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LIGHT SHOWERS will be possible over portions of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties through Saturday. In addition, periods of gusty north winds may occur across exposed ridges and coastal areas. Otherwise, dry weather is expected on Sunday, followed by widespread light rainfall on Monday. (NWS)
5 NEW COVID CASES reported for Mendocino County yesterday.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF VALERIE ‘JANIE’ MORSE
Valerie Jane Cavender was born in Alfordsville, Indiana, on Valentine’s Day, 1933. She was the third daughter of Lucille and Charles Cavender.
Her family left Indiana while she was still a toddler and she spent her childhood in Clearwater, Florida.
She was one of those people who lit up any room and was such a beautiful little girl that two nationally known artists painted life size portraits of her at different times in her childhood. The artists were Henry White Taylor and Ralph Huntington McKelvey, both featured prominently on the internet.
Janie was an accomplished acrobat and became a featured basketball player at Kirby High School after her family moved to Arkansas in the mid-forties.
In 1949, she married her high school sweetheart, Johnny Ray Harding, and they made their first home in Glenwood, Arkansas.
After their first daughter, Linda Lou, was born they moved to Boonville, California in the early 50s where they built their own home and had four more children, Connie Jane, Randy Ray, Billy Michael, and Johnny Phillip.
They established and operated their own trucking business in the redwoods until Johnny’s death in 1960.
Janie met and married Howard Morse in the early 60s, and had two children, Denise and Kirt.
Over the years, she had several jobs in the Valley, from grape picking, to store clerk, to head chef at Highland Ranch in Philo.
She went on to open her own restaurant in Philo in the 80s. She called it Janie’s Place and it was known far and wide as a place where there was plenty of great food, and it became the community meeting place of many great friends. She had articles written in newspapers about her restaurant, and it was featured on Bay Area news shows.
People came from all over to enjoy her cooking. After having 7 children and all of their friends to cook for, there was nothing she couldn’t cook.
After closing the restaurant in the late 80s, she and her sister Bobbie opened an antique shop called The Loft, in Philo, and the little shop was filled to the brim with beautiful things. Antiques were her passion; and she would sit for hours researching every item.
Janie was a lover of all things, from her family, to gardening, to the little creatures that came to her porch to visit. She loved to sit and admire her flowers and talk to her little bird friends. It was always in her nature to love and appreciate all the things around her.
Janie was preceded in death by her husband Howard and sons Billy Michael Harding and Randy Ray Harding.
She is survived by her children, Linda Woodard, Connie Lemons, Phillip Harding, Denise Morse, and Kirt Morse. She also had numerous grandchildren and great grands, and her sisters, Billie Harding and Bobbie Watt.
Due to the Covid Pandemic, there will be no service at this time. Her family will have a private ceremony at Janie’s home in Boonville at a later time.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking donations to be made to Anderson Valley Ambulance or Anderson Valley Senior Center.
WHAT HAPPENED TO BARBARA CRANE?
On July 25, 2020, the Fort Bragg Police Department was notified that Barbra Crane had not been in contact with family members since May 13, 2020. As Crane was entered into the Missing and Unidentified Persons System (MUPS),
Officers learned that Crane’s last known location to be in Willits. As of February 25, 2021, Barbara Crane has not been located and is still listed as a missing person in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. Below is a summary of the investigation up to this point:
- Crane’s last contact with family was on May 13, 2020 via text-message from her cellphone. It was later learned that Crane no longer had possession of her phone as it was in possession of a third party.
- Crane’s last known location was Sleepy Hollow RV Park, located at 30661 US-101, Willits, CA 95490. She was staying with her ex-boyfriend, who has been contacted by law enforcement.
- Crane’s ex-boyfriend stated Crane had left with an unknown friend in a vehicle bearing Montana license plate. Crane left her canines and a note behind with ex- boyfriend stating she would return.
- On 07/28/2021, Crane spoke with an advisor regarding financial support while in Willits, CA.
- Known family members, friends and associates of Crane have been contacted and interviewed regarding Crane’s whereabouts.
- FBPD has had prior contacts with Crane; she had been classified as transient and was known to have stayed with friends or camped around the Fort Bragg area.
- Crane is approximately 5’04” and weighed approximately 125-135 pounds. Crane has dark black or auburn hair and brown eyes. Crane also has multiple tattoos. The most notable tattoos on Crane’s person are of a dragon on her shoulder, a poem on her other shoulder and a rose tattoo on her ankle. Crane is known to wear dark colors with dyed black hair.
- Additionally, A BOLO and APB flyer have been created and shared with nearby counties for assistance in locating Crane.
Anyone with information related to this investigation should contact investigating officer, Officer Zavala at (707) 961-2800 ext. 189 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Anonymous tips may be left on the anonymous Crime Tip Hotline at (707) 961-3049.
(Fort Bragg Police Presser)
MEASURE B: ‘GROUNDHOG DAY-ISH’
by Mark Scaramella
Introducing her agenda item suggesting that the Measure B Committee be refocused, Measure B Committee member Shannon Riley said that the topic seemed “groundhog-dayish.”
The committee then proceeded to prove Ms. Riley correct as they meandered in their usual unfocused manner trying to assess themselves and their lack of progress, some saying there wasn’t much progress, others saying there was some but it wasn’t public as yet (i.e., private discussions about Old Howard Hospital in Willits), and still others saying covid intervened so what could anyone expect? (Most Measure B inaction preceded covid).
In the end the B Committee all agreed that some things have happened despite the Committee — a training center nobody wants, a grossly overpriced Crisis Residential Treatment house that staff says won’t cost anything to run because they’re not offering any new services, just another place next door to the Schraeders’ facility for business as usual, funding for a crisis van that is taking months to conduct the hiring process for three people — and that a financial plan would be nice.
A member of the public identified only as “Sherrie” reminded the Board that they already had a strategic plan on page 46 of the Kemper report which everyone thought was useful three years ago.
Newly seated committee member Ms. Michelle Rich of the County’s Behavioral Health Advisory Board suggested hiring a consultant to prepare a financial/strategic plan “based on the Kemper report” perhaps by May.
Committee member Mark Myrtle, a consistent voice of reason on a committee short of it, said hiring a consultant would just push things back another six months or more.
Supervisor Williams said he agreed with Riley that the Committee hasn’t done much and should be restructured.
Ms. Riley undermined her own proposal by reminding the Board that they might not need a financial/planning consultant and might have someone in-house who could do it, comparing the idea to what Riley said was (Ukiah Councilperson) Mari Rodin’s in-house “facilitization” of a homelessness strategic plan!
CEO Carmelo Angelo, a committee member herself, who complained at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting that the Measure B committee was “all over the map,” and lacked focus, had no comments on restructuring and wasn’t in attendance at the time the virtual vote on restructuring was taken. Her loyal lieutenant, Dr. Jenine Miller, recently promoted from Behavioral Health Director to something like Assistant Health and Human Services Director, offered no opinions on restructuring either.
Riley then suggested that an ad hoc committee be formed to prepare plans to restructure the committee by focusing less on project details and become more like the County’s other advisory boards, i.e., an ignorable rubberstamp for however and whatever CEO Angelo’s staff ends up spending Measure B money on.
The votes for hiring a consultant and forming an ad hoc restructuring committee were unanimous.
The original idea of Measure B, the one voters supported, was to create in-county help for disturbed persons, help generally not available from existing County programs. But it's now obvious that the County is moving closer to simply absorbing the millions piling up from Measure B's voter-approved bump in the sales tax and dumping it into Dr. Miller’s and Camille Schraeder’s ever-expanding coffers.
(From an on-line summary of the plot of the 1993 movie, “Groundhog Day”: “A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again.”)
READER WRITES: I don’t think Laytonville has ever made it into the pages of the Wall Street Journal, but it did yesterday. For gay families of all things. Go figure. This must be the first article ever anywhere in any publication in which the town of Laytonville didn’t appear with the subject of cannabis.
UNITY CLUB MARCH MEETING
Hello Everyone, Hope you are staying well and finding a few moments of entertainment and happiness each day.
This is a reminder that our next meeting is Thursday, March 4 at 1:30PM via Zoom. The Zoom link will be sent next week before the meeting. If you have questions regarding Zoom access, contact Arline Bloom via e-mail or call.
We have a program planned, Cindy Plank and Nancy Kleiber from the League of Women Voters will be speaking about the activities of the League of Women Voters in Mendocino County. We appreciate their willingness to meet with us via Zoom.
Attached below is the agenda for the meeting. If you have an agenda item to add or have questions please let me know.
Hope you can attend. And, hope you will give thought to becoming an officer. Elections are coming right up. Have questions? Call one of the current officers to find out what they do, if you are interested in being an officer and taking an active role. There is plenty of support from prior officers to help you if you chose to take an office. Give it some thought. Thanks.
Take care and enjoy the sunshine, if we can't have rain, might as well enjoy the sunny weather.
Anderson Valley Unity Club Meeting Agenda - Date: March 4, 2021
Officers: Pres, Janet Lombard; VP Val Muchowski; VP Grace Espinoza; Cindy Wilder, Treasurer and Secty, Ann Wakeman
Following guest speakers Cindy Plank and Nancy Kleiber from League of Women Voters
- Call to Order
- Opening Pledge of Allegiance and singing of America the Beautiful
- Welcome Guest(s)
- Minutes of Previous Meeting
- Treasurer’s Report
- Reports: Library Section – Possible opening in April or May 2021
- Garden Section – Robyn
- Panther Pals – Val H
- Scholarship Committee – Linda
- Bazaar Committee – Mary Ann
- Internet/Tech Committee - Arline
- Old Business – Letter sent to Supervisor Ted Williams
- New Business - Membership dues; Officers (time to think about being an officer)
- Adjourn – Next meeting is Thursday, April 1, 2021
FORT BRAGG LIBRARY CURBSIDE SERVICES
Fort Bragg Library has a request. We are asking everyone here to help pass the word to friends, family and co-workers that, although our building is still closed to the public, we are providing materials to our patrons via Curbside Pickups. Back when we first started Curbside, our requests were limited to only items available in our library. But since then, we've opened our full catalog of materials, making them requestable from any of the libraries in our 23 library system.
So spread the word! Not everyone uses social media or the internet so pass it on that Fort Bragg Library is checking out materials!
How does it work, you ask? This link — Fort Bragg Library Curbside Hours — provides the pertinent information and walks you through the process. If you still have questions, give us a call at 707-964-2020, M-F, 10am-5pm.
Plus, our Mendocino Seed Library has seeds available at each of the branches. Check out Fort Bragg's Seed Library.
Thanks and stay safe everyone.
Fort Bragg Library, 499 E Laurel St, 707-964-2020, www.fortbragglibrary.org
FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: Constituents have asked me to examine vaccine allocation to our south coast. Redwood Coast Medical Services covers a population of approximately 10k residents with an estimate of 8k in Mendocino and in 2k Sonoma, treating patients from Manchester to Timber Cove. Approximately 9% of total county vaccines might be fair per capita, but this needs to shift up for the greater proportion of 65+ residents and down for fewer 1a industry workers. Some south coast residents have been served in Fort Bragg, Ukiah and Sonoma County's Sutter. 9-10% might be a fair estimate of equal allocation. To date, RCMS has vaccinated with approximately 2800 doses. RCMS CEO suggested about 80% have been Mendocino County residents. I had reached out to [Sonoma County] Supervisor Lynda Hopkins weeks ago and RCMS confirmed today that they did receive 500 doses from Sonoma County. The difference of ~2300 doses does in fact match our public health records. The most recent state report shows 23030 doses applied in Mendocino County, but I know this data is stale because it hasn't been updated to reflect thousands of doses administered this week alone. My initial review doesn't spot an inequity in distribution, but I'll update as more data becomes available. It does appear RCMS has not fully entered vaccine use into California Immunization Registry (CAIR), which could limit future flow of supplies. We have advised RCMS that they need to come up to date. Given glitches in state tracking systems, it could be that the error is not on their side, but it's important to resolve the discrepancy now. The county tracks distribution and the clinics must prove they have used the supply received. State distribution must be reconciled with application. Now you know what I know. More to come.
SUPERVISOR McGOURTY: Recent attacks on Asians and Asian Americans in our state, country and the world are outrageous and completely unacceptable. Mendocino's First District alone is home to the City of 10,000 Buddhas, Dharma Realm University, Abhayagiri monastic community, and almost 600 Asian and Asian Americans. They bring peace, numerous formal and informal education opportunities, and a rich culture to our community and we have many friends among them. During the COVID-19 pandemic, their campuses have been closed to the public and their community has sheltered in place, but many programs are still active on-line. They have taken numerous precautions to keep themselves and our community safe, including being vaccinated. We look forward to the day when campuses, meditation halls, and the renowned Jyun Kang Vegetarian Restaurant opens again. Meanwhile our community celebrated Lunar New Year this month, despite the cancellation of the annual in-person festivities. Thank you, friends and neighbors!
MIKE WILLIAMS on the Eel River Canyon: When I walked the train line from Cloverdale to Spyrock in the summer of 2000, I found it to be very passable, at least 90% intact. I can’t understand why it should take $5 Billion to create a simple hiking trail where it mostly already exists? True, the trail would have to re-route around a tunnel north of Cloverdale and probably the long one near Alderpoint. There is a pretty big slide over the tracks near Dos Rios but was easy enough to get around. The opportunity exists to create a major trail through beautiful country. There is quite a bit of detritus like old rail ties and rusting equipment trackside, several rail cars off the track near Longvale and a rail car in the Eel River, but all that just adds to the historic significance. I don’t really care if Bosco finagles a few more bucks, get it out of his hands and back into something the public has access to.
KEVIN MURRAY, the troubled former Ukiah policeman, was booked at the County Jail Thursday morning on a second sex charge.
Murray's first charge involved an accusation from a woman described as a prostitute that Murray, in uniform on duty, and carrying a small quantity of methamphetamine, had forced the woman into extending her sexual favors to him. The details of the second sex charge are not known, but they include an allegation that Murray, in violation of the conditions of his bail, failed to turn in all his guns.
OLD ANDERSON VALLEY is saddened by the deaths of two of our leading citizens, Janie Morse and Marie Thommason. Mrs. Morse, the mother of Denise and Kirt Morse, and the late Randy Ray Harding and Billy Michael Harding, was the wife of the late Howard Morse. Mrs. Thomasson was the widow of Ruben Thomasson with whom she owned and managed the Anderson Valley Market in Boonville for many years. The market is now managed by the Thommasons' granddaughter, Jennifer.
SUSPICIONS CONFIRMED. Tufts University researchers looked at data on more than 900,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and found that 30% of admissions were obese, 26% had high blood pressure, 21% had diabetes had suffered heart failure. Researchers concluded that two thirds - or about 600,000 - of these hospitalizations could likely have been prevented if it weren't for the underlying conditions.
THE AV HEALTH CENTER did a drive-thru covid vax at Boonville High School today, consisting of 230 second doses and 200 first doses. The event was by appointment only and, by all accounts, went smoothly, with no attempts at line-jumping or persons pretending to be older than they are.
STRONG-ARM ROBBERY OF WHEELCHAIR-BOUND UKIAH HOMELESS MAN
On Tuesday, February 23rd at about 9:49 PM, Ukiah Police Officers were dispatched to the area of Wal-Mart, located at 1155 Airport Park Blvd, regarding a male subject who was refusing to leave the property and was reportedly naked. UPD Officers arrived and located a male victim (25 years old). The victim suffered from an injury to one leg, causing him to need a wheelchair to travel without discomfort.
Officers learned of a strong-armed robbery involving two female and two male suspects. Two suspects pulled the victim from his wheelchair as the others remained in and around the suspect vehicle, preparing to flee. The victim’s clothing was pulled off during the struggle over the wheelchair. The suspects loaded up the wheelchair and fled the scene.
All of the involved suspects and victims were homeless and residing in the City of Ukiah. The investigation revealed that the four suspects gathered and conspired to take the wheelchair from the Victim for use by one of the group members. They carried out that plan, forcing him from his wheelchair and leaving the victim in the state that resulted in the request for service.
With witness cooperation and video surveillance obtained from Ukiah Wal-Mart, Ukiah PD officers located and arrested 58-year-old Charles Hawkins, 44-year-old Sergio Gonzalez, and 37-year-old Jennifer Cram. The remaining identified suspect, is still outstanding in this investigation and the name is withheld for investigative purposes.
The Victim was tended to by AHUV. Clothing was donated to the victim by Building Bridges. His wheelchair was located and returned to him.
(Ukiah PD Presser)
RODOLFO’S OBJECTIVE SYMPTOMS
On Saturday, February 20, 2021, at approximately 1:04 p.m., Officers were dispatched to the 1000 block of S. Main Street for a report of a possible drunk driver. Dispatch stated the driver was last observed driving southbound on S. Main Street in a silver Toyota. Officers subsequently responded and checked the area.
While checking the area, Officers located the suspect vehicle and observed driving which was consistent with the driver possibly being under the influence of alcohol. A traffic enforcement stop was conducted near the Fort Bragg Outlet.
Upon contact with the driver, he displayed objective symptoms of being under the influence of alcoholic beverage. The driver was identified as Rodolfo Collichan by his identification card.
Collichan admitted to driving the vehicle while intoxicated and without a valid driver’s license. Additionally, it was determined through a records check that Collichan had a suspended driver’s license for driving under the influence/excessive blood alcohol and he was currently on court probation for driving under the Influence (DUI).
Collichan provided a breath sample which showed his blood alcohol content to be 0.247%. Collichan was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, driving without a valid driver’s license, and violation of probation. Collichan was transported to County Jail on charges related to this incident.
The Police Department would like to thank the initial witness who reported this intoxicated driver to law enforcement. Questions regarding this press release may be directed to Captain O’Neal at (707) 961-2800 ext. 167 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Fort Bragg PD presser)
FEB. 18, 1914 Fourth District Supervisor Ross has made quite an improvement in the turn on the county road at Inglenook directly opposite the Little Valley gate. The big tree and underbrush which stood on the west side of the highway at this point have been cleared away and the road has been widened. Heretofore, these obstacles have blocked the vision of all approaching this especially bad point for automobile collisions.
FEB. 24, 1966 — Plans for the immediate construction of a new and modern 52-unit motor lodge, complete with a restaurant, heated swimming pool and putting green, in the city of Fort Bragg were announced here this week. Construction is expected to begin the first week in March on the new Tradewinds Lodge at Main and Hazel Streets, just south of Acme Automotive Co.
(Courtesy, Fort Bragg Advocate)
RUTHERFORD’S $300,000 WARRANT
On Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 1:34 A.M. a Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Deputy conducted a vehicle check parked in the 1300 block of North State Street in Ukiah.
Elias Rutherford, 32, of Fort Bragg, was a passenger inside the vehicle and the Deputy requested Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Dispatch to check Rutherford for warrants and probation.
The Deputy was advised Rutherford had a felony warrant for his arrest out of Sonoma County. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Dispatch confirmed the warrant with Sonoma County.
Rutherford was arrested without incident and subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $300,000 bail.
URGENT UKIAH STREETSCAPE CONSTRUCTION UPDATE: Friday street closure and Saturday work
Some changes occurred on the construction site today (Thursday), requiring the need to modify this week's schedule on the south side of the project near Mill Street:
Friday, February 26: Construction crews will be trenching across State Street at the Mill Street intersection, requiring the closure of State at this location. Every effort will be made to expedite this work in hopes to reopen State during the day, but it may need to be closed most of the workday. State Street access to Safeway and the movie theater complex will remain open, but through traffic will be detoured.
Saturday, February 27: In order to complete this emergency work, crews will continue on Saturday. No work on Sunday.
On both days, work is scheduled to begin between 6:30-7:00 am.
We apologize for the late notice and any inconvenience this work may cause.
Shannon Riley, Deputy City Manager, City of Ukiah, w: (707) 467-5793
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 25, 2021
SHANNON ARNOLD, Ukiah. Trespassing-refusing to leave, disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
JENNIFER CRAM, Ukiah. Robbery, conspiracy.
SERGIO GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Robbery, conspiracy.
CHARLES HAWKINS, Ukiah. Robbery, harboring wanted felon, conspiracy.
SHELLY LEGGETT, Covelo. Failure to appear.
LOUISA MENDOZA, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, evasion, resisting.
ROBERT MENDOZA, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
KEVIN MURRAY, Lakeport/Ukiah. Rape-force,violence, duress, menace, fear of bodily injury, Forcible oral compulation, armed with firearm in commission of felony/attempted felony.
MONICA SAVIDAN, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
IN MEMORY OF LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI, THE IMMORTAL BEAT
In this March 2019 conversation, ScheerPost Editor in Chief Robert Scheer talks with his lifelong friend and legendary poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
MY FRIEND LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI
Ferlinghetti and I
Would go to the Surf Theater
Way out by Yokohama
He was an aggressive
Driver, his old Volkswagen
But had several dents
Driving through the Stockton
Tunnel he'd proclaim,,
"We're leaving the Casbah."
And he would chuckle
As he turned left on Van Ness
Leaving North Beach
And City Lights Books
We saw a movie set in Paris,
The title escapes me, but
Over the sights, Notre Dame
In a side view, the Seiner
Head-on, Apollinaire's shadow
On Boulevard St. Germaine
"I should go for a visit," he said,
"Like Henry Miller did.
Two days later we headed
To Bixby Canyon, he said
I could carve my name on
The outhouse wall alongside
Kerouac and Ginsberg.
We read from "Leaves
Of Grass" that night by
A campfire, 'He's like
An older brother,"
Lawrence said of Whitman
A year later
He wrote from
Paris, "I'm bringing you
A new beret, made right
San Francisco, Paris,
Big Sur, an open
Heart who would
Never grow old,
Who would be an
Ancient bard, who
Would hold a lantern
In the dark
In the street" and
Who would listen
The secret meaning
Of Goya's greatest scenes
24 Feb 2021
— Neeli Cherkovski
ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS Biden did after taking office was sign Executive Order 13988 which demands that measures be taken to 'prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.' This sounds perfectly reasonable until you get into the weeds of the order and discover that among various recommendations, it seeks to allow transgender athletes to compete according to their gender identity, as opposed to their biological sex. Specifically, it says that transgender women who have gone through male puberty should be able to compete in women's sports. This, I'm afraid, is utter madness. The majority of trans women born to male biological bodies who've gone through puberty are self-evidently going to be bigger, stronger, faster and more powerful than women born to female biological bodies. Again, this is not me being “transphobic,” it's me stating an obvious fact.
— Piers Morgan
WITH DESPAIR, true optimism begins: the optimism of the man who expects nothing, who knows he has no rights and nothing coming to him, who rejoices in counting on himself alone and in acting alone for the good of all.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
My 81 year-old friend who recently got covid and ended up in the hospital for 2 days with pneumonia about 3 weeks ago, was walking around outside today feeling and acting chipper – absolutely normal for him. It was like he got a case of the normal flu with chest congestion that went into his lungs, but with antibiotics he recovered quickly, although he felt tired for a week or two. No big deal. Of course, he was fit and healthy before this, and as far as we know, didn’t have co-morbidities.
Does this show that old age is not a factor if one is healthy, exercises, is not obese and doesn’t have diabetes? It would be nice to know that covid is not an automatic death penalty for the elderly if they’ve lived well and are in a decent environment.
If you are a fan of “The Mandalorian,” you have seen Gina Carano. She plays a tough warrior who sometimes helps Mando. In her personal life she has demonstrated right-wing views, such as the belief that the election was stolen, and she has been accused of racism and anti-Semitism, though the evidence for those claims is thin. Now she has been fired for social media statements reflecting her views.
There are many other examples of this sort of thing. Some people call it cancel culture. Remember the Hollywood blacklist of the 1950s? Writers, directors and actors, including Dana Andrews and Dalton Trumbo, were denied a livelihood because of their views and associations. Does anyone else think this is a colossal and un-American mistake?
I don’t want to live in a society where everyone believes the same things or has reason to fear saying otherwise. I prefer a society in which ideas, including unpopular ones, are openly discussed and debated by people who show respect for each other. A good interpretation of the First Amendment is, “You have a right to be wrong.”
I WAS BROUGHT UP A CATHOLIC, became an agnostic, flirted with Islam and now hold a position which may be termed Manichee. I believe the wrong God is temporarily ruling the world and that the true God has gone under. Thus I am a pessimist but believe the world has much solace to offer: love, food, music, the immense variety of race and language, literature and the pleasure of artistic creation.
—Anthony Burgess, New York Times obituary (Nov. 26, 1993)
THE SOUND OF SILENCE
Hello, darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a streetlamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
"Fools," said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you."
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence."
— Paul Simon
U.S. AIR FORCE JUST ADMITS F-35 STEALTH FIGHTER HAS FAILED
Brown’s comments are a tacit admission that the F-35 has failed. As conceived in the 1990s, the program was supposed to produce thousands of fighters to displace almost all of the existing tactical warplanes in the inventories of the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
The Air Force alone wanted nearly 1,800 F-35s to replace aging F-16s and A-10s and constitute the low end of a low-high fighter mix, with 180 twin-engine F-22s making up the high end.
But the Air Force and Lockheed baked failure into the F-35’s very concept. “They tried to make the F-35 do too much,” said Dan Grazier, an analyst with the Project on Government Oversight in Washington, D.C.
WILL CALIFORNIA’S DESERT BE TRANSFORMED INTO LITHIUM VALLEY?
On the edge of the Salton Sea, state officials and investors are seeking to turn brine into ‘white gold’ that can power electric cars. But will this help solve the Imperial Valley’s troubles — or add to them?
REPUBLICAN HYPOCRISY NO REASON TO SUPPORT NEERA TANDEN
by Norman Solomon
Most corporate media outlets have depicted President Biden’s effort to win Senate confirmation of Neera Tanden as a battle to overcome Republican hypocrisy about her “mean tweets,” name-calling and nasty partisanship. But there are very important reasons to prevent Tanden from becoming the Office of Management and Budget director. They have nothing to do with her nasty tweets and everything to do with her political orientation.
Tanden has a record as one of the most anti-progressive operators among Democratic Party movers and shakers. Long enmeshed with corporate elites, she has been vehemently hostile to the Bernie Sanders wing of the party. Progressive activists have ample cause to be alarmed at the prospect of her becoming OMB director — one of the most powerful and consequential positions in the entire Executive Branch.
Yet some leaders of left-leaning groups have bought into spin that carefully ignores Tanden’s fervent embrace of corporate power and touts her as eminently suitable for the OMB job. Media coverage has been a key factor. The newspaper owned by the richest person on the planet, Jeff Bezos, is a good example.
With the Tanden battle intensifying last weekend, the Washington Post launched an opinion spree to defend her while repeatedly expressing alarm and indignation that she might not be confirmed. The day after news broke that Tanden’s nomination was in serious trouble, the newspaper’s barrage started with a piece by right-wing pundit Hugh Hewitt, who urged Senate Republicans “to forgive the small stuff and encourage the recruitment of talent.” That was on Saturday.
On Monday, the Post’s editorial board weighed in, proclaiming the newspaper’s official position: “Yes, Ms. Tanden has been undiplomatic,” but hypocritical GOP senators had approved Donald Trump’s nominees who were even nastier, and the Senate should confirm her.
By then, the national media mold was set, and countless words quickly poured into it — including six more pro-Tanden pieces that the Post published in the next two days. On Tuesday, the Tanden defenders were staff columnists Greg Sargent and Karen Tumulty as well as the paper’s chief political correspondent Dan Balz. On Wednesday, staff columnists Dana Milbank and Jennifer Rubin shared the polemical duties with feminist author Jill Filipovic.
The Post’s writers denounced conservative objections to confirming Tanden as director of OMB, which the newspaper has aptly described as “the nerve center of the federal government.” Meanwhile, there was no space for substantive criticism of Tanden; the paper’s opinion section didn’t offer a pixel with a contrary outlook, let alone a progressive critique.
Much of the left has a strong aversion to Tanden. Days ago, Common Dreams reported on “her history of pushing cuts to Social Security, disparaging Medicare for All and other popular ideas, and raising money from massive corporations.” As president of the Center for American Progress, she sought and received between $1.5 million and $3 million in donations from the United Arab Emirates monarchy; later, CAP remained silent about a bipartisan congressional resolution to end the U.S. government’s assistance to the continual Saudi-UAE warfare killing huge numbers of Yemeni civilians.
But some progressive organizations have voiced support for Tanden’s nomination, turning a blind eye to such matters as her close fundraising ties with corporate elites, Big Tech, Wall Street, Walmart, health insurers and military contractor Northrop Grumman. Yet ties like that would create foreseeable conflicts of interest in the top OMB job, which oversees regulatory processes across the federal government.
It was not a good sign when a usually-laudable progressive organizer told CNN viewers that Tanden should be confirmed. And — given Tanden’s record of opposing Medicare for All, opposing a $15 federal minimum wage and advocating for collaboration with Republican leaders in potential cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — something is seriously amiss when a leading advocate for women’s health rights urges confirmation.
In a tweet last week, NARAL’s president Ilyse Hogue called Tanden “a committed progressive” and added: “How about assessing her work, competence and vision instead the tone her tweets? Stop sinking good women because they are outspoken.”
Oddly, the director of the excellent Revolving Door Project, Jeff Hauser, publicly defended Tanden days ago, telling the New York Times: “The last decade has seen mediocre or worse cabinet appointments rubber-stamped by the Senate with regularity. It is unconscionable that the rare exception to that norm might be based on feelings hurt by imprudent tweets and suggests that senators vote more on egos than substance.”
I contacted Hauser for clarification, since it seemed that he was using the hypocrisy of Senate Republicans to justify support for Tanden’s nomination. In effect, he appeared to be adding some drops of WD-40 to hinges on the particular revolving door that Tanden is trying to move through.
When I asked Hauser if he supported confirmation of Tanden and whether he considered her to be part of the revolving-door phenomenon, he replied: “We oppose the arguments actually endangering her confirmation, which are from [Sen. Joe] Manchin and [Sen. Susan] Collins and the like and hold that it makes sense to confirm the likes of Richard Grenell and Brett Kavanaugh but not Neera Tanden. But we do not lobby, so we do not formally urge votes one way or another once a person is actually nominated for a job.”
Hauser added: “I don’t think Tanden is ‘revolving door,’ but I stand by the concerns I raised about CAP fundraising in the Washington Post.” Ironically, the Post news article that Hauser was citing, published in December 2020, scrutinized Tanden’s longtime corporate entanglements via her Center for American Progress and reported: “Founded in 2003 by allies of Bill and Hillary Clinton, CAP is widely viewed as a Democratic administration-in-waiting, with a revolving door between the think tank and the White House.”
At RootsAction, which has been working to defeat Neera Tanden’s nomination, my colleague Jeff Cohen has a very different perspective than what can be heard from Tanden’s enablers: “We’ve opposed Tanden not because of her ‘mean tweets’ but because of her close funding relationships with corporate titans and foreign governments. What’s stunning is the silence from Senate Democrats about the potential conflicts of interest raised by her decade of aggressive fundraising from powerful interests.”
That kind of silence, whether from the U.S. Senate or from big-budget progressive groups, could dangerously help the Biden administration to do its worst instead of its potential best.
(Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where he coordinates ExposeFacts. Solomon is a co-founder of RootsAction.org.)
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