Drying Up | 24 Cases | Who Dat? | Pet Dewey | Tree Carving | Judge Brennan | Marijuana Problems | Dyerville Bridge | The Slab | First Car | Covid Volunteering | Sandstone Cliffs | Ed Notes | Camp Cheerio | DSK Case | Yesterday's Catch | Conspiracy Theories | Noyo Bridge | Feral Visitors | Big Lagoon | Jared's Vaccinated | Human Ramp | Blanket Closures | Doggie Diner | English Treacle | Plastic Wrap | Rogue Wave | All Together | Relict Trees | Hypocrite Politicians | Left Losing | Marco Radio | Lockdown Shopping
COASTAL AREAS will continue to experience mostly cloudy skies and bouts of drizzle through Monday while interior areas remain dry. A weak to moderate front will move across the north counties late Monday. This feature will be accompanied by light rain for mainly areas north of highway 36. High pressure will then build Tuesday through midweek promoting a period of dry weather across northwest CA. (NWS)
24 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Saturday, bringing the total to 2183.
BACK ON NOVEMBER 30 we reported the following rates of Coronavirus infection for Mendocino County:
- Ukiah Area: 1 of every 33 residents had tested positive.
- North County: 1 of every 106 residents had tested positive.
- North Coast: 1 of every 117 residents had tested positive.
- South County: 1 of every 123 residents had tested positive.
- South Coast: 1 of every 256 residents had tested positive.
TODAY, DECEMBER 20, the ratios look like this...
- Ukiah Area: 1 in 25 residents has tested positive.
- North County: 1 in 63 residents has tested positive.
- North Coast: 1 in 77 residents has tested positive.
- South County: 1 in 93 residents has tested positive.
- South Coast: 1 in 128 residents has tested positive.
THE LARGEST RATIO INCREASES over the past three weeks have been on the South Coast, which doubled from 30 to 60 cases, and North County, where cases rose from 178 to 301.
Note: for Coronavirus reporting, Mendocino County is divided into the following five regions:
- Ukiah Area (Ukiah, Talmage, Calpella, Redwood Valley, Potter Valley)
- North County (Willits, Brooktrails, Laytonville, Covelo, Dos Rios, Leggett, Piercy)
- North Coast (Caspar, Fort Bragg, Cleone, Newport, Westport, Rockport)
- South County (Comptche, Philo, Boonville, Yorkville, Hopland)
- South Coast (Mendocino, Little River, Albion, Elk, Manchester, Point Arena, Anchor Bay, Gualala)
THE FORT BRAGG POLICE DEPARTMENT is seeking assistance in identifying the female in the attached photo. Any information related to her identity may forwarded to Sergeant O'Neal at firstname.lastname@example.org or to (707) 961-2800 ext. 167.
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Dewey is a mellow dog who enjoys the company of people. He came to the shelter with an old front leg injury, and we are working on his treatment plan. Although Dewey gets around just fine, he will not be a jogging partner. A home with a back yard for him to relax in would be sweet. Keeping Dewey at a healthy weight will also be important. We think Dewey will do well in a home with children. Dewey is a 1 year old German Shepherd Dog weighing a svelte 65 pounds. For more on Dewey, go to mendoanimalshelter.com.
While there, read about the services, programs, events, and updates regarding covid-19 as it impacts the Mendocino County Shelters in Ukiah and Ft. Bragg. And of course, check out our adoptable dogs and cats! Visit us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/
For information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453. We wish our friends and neighbors a safe and happy holiday. For holiday hours at the shelters, visit our webpage or Facebook page.
JUDGE BRENNAN, 2006
From a Fort Bragg Advocate article by Don Claybrook in 2006 during the election season:
“Clay Brennan and Jone Lemos are the two candidates for the judgeship being vacated by the retiring Eric Labowitz.
The mentally ill—
Brennan, a Ukiah attorney whose wife [Mari Rodin] is a member of the Ukiah City Council, said the courts alone could not remedy the problem of incarceration of the mentally ill. He said drug offenders need to be placed in a therapeutic environment and community involvement was essential. Brennan added that as a judge, he would provide energetic leadership in dealing with all the problems the criminal justice system deals with in the county. When asked if he would be willing to work with the mentally ill, he responded, “Yes, that's what I've always done.” Brennan said that he too supported diversion programs for the mentally ill. “Warehousing them in jail is not the answer to the problem,” he said. He said he was also a big believer in “brainstorming” problems. “Brainstorming with many problems leads to real solutions,” he added.
Lemos, a sixth-generation Mendonesian and a Mendocino attorney, said she believes the County should expand and improve restorative justice alternatives. One of her suggestions includes a system in which a victim would meet with his offender and learn of the problems and costs he had inflicted on the victim. She said offenders also need resources so they would not recycle back into the system.
The homeless, drugs, and gangs—
Lemos also listed a number of things being done in other counties to help lessen problems with the homeless, gangs and drugs. She suggested a Homeless Outreach Court, Justice 101 where students and others come to court to learn what they would be facing in the way of punishment before they actually committed a given crime, and Back-on-Track, a program where drug dealers work with Goodwill Industries to get their lives back on track. The audience was initially aghast when Lemos said, ‘People should not be dissuaded from joining gangs.’ She quickly clarified, ‘We”re all members of some kind of gang.’ She added that gang members should be dissuaded from doing violent things once they are in gangs. Lemos said she had some interest in Teen Peer Court where the judges don’t pass sentences but the offender’s peers sit in judgment and hand down the appropriate penalties. She said that Teen Peer Court is working well in other counties.
Clay Brennan promised to listen to the people and apply the law in a fair way for all. He said that he would look at the evidence, apply common sense, and be compassionate as he made decisions in court.
Jone Lemos said that she had not sought endorsements because she wanted to be beholden to none, thus she could be fair, impartial and independent. She promised that she was a “can-do” kind of person and would get the job done through her enthusiasm, qualifications and a work ethic.”
Brennan won that election against Jone Lemos in June of 2006, 56% to 44%.
BRENNAN'S FUNDERS: co.mendocino.ca.us/acr/cgi-bin/filings/Brennan%2006-06-2006%205-22-2006.pdf
SHERIFF KENDALL ON CANNABIS ENFORCEMENT:
Recently I have received several questions regarding the marijuana program in Mendocino County. I realize this causes a lot of concern for everyone.
Please understand our Board of Supervisors are working hard with our communities as well as county and state agencies to build something which will work for Mendocino County. I will continue to weigh in when it comes to public safety.
I have received several calls regarding this issue from people concerned regarding enforcement. Many of them are cultivators working within the legal realm and many are concerned citizens who are not involved in cultivation, however are affected by cultivation sites near their homes and work.
All of them are asking what my enforcement objectives are and how I plan to keep the communities safe.
My enforcement objectives are straight forward and simple. The following circumstances will be given top priority for enforcement by the Sheriff’s Office.
1. Trespass grow sites.
2. Cultivation sites run by Organized Crime and drug trafficking organizations.
3. Cultivation causing Environmental damage, including water diversion, this will be prioritized based on egregious acts in sensitive areas.
4. Any crimes of violence, intimidation, weapons violations or human trafficking associated with cultivation sites/operations.
I received several calls regarding people firing off weapons in grow sites, this is obviously done with the intent of intimidation and warning.
This is going to stop. If someone is shooting off firearms in grow sites, they should expect to be dealt with by law enforcement.
With the recent spike in violence surrounding the illegal marijuana market we will be putting as many resources as possible into dealing with this problem.
I will continue working with state and federal partners to make a solid impact into the illegal market while remaining aware of the budget we must work within.
I will continue to work with the Board of Supervisors on funding for additional deputies for investigation and enforcement.
Mendocino County is resilient and strong. I often think about the spirit of my ancestors who made this their home. We have and will continue to work through our problems while caring for our families, neighbors and the health of our communities.
The rights of our residents, along with our environment must remain a top priority, we have to think about what makes this county so great and protect it for future generations.
Sheriff Matt Kendall
TOM ALLMAN WRITES:
The great black and white photo you posted Saturday with “perhaps Confusion Hill” is actually about 2 miles South of Confusion Hill and was known as “The Slab”.
This is just North of the large landslide which closed Hwy 101 for several weeks in 2015.
“The Slab” was (is) a rocky, treacherous 1/4 mile stretch of the Redwood Highway. It was bypassed in 1989 by cutting through a small hill just East of it. My uncle used to transport new cars on a large car-hauler. He told me that the rocky Eastern side of “The Slab” was so close to the highway that when he drove Northbound, if he met a southbound car on the curve and he wasn’t able to cross over the center line, he would have to get so close to the side of the fog line that hubcaps would pop off the new cars because of several rocks protruding from the unforgiving rock wall.
I recently walked this portion of the old highway and it was obviously engineered by a brilliant team over 100 years ago. The roadway is still solid but the boulders from the unstable rock formation have fallen and blocked access.
Please consider joining me in registering as a disaster health volunteer with North Coast Opportunities. NCO volunteers will be assisting public health with mass vaccination clinics. In a 12 hour clinic with 10 volunteers, we can vaccinate 150 people safely. If broken into 2 shifts, we'll need 20 volunteers per day, 4 medical (2 vaccinators and 2 monitoring for anaphylaxis in 15 minute wait period).
There is also a critical need for volunteers to assist with COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing. There is a particular need for people who are bilingual.
BILL KIMBERLIN: "Back to the country house for Christmas week and to sign my book for someone who bought it in Boonville at Mosswood Cafe. Be at Mosswood Sunday morning if anyone else in the Valley either wants a book or has a book they want signed."
Ed note: You don't have to be a Star Wars or even a movie fan to enjoy Mr. K's book. It's one of the most consistently interesting auto-bios I've read. Great stuff. "Inside the Star Wars Empire" available wherever good books are sold.
I WAS PLEASED to see this comment by Bob Abeles on the ava comment line this morning:
"I hate to break it to you, but 5G in Mendocino County isn’t going to happen. Why? Physics, that’s why: Genuine 5G (28 and 39 GHz) can’t penetrate foliage, and it most certainly cannot penetrate our horizontally challenged landscape. That leaves the 600 MHz band (n71) that has only enough bandwidth to handle voice and text. On the other hand, the carriers will tout the low speed service as ‘5G,’ because they can fool most of the people most of the time.”
TINFOIL HAT-ISM being prevalent in Mendocino County, it's positively bracing when someone local steps forward who actually knows what he's talking about.
THE BRANCH of tinfoil hat-ism that annoys me no end is the anti-vaxx movement, and there are enough of them to constitute a movement, with enough brown rice and tofu left over to feed the gluten-free armies. Come to think of it, there's probably a lot of overlap between the gluten-free neurotics and the anti-vaxxers. Anyway, most people my age remember neighborhood kids confined to iron lungs prior to the saintly Doctor Salk's discovery of the cure for polio; I say “saintly” because the doctor, unlike big pharma's mercenary researchers of today, donated all the proceeds that would have put him in castles and caviar if he'd kept the proceeds.
WHENEVER I hear someone going on about the evils of vaccination, I bet dollars to donuts that person either never took a science class and if he/she did take one they flunked it. Show of hands, please, from everyone in Mendocino County who passed high school physics? Chemistry? Is that a hand up in Albion? Laytonville? That's what I thought. So zip it on any and all scientific subjects.
I'D SAY it was peculiar that there's little sense of urgency among the political leadership given the rolling, growing catastrophes outside the doors of the food secure if I didn't know them, at least by their actions, or lack thereof. Congressman Huffman gets out a press release this week featuring himself getting a covid shot while 50 million Americans, including lots of Americans right here in the district he allegedly represents, are “food insecure,” one in four of them children, and a third of America living pay check to pay check, if they still have a pay check. But hey, our congressman is safe from covid.
NON-STARTER of the week. A front page story in the Press Democrat featured a SoCo public defender saying she and her colleagues should get priority covid vaccine consideration. I'd give her a shot ahead of Congressman Huffman, or the governor, but lawyers as priority recipients?
MENDOCINO COUNTY staffs a hotline for the disturbed and the distressed called the “Warm Line.” It's probably helpful to the forlorn and the lonely, of whom there are many, and what I wouldn't give to listen in some time, not out of morbid curiosity but to see what Mendo is offering in the way of succor. The Warm Line prompts me to recommend the essential, or used-to-be-essential, novel by Nathanial West called “Miss Lonelyhearts.” I'd especially recommend it to the people answering calls on the Warm Line, and not only because it's a great little work of literary art but because West, writing in the 1930s, was already aware that the nature of our estranging society had created millions of emotionally isolated citizens whose isolation was intractable, which is not a message the fuzzy warms of Mendocino County are likely to be receptive to, but the mental health professionals among them might find instructive.
FROM THE NOVEL: “As far as he could discover, there were no signs of spring. The decay that covered the surface of the mottled ground was not the kind in which life generates. Last year, he remembered, May had failed to quicken these soiled fields. It had taken all the brutality of July to torture a few green spikes through the exhausted dirt. What the little park needed, even more than he did, was a drink. Neither alcohol nor rain would do. Tomorrow, in his column, he would ask Broken-hearted, Sick-of-it-all, Desperate, Disillusioned-with-tubercular-husband and the rest of his correspondents to come here and water the soil with their tears. Flowers would then spring up, flowers that smelled of feet. ‘Ah, humanity…’ But he was heavy with shadow and the joke went into a dying fall. He tried to break its fall by laughing at himself.”
NOW THAT the Adventists have grabbed all of Mendocino County's hospitals, driving up medical costs as they monopolize medical care, some of us will remember the old County Hospital at Bush and Low Gap in Ukiah where a low income or no income person could get competent doctoring at a price consistent with the economic reality outside its doors. Ditto for Coast Hospital in Fort Bragg, created as, of all disappeared civic amenities, a hospital owned by the Fort Bragg community. The County Hospital is long gone, and the for-profit Adventists have just snagged Coast. Any of you remember the old Hillside Hospital in Ukiah? Doctor Sey? Yolanda Sey, if I have her name right, a no-nonsense, old school medico whose services I was grateful for, circa '71-72.
PHILO has never been more exciting. The FBI is investigating the Ray's Road non-profit called OneTaste, some of whose former customers are claiming is a cult that ripped them off for lottsa money. OneTaste says it merely tunes up one's orgasm, a tune up that'll run you thousands more than an oil change and new spark plugs but the human body is more complicated than your transportation. The group's estranged members have described topless women dubbed “high priestesses” being sexually stroked by seven men in a ritualistic sex practice. (Didn't the hippies used to do that for free during their full moon “boogies”?)
TWO PEOPLE, a man and a woman, told the feds how they witnessed the ritual and other bizarre practices like mass piercings at a retreat organized by OneTaste, whose leader is an enterprising woman called Nicole Daedone, and hardly the first person to monetize credulity. The company lured thousands of paying members with the promise of “changing the world” through “orgasmic meditation,” a practice that involves a half-naked woman and , uh, … this being a family newspaper you will have to imagine the rest of the sordid ritual. But OneTaste claimed the practice could improve their suckers’ sex lives and even help the crazier ones recover from sexual trauma by re-traumatizing them via uniquely intrusive ad hoc group sex, Rumors that Mendo DA David Eyster is leading his entire staff in an on-site undercover investigation of OneTaste are believed to have originated with the Public Defender's Office, and are apparently untrue.
TUCKER CARLSON is one of the more toxic voices in Fox's fascist-yearning stable, a crew Trump has denounced as not reliably fascist enough. The other night Carlson, who has a huge following, told his millions of viewers that the coronavirus vaccine is being distributed based on race, that elderly white people are not getting the vaccine in lots of places because they are from a “disfavored race.”
CARLSON said that the government's plan to prioritize non-healthcare essential workers over the elderly is because “racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately represented in many essential industries. Old people in this country are too white to save. They even put it in writing,” going on to claim that the vaccine rollout is “entirely racial.”
IN THE PRESENT racially-charged social context Carlson's unfounded claims are not helpful, to say the least. Although there's so much pernicious nonsense circulating these days on all subjects, thanks to the internet, it's still possible to separate out the lethal from the merely silly, and this guy's statements are a big contribution to lethality.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING, a 5-part doc on Netflix called ‘Room 2806: The Accusation.’ It's about the rape of a hotel maid by a bigshot French political figure named Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The doc, like a lot written about the case, at first suggests that what happened in Room 2806 — not a room but a lavish suite of rooms — implies that the vic, an African immigrant named Nafissatou Diallo, just might have made it all up, but Strauss-Kahn turns out to have long history of sexual assault, so flush a history his priapic, years-long predation seems compulsive bordering on psychotic. No question, to me anyway, that the swinish DSK, as he's known globally, did it. The biggest question is why the New York DA declined to prosecute what was clearly an irrefutable police case that DSK had indeed raped Ms. Diallo. The Me-Too movement has helped bring a lot of bigshot rapists to public attention, and it was this case in particular that gave the movement much impetus. Fascinating stuff, fer shure.
OF COURSE, THE LATE, GREAT ALEXANDER COCKBURN was one of the few journalists at the time of the DSK affair who sided with Ms. Diallo.
WAS DSK STITCHED UP?
by Alexander Cockburn (May 21, 2011)
The French are for the millionaire. The Americans are for the maid. Among the French, three out of five think the IMF’s former managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has been framed. (Strauss-Kahn tendered his resignation as head of the IMF May 18.) Here in the USA there’s not been a reliable poll, but public sentiment is clearly against Strauss-Kahn, amplified by self-congratulation that America is a nation of laws, a maid’s word as potent as that of a millionaire, in contrast to the moral decay and deference to the rich prevalent in France.
The French, for their part, stigmatize America as a puritanical, omnipotent imperial police state, whose intelligence agencies are efficiently capable of any infamy. But even as they charge that Strauss-Kahn was set up, the French press is rather weak on identifying or even suggesting the precise mastermind or group working to destroy a man who might have been the French Socialist Party’s candidate, evicting Sarkozy from the Elysée Palace. (They miss the real damage to France's reputation, not to mention balance of payments, which is that previously women from the US or northern Europe have booked costly tours to France hoping to be seduced by Charles Boyer or Michel Piccoli or Alain Delon or, if you like heavy smokers, Jean-Paul Belmondo, or Gerard Depardieu. They will now, rather than be attacked by a Gallic sexual psychopath, elect to go straight to Italy notwithstanding the chances of a semi-senile Berlusconi jumping out of the bushes, shouting “Bunga, Bunga.”)
In Parisian financial circles some charge that this is an attack on “les juifs.” Following this line, they suggest it’s a plot by the Muslims, presumptively eager to contrive any embarrassment to a well-known Jew, and indeed ardent Zionist, also perhaps because the agent of Strauss-Kahn’s downfall, the 32-year old maid accusing Strauss-Kahn of a serious sexual assault — widely identified on French and West African websites as Nafissatou Diallo — is a Muslim from the West African nation of Guinea. (And yes, the name Diallo does ring a bell. Amadou Diallo (September 2, 1975—February 4, 1999) was a 23-year-old Guinean immigrant in New York City who was shot and killed on February 4, 1999 by four plain-clothes members of the NYPD who fired 41 rounds at him. They were all subsequently acquitted.)
Americans suggesting a conspiracy contain the usual percentage of citizens who routinely disbelieve the official account of any event, and whose current energies are primarily devoted to proving that Osama bin Laden was dead by the end of 2001 and that the Abbottabad raid was fakery from start to finish. Nano-thermite hasn’t been discovered in the Osama compound but it probably soon will.
There have been speculations about conspiracy from economic commentators who have admired Strauss-Kahn’s attempts to shake up the IMF. They quote his words in an address at George Washington University two weeks ago. “Globalization has delivered a lot … but it also has a dark side, a large and growing chasm between the rich and the poor. Clearly we need a new form of globalization to prevent the 'invisible hand' of loosely regulated markets from becoming 'an invisible fist’.” They cite Joe Stiglitz, who recently remarked that “It appears that a new IMF has gradually, and cautiously, emerged under the leadership of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.”
This view of Strauss-Kahn as the tribune of the oppressed is far from universal. It is certainly not held by Greeks, whose country has been groaning under typical IMF austerity conditions attached to bailout money. Greek newspapers have offered unsparing assessments. One newspaper carried the headline “The maid resisted IMF's…rapist,” its description for what the IMF chief has inflicted on Greece.
As Desmond Lachman pointed out in the Financial Times for May 18:
“History, however, is more likely to remember [Strauss-Kahn for] his misguided handling of the eurozone debt crisis. Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s decision to treat the crisis as a matter of liquidity rather than solvency led the IMF to eschew any notion of debt restructuring, or exiting from the euro, as a solution to the periphery’s public sector and external imbalance problems. Rather, he opted for draconian fiscal tightening and radical structural reform as a cure-all for Greece, Ireland and Portugal. Yet one year after the European Union and IMF’s $150 billion loan package, the Greek adjustment program is not working. Greece’s growth is in a downward spiral, with unemployment in excess of 15%…
“…the IMF chose to repeat the same conceptual policy mistake in its adjustment program for Ireland in November 2010 and in its proposed program for Portugal right now. What is even more difficult to understand is why the IMF is now also proposing that Greece should apply more of the same policy prescriptions that have brought its economy to its current parlous state.”
Such cavils notwithstanding, Paul Craig Roberts, assistant secretary of the US Treasury in Reagan’s time, stated flatly in a syndicated column last week that “Strauss-Kahn is being framed up because the IMF recently announced that ‘the age of America is over,’ that China will be the number one economy within five years. This was a massive blow to Washington, and they are taking their revenge.”
On the conspiracy-oriented Global Research site Michael Bucci drew parallels with the downfall of Eliot Spitzer, ousted from the governorship of New York because of his patronage of prostitutes. “Farther behind the curtain,” Bucci writes, “might be found investment bankers and international financiers (the Spitzer ‘soft assassins’).”
It’s true that that the New York governor’s downfall was wrought by powerful Wall Street figures who feared Spitzer would make them the target of a populist crusade. They had him followed — and exposure of his sexual transactions duly transpired.
But Spitzer was the chief conspirator in his political destruction, and so — going by the facts that so far have come to light — is Strauss-Kahn, now being devastated by a swelling catalogue of predatory and violent sexual behavior, with two French women comparing him to a sex-crazed monkey and others saying he coerced them into having sex with him.
Tristine Banon, the goddaughter of Strauss-Kahn's second wife, has claimed that he tried to rape her nine years ago, when she approached him for an interview. “It was all very, very violent,” Banon says. “I kicked out at him. He undid my bra and tried to open my jeans. While we were fighting, I used the word 'rape' to scare him.” She says that she did not report it at the time for fear of becoming “the girl who had a problem with the politician.”
“Martina,” a female newspaper reporter, told the London Times that after a group interview, “[Strauss-Kahn] got my phone number from his embassy or the Institut Francais and started calling me. He was incredibly insistent,” she continued. “He made it almost explicit that I had to sleep with him for the interview [that I had asked him for].”
Piroska Nagy, the Hungarian IMF economist with whom Strauss-Kahn had an affair in 2008, apparently wrote to her employers that he was “a man with a problem that may make him ill-equipped to lead an institution where women work under his command.”
Bernard Debre a deputy in the UMP, Sarkozy’s political party, has called the former IMF chief a “sexual delinquent” on his blog, and later told L’Express: “This is not the first time that DSK was engaged in this kind of behavior at the Sofitel. It happened several times over several years.”
Sarkozy hasn’t exactly helped the man he put up as IMF president by saying that he’d warned Strauss-Kahn to keep his trousers zipped as IMF chief and not to get into elevators with interns.
It’s true there are the usual anomalies in the case, and conspiracists have pounced on them. Why did the manager of the Sofitel wait at least an hour to call the cops? Maybe because the victim was semi-coherent, maybe because the French-owned midtown hotel wanted to be doubly, triply sure that this was a bona fide assault by a very high profile guest or because previous policy had been to cover up such incidents.
How come the victim was instantly equipped with a fairly high profile lawyer, Jeffery Shapiro, described as a “close family friend”? Why were Diallo and her daughter living in a Bronx apartment building normally reserved for people with AIDS? Shapiro says neither Diallo nor her daughter are thus afflicted and that it was a sublet.
There are the usual contradictory testimonies. To one person encountering him after he had made what cameras indicate was a hasty exit from his suite, Strauss-Kahn seemed very flustered. Another remembers meeting a composed and relaxed Strauss-Kahn in the elevator.
But the prosecution’s basic case seems strong, particularly when you throw in the French women’s accusations, which Strauss-Kahn as presidential candidate was already trying to pre-empt. Hotel surveillance cameras confirm Diallo’s flight from the suite, then Strauss-Kahn’s hasty departure. No one has said her tearful accounts seemed unconvincing. Why would bankers or their agents pick a 32-year old poor Muslim widow to play such a role? And if they had mounted such a precarious set-up — why did the plotters allow Strauss-Kahn to have got clear away to JFK and onto a safe flight to Paris, until he made the mistake of calling the hotel to ask if he’d left anything behind?
The newspaper Echos d’Afrique runs a column May 18 by Calixthe Beyala who repeats Bernard Debré’s charges and then writes:
“In the New York Sofitel are working many black women from Guinea. Some of them have been violated by the former IMF boss and these attacks have been suppressed by the hotel’s owners… As for the idea of a plot by Sarkozy, this is a total misunderstanding of the political situation in France. No matter what opponent, Sarkozy won’t win the next election. And just like Sarkozy, DSK was the candidate of the big financial lobbies and media powers, those who have only one aim — to reduce the Black to nothing and to pillage Africa!”
Maybe some high-up in the Sofitel hierarchy decided, when contacted for guidance by the hotel management that Saturday, that the time had come to stop covering up for Strauss-Kahn. Maybe Strauss-Kahn had phoned for a prostitute to fill in a boring half hour before lunch and Diallo arrived to clean the room at precisely the wrong moment. Maybe … Occam’s razor is still the rule: the simplest, most obvious explanation requiring the least extraneous oddities is preferable.
As a conspiracy it doesn’t look as though there’s much in the way of lift to keep it in the air in any sort of convincing shape. Strauss-Kahn belonged to the familiar phalanx of politically powerful men confident that they can get away with hitting on women, confident that either the women they’ve attacked won’t be believed or won’t dare to try to expose them. The collapse of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s marriage, amid disclosure of sensationally tacky behavior on Arnold’s part, after years of allegations about his assaults, isn’t helpful to Strauss-Kahn either.
We don’t even know the extent of the physical evidence yet, or the DNA traces from where Diallo says she spat out his semen after Strauss-Kahn forced his penis into her mouth. Strauss-Kahn has an expensive lawyer, already flirting with a “consensual” defense. These are early days. Bill Clinton must be reading the news stories amid a welter of emotion, recollected in tranquility, to borrow Wordsworth’s definition of the origin of poetry.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 19, 2020
RICHARD GADE, Wilits. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
VINCENT GIZDICH IV, Watsonville/Ukiah. DUI.
DEREK MCCORMACK, Covelo. Arson of inhabited structure.
CLAUDIO NUNEZ, Manchester. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
SERGIO RODRIGUEZ-CERVANTES, Ukiah. DUI, no license, child endangerment.
ERYCKA SMITH, Willits. Battery. (Frequent flyer.)
ROBERT SMITH, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The neat thing about conspiracy theories is that they are always safe…they can infinitely change to meet the needs of their conspirees.
They can’t be argued with, so don’t even try.
People who are in denial of their emotional issues are free to blame all their troubles on others, like the Clintons, Obama, MSM or me.
It’s all inside the rules of their dysfunctional game.
A FERAL CALICO CAT
used to sleep in my truck
like a ghost leaving
the driver’s seat warm
but gone when I’d arrive.
Heard me, sharp ears.
Sometimes on the console
she’d leave a bat with wings intact,
a baby rabbit, neck broken. Rent paid.
I set out kibble, she wouldn’t touch.
Never bore kittens though I’d hear
nights of yowling, fights.
Later, her ears failed. I’d open the door,
she’d startle awake. Leap. Clawed
my shoulder once in her haste.
Near the end she’d eat the kibble
but still got skinny, ribs outlined.
One day I found the food untouched. She’d vanished.
Like most animals, she knew how to die.
I tell you this because a while ago
in the garage I found two children,
boy and girl curled together
in a filthy sleeping bag half under the truck.
On the girl, arms like wire. On the boy,
a scar like purple rope between ear and nose.
Eyes that hold fear and keep secrets.
I try to say Estas a salvo aqui — you are safe here.
They refuse to follow into mi casa.
Quickly in the house I grab fleece jackets,
a box of Cheerios, a jug of milk
plus bowls and spoons. I come back out.
Boy and girl are gone.
There’s an underground railroad
of farmworkers up the coast of California
but my garage would be off the main track.
An hour later I’m loading corrugated drainpipe
when a frantic woman shows up. She’s short, ragged,
missing one eye. Her language not Spanish, not English
but with fingers on her face she indicates the scar—
those were her kids. With a mother’s super sense
she’s tracking like a bloodhound.
All I can do is point to where they slept
and offer her some Cheerios which she declines.
She takes the jackets. And then she’s gone.
I return home after dark.
Running late that morning I’d left
the milk and Cheerios on a tool box.
Now nowhere in sight. Might’ve been an animal
except the bowls and spoons are upside down
on a smoothed-out shop rag, washed and dried.
Never see the kids or the one-eyed mom again.
Probably migrated north with the harvest.
This much I know: Later, maybe a year,
one morning on the console of my truck
I find a jelly jar of wildflowers,
a paper bag of pears.
(Joe Cottonwood has built or repaired hundreds of houses to support his writing habit in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California: joecottonwood.com)
AND HE ALSO ROTATED HIS TIRES THIS WEEK
Today, Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) issued the following statement after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine:
“Based on the recommendations and direction of the House Attending Physician, I received the vaccine for COVID-19 today. I’m happy to report that it was not painful, and I did not experience any side effects,” said Rep. Huffman.
“I strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as it’s available. The path to our recovery from this pandemic depends on a speedy and successful vaccine distribution, and on all of us continuing to stay safe by following public health guidance to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Following Public Health advice, I will also continue to wear a mask and socially distance even after receiving the vaccine. I am grateful to the Capitol physician’s office for making this vaccine available to address the continuity of our government, and grateful to the scientists and researchers who made this vaccine possible. This weekend, as I stay at the Capitol, I will be fighting for more funding for vaccination distribution, for direct payments to Americans who are suffering, and for far more support for families, employers, and state and local governments. We have a lot of work to do to make sure all Americans can be quickly and safely vaccinated, and to keep everyone safe until we are through this pandemic,” Huffman concluded.
According to government continuity guidelines, Congressional Leadership has been informed by the Office of the Attending Physician that Members of the House and Senate should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The Attending Physician further stated to Members “My recommendation to you is absolutely unequivocal: there is no reason why you should defer receiving this vaccine.”
There are currently over 100 Members of Congress who are or have been quarantined, tested positive for COVID-19, or came in contact with someone with COVID-19.
It boggles my mind. Picture this: A hair salon with one owner/operator allows only one client to enter, but only 15 minutes after the departure of the previous client. During those 15 minutes she has sanitized all surfaces in the salon. Then, face mask in place, she welcomes her next client, also masked, takes her temperature, offers hand sanitizer and proceeds to cut, curl, blow dry or provide whatever service is scheduled. That process is repeated throughout the day.
Or this: A nail salon with one owner/operator allows only one client to enter, but only after a 15-minute cleaning and airing procedure following the departure of the previous client. Then, temperature taken, hand sanitizer applied, the client, either behind a plexiglass screen for manicure or surrounded by a see-through curtain for a pedicure, receives the scheduled service. That process is repeated throughout the day.
Doors and windows at both establishments are opened whenever conditions permit.
Can anyone explain to me why I should be denied the services of these salons or, more importantly, why the owner/operators of these established, local salons should have their livelihoods jeopardized by a one-size-fits-all policy?
Please let’s bring some clarity of thought, some sanity, to these blanket closures.
UNCROWNING THE CROWN
by Jonah Raskin
Watching the Netflix show, The Crown, now in its fourth season, I reminded myself that when I lived in England in the mid-1960s, I never stood in movie theaters when “God Save the Queen” played, and when everyone in the audience got to their feet. Elizabeth II wasn’t my queen. I didn’t see any reason to honor her, though I received a “Research Studentship in the Arts” from Her Majesty’s Government.” It wasn’t just a name. It came with two-hundred pounds.
I was enrolled at the Victoria University of Manchester, as it was officially known, and which was named after another queen. I knew more about her than I did about Elizabeth II. I was writing my Ph.D. thesis about British imperialism in the nineteenth-century and beyond.
In 1964, the year I left New York and went to England, Marxists taught in British universities. Some were also Communists. I could say the word “imperialism” in conversation with them and not be reprimanded. Columbia, where I’d received a B.A. and an M.A., was still locked in the days of McCarthy and McCarthyism. Professor Eric Bentley, who taught drama and plugged the work of Bertolt Brecht, had once been a lefty but he didn’t advertise his radical past or his bisexuality on campus. Bentley died in August 2020 at the age of 103.
I believe that the word “imperialism” is mentioned now and then in The Crown, though not often and usually by individuals who lived in the colonies, or in newly liberated, independent nations. The Netflix show is in part about the decline of the British Empire, though Elizabeth II and Her Majesty’s Government, as it’s called, try to do everything in their power to resuscitate a dying institution that ought to have died and been buried in, say, 1945, when the American Empire took the reigns once held by the Brits.
The Crown offers lovely images of stately homes and castles, as well as Buckingham Palace, both inside and outside. The settings and the costumes are also lovely. There are real dramatic moments in the series — Elizabeth’s coronation, for one, and during the Suez Crisis for another — but there are far too many scenes that show the royals getting into and out of cars, and going through doorways usually opened by servants.
The show is mostly fluff, or English treacle, as one might call it. Sure, the royals have their squabbles and their breaches on the show. King Edward VIII marries a commoner and has to abdicate. He and his wife, Wallis, aid and abet Hitler and the Nazis and are exiled, though they should have been tried for treason. The Crown shows Edward and Wallis consorting with the German high command, but it mostly soft pedals the connections between the British royal family and European Fascism.
Churchill, played by John Lithgow, comes across as a vain old man concerned with his image. Elizabeth, played by Claire Foy, has a fickle face that can be entertaining, but she is often petty and shallow, and on the cusp of vindictiveness. Indeed, she’s a woman caught up in a domestic soap opera in which her philandering husband, Prince Phillip, aka the Duke of Edinburgh, carries on behind her back.
The Crown makes it clear – at least it did for me – that the British monarchy was and surely still is a huge bureaucracy in which lackeys and underlings of all sorts do the dirty work. Still, some of the faces of the actors who carry out the commands are unmistakably English and a delight to watch. The Tudors, it would seem, have been the British version of the Medici, though with the notable exception of Henry VIII, the Tudors have been less bloody and less violent at least in England.
In the colonial world the Tudors and their allies ruled ruthlessly, destroyed local economies, as in India, and tried for decades to prevent the liberation and independence of countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas. The Crown shows Elizabath dancing with Nkrumah in Ghana (that really happened), albeit for political reasons to try to prevent the Ghanans from allying with the Russians.
The show mostly glosses over colonialism and the Cold War. It tries to humanize the royal family, though why anyone would want to be called “Your Highness’ or “Your Majesty” is beyond me. Both expressions strike me as dehumanizing on both sides of the equation.
I stopped watching The Crown early in the third season, which is shortly after the Labour Party triumphed over the Conservatives and Harold Wilson became the prime minister. That was a month or so after I arrived in England and settled in Manchester with my then wife, Eleanor, who soon adopted a British accent. The first party we attended took place at the home of a member of the British Communist Party, who remained a friend all through our three years in England.
I didn’t always see eye-to-eye with my comrades, including Arnold Kettle, who was on the central committee of the CP, I believe. No matter what I talked about when I was invited to speak to the comrades, someone or other could be counted on to ask me, “What about the workers?” It’s a question that’s still worth asking, here and there and everywhere there are laboring men and women. That includes Buckingham Palace.
(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.)
SWEPT AWAY IN THE LOST TIME OF COVID
by Ellen Taylor
December 2020 was indeed bleak. Prospects of Christmas, Hanukah, the Solstice, were muffled in the tedium of computer quicksand, and shed but dim light light over the month. Instead, we felt like the “separate, dying embers“ of Poe’s December poem, The Raven, which “wrought their ghosts upon the floor”.
The world was on the rack. Our friends were particles in an expanding universe with plagues and other evils swirling between us. The G’wichin people, who follow the caribou, and tell some of the world’s funniest stories, seemed about to lose their fight with the Bureau of Land Management over drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. The war industry, which enthralls our nation, was goading the Senate to pass on a $23 billion sale of drones and missiles to further incinerate Yemenis. A bioengineering solution to climate change, regarded as insane in 2011, was now being seriously considered by scientists.
Locally, Caltrans was girding itself for another attack on the ancient redwoods of Richardson Grove.
We all felt frozen when we confronted our true spiritual state. We saw Hieronymous Bosch images of Hell everywhere, and were on the verge of succumbing to St. Anthony’s temptation: despair.
Then, one morning, an elderly woman and her son walked out to the end of the North Jetty. A wave swept them into the sea. The son barely managed to save himself by clinging to the jetty rocks, but his mother was swept away. Somebody’s drone made a video of the son and two other men fleeing back down the jetty, pounded and drenched by waves. The son had a cellphone pressed to his ear to get 911 and is staggering as he falls further and further behind the other two.
The woman’s body was retrieved later from the surf.
Christmas is a Mother-and-Son story, but this was a diabolical twist on it. The news told us that her name was Mary Malouf, and that she was from Utah. In my sluggish and aimless dreariness, I looked her up.
It turns out in Salt Lake City, and indeed in Utah, Mary Malouf was a force of nature, and eloquently mourned. Pictures showed a beautiful woman, merrily dressed, in cowboy boots, tons of jewelry, bright red lipstick and a space between her front teeth. She was Editor-in-Chief of Salt Lake Magazine where she was also the culinary writer, funny, a sort of newspaper Julia Child. She wrote devastatingly, wittily and knowledgeably (I checked this out and found a subtly wicked sketch she wrote, describing the Dallas Institute of Humanity and Culture, and its High Society. )
She opened her house and kitchen to one and all, offering safety to those who needed it.
She was described as an “irreverent and fiery spirit”, “crazy-haired Texas spitfire”, “larger than life”, “galvanized magnolia”. On a large wall mural painted in downtown Utah, she stands at the center, holding a globe.
Together with her husband, the reporter Glen Warchol, as one eulogy summarized, “she helped sculpt the culture of this city, not in massive, showy ways but important ways that go to the core of the community of who we are. They built a civilization together”.
Salt Lake City has an open-minded community – spirited population, history of progressive mayors, all members of Mayors for Peace.
This couple’s love for each other was famous (“it was something the rest of us have aspired to find”) and for years they went camping all over the west. He died two years ago. Her father died of covid last month. Her grief was heavy but through it all she continued to work.
Another encomium: “There never was a time when there was not Mary. Until now. Today, Mary died when a rogue wave swept her out to sea. Only she, perhaps the world’s foremost lover of Bronte, BBC mysteries, and, of course, Moby Dick, would appreciate such poetic drama.”
Apparently Mary and Glen used to discuss manners of death as fellow reporters. What sort of death makes good copy?
Mary Malouf found hers unerringly. This Moby Dick lover walked out the North Jetty on a day when the waves were nearly 30 feet high. Definitely splendid copy.
One eulogizer quoted “I know not all that may be coming, but be that as it will, I’ll go to it laughing.” He intentionally attributes this quote to Mary Malouf, but then corrects himself, confessing it was actually Melville.
Melville, who would immediately go to sea when he “found himself bringing up the rear of every funeral”.
It is not infrequent that people get swept off the Eureka jetties. But my initially phlegmatic search into this recent tragedy brought me to my senses. Mary Malouf was magnificent. And everybody, everybody, whether or not they get swept off a jetty or taken out by Covid, is composed of the miraculous if you really look at them. Some get a chance to really shine, like the millions of Indians blocking the gates of Delhi, or the Portlandians who won’t get out of the streets. We have to look harder, and see more, and, when this Covid is done, hug and kiss each other over and over again, all around the world, to make up for lost time.
(Ellen Taylor can be reached at email@example.com.)
Some people are curious about cedar trees growing in places thought to be unlikely. There are many scattered populations of organisms, in this case trees, that appear out of place but aren’t. As climate changes gradually over the eons and as sudden changes such as large fires alter the mix of plants, some formerly large and widespread populations shrink in area and are cut off from one another. Such plants are called “relict,” with a “T”.
In a favorable location, cedars are vigorous and invasive. In just 10 years in the Greenhorn mountains of the southern Sierra, I saw a grove of them burn to the ground, immediately grow a new patch that burned again, and then sprout a third forest. It’s not a surprise that they might find a congenial spot in a region like the north coast with all its diversity.
A major reason for plants seeming to be out of place is their status as relict, abandoned by the slow ending of the recent ice age. Local cedar patches may have been more widespread when things were wetter and cooler. Higher elevations in the Diablo range (California’s unknown and ignored mountains from Carquinez Strait to the Cuyama River) have many small forests of yellow pine, alone on the ridgelines with the grass and oaks, that are remnants of once much larger stands.
Before it all burned in the Glass Fire, there was one solitary yellow pine holding on in deep shade on the mountainside near my house, almost overwhelmed by the Douglas firs around it; themselves surrounded by pure stands of tall Gower cypress growing in the serpentine. This last of its kind was a relict of an earlier age.
In Placer County, on a remote bit of the American River plateau, is a tiny grove of redwoods, so isolated that botanists argue over whether they are a distinct species, living as they do hundreds of miles from the Giganteas to the south and the Sempervirens to the west. Where did they come from, if not as relicts from a much larger forest?
In the Providence Mountains of the central Mojave Desert, redwood trees grew only 2000 years ago, so consider that time is long, and that to whatever the degree of climate change humans are accelerating, what we see, or believe we see, is just a fragment of this planetary organism acting at its own speed.
DO AS I SAY
Denver's mayor flies to Mississippi to spend Thanksgiving with his family — after urging others to stay home. He later says he was thinking with “my heart and not my head." A Pennsylvania mayor bans indoor dining, then eats at a restaurant in Maryland.
The recording of last night's (2020-12-18) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg is right here:
Furthermore, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find not only a detailed description of the contents of that show, including the story of my Toyota's catalytic converter being stolen, which I'm twisting my own arm to keep from putting here, but also 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:
Ze Frank true facts: army ant riders. https://misscellania.blogspot.com/2020/12/true-facts-army-ant-riders.html
Trailer for the upcoming Shadow in the Cloud. You can always sell me a story about a competent fearless woman saving the day and the world despite the arrogant goofball men who just get in her way. Think Peggy Carter: Agent of Shield, or Ripley in the Alien franchise, or that warrior Valkyrie woman in The Mandalorian, which I haven't seen this year of yet; don’t tell me anything about it. Re: Shadow in the Cloud: flying werewolves, like the Swiss flag, are a big plus. https://theawesomer.com/shadow-in-the-cloud-trailer/603025/
And a short film about the man who invented wind-up clacking teeth, the bubble gun, hula-dancing solar-powered plastic window plants and 800 more things we all use every day. I love it that this man exists. He invented the gun-in-the-hat. (That was a regular cowboy hat where, if some other nine-year-old cowboy came up behind you with a cap-gun six-shooter (with paper roll caps, more like a hundred-shooter, though every fourth or fifth cap didn't work right) and said, “Stick 'em up!”, you could turn around to face him, politely take your hat off and turn it upside down, the way you just naturally do, and a little cap-gun would pop up out of it on a spring-lever and automatically shoot the kid who was robbing you.) He didn't invent the original large Galapagos turtle with revolving clockwork eyes and extra string, but he popularized one affordable by the masses. The Vac-U-Form set. Battling Tops. Kerplunk! (the game). You'll see all that and more here. (20 min.) https://laughingsquid.com/inventor-who-designed-800-toys-and-games/
p.s. If you want me to read on the radio something that you've written, just email it to me and that's what I'll do on the very next Memo of the Air. That's what I'm here for.
— Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com