred times that morning. When he is satisfied, he takes a cloth and wipes his fingerprints from the dish, and hands it to the waiter. And the waiter, of course, dips his fingers into the gravy—his nasty, greasy fingers which he is for ever running through his brilliantined hair. Whenever one pays more than, say, ten francs for a dish of meat in Paris, one may be certain that it has been fingered in this manner. In very cheap restaurants it is different; there, the same trouble is not taken over the food, and it is just forked out of the pan and flung on to a plate, without handling. Roughly speaking, the more one pays for food, the more sweat and spittle one is obliged to eat with it.
— George Orwell, ‘Down and Out in Paris and London,’ 1933
FACEBOOK AND TWITTER CROSS A LINE Far More Dangerous Than What They Censor
Just weeks before the election, the tech giants unite to block access to incriminating reporting about their preferred candidate.
LAR LIVERMORE: ¡Los tres amigos de Spy Rock!
Spy Rock in the 1980s was a very remote and special place, and no more than a couple hundred people lived there, if that. So it's all the more remarkable that at least three Spy Rockers would go on to make a name for themselves in the wider world. There's Tre Cool; most of you have heard of him. And Larry Livermore, of course.
Then there's award-winning artist/cartoonist Gabrielle Bell, who in addition to having half a dozen books of her own and being a superstar in the world of comics, drew the incredibly beautiful cover art for Spy Rock Memories.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
To the Editor:
Trustworthy people tell us that Amy Coney Barrett is smart and nice, as if that decides the question whether she should be made a Supreme Court justice.
But the court has had plenty of smart, nice members who were terrible justices, just as there have been great justices who were neither. What the Supreme Court requires is good judgment and a sense of justice, neither of which is particularly correlated to being loved by friends or to loving one's family.
We don't know much about Judge Barrett's judgment or sense of justice, and she did her best at her confirmation hearings to keep it that way.
What we do know is that she has been aggressively promoted by radical movement conservatives and that she was chosen by a president who has dedicated himself to putting such conservatives on the court.
To think she is anything other than a radical movement conservative assumes that the people who have promoted her are incompetent in advancing their agenda. And whatever one may think of them or their agenda, they have been anything but incompetent in advancing it.
Can we at least stop pretending that there's any question about what she'll do on the court?
(Ed note: The writer is president of the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation and former dean of Stanford Law School.)
TRAGEDY OR FARCE?
Refections on Aaron Sorkin’s ‘Trial of the Chicago 7’
by Jonah Raskin
Do all world historical facts and personage occur twice? The first time as tragedy, the second as farce? Marx apparently thought so. His often quoted comment on that subject appears in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. It’s the best part of that book, though there’s also a terrific description of Parisian bohemia and bohemians. Marx didn’t care for it and them, though the German police described him in their reports as a “bohemian.” After all, he was bearded, stayed at home with the family and wrote.
I thought about Marx’s comment after I saw Aaron Sorkin’s recreation of the Chicago 7 trial, now a movie on Netflix. I watched it on the screen of my desktop. I wasn’t entertained and wasn’t looking for entertainment. Sorkin and the folks at Netflix would like us to think that 1968 and 2020 are mirror images of one another. That’s one of the ways they’re trying to market the film. At the same time, Bobby Seale, Rennie Davis and Judy Gumbo are trying to use the occasion of the film to generate protests here and now. All power to them and all power to the people, as the Panthers used to say, but there must be more effective ways of getting folks into the streets now. I’m all in favor of discussion of the film and how it does or doesn’t accurately reflect those times when the Vietnam War was at its height, and Vietnamese and Americans were dying on battlefields that were close to home for the Vietnamese and far away for the Americans.
I’ve read articles that say that 2020 is not only a repeat of 1968, but also a repeat of 1820 and 1920. Some of those articles are entertaining. I think that more than anything they reflect a widespread feeling of confusion among citizens and voters who don’t see familiar signposts. Perhaps Sorkin’s movie will help them. But maybe not. The U.S. government seems to have given up, for the time being at least, on big show trials like the Trial of the Chicago 8, as it was originally called and then changed to the Chicago 7 when Seale was cut loose from the other defendants.
I would have been more inclined to like a movie about the Chicago 8—it will always be the 8 for me—if Sorkin had turned it into a musical comedy, with singing and dancing, somewhat like Mel Brooks’ Springtime for Hitler. The trial was a total farce, though the chaining and gaging of Bobby Seale in the courtroom was a moral outrage and a disgrace. Seale played it to the limit and got huge mileage from it. Abbie and Jerry treated it as blatant farce. So did Dave Dellinger who spoke an obscenity in the courtroom, though The New York Times reported that he uttered “a barnyard epithet.” Now nearly everyone says “shit” and “fuck,” even the First Lady. It’s another world we live in. If Sorkin had made his movie 50 years ago it might have made a difference politically and culturally. In 2020 it seems too little and too late. Nice try Sorkin. You might go back to the West Wing and give us your recreation of Trump in the White House. That might have had some bite.
(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.)
NBA BUBBLE POSTMORTEM
by Dave Zirin
The smoke has cleared. The confetti has been swept away. The Los Angeles Lakers are the 2020 NBA Champions and the Seattle Storm are the WNBA Champions. LeBron James and Breanna Stewart are right where they are supposed to be: at the apex of their respective sports.
Somehow all that was done in a hermetically sealed, Covid-free Disney Bubble (or “Wubble” in WNBA parlance) in Orlando, Fla. There were highlight-worthy moments, fantastic finishes, stirring comebacks, and a number of players who made “the leap” in public consciousness to another level of stardom by the way they played. In other words, the Bubble was the site of a legitimate NBA and WNBA season, no asterisk required.
The teams also did it without a single positive Covid test, something the NFL is currently learning is easier said than done. This is a tribute to the professionalism of the players and behind-the-scenes employees, who were separated from families, friends, and loved ones for months as a precondition to eking out the 2020 season. They had to summon the will to play their best in circumstances alien to their professional existence. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who heard that there would be games in Orlando in front of no live fans, and assumed it wouldn’t look like serious NBA ball. I was very wrong.
But there is another question when assessing the Bubble: that is whether it was the correct decision politically for the players to enter this space and play ball in the first place. From the moment NBA Commissioner Adam Silver posed this idea, he was met with reasons why they shouldn’t do it. First, it was people like former NBA coach George Karl who thought that the entire schedule should be canceled—with no champion crowned—rather than play a distorted version of it in Orlando. He tweeted last May, “I think it’s time to call the NBA season. Honors the game better. We stay on a more regular schedule and we can come back healthy and strong next season!”
Several players with preexisting health issues also bowed out, believing the risk factor to be greater than any reward. But the greatest obstacle to the Bubble was when All-Star Kyrie Irving made an argument that playing would be a distraction and a disservice to the mass movements in the streets following the police murder of George Floyd. Irving, who is not just a top player but also a player’s union vice president, almost derailed the entire operation with an argument that connected with a wide swath of players. After Irving made his case, a “widely respected player” said to ESPN, “Once we start playing basketball again, the news will turn from systemic racism to who did what in the game last night. It’s a crucial time for us to be able to play and blend that and impact what’s happening in our communities. We are asking ourselves, ‘Where and how can we make the biggest impact?’ Mental health is part of the discussion too, and how we handle all of that in a bubble.”
Irving’s argument, however persuasive, did not carry the day because players like LeBron James and union President Chris Paul argued that they could do more to raise awareness about racial inequity if they played: That way, they could maintain their platform and keep the spotlight in the event that actions in the street needed to be amplified. To help aid the “LeBron position,” Adam Silver and the NBA added Black Lives Matter to the court, allowed players to choose from a prearranged selection of slogans to put on their uniforms, and incorporated “get out the vote” messaging.. This uneasy combination of protest and commerce cracked after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. George Hill of the Milwaukee Bucks said in frustration, “We shouldn’t have even came to this damn place, to be honest.” That frustration led to the Bucks going on strike for racial justice. This led, of course, to a cascade of strikes across the sports landscape against police violence. It also added to the imagination, the idea that labor could play a role in the fight for Black lives. We also need to remember that the players through their strikes re-centered the national discussion on the shooting of Jacob Blake at a moment when the RNC was trying to recast the summer protests as the actions of a small group of traveling Antifa anarchists and not the mass actions of multi-racial masses in all 50 states fed up with racist police violence.
The question that will now hang over the entire episode is whether it was worth doing. The answer to this really starts with understanding that athletes historically are less leaders in the fight for social justice than they are amplifiers of the struggles already taking place in the streets. It is exceptionally rare for an athlete to speak out in a vacuum. Instead, it is the streets, the campuses, and the workplaces that launch social revolt. Athletes can then play a critical role of projecting these messages from the grass roots across the cultural landscape as well as getting these ideas in front of the masses of depoliticized white sports fans. This is why the athlete’s political platform is so heavily policed by Trump, Fox News, and sports franchise owners.
It recalls the time Muhammad Ali had his title stripped away following his resistance to the Vietnam War draft and former champion Floyd Patterson wrote in Esquire, “The prizefighter in America is not supposed to shoot off his mouth about politics, particularly when his views oppose the Government’s and might influence many among the working classes who follow boxing. The prizefighter is considered by most people to be merely a tough, insensitive man, a dumb half-naked entertainer wearing a muzzled mouthpiece.”
Athletes are no longer muzzled, and it will be very difficult for the powers that be in sports to put this particular genie back in the bottle. They are feeling their power, and the NBA has led this movement away from silence during a time of profound crisis. Politically, the bubble popped, and our politics are better for it.
MENDOLIB REPORT CARD (Mostly F's, a C or two)
RE SATURDAY'S WOMEN'S MARCH IN GARBERVILLE, an on-line comment:
Garberville is no place to demonstrate that you want abortion legal, and, your local Healthcare organization, SHCHD, is strictly opposed to allowing or providing reproductive freedom, women’s health, or (don’t say the word) abortion.
SHCHD hates women, oddly, because SHCHD preferentially hires women, since women accept more abuse and will work for less money. SHCHD lacks diversity in hiring, discriminates against men, elders, persons of color, and persons with experience.
SHCHD in particular, and Garberville in general, regards women as a cheap labor source, a captive audience of patients, and, second class citizens.
Joe Biden and Donald Trump both feel that women are a convenience, that women’s bodies are for the pleasure of men, and that women are breeding animals, with few rights.
Both candidates would be happy to take away women’s right to vote, women’s right to reproductive freedom and reproductive health, and, in Garberville, men would prefer you barefoot and pregnant, bound and gagged.
Nice effort, by local women. I wonder if they fully understand the environment they are protesting, the situation that Humboldt County women exist within. I would have expected massive protest against Amy Barrett’s ascension to the Supreme Court, which I regard as a huge deception, and a definite step towards taking away women’s rights.
Women are witnessing the repeal of Feminism, the withdrawal of women’s rights and reproductive freedom, by a very screwed up President! Don’t start thinking that Biden is any better, since he is also a proven abuser of women…
TOLERANCE OR BIGOTRY
by Laura Beers
Two years ago, I wrote about my decision to have an abortion in the London Review of Books. It was the most difficult decision I’ve ever made, and the most difficult piece I’ve ever written. Abortion is a common procedure. An estimated one in three British women and one in four American women will have an abortion by the time they’re 45, yet most women who have terminated a pregnancy keep their decision secret, driven often by a sense of guilt and shame. I would not have shared the story of my own abortion but for the threat posed to abortion rights by the Trump administration’s nomination and ultimate confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who had previously argued in a dissenting opinion in the DC Court of Appeals that a young woman did not have a right to ‘abortion on demand’, and that the majority had ignored the government’s ‘permissible interests in favouring foetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion’.
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee made a number of statements in the confirmation hearings of Trump’s third appointee to the US Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett. The Democratic senators highlighted the threat to the Affordable Care Act if Barrett is confirmed, hammering home that the court is scheduled to hear Texas v. California on 10 November, a week after the presidential election. The case could invalidate the ACA, automatically removing the protections for patients with pre-existing medical conditions; the prohibitions on charging women more than men, and on life-time caps on reimbursement for medical bills; and the mandate to provide contraceptive coverage to women. Senator Patrick Leahy shared the stories of two of his constituents, both women, who had benefited from the ACA. Real women’s health and safety, he argued, would suffer from Barrett’s confirmation.
Neither Leahy nor any of his colleagues emphasised that real women’s health and safety would also be harmed by the overturning of Roe v. Wade were Barrett to be confirmed. Democratic senators made two lone references to reproductive rights: Richard Blumenthal highlighted the threat to ‘a woman’s right to decide when and how to have a family’ were Barrett to be confirmed, and Sheldon Whitehouse made a brief reference to the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s role in defending “women’s reproductive rights” in her dissenting decision in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007). ‘Legal challenges to undue restrictions on abortion procedures,’ Ginsburg wrote, “do not seek to vindicate some generalized notion of privacy; rather, they center on a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature.”
Abortion rights are women’s rights. And opinion polling shows that the majority of Americans support those rights, or at least support maintaining the right to abortion enshrined in Roe v. Wade. Yet Barrett has been unambiguous about her belief that the court overreached in Roe, putting those views in writing in 2006, 2013 and 2016. In recent weeks, the Trump administration has been coy about whether Barrett’s confirmation would lead to Roe being overturned. In the first presidential debate, Trump denied that Roe ‘was on the table’, and Pence claimed in the vice presidential debate that he could not presume to know how Barrett would rule in a case revisiting Roe. On the campaign trail in 2016, however, Trump asserted that his ‘judges will be pro-life’, and there is no reason to think Barrett would not make good on this pledge.
Why aren’t Democratic senators making more of Barrett’s views on reproductive rights? As with so much else in American politics, the answer lies in the country’s historically ambiguous relationship with religion. The US Constitution enshrines the separation of church and state, yet religion plays an outsize role in American politics. Any judicial decision Barrett may take on abortion would doubtless be framed in non-religious language, but it is clear her views are largely informed by her Catholicism. ‘The dogma lives loudly within you,’ the Democratic senator Diane Feinstein said when Barrett was up for confirmation to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017.
The Republican members of the Judiciary Committee made much of the idea that, in questioning whether Barrett’s faith will affect her decisions, the Democrats are attacking “religious liberty.” Ben Sasse, Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley all hammered hard at this point, with Hawley suggesting that his Democratic colleagues were trying to “bring back the days of the religious test” for Catholics. Joe Biden has fallen into the trap. “No one’s faith should be questioned,” he said after the first day of hearings. “Let’s keep our eye on the ball. This is about whether or not in one month Americans are going to lose their health insurance.”
Probing Barrett on whether she would seek to shape the laws that govern all Americans – Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists and everyone else – in accordance with her personal religious beliefs is not bigotry, it is tolerance. Biden is a practicing Catholic. If elected, he would be only the second Catholic to sit in the Oval Office. In all probability, he would not have wanted his wife or daughters to have an abortion. Yet he has never sought to impose his personal faith and convictions on the women of America, because he respects the separation of church and state.
The Catholic Church opposes abortion, even in cases where the fetus is fatally ill, as Pope Francis reiterated last year. Yet he has also gone farther than any of his predecessors in extending forgiveness to those who have had an abortion. I am a Catholic. I talked at length with my priest as I struggled with the decision to terminate my pregnancy. I cried as I confessed my abortion, and asked for and received absolution after the fact. My faith was central to my personal struggle about my own reproductive choice. No part of me thinks that my religious beliefs should have any impact on another woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
One of the biggest factors other than very old age is obesity. People who are obese tend to get much sicker at any age than others unless you have kidney disease or heart disease. I am 71 and have 25% lung capacity and asthma. The first time I got it was in February and didn’t realize it was covid until about a week later when the pandemic response team was in front of my building. I had all the symptoms but I was barely sick. I had very mild symptoms. I am just getting over it for the second time because I have so much trouble wearing a mask that I keep having to pull it off. The second time I got it was milder than the first time. My doctor has had me on Vitamin D and aspirin for a few years but both doctors stressed both Vitamin D and especially aspirin for Covid because this is not a lung disease it is a vascular disease. We don’t know whether this has long term effects. Herpes and Aids stay in your body. Everyone should be taking vitamin D and aspirin. People who are obese should be very careful about wearing masks and social distancing. Look what happened in the rose garden. Lots of people tested positive but the only two that had to go to the hospital were Trump and Cristy. both obese. And because of who they are they got the best medical care available.
WINE YUPPIES & WEAK KNEES
One of the reasons we are having so many fires around is all the overstory of foliage in different places, like the national forests and where ranches used to be but are not anymore. The winery yuppies coming up here from the Bay Area have bought most of it up. They refuse to have any livestock. So the grass grows up to 4 feet high and nobody is out wandering in the countryside to make sure things are OK. Then you have a fire start and the wind might be blowing which we have no control over and you end up with a hell of a fire. It's happening all over California. No land management, no controlled burning, no nothing. It's going to get worse and worse. If you think 400 million burned acres is a lot, wait till next year, or even this year yet. We still have the rest of October and November.
If we let a weak kneed politician like Joe Biden get in for president, this country is done for. The Liberals will take over and there will be no more peaceful days in the United States because they will ruin everything we have built for them in the last 150 years. All down the drain.
Joe Biden has always been a weak kneed politician. Donald Trump is a strong man with the right ideas for the United States. He's done so much in four years with all this opposition from liberals. It's amazing what he's accomplished. We need him for four more years.
God bless Donald Trump
TRUMP'S EMINENCE GRISÉ
One of President Trump's most loyal propagandists is predicting that Trump will claim victory on election night as soon as he is ahead among Election Day voters. But that scenario is based on a misconception of how all ballots are counted and the early returns are compiled, according to election and legal experts.
HOPE AND CRINGE
The recording of last night's wily, suspicious (2020-10-16) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg is right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0406
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:
We had this building technology in the year 1357. Why aren’t we living in cities in space by now? https://tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com/2020/10/building-bridge-in-14th-century-prague.html
This magician apparently lives in a place where people are terrified of magic. I’m afraid someone might punch him, or hurt themselves by running away out into the street without looking both ways first. https://www.bitsandpieces.us/2020/10/14/a-little-bit-of-magic/
And if you’ve ever rented an electric-start 12-hp ditch-witch to save you having to dig a few measly yards of ditch to put pipes or cable conduit in the ground, and then it was all so hard, reading the instructions, driving it off the trailer, steering it along the path, hosing it off, putting it back on the trailer and driving it all the way back to the rental place and feeling tired and satisfied with a job well done, compare yourself to this woman whose physical body is a real-life gas-powered shovelhammer and who could probably casually pull your arms off like a boiled chicken. https://theawesomer.com/building-an-underground-house-from-scratch/593570/
— Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com