Drier Weather | 2 New Cases | Ted Questions | Hellish Times | Not Fun | Pet Spot | Boonville 1908 | Willits 1907 | Albion 1900 | Fjords Smorg-ette | Cannabis Shuffle | Steam Ferryboat | Ed Notes | Champion Deschamps | Zoom Raskin | Kelp Restoration | Disaster Recovery | Vichy Springs | Yesterday's Catch | Senior Trip | Truly Essential | Too Nice | Market Barter | Cable Mergers | Human Defeat | BOS Letters | Gone Forever | Hulk Deep | Serial Falsehoods | Old Fellow | MK-Ultra | Cruz Epiphany | Marco Radio | Mendocino Sky
HIGH PRESSURE ALOFT building off the North Coast will lead to a period of drier weather expected to last through much of the coming week. However, a few weak fronts will clip Del Norte County, bringing a slight chance of light precipitation to that area. (NWS)
ONLY 2 NEW COVID CASES for Mendocino County (both in Ukiah area) Saturday.
QUESTIONS FOR TED
Will people not in Phase 1A be allowed to waitlist?
How do you want people to respond to posts that tell us not to reply directly to your post? For our convenience, could you please provide an email address link at the end of such posts?
Ted Williams Replies:
We anticipate more interest within the eligible tiers than supply allows. Signups for future events should be at myturn.ca.gov (all providing entities will transition to the state run myturn system).
firstname.lastname@example.org and my cell is 707 937 3500. Some days I’ve had greater than 700 reach out. Text to cell is best due to volume and the reality that I have a busy meeting schedule aside from direct contact.
IF YOU WANT TO SPEAK with an aggressive individual who manipulates intent and makes false accusations to justify his beliefs, he’s on the corner most days. He approved this pic… He’s not fun
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Spot is a playful guy, friendly with new folks and other dogs. He’s excited to meet people but can be a little jumpy, so basic training would be a good idea for his new adopters. With his happy-go-lucky, confident personality, Spot will be a great addition to his new family. Spot is a year old and 55 good looking pounds.
For more about Spot and all of the shelter’s canine and feline guests, go to mendoanimalshelter.com. While you’re there, read about our services, programs, events, and updates regarding covid-19, as it impacts Mendocino County Shelters in Ukiah and Ft. Bragg. Visit us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/ For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.
My mom’s family settled there in the 1850s and another of her relatives came to California as a scout for General Fremont in the 1840s, from whom he received a large Spanish land grant. He founded Upper Lake and was a deputy sheriff and the discoverer of Tice Geysers, and was reported to be the first white man to see them, after coming across them while hunting grizzly bear and thought he had found the gates of Hell.
‘SCHOOLS WITH AN OCEAN VIEW’
by Katy Tahja
At the Kelley House we were given a photograph with no caption, showing a teacher in front of a one-room schoolhouse with her students.
But where is this place? The background was open clear sky which led us to believe it was a coastal school on a bluff, but which one? And how many coastal view schools were there?
The first Albion school, c. 1900, built in 1866 on land donated by the Albion Lumber Company. (from the Robert J. Lee Collection)
BACK TO THE BACK TO THE FUTURE AND BACK & OUT (potwise)
Upon the recent resignation of Planning Director Brent Schultz combined with the prior resignation of Pot Program Manager Sean Connell (replaced by “interim” pot permit manager Megan Dukette who we don’t think has resigned — yet — but we don’t know either way; she may just be going back to being one of CEO Angelo’s loyal Deputies), the Supervisors have decided to move the Pot Permit program manager position once again and have this poor person work directly for them, other attempts at organizational placement — Ag Department, CEO, Planning — having not worked out as hoped, ahem. (Not that organization placement had much to do with the hot pot mess the County is in the midst of.)
Consent Agenda [sic] Item 4ac for Tuesday’s Board meeting is “Adoption of Resolution Modifying the Cannabis Program Manager Classification Specification to Report Directly to the Board of Supervisors as an At-Will, Unrepresented Classification and Amending Position Allocation Table Accordingly, and authorize Chair to sign same.”
The Board then proceeds to fantasize about what they expect this person to do: “This position shall take the necessary steps to manage the County’s Cannabis Cultivation and Facilities Programs, including evaluating the permitting/licensing of cannabis locations based on policies and guidelines, working with departments, developing and promoting a strong and compliant environment for cannabis, and work, with industry representatives across the county. Performs other duties as assigned.”
The Supes also add “Distinguishing Characteristics”: “This at-will, single incumbent position is appointed by and reports to the Board of Supervisors exercising a high degree of responsibility and judgment, managing the day-to-day activities of the County’s Cannabis Program. This position works closely with the Board, Cannabis Program Ad Hoc Committee and the Planning and Building Department.”
OH YES, a perfect formula for success. Manage the ridiculous unmanageable program but don’t manage any of the staff that’s supposed to carry it out. Oh, but have five virtual zooming politician/bosses while you’re doing it who can’t get together without public notice and an agenda.
BUT IT MAY NOT MATTER, because magically that looming deadline that everybody was so worried about at the end of 2021, the one which would have made most local “provisional” permit holders illegal under state rules and which would have ended millions of dollars in tax revenues for Mendocino County, and which seemed impossible to meet for most of Mendo’s pot permit wannabes, is about to be pushed back a few years. The Board is sending the following letter to State Senator Ana Caballero:
The Honorable Anna Caballero California State Senate State Capitol Sacramento, CA 95814
RE:SB 59 (Caballero) Cannabis licenses. – SUPPORT
Dear Senator Caballero:
The County of Mendocino is pleased to support your bill SB 59, which would extend the sunset date of the provisional cannabis licensing program to January 1, 2028.
The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) presently authorizes a licensing authority to issue a provisional cannabis license if an applicant has submitted a completed license application to the licensing authority, and demonstrated that compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and local cannabis ordinances, is in process.
With this provision set to expire on January 1, 2022, and a majority of operators still pursuing environmental review, local jurisdictions are without recourse to ensure that applicants meet all CEQA requirements.
Mendocino County is working closely with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Department of Food & Agriculture in good faith to ensure that operators meet all CEQA requirements, but current timelines are prohibitive to environmental compliance.
The County of Mendocino strongly supports SB 59 (Caballero) to ensure that the thousands of statewide operators in this position continue to have a regulatory pathway to state licensure.
Please contact County Counsel, Christian M. Curtis at (707) 234-6885 with any questions. Sincerely,
Chair, Board of Supervisors
BUMPERSTICKER spotted on a tank-like SUV in Marin: “I hope something happens today that makes you happy.” Not if you knew me, I thought, but please stay safe.
EULOGY YOU'LL NEVER HEAR: “I don't know if anyone came here to celebrate John Junior's life, but I certainly didn't. I am here before you, I am here among you, to rage and curse God for the arbitrarily murdering fuck that he is, not that I'm the first parent ever to feel that way, and to grant myself at least one afternoon where suicide would be logistically difficult. You know, you read the papers after a young man dies in this city, someone's always saying, ‘He was just starting to get his life together, he was just talking about being a real father to his daughter, talking about getting away from the ‘hood, about enlisting, about marrying his fiancee, he was just about to do this, to do that....’ All these ‘justs’ whether they were true or not, because they all died young and ‘just’ was all they had, tomorrow was all they had. And the same could be said for my boy. He was ‘just’ about to finish his schooling, he was ‘just’ about to find his own way in the world, ‘just’ about to show me the man that now, now, he'll never get to be, the man that over the years would have null-and-voided every hardship, every heartache I've ever endured in my life. You want to hear what a great kid he was? How his heart was pure gold? How he loved life, loved people, loved a challenge, all that boilerplate et cetera, et cetera? For those of you who want to hear all that, consider it said. The fact of the matter was that he was just about to be, and now he's not.” — Richard Price, ‘The Whites’
JEEZ even by school board “closed session” standards the Oakley (Contra Costa County) school board — four super-size women and a 400-pound man — is awfully candid. They've all resigned, but as wacky as they obviously are/were, were their observations all that far off from the undoubted reality of the community they “serve”?
“They don't know what goes on behind the scenes. It's really unfortunate they want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back,” one of them zoomed, assuming she was off camera and off mike. Another remarked, ganga-banga style, “Are we alone? If you're going to call me out, I'm going to fuck you up.” And another one of the intellectuals said that with the kids back in school their parents could smoke dope in peace. He joked that his brother had a medical marijuana service and “the clientele were parents with their kids in school. When you got your kids at home no more smoking out.”
I am doing a Zoom event with David Madgalene on Sunday Feb. 21, 2021 starting at 4 p.m. It's free. You can sign up by going to the Occidental Center for the Arts website. I will be taking about my noir mystery, “Dark Past, Dark Future,” and about writing and some of the other books I have written.
DISASTER RECOVERY, LAKE COUNTY
by Betsy Cawn
Recently, a local agency asked me if I could describe the status of Lake County’s disaster recovery program, and I responded with the “Status Report” appended below.
The opening paragraph refers to a consortium of professional Public Information Officers (PIOs) with whom I enjoy a weekly virtual meeting convened by a disaster management organization based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Most of the participants are official PIOs currently employed by counties or county agencies addressing the pandemic health crisis (everywhere), all having the same trouble with “disbelievers” and “anti-maskers” actively defying the messily scientific approach to some degree, and in some places dealing with the weak-willed “leadership” of their elected officials.
However, we are joined on occasion by very senior (mostly retired or under federal agency contract) PIOs who teach emergency management preparedness and operational practices. Among these are long-time instructors for FEMA and various state agencies who have followed our informal group’s interaction with the feds related to the nation-wide COVID-19 response, and these participants gently advocate for the inclusion of “recovery planning” in every step of local program development.
The way it works is, the Department of Homeland Security will provide funding for local jurisdictions to identify their inherent risk factors, potential cost & life-saving measures that could be applied to the prevention or “mitigation” of impacts from unavoidable losses (wildfire, flood, epidemic, etc.). Once those risks are identified, funding is available for creation of emergency management planning, training, field exercises, post-event assessments, and access to private/public assistance for restoring lost or damaged assets.
Lake County belatedly scrambled to catch up on long-missing risk assessments and mitigation planning before the worldwide pandemic struck; such plans as we have in place respond to typically frequent disasters (flood and fire), but did not anticipate anything of the magnitude and severity of our planetary medical health disasters. Fortunately, national and state emergency management agencies had not failed to consider the possibilities, and California as usual deployed resources for protection of lives in this overwhelming circumstance. Our counties are meeting the challenges with daily adaptations to uncontrollable new situations. It is what it is.
FEMA asked us to consider what “recovery” from this socio-economic implosion would look like. Will we see radical changes in federal budget management, beyond disbursal of individually parsimonious relief funds — while eviction-hungry landlords and banks wait in the wings for the opportunity to put millions more people on the streets, fueling bureaucratically bloated medical and mental health “services” to “care” for the newly desperate and civically abandoned — and wilder, more drastic environmental shifts introducing further unpredictability for “managers” of emergencies and major disasters?
In Lake County, despite clear instructions from the state in 2012, lack of advanced planning for the 2015 wildfire catastrophes did NOT result in generating community-based systems to help shoulder the load (in line with federal and state guidelines, readily available to everyone on line), and the population of displaced persons — increased in every subsequent year — still struggles to return to “normal” (or what passed for it before the latest medical crisis).
Lake County government provides this website for public education and outreach: http://recovery.lakecountyca.gov <http://recovery.lakecountyca.gov/>, and we are additionally blessed with our very own “2-1-1” assistance service — https://211lake.org <https://211lake.org/> — but websites are not food and shelter no matter how pretty they look.
Given the levels of chronic mental health illnesses and their attendant impacts on Mendocino’s population stability and “wellness” — shared but less visible on this side of the Cow — our twinned governing dramas leave us bewildered on any given day, especially when our elected officials and their appointed administrative officers appear to be deliberately obtuse. So much for thinking ahead.
Status Report: Lake County’s Long-Term Disaster Recovery (2015-Present)
Across the country, the never ending cycle of disaster preparedness, response, relief, and recovery unfolds — depending on the crisis of the moment, of course — and seasoned Public Information Officers serving counties and community organizations are noticing the lack of attention given to recovery processes during the front-end construction of new emergency management plans.
In the past twenty years, roughly half of the communities in the state of California have been slammed by destructive wildfires (and some were further injured by winter storms and landslides, in fire-ravaged terrain), and most of them still struggle with rebuilding lost structures, recapturing lost property taxes, repopulating commercial and governmental service systems — even restoring lost forests and crippled watersheds.
Lake County, California, cobbled together a major wildfire recovery program after the 2015 Valley Fire, without the benefit of pre-defined capacity analyses and resources identified for rapid deployment — in other words, with no plan in place to respond, either short-term or long-term, beyond the immediate emergency activities: mass evacuation of human inhabitants, fire suppression efforts, cautious repopulation of remaining dwelling areas, massive clean up of toxic remains, replacement of critical health and safety functions (water, sewer, roads, communication systems).
Our county became the beneficiary of a crisis response model created by FEMA during the unprecedented disaster in New Orleans (2005 Hurricane Katrina) that resulted in the creation of “Voluntary Organizations Active In Disasters” (VOAD). VOADs consist primarily of faith-based, non-profit, volunteer-served organizations helping local citizens to access federal and state agency support as well as donated services and supplies. [Lake County has for several years been struggling to form a similar non-governmental service group, COAD, with the term “Voluntary” replaced by “Community,” for a number of logistical reasons.]
One of the participating developers of the FEMA-endorsed Louisiana State VOAD in 2005 was the Hope Crisis Response Network (HCRN), based in the state of Indiana. By 2015 HCRN had migrated west (back to the Sonoma County home of one of its founders) and its founders immediately joined the FEMA-delivered effort to create the Valley Fire’s “Long-Term Recovery Group.”
“Team Lake County” (our 2015 local Long-Term Recovery Group’s chosen moniker) established functional committees needed to help displaced fire survivors to rebuild their lost homes — IF they owned their property outright (no bank’s mortgage terms could be benefited by the “free” replacement of the debtor’s investment) AND were uninsured — led by HCRN’s new offshoot, a state of California non-profit charitable corporation called “Hope City.”
In its first year of activity, “Team Lake County” focused on individual and family case management, leading to the creation of household recovery plans compliant with FEMA requirements, for which a select number would receive the “free” services of the faith-based volunteer-served construction team called “Hope City.”
In early 2016, “Hope City” promised the reconstruction of “a hundred houses a year” for years to come. Several hundred homes were expected to be raised, with help from AmeriCorps, charitable organizations like United Way, local banks and credit unions, individual and group donors (through various fundraising events), civic and social clubs, local Tribes, from everyone — it seemed — except the County of Lake itself.
We-the-taxpayers contributed the use of public lands for the construction of Hope City’s base of operations, a large and well-equipped dormitory for housing the visiting construction crews that were anticipated to arrive from all over the country. And the professional services of our Community Action Agency’s staff were harnessed for fiscal sponsorship of local organizations, including Hope City, to secure dedicated grant funding through other non-profit organizations.
Despite fervent efforts in 2016, while we briefly had FEMA support and that of regional institutions, most of the lost homes have not been replaced and many properties are now listed as tax-defaulted (abandoned by former owners). Lost property revenues impacted social service providers and major civic institutions (such as the school districts, senior centers, and community-service organizations).
Of course, in the intervening years Lake County has suffered annually from major wildfire conflagrations (although last year’s was mercifully gentle on the domesticated areas), and the already weakened capacities of county governance were further burdened with the complications of long, drawn-out insurance reimbursement conflicts, hazardous material removal, reconstruction of extremely expensive water and sewer infrastructure, and internal accounting system convolutions.
Eventually the realization that Lake County did not have a long-term recovery PLAN — making the county eligible for further federal assistance programs — emerged from the clearing smoke and debris, and the masterminds of the FEMA-endorsed local “Long-Term Recovery Group” were found to be as inadequate as the rest of the system. To this day about a dozen homes have been erected from the ashes of lost homesteads in the Valley Fire footprint area by Hope City.
To their credit, Hope City immediately offered their assistance in the aftermath of every subsequent wildfire disaster, including the 2016 Clayton Fire (in Lower Lake), and the 2017 Tubbs Fire (in Sonoma County) and Mendocino Complex (in Lake and Mendocino Counties).
[There is no indication of a “recovery” project for the 2018 River and Ranch Fires (beyond the CalRecycle removal of toxic waste and structural remains), from either the County of Lake or any FEMA-supported “Long-Term Recovery Group.” There are still private parcels of land in the national forest area that remain uncleared. But the US Forest Service has begun major reforestation work in the extremely injured Clear Lake Watershed terrain looming above vulnerable shoreline communities, and Northshore communities are beginning to mobilize residents to clean up neglected roadways and abandoned private lands.]
2019’s megafire in Solano and Napa Counties left most of Lake County unscorched for a change, but for a dozen homes in a barely served southern outback section, and the wilderness devastation of federal lands to the north. Nonetheless, Hope City — as a member of the Lake County COAD (an agrarian-oriented version of the VOAD model) — announced its availability to assist those homeowners.
Lake County COAD members employed by Catholic Charities in Santa Rosa, working with Hope City in the southern part of the county, have claimed responsibility for engaging the Lake County COAD with FEMA’s Disaster Relief team (as well as operational engagement with state and local Offices of Emergency Services preparing for easily-anticipated disasters ahead in 2021).
It is not clear whether our COAD’s focus on Hope City's narrow range of services — for rebuilding a small number of modest houses serving a very small fragment of the injured population — will serve to meet the needs of the larger population still not capable of safe evacuation of disabled persons, creation of safe mass care shelter facilities, and prepared to assist in economic recovery from anticipated new disasters.
This assessment is offered for your consideration as you evaluate the deployment of public funds in partnership with private public-benefit agencies (hospitals, medical clinics, essential service providers) for developing county-wide socio-economic recovery services. The author is the coordinator of the Lake County COAD communication committee, and the producer of weekly community radio broadcasts dedicated to “whole community” disaster preparedness, response, relief, recovery, and mitigation in compliance with FEMA’s National Response Framework and California’s State Emergency Plan and Disaster Response Framework.
Inquiries may be directed to Betsy Cawn, Editor-in-Chief, The Essential Public Information Center, P.O. Box 348, Upper Lake, CA 95485 or by calling KPFZ’s studio call-in phone line (707-263-3435) between 2 pm and 4 pm on Sundays (streaming live from www.kpfz.org
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 20, 2021
MICHAEL BACCHI, Covelo. Failure to appear.
ROBERT DOLIVIERA, Felton/Ukiah. PCP for sale, narcotics for sale, organic drug sale, controlled substance-sales, marijuana for sale, pot transportation.
MASON HARRIS, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
ROUMALDO HERNANDEZ-PADILLA, Willits. Domestic battery.
MATTHEW HILL, Branscomb. Criminal threats, evasion, resisting, failure to appear.
WILLARD HOUSE, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
FRANKIE PATTISON, Ukiah. DUI, no license.
JASON RAICA, Westport. Domestic battery, probation revocation.
DERRICK RIDENOUR, Ukiah. Domestic battery, false imprisonment.
ROQUE ROQUE, Ukiah. DUI, resisting.
I continue to see articles about vaccines going to vineyard workers and referring to them as agriculture workers. Don’t vineyard workers work outside and have the ability to wear masks? I was under the impression that working outside was fairly safe, especially since vineyard workers can work far apart.
Let’s start getting the vaccine to truly essential workers like restaurant employees, grocery store employees and teachers who have to work indoors next to customers and children.
Are marijuana growers next to be called agricultural workers? To me, agricultural workers in this case are food-on-the-table workers (and should be included as essential) not wine-in-the-bottle or buds-in-the-pipe outdoor workers.
'I'M TIRED. The man ended up with the money, and I ended up with the headaches and the epsom salts. It's a cold-hearted business, where out of 23 people, 22 are thieves. I was too nice.'
— Earnie Shavers
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Yeppers. Looking at the big picture, it doesn’t really matter what the Dems or Reps do to finagle an extra swindle or two out of the imaginary economy – Bitcoin and the rest of the make-believe financing that we use to allocate goods are all going down. I can’t think of a more deserving party to be holding the tiller when the ship of state hits the rocks.
Meanwhile, in the countryside where I live, more and more people are planting fruit and nut trees and raising chickens. Our weekly farmers market used to have only fruits and veggies, but now there are sellers of beef, pork and chicken. Their prices are higher than the grocery stores, but not by much at this point.
Hopefully at least some of those tower-dwellers in Texas who aren’t too far Woke can arise from their slumber and find some new digs, where a veggie patch and a couple of chickens are a possibility….
Of course, I still have to figure out what I will barter with at the Farmer’s Market when the currency collapses. Pretty sure its not going to be Bitcoin…
EVERYBODY HAS EXPERIENCED the defeat of their lives. Nobody has a life that worked out the way they wanted it to work out. We all begin as the hero of our own dramas, in centre stage, and inevitably life moves us out of centre stage, defeats the hero, overturns the plot and the strategy and we are left on the sidelines, wondering why we no longer have a part, or want a part, in the whole damn thing. So everybody’s experienced this. When it’s presented to us sweetly, the feeling goes from heart to heart and we feel less isolated and we feel part of the great human chain, which is really involved with the recognition of defeat.
—Leonard Cohen on why people enjoy listening to melancholy songs. From a BBC radio interview in 2007
PATRICIA RIS: “Did you know that nobody reads, tabulates, or takes into account the letters you write to our BOS? If you want your voice to be heard about pressing issues, please participate in the meeting and speak up. I have it straight from the horse's mouth.”
WORD UP, can you handle the truth my brother....maybe we don't need to take this time of isolation from the distractions of the world and have a personal revival where we focus on the ONLY thing in the world that really matters, Jesus. — Hulk Hogan
THE FALSE AND EXAGGERATED CLAIMS STILL BEING SPREAD ABOUT THE CAPITOL RIOT
What took place at the Capitol on January 6 was undoubtedly a politically motivated riot. As such, it should not be controversial to regard it as a dangerous episode. Any time force or violence is introduced into what ought to be the peaceful resolution of political conflicts, it should be lamented and condemned.
But none of that justifies lying about what happened that day, especially by the news media. Condemning that riot does not allow, let alone require, echoing false claims in order to render the event more menacing and serious than it actually was. There is no circumstance or motive that justifies the dissemination of false claims by journalists. The more consequential the event, the less justified, and more harmful, serial journalistic falsehoods are.
LACE THE AIR WITH LSD
by Mike Jay
It was during the fallout from Watergate that the American public first heard of MK-Ultra, the most notorious of the secret mind control programs that the CIA ran through the 1950s and 1960s. After Nixon’s men were caught breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in June 1972, Richard Helms, then director of the CIA, refused to help with the cover-up. In February 1973, after his re-election, Nixon fired Helms and replaced him with James Schlesinger. In an initiative to regain public trust as the crisis escalated, Schlesinger announced he was “determined that the law shall be respected” and that anyone aware of illegal CIA activities was obliged to report them. Nixon was finally forced to resign in August 1974. His successor, Gerald Ford, made Nelson Rockefeller, a reliable intelligence insider, his vice president, and asked him to produce a report on the CIA’s alleged historical abuses.
Rockefeller’s report was issued in June 1975. For the most part it was vague and non-incriminating, but it did conclude that the CIA had in the past conducted “plainly unlawful” investigations, including the testing of “potentially dangerous drugs on unsuspecting United States citizens.” There were references to secret sites and experiments on prison inmates, and some passages that begged explanation; in one incident, “an employee of the Department of the Army” had crashed to his death through a 13th-story hotel window after being dosed with LSD. But the commission had apparently reached a dead end. All records had been destroyed, and “all persons directly involved ... were either out of the country and not available for interview or were deceased.”
Seymour Hersh, who had already written a front-page story for the New York Times about the CIA’s illegal domestic surveillance program, determined that the man who had fallen from the window was Frank Olson, a chemist employed by the CIA. Hersh disclosed his findings to Olson’s family, who convened a press conference and announced that they would be suing the agency. Ford’s chief of staff, Donald Rumsfeld, was alerted to the danger by his deputy, Dick Cheney. The Olsons received a settlement of $750,000 in exchange for dropping their legal action, and were invited to the White House, where Ford made them a public apology.
As the Rockefeller report foundered, a Senate commission under Idaho Senator Frank Church dredged deeper in the CIA’s records. The files were heavily redacted but one name surfaced repeatedly: Sidney Gottlieb, who appeared to have been the director of a secret chemical division within the agency. Gottlieb, it turned out, was now in India, where he and his wife were spending their retirement working as volunteers at a leprosy hospital. The Church Committee summoned him to testify, which he did in camera, under an alias and with a guarantee of legal immunity; the press was told that no photographs of him existed.
It was the Church Committee’s report in April 1976 that brought MK-Ultra to public attention. The program, which ran from the early 1950s through to the mid-1960s, had investigated forms of mind control that might be deployed on civilian populations. A particular interest had been taken in LSD, which was tested on such “expendable” populations as prisoners and refugees, on the general public and, extensively, on the program’s own agents. Many of the subjects were dosed without their knowledge or consent – including Frank Olson, who had “leaped to his death” in “what appeared to be a serious depression” after his Cointreau was spiked with LSD at a CIA retreat. The Church Committee concluded that the full extent of MK-Ultra’s work, especially outside the US, would never be known, since records of it had been destroyed.
As it turned out, however, there was much more to come. In the late 1970s, John Marks, a journalist who specialized in intelligence matters, filed a Freedom of Information request that uncovered a trove of 16,000 documents, most of which hadn’t been sent for shredding because they were filed as financial records. In the course of examining thousands of invoices and bills of sale, Marks and his team of researchers unearthed some unexpected gems. The diary of George Hunter White, a dead Federal Bureau of Narcotics agent, was particularly startling. White had worked as Gottlieb’s fixer in the underworlds of New York and San Francisco, conducting drug experiments on unknowing subjects in brothels or at parties he held in CIA safehouses. In his diary, White wrote frankly about the corruption, drugs, sex and violence in which he happily participated: “Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, cheat, rape and pillage with the sanction and blessing of the All Highest?”
This was not the CIA as the American public was encouraged to imagine it: a dapper Ivy League fraternity coolly dedicated to safeguarding the nation. The picture that emerged was of a game without rules, played recklessly and with impunity by, as Stephen Kinzer characterizes it, a “cast of obsessed chemists, cold-hearted spymasters, grim torturers, hypnotists, electro-shockers and Nazi doctors.”
The recording of last night's (2021-02-19) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg is right here:
What you hear at the beginning of the recording is just the very end of a presentation by linguist and accent expert Eric Singer and his team giving a tour of U.S. accents. That’s here.
Just about every time, after everything’s over and I’ve signed off and I’m so exhausted after working on the show all day and talking on the radio all night all hopped up on decaffeinated green tea and soda crackers (and sometimes chocolate covered raisins) that my very skin is buzzing, I wince over how at some point in the show I started explaining something and went down a ridiculous path with it and, lost and embarrassed, moved on. That’s okay. This time it was about people who are too picky about proper speech, for whom it isn’t enough that they understand exactly what you said, they want you to say it the way /they/ want you to say it. I thought of a great short essay by Stephen Fry on the subject, mentioned it and, on the way to say why, mentioned his part in a movie he was in, in order to remember his name, but found I couldn’t recall the title of the movie either, so, oy. “It starts with V,” I said, “Verdure? Verdigris? [no, red rather than green] Vendetta? No…” Close, though. Too close. “Natalie Portman is in it. It has that poem about the Gunpowder Plot. Remember, remember, the fifth of November. The mask thing…” Guy Fawkes mask, sure, it comes to me now, as well as the movie poster with the giant bloody V on it. V for Vendetta. It’s a terrific story, even though, as usual for movies, the movie is like the Reader’s Digest condensed version of the Wikipedia plot of the book, if not quite a travesty and two shams of a mockery.
Besides all that, here’s a fresh batch of not-necessarily-radio-useful but worthwhile items that I set aside for you while gathering the show together, found mostly thanks to the fine websites listed to your right.
Fantasy and science fiction artist Rowena Morrill is dead. A particular book cover she painted comes to mind. The book was about a character named Lafcadio Hearn, an interdimensional traveler whose method of moving to other worlds involved a magical spell, a particular frame of mind, and a can of sardines. On the cover, Lafcadio is flying on a magic carpet with Princess What’s-her-name, whose decolletage draws the eye. There is no doubt she is a mammal. One time back in the Mendocino Commentary days (thirty and more years ago) Judy Brown saw that on top of a box of my books and smirked? appreciated it? I said, “I like that. I like the way the flesh hangs on the bones. Look at her arms.” She said, “I do too.” I miss Judy Brown. She, like Rowena Morrill, was an art elf.
Yma Sumac, the Peruvian Songbird, sings Chuncho. It’s a lie that she was just from Brooklyn and her real name was Amy Camus, (Yma Sumac backwards). She was born Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chávarri del Castillo on September 10, 1922 in Ichocan, an indigenous village in Cajamarca, Peru, and her vocal range went from low foghorn all the way up to fingernails on a blackboard, which you hear in this recording, whose technology was unequal to the task, but they did the best they could.
I’m not sure why, but this reminds me of a public radio show that started with a guy singsonging something like –in a voice like the 7-Up-the-UnCola ad: “Thees eez SAH-vim-bee BAH-bim-bee weeth ETH-no pop!” Or, during the Gulf War, there was an oily-sounding British newsguy who always introduced his report from where he was staying in a hotel very far from any actual fighting, in Nicosia. “This is [Something Something] in Nicosia.” The say he said it so British-like, like smarmily sculpting a mouthful of taffy: Nee-coh-SYEE-ah. I would add the way NPR’s Maria Hinojosa pronounces her name, but it is her own name, after all. It comes from places in the Spanish-speaking world where fennel grows, or once grew. Hinojosa means fennel, which is to licorice as carob is to chocolate. Maria means the sea. Do what you want to with this information, make it work for you.
Speaking of Natalie Portman, this short video clip makes me think of the movie Annihilation. A truly alien lifeform of unknowable motives is changing creatures and plants and people and the very Earth in a vast ever-widening circle to, uh, perform an experiment? terraform? colonize? conquer? Spoiler: In the last instant before the closing credits Natalie Portman’s irises go weird, so she's probably one of them now. Is that good or bad? The swamp in Annihilation looked a little like this:
And beautiful footage of the Yamal, a 75,000 horsepower (!) Soviet nuclear icebreaker ship. The phrase /as inevitable as the tide/ comes to mind.
Marco McClean, email@example.com, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com