High Pressure | Pacific Coast | Complicated Sandbar | Duran Missing | Vaccine Rollout | Mill Fire | Vaccine Registration | Garcia Flats | Book Conversation | Mendocino 1863 | Info Bottleneck | Little House | Blame Game | Mo Blog | Garage Palace | Suicides Up | Well Done | Collapsed Bridge | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Free Speech | BART Junkies | Frightened Country | Loading Chutes | Zirin Podcast | Good News | Hate Speech | CA Farmworkers | Fine People | The Deal | Tech Religion | Media Murder | Unless | Deadly Threshold | Electoral Fraud | Tracking Pelosi | Hungry Children | American Anomie
AS SHOWERS EASE this morning, high pressure builds offshore yielding drier conditions for the next few days. (NWS)
NAVARRO RIVER MOUTH NOTES
The Navarro River is rising slowly again after high surf and low river flows closed the channel through the sandbar at the river mouth several days ago.
The National Weather service forecast for the Navarro gauge doesn't show any sharp rises in the next few days. The steady light rains of the past few days probably will not cause the water level in the estuary to rise high enough to cause flooding of Hwy 128. But there is a possibility of flooding.
When I checked today just before sunset, the water was two to three feet lower than the pavement edge, and high surf and extreme astronomical tides are doing their part to push up the sandbar on the ocean side. My rain gauge just now shows .68" in the past 24 hours, most of that in the past 12 hours. The forecast is for rain ending in the morning and then a dry spell.
There are very high and low tides this time of year when the moon is new or full as the moon is close to the earth. There was a new moon tonight at 9:02 PM. There was a 7.21 ft. high tide at 9:34 AM and a low tide of -1.23 ft. at 4:51 PM
The relationship between the tides and the sandbar is complicated. When there is a channel through the sandbar, then extreme tides tend to keep the channel open as the water flows in and in and out of the estuary with the tides, scouring sand from the channel. But when there is no channel to keep open and the surf is big, the main effect of the high tide is to raise the surf zone higher on the ocean side, allowing the surf to build the sandbar higher.
When the sandbar breached last week it was the first time the river had a direct connection to the sea since last spring. The sandbar then was high, wide and strong. Hwy 128 was closed briefly, but a large surge of river flow pushed through the sandbar, opened the channel, and ended the flooding of the roadway only about 12 hours after it was closed. I thought the flow would keep the channel open for the foreseeable future, assuming enough rain to feed the river. But there wasn't enough rain and it was only a few days before the channel closed again.
The sandbar now is not nearly as high and wide as it was before the first breach. So it will probably breach more readily next time, hopefully before the water gets high enough to flood the highway. I did notice today a section of the sandbar on the estuary side that looks like it's weakening due to water flow through the sand.
In sum, the sandbar is subject to a complicated relationship between river flow, surf and tidal action.
Right now my guesstimate is there is a 30% chance of highway flooding in the next three days, but it would be minor and short lived flooding.
I'll post again if the situation changes.
Here's a link to the NWS Navarro River gauge forecast chart:
— Nicholas Wilson
SEARCH FOR MISSING COVELO MAN CONTINUES
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office continued their search today for 58-year-old Paul Duran who has been missing for as much as a week on a remote piece of property on Mina Road in the Covelo area.
On January 10, family found Duran’s ATV on a “remote part of the property” with a flat tire.
According to a post on the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Facebook page, “Yesterday’s search was unsuccessful utilizing several Mendocino County Search & Rescue volunteers and California Highway Patrol’s H-16 helicopter from Redding, California. Today’s search continues with several Mendocino County Search & Rescue volunteers aided by specially trained search dogs.”
COVID VACCINE UPDATE FOR THE MENDOCINO COAST
by William Miller, MD – Chief of Staff at Adventist Health – Mendocino Coast Hospital
The question that is on everyone’s mind right now seems to be, “When is the vaccine going to be made available to the general public?”
We are now moving from the very early phase, which was vaccinating front line health care workers and nursing homes to now include people over the age of 75 who have health conditions that put them at highest risk. This is a big step forward. Making it fully available to all of the general public is still some months away, as the roll out continues to follow the tiered system recommended by the CDC and mandated by the State. This system is designed to give priority to those who are most likely to be exposed, who are at high risk because of age or health issues and who are critical persons such as health care workers and first responders.
The Mendocino Health Department has received 1,800 additional doses this week, plus about another 1,000 doses to be used as booster shots for those who already received the vaccine.
It is the goal to give all of these shots within the next 7 days. About 300 of these will be given through each of the two health clinics on the Coast, Mendocino Coast Clinic (MCC) in Ft. Bragg and Redwoods Coast Medical Services (RCMS) in Gualala, for a total of about 600 doses.
Additionally, there will be three vaccination clinics open in Ukiah. Keep in mind that these vaccines are still for people who are in the tier 1A groups which include fire fighters, law enforcement, food service workers, in-home support workers, and others in the higher risk categories. General public vaccination is coming later, but soon. The County has established a website that gives more information: mendocinocounty.org/community/novel-coronavirus/covid-19-vaccinations
And they also have a hotline number to call: 707-472-2663.
The vaccine is being distributed to communities around the state through different avenues. As a result, some may be getting the vaccine sooner than others. It is important to understand that regardless, it is all being administered following a tiered system which is described at the website listed above. For example, each hospital system in the state received an allocation of doses to be administered to their own health care employees. Adventist Health, Sutter and Kaiser all received these allocations. Adventist Health, in turn, distributed these to its facilities and our three hospitals in Mendocino County got about 1,000 doses which have all been given.
Meanwhile, distribution to nursing homes is being done through CVS and Safeway pharmacies. Public distribution is through public health departments.
A common misconception seems to be that since our hospital staff received their doses at the start, then that means that the hospital is responsible for distributing the vaccine to other people or that we have some say in how the distribution is being done. This is not the case. However, we will work with the health department and the community clinics, like MCC, to help give the vaccine by lending nursing staff and the like to this important community effort.
At some point, hopefully in the very near future, the vaccine will become available to all clinics and doctor’s offices for them to administer to their patients.
As of this writing, much is still in flux. The Health Department, under the direction of Dr. Andy Coren, is working hard to get everything in place so that once we start receiving larger allocations of the vaccine, it will be given to people in our County following a process that goes smoothly and also ensures it is done in an ethical and fair fashion within the guidelines given to us by the State.
FROM THE ANDERSON VALLEY HEALTH CENTER
Hi All, Anderson Valley Health Center has been receiving inquiries regarding the Covid vaccine. We may be receiving vaccines for tiers 1a and 1b in the next couple of weeks, therefore we would like our community members to please pre-register using the Survey Monkey link below and we will contact you when we are able to administer the vaccines. Please ensure to select what tier you fall into. If you need help or support registering please contact us at 707-895-3477.
AV VILLAGE ZOOM BOOK CONVERSATION: “Lessons for the 21st Century” by Yuval Harari
Wednesday January 13th, 3 PM
The new book is Yuval Harari’s book “Lessons for the 21st Century” and we will read Part 1 which is 72 pages. If you are interested please contact Lauren for more details email@example.com
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 434 337 6734
One tap mobile: +16699009128,,4343376734#,,,,,,0#,,490940# US (San Jose)
Dial by your location: +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
SUPERVISOR & FORMER SUPERVISOR TALK ROLLOUT
Ted Williams: Ambiguity and lack of specificity in messaging about the tier 1b vaccine tier is the result of chaos and changing plans upstream of the county. Without notice, the age bracket dropped from 75 to 65. The public would like to know when and where as well as details about a sign-up process. It appears vaccines may be delivered direct to hospitals and clinics in much greater quantity than public health will receive. The details are being coordinated with healthcare providers as I thumb this message. If you are in the 1B tier, you will likely receive your vaccine from your healthcare provider, for example, doctors office, clinic or hospital event. If you call your doctor now, s/he will probably not be privy to the details because this coordination is actively underway. Updated guidance is anticipated to be available later today. The goal is to bring the vaccine to you instead of you to the Ukiah fairgrounds (although the fairgrounds could remain an option for public health vaccine clinics).
The Phase 1a rollout is progressing well. There are obvious disconnects in statements between the various partners, but vaccines in arms are progressing at an improved pace and in accord with state allocation schedule.
John McCowen: Ted Williams, thank you as always for your constant effort to provide answers. But no one forced the County to announce, months ago, that they were working collaboratively on a vaccination plan. But there appears to have been little if any collaboration, few questions answered and not much of a plan. Your comments may explain why the County does not have a plan but there does not seem to have been any effort at collaboration even tho this was said to be actively underway months ago.
At a minimum the County ought to have been:
1) seeking input from Clinics, AH, Physicians, entities that serve vulnerable populations and more;
2) working collaboratively with those organizations on a vaccine distribution plan which would recognize specific entities have their own allocation of vaccine;
3) collect and disseminate info about which entities are getting vaccine directly, who their target populations are and how they can expect to be notified;
4) answer the basic questions that people have been asking, even if the answer is “we don't know.”
The County could play a valuable leadership and coordination role and was reasonably expected to do so based on the County's own pronouncements.
Williams: I fully agree with the premise. This type of collaboration is difficult when the source of vaccines is unable to specify quantity, allocation schedule, timing or scope of partners.
The bottom line is vaccines are getting to the right people in a timely fashion.
Frankly, since Adventist Health receives the majority, it would be helpful if they could tell us what they're receiving and what they plan to do. I know such requests have been made. I don't doubt they're making the best decisions, but county government cannot tell an accurate story without their data.
McCowen: Again, the County announced it was leading a collaborative planning process months ago — if that was true the County would not be sitting back waiting for the providers to tell them what's going on — the County would be reaching out and asking them. I'm not faulting you or the Board, who have been carefully kept out of the loop, but the choke point of top down control. Admin has been unwilling to delegate to those who are qualified, and too busy themselves to make collaboration a priority. It's a pattern that often leaves the County stuck behind the 8 ball.
McCOWEN IS RIGHT about the County’s “collaboration” with Adventist Health. Back on December 18 when the first few vaccines arrived and were injected into a few arms in Ukiah, Mendo posted a press release quoting Public Health staffers and CEO Angelo who said, “We appreciate our parnership with Adventist Health, the clinics and all our heathcare partners. Along with these dedicated healthcare providers, Mendocino County will begin vaccination clinics at the [Ukiah] Fairgrounds in the near future. We will provide information to the public as soon as we confirm our schedule.”
BUT SO FAR, the “partnership” hasn’t produced the expected vaccination plans or reports from the Adventists or the freelance pharmacies, so Mendo’s vaccination status reporting is only a fragment of the vaccination picture and is limited to only the vaccinations that the County’s public health department delivers.
COMPARE Mendo’s vaccine tracking reporting with Sonoma County’s:
Note that Sonoma County tracks the number of vaccines injected into arms (immunizations) per day.
WHY THE SLOW ROLLOUT?
I would like to respond to those who have expressed their unhappiness regarding the slow progress of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, and outrage that potential problems were not addressed ahead of time.
Which vaccine should they have prepared for? The one that has to be stored in dry ice, or the ones that don’t? The one that has to be administered twice to be fully effective, or the one for which you only need one injection? The one that has four doses in a vial, or the one that has one dose per vial?
The process of developing a vaccine is as complicated and unpredictable as this virus has been, and it is a miracle that we even have effective vaccines at this point.
But if you want to play the blame game, start with the totally inept federal bureaucracy whose strategy was to turn all logistic planning over to the states, and the president who declared war on the virus — and then surrendered.
SUPERVISOR MULHEREN’S FIRST REPORT OF 2021.
The new Ukiah Supervisor is off to a fast start. Can she maintain it?
SUICIDES ARE WAY UP IN MENDO since the pandemic
Mendocino County officials reported this week that there has been a “nearly 40-percent increase in suicides each month since May of 2020.”
According to numbers released by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office “deaths caused by suicide have increased greatly with 30 reported between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, 2020, an increase from 19 in 2019 and 17 in 2018.” And, MCSO Sheriff Matthew Kendall pointed out that such statistics “are typically several weeks delayed due to processing, which may increase the 2020 totals reported.”
Given the isolation many people are feeling during the Covid-19 pandemic, Kendall shared his concern over the increase in suicides by urging residents to “continue our safety practices with social distancing and masking while balancing social safety and our community’s mental health. Think about how many people you run into each day and those little connections such as a smile or quick, ‘how are you doing?’ When you don’t have that for an entire year what happens to your mental health?”
Local officials noted that support in Mendocino County is provided through the Redwood Community Services Crisis Response Services, a 24/7 Crisis Hotline that anyone in Mendocino County experiencing a mental health emergency can access by calling 1-855-838-0404.
For anyone needing less emergent help, Mendocino County offers a “Warm Line” for non-crisis support. The Warm Line is available Monday-Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. by calling 1-707-472-2311 or Toll Free at 1-833-995-2510.
“The truth is that with the onset of Covid-19, social distancing, economic stress, and significant changes in our daily lives, the stress can be insurmountable,” Sarah Livingston, Redwood Community Services director of Crisis Services, said. “If you or a loved one had a broken leg you would get them to medical care? We would not say please suffer and let’s see how crooked it turns out. We would say let’s get it fixed, let’s get you comfortable, let’s put in the time so it heals correctly. A mental health emergency is no different. Timely, professional care with an open dialogue about wellness can make the difference between further crisis and stabilization.”
In addition to crisis response services, Redwood Community Services is offering QPR — Question, Persuade, Refer — Suicide Prevention virtual training with a one-hour presentation teaching attendees how to appropriately intervene when someone is having suicidal ideation or attempts, using QPR skills. Classes are being held on Thursday, Jan. 21, and Wednesday, Jan. 27. Registration can be found at www.redwoodcommunityservices.org/training and on the Redwood Community Services Facebook page.
(Redwood Community Services facebook page)
FORT BRAGG MAYOR’S WELL DONE AWARDS
Each year Fort Bragg’s Mayor presents awards to acknowledge achievements within the community. In the past, this has included best window displays, best new signs, and best new commercial or residential development. It goes without saying that 2020 has been a challenge and has required the best from all of us. It is in this spirit that the 2020 Mayor’s Well Done Awards extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone in our community who gets up and goes to work each day to keep our community working and healthy. No one job is more important than another.
TO SEE if the County's covid info line was working, I called 472-2759 to confirm that 9 new cases had been reported out of Philo. Long bi-lingual message promised to call me back. No call back. I e-mailed the same question to firstname.lastname@example.org. No return e-mail. The county's covid stats by zip code for Monday, 11 January confirmed there are indeed 9 new cases this week in Philo, none any other place in the Anderson Valley.
IMPEACHMENT 2.0: Wednesday, House Democrats will try to impeach Trump for a second time over his role in last Wednesday's Capitol Hill riot. At least five House Republicans are expected to join Democrats in the impeachment process.
LONG-TIME Giants nemesis, Tommy Lasorda, has died. Lasorda, as baseball fans know, managed the Dodgers for twenty years, during that long tenure there was a hardcore cadre of Giants fans who took their dislike of Lasorda to fanatical lengths, laying in wait for the Dodger team bus to arrive at the old Jack Tarr Hotel on VanNess where the team stayed where they would start insulting Lasorda as he stepped off the bus and followed him clear into the lobby, peppering their portly irritant with abuse. Those were the old Candlestick fans, many of whom were wayyyyyy outta control to the point where families stayed away from the ballpark — or at least the bleachers — because of the fighting and foul language, which always ramped up when Lasorda and the Dodgers came to town. The new ballpark behavior is chaste by comparison to Candlestick.
IN THE DELUGE of unhappy news this week was another airliner crash in Indonesia. The plane was flying from Jakarta to the Borneo city of Pontianak. Pontianak! In the year of living dangerously, 1965, I set out by bus for Pontianak from Kuching, Sarawak, a town in '65 about the size of Ukiah. I knew enough Malay to get around and, being young, stepped into a number of dangerous situations without understanding how dangerous they were. I'd trained myself to sleep on floors because floors were often the available accommodations, especially in the most interesting up-country areas. I spent a lot of time in with the Dyaks, infamous as headhunters up through the Japanese occupation of the Borneo states during World War Two. I stayed in longhouses where bunches of Japanese heads hung in the common hall, some still with their eyeglasses, but shrunken after years of smoke from carefully tended little shrines beneath them. I stayed in places where 12-year-olds had never seen a white person, and the adults thought I was somehow associated with the British royal family. When they initially occupied the Borneo states, the Japanese sent large patrols by motor boat up the Rejang River to ferret out the British and Australian commandos who were organizing the Dyaks to fight them. Those patrols were wiped out to a man by Dyaks hidden in the impenetrable riverside jungle, armed only with blow guns and poison darts. No known antidote, dead in ten minutes, eternal rest in bunches of death grimaces hanging from Dyak ceilings. In '65, and unknown to me and most of the world, the Indonesian generals had begun slaughtering alleged communists, some of whom were involved in trying to beat back the newly formed country of Malaysia, which they accurately regarded as a neo-imperial scheme of the British. So I'm on the bus for Pontianak, a backcountry bus with masses of chickens and old ladies spitting betelnut juice on the floor as we jounced along, children remarking on the length of my nose and the hair on my arms. At a place called Bau the bus was stopped, a young Englishman backed by a pair of Ghurkas, all of them armed, told me the border was closed, and that no one was going to Pontianak because it was unsafe, a state of anarchy. I remember him asking me, “Why do you want to go there?” I told him I was curious, that I'd read about the old sultanate and wanted to see what was left of it. He said, “Well, I'm sorry. Not for now and probably not for a long time. It's very bad over there.” I was the only person ordered off the bus, but I suppose my fellow passengers lived in the border area. I spent that night on the floor of a Chinese shop house. I could sleep anywhere in those days.
MOST TRAVEL was by boat in Sarawak at the time. There were only a few miles of paved road. Living there, as the first wave of Americans unleashed on the unsuspecting neo-Malaysians, I was agog much of the time at what was still an unvisited part of the world, an area of virtually untouched Asia as it had been before the modern world rushed in. Two sights among all the sights I've never forgotten: I was having a plate of fried rice one late afternoon in a flooded bazaar of about thirty shop houses on the banks of the Mukah River. The flooding had come into the premises to about three feet but the kitchen remained open for business and all the customers, me included, just went on eating with our flip-flops caressed by the tides. I'd watched a gang of Chinese longshoremen (still called “coolies” in that place at that time) unload a small boat, walking on and off with large, heavy sacks of whatever it was — and try that all day in equatorial heat. When they knocked off they sat down around me, pointing at me and laughing, a reaction I still seem to inspire, while they knocked back glasses of brandy after — the faint of heart better not continue reading here — after swallowing live baby mice wrapped in bean sprouts, the mice furnished by the kitchen. Chinese macho! Another memorable occasion occurred when I visited the home of what I recall was described as a bomoh, or person with special powers. To demonstrate her gifts she first spun an egg which, being uncooked, flopped over as uncooked eggs do. She then picked up the egg, closed her tiny, bony hand around it, muttered something and voila! it spun like a top. Mysticism was much in the air. The government was trying to bridge a smallish river near Kuching whose pilings kept slipping away. A rumor began that the authorities had hired a Dyak to take a human head to plant with the foundation, thus ensuring that the structure would stay standing. That rumor was so pervasive that the government had to go on the country-wide radio to deny it, but for a week the night time streets of the town were deserted.
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 12, 2021
MASON HARRIS, Burgarly, attempted car theft, conspiracy.
PATRICK SCHUETZ, Ukiah. Burglary, burglary tools, conspiracy, county parole violation.
BRANDON STONE, Fort Bragg. Mandatory Supervision Sentencing, probation revocation.
DOUGLAS WHIPPLE III, Redwood Valley. Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, controlled substance, failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Twitter is not in any way, shape or form a “public square”. It is a company, albeit a very large company, but still a company, not the government, that is run by a relatively small number of people. These people, others at “big tech”, other companies and individuals are editing content and choosing sides, based on what they saw on 1/6, as is their guaranteed right based on the First Amendment. They listened to the same speeches and watched the same videos you did on 1/6, and decided, for the most part, the scene displayed was not the side they wanted to be on. You are all now whining apparently because, surprise, surprise, they didn’t choose that side (your side?).
Also, consider the alternative. What if the government had the right to force these companies to carry content that they disagreed with, thought was false, broke the law, or could lead to violence? If you want to read the text of the First Amendment, you’ll see that idea is actually the opposite of the First Amendment.
The truth is, Donald Trump has absolutely no interest in free speech, unless that speech happens to agree with him. Not so with Twitter or Facebook, despite the apocalyptic claims on this blog. You can still get an account on those platforms and post whatever you want and, so long as you don’t break any laws, the worst that might happen is it could be flagged as untruthful. But, sorry, you as an individual are still liable for what you say and any resulting consequences. So, why do you think Trump wants to repeal the Section 230 law? For free speech? No, he wants to open up the companies themselves to liability so that he, as the most powerful person on earth (for a little while longer), could sue them for disagreeing with him, as would then be his right whether or not the lawsuits would ultimately be successful (you’ve been watching the last two months, right?). I wonder what that would do for “free speech” on the internet.
Don’t worry, it won’t be long before another platform pops up to fill the vacuum created as the gas clears from Trump’s Twitter account. Maybe it will even be a platform that is run by Trump himself, if he is true to his word. On that platform, he’ll be able to exercise his First Amendment rights, say anything he wants, and abuse or banish anyone who disagrees with him. It will be beautiful, everyone says so.
THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!
When I was little, there was a radio show called “The F.B.I. in Peace and War.” I’ve been schooled my whole life to revere the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Then, as a reporter, I saw them in action. Since most banks have federal deposit insurance, they are, to that extent, federal institutions, so when somebody robs them, the FBI shows up. And there I was, with my little notebook, being a police reporter for the Baltimore News-American, and there they were, the feds.
They were a bit of a joke. Seemed like they all bought identical greyish suits from Robert Hall. They went around looking important and lost, conspicuous in their “anonymity” as Manhattan doormen.
I learned in time that the sanctimonious J. Edgar Hoover was a fraud, a crypto-fascist, a man who understood the rules he worshiped and preached were for everybody else, not him, a closeted gay guy who, like Roy Cohn, adored outing closeted gay guys and wrecking their lives, a man of zero integrity, a digger of dirt for its own sake, a blackmailer and amasser of files for that very purpose. He was not admirable.
Still, 35,000 people work for the FBI, and that’s a lot of eyes to watch the events of last Wednesday in the Capitol. I wouldn’t want to be an alumnus of that insurrection. The man who kicked back in Pelosi’s office, with his foot on the desk, got busted as he deplaned in Hawaii. My guess is a bunch of people will have similar experiences, and hordes of them are in hiding.
SO IT STRIKES ME THAT THE HENNY PENNYISM WE’RE INTO RIGHT NOW WITH REGARD TO THE PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION IS MOSTLY THAT. It’s the right time to beef up security in public places. It’s the wrong time to stoke the highly inflammatory kindling of American fearfulness. Our species has not adapted to the dizzying pace of things it has created. We are dumb animals in fun houses and halls of mirrors.
Apart from whatever lone actors or tiny groups might do, there will be no major assault on the tranquility of this frightened country. The makers of weapons and mass-production goods and services, the ad agencies that stimulate and exploit primitive emotion, prefer that you fear the worst. Nevertheless, Authority, in its many forms, is on the job, dealing with the mobs of stupidity and their insurrection. A little slower but just as relentlessly as in the San Francisco State Strike of 1968-1969, authorities are closing down the army of the Lunatic Right. They’re arresting it.
Our favorite news people are in complicity with the panic-spreaders.
THEY DIDN’T JUST BREACH A CAPITOL. THEY BREACHED A CITY.
by Dave Zirin
This week we — a D.C.-based show — talk about the fascist mob that hit the Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, and explain why this should be seen as an attack not only on the federal government but also on the city. We also have Choice Words about what should have been the news of the week: the Georgia senate elections and the role of the WNBA in making the Rev. Raphael Warnock’s victory possible.
FROM THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION: “There is no legal definition of ‘hate speech’ under U.S. law, just as there is no legal definition for evil ideas, rudeness, unpatriotic speech, or any other kind of speech that people might condemn. Generally, however, hate speech is any form of expression through which speakers intend to vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred against a group or a class of persons on the basis of race, religion, skin color, sexual identity, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, or national origin. In the United States, hate speech is protected by the First Amendment. Courts extend this protection on the grounds that the First Amendment requires the government to strictly protect robust debate on matters of public concern even when such debate devolves into distasteful, offensive, or hateful speech that causes others to feel grief, anger, or fear. (The Supreme Court's decision in Snyder v. Phelps provides an example of this legal reasoning.) Under current First Amendment jurisprudence, hate speech can only be criminalized when it directly incites imminent criminal activity or consists of specific threats of violence targeted against a person or group."
HOUSING IS A RIGHT. DURING A PANDEMIC, IT'S ALSO A FIGHT.
In California’s agricultural heartland, farmworkers are fighting back against expensive rents, substandard housing, and economic disenfranchisement.
ONE OF TRUMP'S “VERY FINE PEOPLE”
The thug wearing the Camp Auschwitz hoodie has been identified as one Robert Keith Packer of Virginia.
In a day full of infamy, this one stood out in its loathsomeness. A symbol of a very dark period of time in our world’s history; a name synonymous with the virulent anti-Semitism of the Nazis and the murder of millions of Jews.
Robert Keith Packer was also pictured inside the Capitol with “other very fine people.” He had plenty of other Holocaust denying Neo-Nazis thugs in the mob that broke into the Capitol, including Tim Gionet aka Baked Alaska, a well known promoter of anti-Semitic conspiracies.
Looks like he has something in common with the other insurrectionists identified and arrested. A criminal record. Trump really sends his best people.
THAT EVERY TECH COMPANY COULD WORK TOGETHER to effectively block the President of the United States, however much of a dangerous person he has become (or always was) is not something to take lightly. Real power today is not with politicians or the banks, it’s with these new media and big data organizations who have fundamentally transformed lived conditions on earth. I appreciate technology has always been with us. But today it’s different. Technology has become a new religion, the unmediated power that promises to save us from ourselves. The pandemic already provided these companies with such a momentous condition of possibility for changing the lived reality of life on this planet. That we now see even the most “radical” of thinkers and activists cheer them on when they assume for themselves the ultimate political power – the ability to take command of the circulation of thoughts and ideas, however threatening, demands serious critical attention.
This is not just about joining the “free speech” debates, which have also been complicit in creating highly reductive with us or against us narratives. It’s to ask deeper questions about who ultimately decides and who has the power to effectively say a person has no use. For let’s be clear too, Trump was both useful and then utterly disposable for these firms, which will continue to profit from divisions.
— Brad Evans
‘MURDER THE MEDIA’
UNLESS AMERICANS START WEARING MASKS more often and spending less time together in cramped spaces, many more people are going to die.
— David Leonhardt
GLOBAL WARMING has already made parts of the world hotter than the human body can withstand decades earlier than climate models expected. Measurements at Jacobabad in Pakistan and Ras al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates have both repeatedly spent at least 1 or 2 hours over a deadly threshold.
As it happens, excessive heat combined with excessive humidity leads to death within 6 hours. Early signs of this are already appearing decades ahead of expectations. After all, the human body has limits. If the temperature/humidity index is extreme enough, even a healthy person seated in the shade with plentiful water to drink will suffer severely or likely die. It’s the Wet-Bulb Temperature WBT. Generally speaking, a threshold is reached when air temperature climbs above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) combined with humidity above 90 percent.
IN SHOCKING NEW REPORTS, we are learning that QAnon-supporting Congresswoman Lauren Boebert live-tweeted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's location and movements during the white supremacist attack on Capitol Hill last week, in what appears to have been an effort to help the racist mob locate the speaker. The Republicans like Boebert, Ted Cruz, and Josh Hawley who helped to motivate this deadly white supremacist mob to invade the Capitol, plant explosive devices, and murder a police officer, must be condemned, held accountable, and removed from office.
(Move On, Tuesday, Jan 12)
NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH
by Arianne Shahvisi
In my first year of secondary school, a science teacher began a lesson on nutrition by asking us to tell her what we ate for dinner so we could categorize the components of our meals into their correct food groups. She looked aghast as child after child muttered “chips and beans.” For some, “chips and beans” was cover for something less wholesome and dependable. The teacher quickly abandoned the exercise and instead reverted to the mythical meal on the “food wheel” poster Blu-tacked to the wall, a testament to our parents’ failings.
A third of the pupils at my Essex [England] comprehensive qualified for free school lunches. Back then, claiming a meal involved visiting the office and crossing your name off a list. The meals were doled out in brown paper bags, too cumbersome to crush into a school bag, too shameful to carry openly. Uptake was low; some names were never crossed off, a register of listless children somnambulating their way through the school day. It was better to be hungry than humiliated.
In Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell offers a first-hand account of living below the poverty line:
“You discover the boredom which is inseparable from poverty; the times when you have nothing to do and, being underfed, can interest yourself in nothing … Only food could rouse you. You discover that a man who has gone even a week on bread and margarine is not a man any longer, only a belly with a few accessory organs.”
Orwell learned the hard way that the romantic ideal of the “starving artist” is the stuff of middle-class poseurs. Hungry people cannot produce art, and hungry children cannot learn. The brain is the most energy-intensive organ in the body, guzzling a fifth of the calories we consume. It flags and stalls when under-fuelled. Allowing children to go hungry puts direct energetic constraints on their cognition and development. It also leaves their immune systems more vulnerable to infection.
The UK’s free school meals program ensures that children from deprived households get at least one meal a day and costs the government £600 million a year. (“Eat Out to Help Out,” which ran for just a month and subsidized restaurant meals, cost £849 million.) According to the Sustainable Food Trust, malnutrition costs the UK £17 billion a year, as well as leaving people desperate, miserable, reduced to bellies with a few accessory organs.
Amid its mounting disgraces, the UK government has spent the entire pandemic dragging its feet on the issue of hungry children, as though they might develop the fortitude to overcome their dependence on food. It took a 23-year-old footballer, haunted by his memories of the rumbling shame of food insecurity, to call them to account.
Marcus Rashford now spends his time off the pitch lobbying the government to provide free school meals during school closures and holidays. He is articulate, incisive and unyielding, but his tweets and television appearances have an edge of bafflement, as though he can’t quite believe he’s having to fight for this.
The UK’s failures have not escaped international attention. Last month, for the first time in its seventy-year history, Unicef provided an emergency handout for UK children. Jacob Rees-Mogg responded that the agency should be “ashamed of itself,” calling the assistance a “political stunt.” In 2017, he said that the rise in food bank use was “rather uplifting” and suggested that the best route out of poverty is through employment.
He’s wrong. According to a report on deprivation in my hometown of Southend-on-Sea, where 35 per cent of children live in poverty, “low-paid jobs do not seem a viable means of removing parents from poverty, even when in receipt of benefits and tax credits.”
Now that schools are closed, eligible households receive parcels to replace free school meals. The chef and campaigner Jack Monroe, who is also from Southend and has experienced food poverty first-hand, spent a day recently collating photos of these measly offerings. One parcel, apparently intended to last ten days, for which the government was said to have paid the provider £30, contained a small block of cheese, a loaf of bread, a tin of baked beans, a few pieces of fruit, two carrots, two potatoes, a tomato, three small yogurt tubes, and two mini malt loaf snacks. If you bought the bundle at a supermarket it would cost just over £5. The government says that the provisions must allow for the preparation of “healthy meals” and “not rely on parents having additional ingredients at home.” Yet once the single can of baked beans is eaten it’s hard to see how anything resembling a meal can be produced from what remains, let alone a balanced or appetizing one.
Rashford asked for a meeting with Chartwells, the firm that provided the parcel. They issued a statement:
“For clarity, this shows five days of free school lunches (not 10 days) and the charge for food, packing and distribution was actually £10.50 and not £30 as suggested. However, in our efforts to provide thousands of food parcels a week, at extremely short notice, we are very sorry the quantity has fallen short in this instance.”
Chartwells is a subsidiary of Compass, which has a £350 million contract to cater for UK schools. Paul Walsh, who stepped down as the firm’s chairman last month, is a Tory donor and former adviser to David Cameron. While 700,000 people in the UK have been driven into poverty by Covid-19, a small cadre of profiteers have been mopping up new government contracts, raking in the spoils of what Naomi Klein calls “disaster capitalism.”
Children are going hungry; restaurants and cafes are struggling to survive. At least one solution is staring us in the face, and Rashford hinted at it in a tweet: “We have so many independent businesses who have struggled their way through 2020 – why can’t we mobilize them to support the distribution of food packages? Or am I being naive?” Again: that note of puzzlement. No, he isn’t being naive. But why is he doing the work of a politician?
Voting against feeding deprived children sounds like the stuff of caricature. Yet 322 MPs voted down a motion to extend free school lunch provision over the Christmas holidays. Rashford’s unflagging, public disgruntlement led to the decision being overturned. The Tories have talked themselves and others into associating need with deceit, incompetence and laziness; this is the morally bankrupt endpoint of the persistent demonization of welfare recipients as “scroungers” and “fraudsters.” Derisory food parcels may be the product of incompetence and profiteering, but those factors are underwritten by willful neglect, part of a deeper punitive ideology. Shame, misery and hunger are seen as just deserts.
(London Review of Books)
AMERICAN ANOMIE: a conversation with Cornel West & Chris Hedges