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Mendocino County Today: January 17, 2021

Warm Days | Another Death | 10% Vaccinated | Healthcare Failure | Dorothea Dorman | Shelter News | High Conspiracy | Vaccinate Mendo | Inoculation Information | Blue Navarro | Ed Note | Old Mendocino | Acting | Illustrated Man | Jurgen Knemeyer | Drought Danger | Excelsior | Trailer Thief | Yesterday's Catch | Oncale Diatribe | Big River | Court Cases | 1914 Studebaker | Dog Walking | Home & Buggy | Other Concern | Harbor Seals | Religious People | Stagecoaching | Claim Fraud | Social Conditioning | Hero Cops | Alternate Universe | | Stupid People | Employee Consideration | News Thirst | Marco Radio | 1999 Headline

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DRY WEATHER will prevail through the middle of the upcoming week. Offshore flow through Tuesday will result in warm days and cool nights in the valleys, with locally strong winds over exposed mountainous terrain. Precipitation may return towards the end of the week. (NWS)

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18 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Saturday, bringing the total to 3094. Another death.

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Last week, the County of Mendocino successfully responded to an unanticipated arrival of over one thousand members of the public to a vaccination event at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds. The event was designed to serve Phase 1a, 1b and Tier 1 vaccine candidates, and not the general public. “Thankfully, we were able to vaccinate or reschedule the approximately 1,200 individuals who came to the Fairgrounds,” notes Vaccine Project Manager Adrienne Thompson.

To date, according to Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Andrew Coren, the county has vaccinated 5,970 individuals. This figure does not include the numbers of people vaccinated through hospitals, pharmacies or Indian Health Centers, all of which receive their own allotments of vaccine. “This translates to almost 10% of the county’s population over 18 years of age. We are very proud that we have utilized every vaccine we’ve received during the week we received it. The demand for vaccine far exceeds the supply we are able to access from the State at this time. We fully understand this causes frustration and congestion, and we ask for your patience,” Dr. Coren continues.

The number of phone calls to the county’s vaccine call center have increased exponentially. “The public and employers are rightfully seeking information about how and when to get vaccinated,” Thompson continues. “Staff is working diligently to return every call and answer every email.”

To respond to the increased call volume, additional staff are being added to the call center team.

“We are also enlisting contractors to answer the phones and help shorten our response time.” In addition, the county’s newly-created vaccine webpage will contain the most up-to-date information about vaccination events. Thompson notes this page and the county’s social media pages are the best way for the public to stay informed.

“We’d like to encourage the public to visit our web page or social media pages, so that those in outlying areas and folks who don’t use the internet can reach someone through the call center.”

“We will be posting the locations and guidelines for all vaccination events and updating the page on Friday nights by 5:00 pm and more often, if necessary,” says Thompson. The page will soon contain an online scheduling portal, enabling residents to make vaccination appointments.

“Please bear with us just a bit longer,” says Thompson. “Our goal is to provide transparency in our operations, clarity in our communication and safety for our residents. We are grateful for the public’s patience as we continue to refine and greatly expand our vaccination program.”

The California Department of Public Health and the CDC have a wealth of information regarding Covid-19 and vaccines. The CDC has specific information sheets on the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Mendocino County has a fact sheet outlining the latest information on vaccines.

For more information, visit the county's Covid-19 page, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. The county’s Call Center is staffed from 8:30-5:00 pm Monday through Friday at (707) 472-2759. For vaccine-specific questions and information, phone (707) 472-2663 or email DOCvaccines@

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DR. DREW COLFAX, Emergency Room Doctor from Adventist-Ukiah (and home-schooled in Anderson Valley son of former Fifth District Supervisor David Colfax), said on KZYX Friday afternoon that vaccination “is going to continue to be fairly confusing and rumor driven, I’m afraid, for the next couple of weeks. I urge people to just relax. A couple more weeks of sheltering and doing what we’ve been doing is going to be fine.” We think Dr. Colfax is being very optimistic about the timeframe. At the rate Mendo is going on vaccinations it’ll take months, not a couple of weeks before things are “fine.” Colfax added that nobody knows when or how much more vaccination will arrive, nor even if the booster shots for the people who have been vaccinated will arrive. It’s unclear what the production rates for vaccine are nor when the state will get follow-on deliveries or in what quantities. “It’s a mess,” said Colfax, as Mendo tries to get people vaccinated to the extent possible. “There’s no top-down structure.” Colfax commented on one of the main reasons for “the mess”: “We have this completely discombobulated, for-profit disorganized health care system in this country that’s extremely expensive and frankly not very good. If we had a single-payer system like any other developed nation in the world, it would be much easier to have an organized vaccine roll-out. We don’t, so we have various big hospital chains in the state of California and even in this county that are working in a different parallel universe for their vaccine roll-out. There’s no transparency about how much each hospital chain — Sutter, Kaiser, the big ones [and Adventist] — has or where it’s going or how much the state of California has or where it’s going. It’s an incredibly complex, poorly designed system that is unbelievably poorly suited to a pandemic like this.” (Mark Scaramella)

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She contributed to the AVA over the years and was one of the people to defend the theft of Nutmeg, the famous Shitzui. Unfortunately Dorthea took flight off her road, Radical Ridge in Redwood Valley three days ago. As for Nutmeg, Judge M awarded him to the bad guy despite evidence, and he was promptly put to sleep out of revenge. Rest in peace both of you.

Dorothea you were quite a lady. Please check Jennifer Schmidt Facebook for Eulogy, or mine, Wallis Williams. So sorry, but if Dorothea was nothing else, she was dramatic. She was also treasured for a variety of reasons, by many. Happy trails and please stop telling people they are fat for not eating raw veggies only. Please, dear friend.

Wallis Williams


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ANIMAL SHELTER NEWS: “There are only FOUR dogs for adoption! and three cats. kind of amazing.”

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TWO REPUBLICANS DIE and go to heaven. They ask God if he’d answer one question.

“Of course” God says.

They ask how the Democrats rigged the election in 2020.

“It wasn’t rigged” God replied.

The Republicans look at one another and say, “This conspiracy goes higher than we thought!”

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In an effort to bring order and clarity, Ted Williams has created a site where you can enter a vaccination signup request. Go to website. Please help spread the word.

Sue McKinney

Director, Crila Health,

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To the Editor:

Dear Board of Supervisors:

Our county deserves to know how many people have received vaccinations against the corona virus.

I would like to see the number of vaccinations administered each day posted on the Covid Dashboard along with the other virus statistics.

Seeing the vaccination numbers each day would give me and other citizens a map of the progress against the virus.

It is very frustrating to read occasional stories in the Ukiah Daily Journal about vaccinations without being able to measure the progress in vaccinating all the citizens.

Thank you very much.

Janie Sheppard


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When the Navarro Was Blue

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WE'LL SEE DEPARTMENT: “Mr. Biden’s team has developed a raft of decrees that he can issue on his own authority after the inauguration on Wednesday to begin reversing some of President Trump’s most hotly disputed policies. Advisers hope the flurry of action, without waiting for Congress, will establish a sense of momentum for the new president even as the Senate puts his predecessor on trial. On his first day in office alone, Mr. Biden intends a flurry of executive orders that will be partly substantive and partly symbolic. They include rescinding the travel ban on several predominantly Muslim countries, rejoining the Paris climate change accord, extending pandemic-related limits on evictions and student loan payments, issuing a mask mandate for federal property and interstate travel and ordering agencies to figure out how to reunite children separated from families after crossing the border, according to a memo circulated on Saturday by Ron Klain, his incoming White House chief of staff, and obtained by The New York Times.”

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It is highly unlikely that Mendocino was still being called Meiggsville at the time of that photo. There is too much build up at the "Point" where ships were loaded. Meiggsville as a name only existed for the first year or two of the milling operation.

Secondly, using the appellation, "Mendocino Village," only furthers that pretentious affectation, giving it the blessing of the AVA - something this AVA contributor objects to in the strongest terms available. 
If you want an old time name suitable for the first photo, I'd go with Mendocino City.

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"I CALLED THE BOOK 'Respect for Acting' for a very clear reason. I did not call the book 'Delight in Acting' or 'Love of Acting' or 'The Fun of Acting.' I called that book what I called that book because of the shocking lack of respect that was creeping into both the teaching and the practicing of acting. Now? Forget it. We have allowed so much to recede or languish that I don't know what I could call a book today. 'Demand for Acting' might work. ...There was a time when people became bored and they took up bridge or golf; ladies had an affair or had their hair rinsed and joined a book club. Now they want to act. And there are fools with no standards who allow them into classes and theatre groups and tell them to live their dream. I don't care about dreams. I care about work and responsibility and truth and commitment." 

—Uta Hagen/Interview with James Grissom/1996

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SCRIBBLEFACE, the backstory

Rapp, 2005; Rapp, 2016

From a Blog entitled ‘Calistoga Corona Chronicles’: 

5:12 PM, Sunday, September 13, 2020. — “I left L.A. a month ago and it has taken all this time for me to get here. My BMW blew up in Sonoma and my uncle gave me a car, a car that blew up right here in Calistoga. I’m trying to get up to Lake County, to see my kids, but I’m not sure what I’ll do now. I got my first tattoo at age seven and I’ve spent 17 years in prison – most of that in solitude. I’m not the kind of person people trust. There’s something living inside me. I considered hitch-hiking to Clear Lake but, beside the virus, would you pick me up?”

Jeremiah Rapp, 2020

Forty five year old Jeremiah Rapp considers his options at Bill’s Liquor Store at the corner of Tubbs Lane and Hwy. 128 in Calistoga.

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THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE lists 22 people as either open cold case crimes or missing persons going back several decades. Some of them are cold and some are recent. Some have been reported on but many have not received much attention. For the next three weeks we will feature each one, starting with:


On Saturday, August 14, 1999 at 1230 hours a Deputy from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to Jurgen Knemyer’s Willits home (Hill Top Road) in regards to a welfare check. A neighbor had reported seeing the back door to Jurgen Knemeyer’s home open with the interior lights being on since 3am in the morning.


Upon entering into the residence, the Deputy located Jurgen Knemeyer deceased from injuries obviously associated with a homicide. 

During investigations Detectives learned a family member had last spoken with Jurgen Knemeyer on August 12, 1999 at 9:30pm. At this time it is unclear the motive for the homicide but growing marijuana was located at Jurgen Knemeyer’s home during the processing of the crime scene.

Anyone with information in regards to the murder of Jurgen Knemeyer is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

Age at time of disappearance: 56 years-old

Height: 5 feet 9 inch

Weight: 185 pounds

Hair: Grey

Eye color: Hazel

MCSO Case#: 99-2653

Further Case Background:

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by Guy Kovner

About a mile of bare, cracked earth now lies like a desertscape between the boat ramp at the north end of Lake Mendocino and the water’s edge of a diminished reservoir that helps provide water for 600,000 Sonoma and Marin County residents.

The human-made lake near Ukiah is about 30 feet lower than it was at this time last year, and Nick Malasavage, an Army Corps of Engineers official who oversees operations at the reservoir, said the scene is “pretty jarring.”

The north end of Lake Mendocino near Ukiah is caked in dry, cracked mud as water continues to recede from the lake due to the lack of winter precipitation, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

Some 40 miles to the south, skeletal drowned trees protrude from the water at the upper end of the Yorty Creek arm of Lake Sonoma, the cornerstone of the Russian River water system. The lake is about 25 feet lower than last year.

And while the county’s bucolic hills are green from rain, cattle ranchers, dairy operators and wine grape growers say too little has fallen to sustain their crops and livestock.

Farm reservoirs are low from lack of storm runoff, and some are nearly empty, like the pond at a Korbel Winery vineyard near Guerneville meant to provide water for frost protection and irrigation.

Sonoma County and the surrounding region are flirting with drought in the midst of a water-poor winter attributed to a La Niña weather pattern that threatens the county’s $1 billion farming sector and could fuel more catastrophic fire conditions later this year.

“If we don’t get average rainfall for the next two months we could be in a critically dry year,” said Grant Davis, head of Sonoma Water, the agency that provides water to most of Sonoma County and northern Marin.

Even that makeup rainfall might not suffice in a year that has delivered just 5.77 inches of precipitation in Santa Rosa since Oct. 1, nearly a foot shy of the 17.5-inch average by this time of the official rain year. The 12-month historical average for the city is over 36 inches.

Petaluma Municipal Airport, at the dry southern end of the county, has just 3.25 inches of rain so far and needs 23.4 inches to reach average by the Sept. 30 end of the rain year, according to the Western Region Climate Center, a federally funded agency.

The likelihood of closing that rain deficit is less than 9%, the center said.

The 19 cities and communities listed on The Press Democrat’s weather page all have less than 10 inches of rain to date and for many it is less than half of last year’s precipitation.

Venado, the remote place in the mountains 10 miles west of Healdsburg that is heralded as the county’s soggiest spot and known for 100-inch rain years, has had a mere 12.36 inches since Oct. 1.

While the two reservoirs are rain-deprived — Lake Sonoma at 65% of targeted capacity and Lake Mendocino at 40% — Davis said the water agency would have enough supplies this year for its North Bay customers.

Lake Sonoma, the 2,700-acre reservoir created by the construction of Warm Springs Dam in 1983, can hold a three-year water supply. Lake Mendocino, created behind Coyote Valley Dam in 1958, is about one-third as large and depends more on yearly replenishment from nature.

Lake Mendocino is fed by rainfall in the upper Russian River watershed that is measured at Ukiah, where rainfall in 2020 was 11.32 inches — 31% of normal and second lowest since 1893. The lowest mark was 7.6 inches in 2013, at the outset of a historic statewide drought that sapped supplies and forced conservation measures.

To preserve water in Lake Mendocino, Sonoma Water this month has asked state water regulators for temporary permission to cut releases by half or more under certain conditions this year.

Firefighters, too, are on edge, with meteorologists warning that the unusually warm and windy weather could spark wildfires. Despite the danger, the weather service was not anticipating issuing a red flag warning or fire weather watch.

Closer to home, Cal Fire Division Chief Ben Nicholls said he’s worried by a forecast for dry offshore winds, blowing from east to west and gusting from 20 to 45 mph on Sunday through Tuesday, compounded by sunny days in the low 70s Sunday and Monday.

The warm, dry spell will create “elevated fire conditions,” he said, calling it added evidence that California’s wildfire season “is truly year-round.”

While global warming, among other factors, is cited for California’s increasingly frequent and fearsome wildfires, meteorologists point to La Niña — a phenomenon characterized by unusually cold water temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean — as the force behind the arid winter.

“It’s what we would expect from a moderate La Niña system,” said Max Gawryla, a meteorologist with AccuWeather, a private company that provides forecasts for The Press Democrat’s weather page.

Storm fronts from the Gulf of Alaska are being shunted to the north by a ridge of high pressure shielding the Bay Area and diverting the rain to the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountains, he said.

“Let’s call it the Great Bay Area Wall,” said Brian Garcia of the National Weather Service office in Monterey, noting that rain is falling aplenty from Humboldt County northward.

Sonoma County’s coastal mountains also form a barrier that is “eating up the rain,” reducing precipitation from about 50% of average to 30%, he said.

The shortfall is affecting agriculture, including the county’s two largest commodities — wine and milk — and even curbing wastewater flow to Santa Rosa’s treatment plant.

Joe Pozzi, a Valley Ford cattle and sheep rancher, said farm ponds are falling and natural springs, like the ones he relies on for water, are drying up. The biggest problem, however, is stunted growth of grass in livestock pastures.

Without rain, ranchers are forced to deplete their stocks of dry hay, buy more feed or — as a last resort — downsize their herd.

“We’re not there yet,” said Pozzi, who’s been ranching since 1984.

“No matter how much dry hay you put out, the animals don’t do as well as they would on grass,” he said.

“It’s starting to get a little scary,” said Doug Beretta, who runs the Santa Rosa-area dairy founded by his grandfather in 1948.

If the dry spell continues, Beretta said he might have to start buying hay, and worries about whether the supply from California, Oregon and Nevada will be sufficient in a county with 56 licensed cow dairies.

There are 47 certified organic dairies, including Beretta’s, that face an added concern over federal regulations mandating that every animal over six months old must spend at least 120 days in pastures receiving 30% of their feed.

Dairies that can’t meet the standard might have to shrink their herd or apply for a variance from the rule.

Some dairies are trucking in water to sustain their cows, which can drink a third of their body weight — 40 to 50 gallons of water — a day.

Beretta also is one of the 63 farm operators who obtain recycled wastewater from Santa Rosa’s treatment plant on Llano Road. That water can legally be consumed by animals not producing milk.

But the rain-stingy season has also reduced water flowing into the treatment plant and the amount of recycled water stored in ponds at the facility, said Jennifer Burke, director of Santa Rosa Water.

There are usually 600 million gallons in storage this time of year, but there are now only 400 million gallons and the gap is likely to grow as storage capacity under normal weather conditions increases into spring, she said.

Without sufficient rainfall there may be “very little recycled water available” this year for agricultural users, Burke said.

Santa Rosa pipes 4.6 billion gallons of treated wastewater to geothermal power plants at The Geysers and stores the rest.

Grapevines are dormant during winter, immune to the dry conditions for now, said John Bidia, director of vineyards operations at Korbel Winery.

But the lack of rain is failing to replenish soil moisture and could impact the grape growing season, he said.

When the vines start waking up in March they may need water for frost protection, said Bidia, who is in his 41st year with Korbel.

Two of Korbel’s seven vineyards store water in ponds; one is about 30% full and the other essentially empty with the water level below the outlet pipe.

Sonoma County’s dairy industry dates back to the 19th century and milk was the top commodity until it was surpassed by grapes in 1987.

The county’s 2018 crop report, the latest one published, valued agriculture at $1.1 billion with wine grapes at nearly $778 million and milk at $141 million.

It’s unclear whether the county is entering a drought, since there are two weeks remaining in January, which averages 7.05 inches of rain, along with February (6.63 inches) and March (4.98 inches).

“That’s the question everybody is asking,” said Davis, the water agency head.

The U.S. Drought Monitor placed more than 95% of California in one of four stages of drought last week. Nearly all of Sonoma County was in severe drought, while Napa and Lake counties were a level higher in extreme drought and Mendocino County was about evenly divided between the two levels.

A year ago, none of the state was in a drought condition.

Ultimately, it is up to the Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Department of Water Resources to declare a drought, Davis said.

But there could be a break in the dry spell the weekend of Jan. 23 and 24, when AccuWeather, which does long-range forecasting, said the North Bay could get a half-inch to an inch of rain, followed by another 2 to 3 inches in the last week of the month.

“That would be huge. This could change overnight,” Pozzi said.

“We could make up a lot,” Beretta said

La Niña should fade in spring, offering the prospect of relief, meteorologist Garcia said.

But as much as the region needs rain, it could prove harmful if a downpour triggered debris flows over the region’s massive wildfire burn scars, he said.

“What we need is Goldilocks rain: not too little, not too much,” Garcia said.

There is also the possibility of a “March miracle” delivering enough precipitation to terminate a drought in one prolonged storm, but also bringing the threat of flooding.

In early March 2016, near what would be the end of California’s worst drought on record, a heavy storm, known as an atmospheric river, pumped both Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino up to more than 100% of capacity, leaving both the fullest they had been at that time of the year since 2012. It also stopped in time to avert flooding.

March miracles can be the stuff of dreams, said Brad Sherwood, a Sonoma Water spokesman. “They happen once in a while and when they do we dance with joy.”

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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On Wednesday, January 13, 2021 between 3:00 & 4:00 PM, a construction style dump trailer (marked “Giammona Construction”) was stolen from a home's driveway in the Alexander Estates subdivision in Ukiah.

The person used a Ford SUV to connect to the trailer and flee westbound on Lovers Lane.

The vehicle theft was captured on a Ring doorbell resulting in the Sheriff's Office posting video and photographs of the footage on their Facebook page on 01-13-2021.

On Thursday, January 14, 2021 the Sheriff's Office received several tips from the public regarding the identity of the person depicted in the Sheriff's Office Facebook post regarding the theft of the dump trailer.

Deputies began searching for the identified person, Marco Antonio Alarcon-Flores, 49, of Ukiah, throughout the day in the Ukiah area.

Marco Alarcon-Flores

During the afternoon of Friday, January 15, 2021, Alarcon-Flores arrived at the Sheriff's Office Ukiah Station as friends made him aware of the Sheriff's Office Facebook post.

A Deputy and CHP Officer interviewed Alarcon-Flores and at the conclusion of the interview he was arrested on charges of vehicle theft and grand theft of property during a declared emergency (COVID-19 Pandemic).

Alarcon-Flores was booked into the Mendocino County Jail in lieu of $15,000 bail and subsequently bailed out of custody.

The dump trailer has not been recovered and anyone with information about its current whereabouts is urged to contact the Sheriff's Office by calling 707-463-4086.

The Sheriff's Office would like to thank the public for their assistance during this investigation.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 16, 2021

Alarcon-Flores, Bettencourt, Dugan, Lockhart

MARCO ALARCON-FLORES, Talmage. Grand theft of firearm during emergency, taking vehicle without owner’s consent.

CURTIS BETTENCOURT, Fort Bragg. Under influence.

SPENCER DUGAN, Ukiah. Burglary during state of emergency, petty theft. 

SHAYLYNN LOCKHART, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Lopez, Ortiz, Parker

ROMEO LOPEZ, Willits. Domestic battery.

LUIS ORTIZ, Ukiah. Controlled substance, harrassing-threatening-obscene phone calls, us of electronic tracking device to locate a person prohibited from contact, county parole violation.

KOLE PARKER, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, grand theft, failure to appear.

Roberts, Sanchez, Waltrip, Zalar

CHERRI ROBERTS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

SAMUEL SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Parole violation, resisting. (Frequent flyer.)

JACOB WALTRIP, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

GRANT ZALAR, Little River. DUI-alcohol&drugs.

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Dear Editor,

I read with amusement Dave Oncale’s diatribe about the election and liberals (AVA January 6, 2021). The invasion of the Capitol on January 6, 2021 by Trump supporters put the lie to his statement that “If that does not happen (the Supreme Court handing the election to Trump) at least you can rest assured that we won’t run downtown, shoot some cops, burn buildings or loot stores for the latest big screen TVs.” 

No. Trump supporters will invade the Congress and try to kidnap, injure or kill Congressmen and Congresswomen, not to mention five deaths resulting from their violent actions. Every person arrested for invading the Capitol has been a diehard Trump supporter, not a member of Antifa or BLM.


James Mayo


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Big River Work Site

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Trump lost over 50 (is it over 60 now?) court cases on the election issue, and gave him only one tiny win. And the supreme court rejected him again:

Generally I trust judges because they don’t have to be raising money and securing influence for the next election. Generally I trust the results the judicial system produces because it’s designed to seek out truth. It’s highly imperfect, but it does evaluate based on evidence, precedent and rule of law.

On top of that, and I hate that it’s the case, but I find myself trusting the judges who threw out all those Trump cases because so many of them are Trump appointees. Trump managed to squeeze three onto the Supreme Court, and fully expected them to come to his rescue in his time of need. They didn’t. And I think that’s because, however much I disagree with their politics, they answer to a higher power: Truth, supported by evidence.

I trust them more than I do some person on the internet, copy-pasting something some other person on the internet said.

If there’s any validity to this stuff it can survive examination by courts of law. Rudy had plenty of chances. 50 (or is it 60?) at least.

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(Coming out of Glen Blair) W.H. Ward, Agt. Fort Bragg, Calif_ The local Studebaker dealer c. 1914. Donated by Darlene Letner. Accession #: 2015-23-1/2

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by Leah Garchik

Just before Christmas, I bundle up for the last dog walk of the day around 10 p.m. Often, to make the walk go faster, I play games with myself. The night before, my losing bet had been on counting 50 houses with Christmas trees or holiday decorations in the windows. There had actually been 60 along my eight-block route.

Arriving at the corner of Broderick and Haight this night, I turn to walk west up the incline on Haight Street. The nights are particularly quiet these days, thanks to the COVID-related curfew, starting at 10 p.m.

Behind me I hear some rustling. I turn to glimpse the shadowy outline of someone lurching up the street about a quarter block behind me. I’m on alert, although the man has posed no particular danger.

But Greenberg always seems to sense my anxiety. Usually, when we pass people walking toward us, he bounds over and presses himself against their legs, looking to be petted. Always, though, when I am the least bit wary, he barks. Tonight is the same. I haven’t said anything, I haven’t done anything, but somehow he knows that I am uneasy, and he starts making a shrill racket.

This is often embarrassing, and I usually try to hush him while apologizing to the target of his barks. In this case, it is the man behind us, who seems to be walking faster than we are and gaining on us. With Greenberg yipping and yowling, I apologize to the stranger and tell the dog, as sternly as I can, to be quiet. The man is alongside us now, and leans in to ask for some money.

“Sorry,” I tell him, perceiving that him asking for something and me turning him down has raised the stakes of the conversation. I look up and down the street. No one else is around.

At this, the man starts screaming, “dog, dog, DOG!” over and over. His face is distorted, and his neck muscles bulge as he yells as loud as he can. He is not violent, but the force of his voice feels dangerous, that he, a grown man of average size, is as out of control as my 12-pound dog.

Terrified at the timbre of the man’s shouts, Greenberg goes into an even greater frenzy, barking, alternately lunging and cowering, and trying to drag me into the street. The man continues yelling. If I run, I think, he could run after me, and that would be even worse. I walk a few steps more and the man keeps up with me.

He doesn’t touch me. He doesn’t threaten me. He doesn’t come closer than 5 feet away. But his demeanor feels unpredictable, as though he could attack at any time. Standing on the deserted sidewalk, that is what scares me.

Suddenly, I hear another man’s voice from the other side of the street.

“Is everything all right?” he hollers. “Are you OK?” I peer into the darkness and see the man has come out of his house and is addressing me from a landing on his front steps. As he calls, the “dog”-screamer stops. Maybe he was tired of yelling, or maybe the presence of a witness has shut him up.

“Yes,” I say, so relieved to have an ally that I run across Haight Street to be closer. Greenberg in tow, I tell him what happened, that I am not harmed or hurt in any way, just shaken.

“Are you going far?” he asks. “I can walk you home.”

“No need,” I say. “I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you came out to see what was happening.”

A minute later, on Page Street, I run into a man I often see walking his dog. His dog is wearing a surgical keep-away-from-the-wound cone, and I know it had been neutered a day or so before.

“How’s he doing?” I ask.

“Better,” the guy says.

And then, because my heart is still racing and my knees are still wobbly, I tell him what happened, ending with my gratitude for the neighbor who cared enough to investigate what was going on.

“Well, sure,” says the dog-walker. “We are a community.”

When I took a break from watching the news last Wednesday to walk Greenberg at 5 p.m. or so, neighbors were bursting out of their houses. Some, like me, had dogs to walk. Others were just taking recesses from their TV screens. “Unbelievable,” we said to each other. “Could you imagine that this is America?” 

“All I’ve been doing is watching and eating.” 

“Well, it’s been coming for four years, hasn’t it?”

We were a community, ordinary folks in sweatpants and parkas, sharing our sorrows and fears, and that seemed to help. In the terrors, the horrors, the disappointments, the outrages of recent times, our strongest feelings will be bonds with each other.

(Leah Garchik is a former Chronicle columnist and curator of the daily Public Eavesdropping feature. Email:

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THE UNCEASING PROPAGANDA in our time for 'the individual' seems to me deeply suspect, as 'individuality' itself becomes more and more a synonym for selfishness. A capitalist society comes to have a vested interest in praising 'individuality' and 'freedom' — which may mean little more than the right to the perpetual aggrandizement of the self, and the freedom to shop, to acquire, to use up, to consume, to render obsolete.

"I don’t believe there is any inherent value in the cultivation of the self. And I think there is no culture (using the term normatively) without a standard of altruism, of regard for others. I do believe there is an inherent value in extending our sense of what a human life can be. If literature has engaged me as a project, first as a reader and then as a writer, it is as an extension of my sympathies to other selves, other domains, other dreams, other words, other territories of concern.

— Susan Sontag

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THE USUAL ARGUMENT of religious people on this subject is roughly as follows: "I and my friends are persons of amazing intelligence and virtue. It is hardly conceivable that so much intelligence and virtue could have come about by chance. There must, therefore, be someone at least as intelligent and virtuous as we are who set the cosmic machinery in motion with a view to producing Us." I am sorry to say that I do not find this argument so impressive as it is found by those who use it.

― Bertrand Russell, Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to Civilization? (1930)

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Criminal rings, some from foreign countries, used scams in claims

California may have paid out nearly $10 billion in phony coronavirus unemployment claims — more than double the previous estimate — with some of that money going to organized crime in Russia, China and other countries, according to a security firm hired to investigate the fraud.

At least 10% of claims submitted to the state Employment Development Department before controls were installed in October may have been fraudulent, Blake Hall, founder and CEO of told the Los Angeles Times.

The Times on Friday said that would work out to $98.8 billion of the benefits paid from March through September.

The money went to people who lost their jobs when the state began locking down businesses in an effort to curb the COVID-19 pandemic that currently is overwhelming hospitals and causing hundreds of deaths a day.

California, the nation’s most populous state, has processed more than 16 million unemployment benefits since March and paid out $113 billion.

The Employment Development Department has struggled to keep up with the demand, facing intense pressure to work through a backlog that at one time numbered more than 1.6 million people.

The payout includes $43 billion from a federal expedited assistance program for independent contractors, gig workers and the self-employed that is less secure, the Times said.

The state has acknowledged that the department was bilked out of hundreds of millions of dollars in COVID-19 unemployment funds that went to fraudsters, some sent to inmates in jails and prisons, including some on California’s death row.

Hall’s company was hired by the Employment Development Department and since October his firm had blocked nearly 470,000 phony claims.

Typically, 10% of unemployment claims nationwide are fraudulent, Hall told the Times.

Much of the COVID-19 fraud in California and other states was perpetrated by criminals in some 20 countries, he said.

Hall said criminal rings submit claims using stolen identity information and then send “money mules” out to pick up debit cards issued by the Employment Development Department, often to vacant houses. “When the Russians and the Nigerians and the Chinese are the players on the field, they are going to put up some points,” Hall said. “This is a very sophisticated cyberattack that’s being run at scale.”

The U.S. Department of Labor’s inspector general’s office warned in November that as much as $36 billion of the $360 billion in federal COVID-19 support payments could be improper or fraudulent.

Rita Saenz, who became the Employment Development Department’s new director this month, called it an unprecedented criminal assault on the benefits system.


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Dear AVA,

I’m just a prisoner. I went to ad-seg. So the addresses got goofed up. A few prisoners got the $1200 IEP stimulus. My mail got jacked to IRS by cops. (Did the Department of Correction cash my IEP check?) I would have filed a lawsuit, but I got no way to do it. I don’t even have a number to call to ask about it.

This letter is about hero cops. In 1865 General Henry Harnden captured Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate South, for a dead President Lincoln, accusing Davis of treason and organizing the murder of Lincoln on May 10, 1865. Yet last week the confederate flag got into our White House. Again, what I, a prisoner, have seen on the fake news was that the night before the White House was cleared. Police said the mechanical voice on the late night news the night before the fact was on ABC, NBC, and CBS. Yet after the fact I seem to be the only one to hear that. It is truly fake news. Only a few heroes stood up to stand by our White House. 

Jeff Harnden H31120 D1-113 / PO Box 4670

Lancaster, CA 93539. 

PS. If you robbed a bank and Trump drove the getaway car and a federal employee died would Trump walk? Hell, yeah. He’d escape justice and prison, wouldn’t he?

PPS. Again, I’m in prison for crying out loud. And I still heard the electronic voice of Trump exorting his followers to march on the Capitol.

PPPS. As I understand it, the federal government never prosecuted Jefferson Davis for treason because they feared that Davis might be able to prove to a jury that the southern secession was legal. Davis served two years in prison after General Harnden captured him, but he was then released on bail after several wealthy northerners put up his bond and he died at home in peace in Mississippi in 1889.

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by Ken Taylor

A few months ago I was asking questions about the list serve and I found many answers. I debated writing this down but now feel that the information I gathered should in fact be shared. Here is what I found.

The list is public and people can not be kicked off, even for their subtle remarks. Why? Because MCN is not a private company but a publicly owned company, through the school district. By law, MCN must allow access to anyone, regardless of their location, etc...

But, there is an alternative way to access the list and not many people know about it. There are some differences in the way each operate which I will explain now.

1) I created this post on and it was published to both lists. Yes, they are separate but imports every post from the Announce list automatically. When you create a post in, you can also publish it to the list.

2) One big difference is how the information is delivered to you which can be easily explained as push -vs- pull. The Announce list pushes content via email. is a pull, meaning you have to open to read the list. This may seem like a big difference and I encourage you to give it a try.

3) Enhanced filtering of users. This is where things are very different. If you don't want certain emails to come through, you must block those users in your email. has a way to easily block users with just a few clicks. How can they do this but MCN cannot? That's the difference between a private and public entity. is NOT a public entity.

4) Categories, favorites and search capabilities are all standard with This is extremely helpful, plus you can see all of your posts and\or replies with a simple click on the menu. Categories are nice when you want to look for a particular topic like Gardening, Wanted, Theater or Music. Another category is called Off-Topic which is where you can find results of filtered off-topics. Getting harrassed by a user, put their email in the byte bucket automatically. Worried about young kids, this is a great interface for them to use also.

5) is free.

6) Topic threads. If you create a post and more than one person responds, knows by the subject to group these together so you can read the initial post with all the responses on one screen.

I previously used the digest version of MCN Announce, so I received several emails daily with ~25 posts each. I went to my Gmail and marked these posts as SPAM so they no longer show up in my inbox. If you don't currently use the digest version and receive individual emails, consider changing to the digest version and blocking it. Once you do this, your inbox will be greatly reduced and your interaction with Announce can be 100% via You can always open the SPAM folder to read the digest version too.

If you signup for, I recommend using the same ID and password as MCN Announce to make publishing a smooth transition.

I have no affiliation with, just a very happy end-user. I hope you find this information useful.

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IN 2014 [Pre-Trump] Eliabeth Warren and other Senate and House Democrats re-introduced “The Schedules That Work Act”; it would have required food service, retail, and warehouse companies to let employees know about changes to their schedules at least two weeks in advance and barred them from firing employees for asking for regular hours. “A single mom should know if her hours have been cancelled before she arranges for daycare and drives half-way across town,” Warren said of the bill. “Someone who wants to go to school to try to get an education should be able to request more predictable hours without getting fired just for asking. And a worker who is told to wait around for hours with no guarantee of actual work should get something for his or her time.” The bill never had any chance of passing. It was reintroduced in 2017 and again in 2019. It has never even come up for a vote.

— Jill Lepore

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THE CALL OF THE MURDERBIRD, a comely feathered lass.

"Getting offended by something on the internet is like choosing to step in dog shit rather than walk around it." 

The recording of last night's (2021-01-15) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg is right here:

That show includes The Vengeance of Ulios* by Edmund Hamilton (Weird Tales, 1935). The story begins six hours and fifteen minutes into the show, just after an article about the Prohibition-era ravages of Jamaica Ginger and then the song I Got The Jake Leg Too. Tens of thousands of people were crippled by a chemical put in the drink solely to make it legal to sell. It wasn't the methanol, which was bad enough. And Ulios is mad because his wife and her boyfriend destroyed all of Atlantis just to cover their running off together, so he becomes kind of a immoral technological vampire like them and chases after them for 6,000 years. It has really nothing at all in common with the 2007 film The Man From Earth but somehow I feel they go together, but not like The Prestige and The Illusionist do. Nor like Lucky and The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot.

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

Pretty volcanos. Which reminds me, one time back during the paper Memo I had made a display ad for a company that sold Konocti red pumice for driveway rocks, with a volcano in the background, of course, and, in front, the big bold italic line, "Your wife, the SEXUAL VOLCANO, wants a real lava rock driveway from [Company Name]!" Judy Brown rarely commented on my esthetic choices, for obvious reasons, but she liked that particular ad. She said softly, “I would like it if somebody called me a sexual volcano.” Now I'm thinking about the comic teevee series Robin Williams made just before he strangled himself to death; it was The Crazy Ones, about an ad agency in Chicago and their creative ideas to sell things. It was ambitious, pretty good, but sad from our knowledge of the future; you can see through the professional zaniness how unhappy he was. I showed Juanita part of the first episode and she started crying.

Joy. It actually doesn’t look like a dinosaur head. It looks like Gumby's friend Pokey's head, but with teeth.

And how squid fly.

*A story whose title begins with ‘The Vengeance Of’ is always good, the same way a movie with the word Gypsy or Gypsies in the title always turns out to be good. Time of the Gypsies. King of the Gypsies...

PS. 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.

Marco McClean,,

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  1. Eric Sunswheat January 17, 2021

    RE: vaccination “is going to continue to be fairly confusing and rumor driven, I’m afraid.

    -> January 10, 2021
    Although extremely large sustained doses of vitamin D can cause toxicity, it is otherwise harmless.

    Dr Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist and writer, has been disappointed over an absence of leadership to ensure people of colour have sufficient levels of the nutrient. “Structural racism absolutely has an effect,” he says. “But it should not be at the forefront of the conversation.

    The message should have been: ‘Everyone take vitamin D and cut out the junk food.’ I think it’s a no-brainer, because there is no harm from vitamin D and it’s cheap. It’s pretty scandalous that this hasn’t been dealt with until now.”

    Davis now believes there will be increasing government focus on immunological health. “Covid kills you if you’ve got a weak immune system,” he says. “That’s why vitamin D has a much more general purpose effect than, let’s say, vaccines. We’re going to win this battle in the long run. I just feel for those who have died unnecessarily.”

    • This article was amended on 14 January 2021 to reflect that the wording used by Public Health England to describe one of the groups at risk of not having enough vitamin D is people “with dark skin”, not “people of colour” as an earlier version said.

  2. Bob A. January 17, 2021

    “Please bear with us just a bit longer,” says Thompson. “Our goal is to provide transparency in our operations, clarity in our communication and safety for our residents. We are grateful for the public’s patience as we continue to refine and greatly expand our vaccination program.”

    It’s a comfort to know that the weasels are hard at work writing boilerplate for our County administrators.

  3. chuck dunbar January 17, 2021

    James M. wrote, kind of cryptically, yesterday: “If you’re afraid of words, you’re the problem.”

    Not sure what he meant exactly, but think I have the gist of it. Here’s a brief response that points to the real world consequences of this kind of thinking:

    Recent comments (that is, words) follow below from the rightist social media platform Parler, which has almost no moderation. It’s a “free speech” platform. These are a few examples of the kind of things some people think they can say—and pass on to social media multitudes in the name of “free speech”:

    “Shoot the police that protect these shitbag senators right in the head then make the senator grovel a bit before capping they ass.”

    “After the firing squads are done with the politicians the teachers are next.”

    “Death to @zuckerberg @realjeffbezos@jackdorsey@pichai.”

    “We need to act like our forefathers did Kill (Black and Jewish people) all Leave no survivors or victims.”

    “This bitch (Stacey Adams) will be good target practice for our beginners.”

    (Errors in grammar and punctuation left as is—these guys are not sophisticates.)

    By way of warning, Vox Media notes that: “Parler has become a way station for hate speech and misinformation that Twitter and Facebook wouldn’t allow.”

    I’ll end with 2 questions for you, James:
    When you read these kinds of comments on Parler do you actually think they’re part of making America great again? And, do you have no fear for America if such words are accepted as if they are truly “political commentary?”

    (Comment Citations from CounterPunch, “Roaming Charges,” 1/15/21)

    • Marmon January 17, 2021

      You forgot “kill a commie for mommy” an oldie but goody. Good God Chuck, let folks vent. Silencing them would only piss them off more and cause tremendous resentment. There are fringe groups on both wings, remember last summer’s chant “Pigs on a blanket, fry them like bacon”. I’m bet you participated in those Fort Bragg BLM protest, didn’t you?


      • Lazarus January 17, 2021

        “Soak the Rich”, Donald Trump 1999

        Not a bad idea, I wonder what happened…?
        As Swell,

      • chuck dunbar January 17, 2021

        James, they can vent all they want, but not on these public social media platforms that inflame and fan extremism and the advocacy of violence and at great cost undermine our social/civic culture. I think they’re already there, at “tremendous resentment.” Your response failed to answer the 2 reasonable questions I asked. It’s really hard to discuss/debate serious issues with you , James, as you so often just go on a rant and attack me and others….It’s disappointing. BTW, I don’t support or encourage anyone, no matter who they are or what cause they support, who talks about or advocates violence.

        • Marmon January 17, 2021

          “public social media platforms”

          You finally got something right, they’re behaving as public utilities and I think they should be treated as such. Congress should hold a antitrust hearing and put an end to all the madness.

          The most common antitrust violations fall into two categories: (i) Agreements to restrain competition, and (ii) efforts to acquire a monopoly. In the case of a merger, a combination that would likely substantially reduce competition in a market would also violate antitrust laws.

          What Big Tech did last week to America has shocked the rest of the World. “They can do it to us.”

          Over and out, I’m going for a ride.


        • Bruce McEwen January 17, 2021

          My astute young wife mentioned at the time that the crowd that overran the Capitol looked ever so much like a Super Bowl crowd.

          Think on it, gentlemen, consider the analogy, suppose that football really does sublimate aggression, like the ethnologists surmise it does, and that if we cancel sports, we revert to our war mongering nature…

          Let us hope some of these fellows, be they team Trump or team Biden, can make it through a televised-only Super Bowl, w/out going on the warpath –!–I hope it’s not the Indians vs. Cowboys

          • Betsy Cawn January 18, 2021

            Following the spasmodic raiment rebellion in the 60s — loosening the sensual boundaries between “genders” and nurturing the non-aggressive release of SELF-expression in familial venues — 1970s individualism was rapidly redirected to collective anti-establishment styles flaunting anti-intellectual, anger-fueled mutual reassurance (acceptably channeled into “rivalries” between paid gladiators and their fan bases). Simultaneously, “folk” music turned to “rock,” and then to “punk,” and further twists and turns to whatever it’s called now (cacophony, mostly, to my ears).

            January 6 defiance of the ragtag/tatted/illiterate screamers and pseudo-militial hubris-barkers blasting their simplified outcries — at the very best dismissed as “venting” — has been hardened into mob action by COMMERCIAL spreading of spleen across the country in 2020. It appears that almost all public life is automatically and immediately incorporated into the mass soap opera, where personal appearance and “activity” choices are still limited to the handful crafted by mass culture machines. Thus the importance of an individual’s display of affiliation (logger, biker, tweaker, lawyer, pol, civic/social adviser — lots of AVA readers like me). Equating affiliation with philosophical position being the cheapest coin of the body language treasury, “major league” sports offer the easiest entry level group membership. All it takes is a hat.

            The very real debate (Taibbi et al) over what forms of speech are causes of real injuries does not go nearly far enough to explain why real injuries created by words spoken in Congress or the White House are not challengeable except by displays of mass unhappiness. Hell, you all can’t even get a voter-approved ordinance enforced (against hack&squirt) or fairly applied (ag noise requirements) or create mental health services that apparently EVERYONE agrees are necessary (Measure B “oversight” committee).

            Heaven forfend that the producer classes should want the bureaucracy to provide accountable services, or stop the imposition of unfair trade practices that kill our businesses. As these crises have continued to dominate the social fabric, massively displaced persons have in common the sense that the establishment is condoning their plights. By keeping the dialogue at the level of the sanitary landfill, the usual three-card monte game goes on at the top unimpeded . . . everything else is diversionary.

  4. Bruce McEwen January 17, 2021

    Having reread those murderous snippets from Parler, I shudder to picture what James Marmon would consider an adequate solution to “the problem”– as he sees it; that is, those of us who won’t tolerate homicidal threats on the internet…

  5. Bill Pilgrim January 17, 2021


    The Dorothea Dorman story might be a hoax. There are no posts mentioning her on either of the FaceBooks given.
    Cold revenge by a CO-OP clerk she insulted once too often?

    • Bruce McEwen January 17, 2021

      I don’t think so. Wallis (pronounced Wally) was a good friend to Dorothea, both girls having come from Pacific Heights as hippy chicks w/ trust funds from big corps. like Champion, the spark plug mfgs.; and they were on the same side against Angela in the Nutmeg custody battle.

      • Bruce McEwen January 17, 2021

        A Footnote: They were a great pair, as I recall, fragile as flint, cut you just as quick, dressed w/ old-hippy flair, a nonchalance of mixed tastes — younger women could never pull it off — the “just thrown on” look, which was actually rather deviously contrived … sorta like me wearing a tartan mask that matches — that just happens to match I just noticed — the label on the Scotch Ale I drink: ?

  6. Marmon January 17, 2021

    Don’t Let the Capitol Riot Become a 9/11-Style Excuse for Authoritarianism!


  7. Marmon January 17, 2021

    UK to Protect Statues From ‘Woke Militants,’ Minister Says

    The UK government will enact new laws to protect statues in England from attacks by “woke militants” who want to censor the nation’s past, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Sunday.

    “We cannot—and should not—try to edit or censor our past,” he wrote in the Sunday Telegraph. “Any decisions to remove these heritage assets will require planning permission and councils will need to do so in accordance with their constitution, after consultation with the local community.”

    “Local people should have the chance to be consulted whether a monument should stand or not,” he said. “What has stood for generations should be considered thoughtfully, not removed on a whim or at the behest of a baying mob.”

  8. Marmon January 17, 2021

    Parler’s Website Back Online With a Message From Its CEO

    “Now seems like the right time to remind you all—both lovers and haters—why we started this platform,” Matze wrote. “We believe privacy is paramount and free speech essential, especially on social media. Our aim has always been to provide a nonpartisan public square where individuals can enjoy and exercise their rights to both. We will resolve any challenge before us and plan to welcome all of you back soon. We will not let civil discourse perish!”

    • chuck dunbar January 18, 2021

      Matze, the Parler guy says:” We will not let civil discourse perish!”

      Wow, good for him–But wait, he’s the guy that lets filth like this through whatever minimal filter Parler employs: “Shoot the police that protect these shitbag senators right in the head then make the senator grovel a bit before capping they ass.”

      Is this civil discourse? You know the answer. He’s out to scam folks and make money, that what he’s doing.

  9. Bruce McEwen January 18, 2021

    Alert reader — to swipe a phrase from Dave Berry — Betsy Cawn rightly, or even perhaps a mite too adroitly, fleshed-out the curious carcass of observation in question, (and I used Dave Berry’s trademark phrase because along w/ the manipulations foisted upon us by our masters, we also suffer under their humorless concept of a free press, which has come to exclude all editorial cartoons, like Oliphant, all the syndicated columnists, like Mike Royko, Art Buchwald, Dave Berry, etc. …).

    • Bruce McEwen January 18, 2021

      (…as I was saying, “Dave Berry has been replaced by *Jack Ketch.”)

      — Grandpa McEwen

      The London Executioner, the one Samuel Johnson would “ratner have dinner with…”

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