South Winds | 1 New Case | Meaningful Stats | Boonville Testing | FFA Winners | EDD Complaint | Ed Notes | Red Summer | Pennyroyal Farm | Methy Couple | Race Riots | Prickly Librarian | Chicago 1919 | Streetscape Update | Yesterday's Catch | Missouri Wine | Beanie Wienie | Homeless Crisis | Oxy Museum | Sussex Scandals | Earth First | Jack & Rock | Social Murder | Birthday Surprise | Courthouse Screeners | Volunteer Correspondent | Cowboy Impression | Office Manager | Radio Reading | Eternal Subjection | Screen Schooling | American Spirit | UkiaHaiku Festival | Texas Mess | Driftwood Horse | Atlanta Dream | Owl Spread | Redistricting California
SOUTH WINDS will increase and become gusty this afternoon and tonight ahead of a frontal boundary. Friday the frontal boundary will move onshore and rain and snow will spread across the area through the day reaching Lake county late in the day. Mainly dry weather is expected Saturday with a few showers possible on Sunday. More rain and snow is expected next week. (NWS)
1 NEW COVID CASE and another death reported for Mendocino County this morning.
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS posted this graphic on facebook recently:
And Ms. Stockel promptly and correctly jumped his bones:
“And so I'll ask my questions again. Please start publishing all of your metrics to include BOTH shots. That is the number we need to track. And they need to be within the recommended window.
CDC says too long of a lag between 1st and second shots can mean a third would be required. It's possible that 50% of the vaccines could be wasted if third shots need to be administered. What's the data on the time period between first and second shots that have been administered?
How about data on people who contracted the virus after receiving only the first shot?
Still waiting to see demographics of vaccines administered. How many in Fort Bragg, Mendocino, and Ukiah vis-a-vis the unincorporated, rural areas?
This is the kind of information I expect Dr. Coren to present instead of information we already know from the internet. He rarely says anything I don't already know from my last row seats. Please pay me to do that job. It surely doesn't require an MD.
It's the only way to know if you're really doing it right or if it's all about the optics.
Are we following the recommended CDC Inventory Management Best Practices? I can't tell from ANY publicly available information.”
FREE COVID TESTING IN BOONVILLE
Boonville Fairgrounds, Friday, March 5.
Pre-registration required: www.LHI.care
Bring patient ID #
ON THE OFF chance you’re in Anderson Valley and you see this notice before Friday's short noticed event, the complicated pre-register requirement is likely to deter locals from getting tested, and will certainly exclude older, non-computer people from participating. The county should do testing exclusively with the Anderson Valley Health Center, whose staff has already efficiently carried out testing.
VERY PROUD of our FFA Creed speakers today! They competed in the virtual Mendo-Lake FFA Section competition. Our four awesome FFA members placed 1st to 4th. All four will move on to the NorthCoast Region competition in April.
SELF EMPLOYED, FILING AGAINST THE EDD
To the California Employment Development Department/Unemployment Division
Class action suit against EDD, state of California
From Debra Keipp, Boonville
There is an old joke:
Q: Why did the Lakota horse nation ride appaloosas into battle?
A: So they'd be mad as hell when they got there.
For those of you who are not horse oriented, appaloosas are colorful clown whores characterized by being reliably quirky and chaos creating.
I enclose for DE 8498 as I am lodging a discrimination complaint against the EDD for acting without consequence, as one clown of an organization, whose discriminatory practices have culminated in the bleep-piles of ineptitude, indescribable in further metaphor.
The shakedown of 2021 pandemic unemployment assistance through the California EDD now reveals discriminatory practices against self-employed individuals as a class by specifically ignoring timely payment of their pandemic unemployment assistance. Asking individuals and some families to wait until April for any benefits at all is cruel and discriminatory toward a specific class of worker.
I am completing your own Employment Development Department discrimination complaint form, DE 8498, and sending it to Washington and Sacramento as well. It is written against the EDD so I guess I'm turning you into “yourselves.”
I am a local writer, health-care worker and whistleblower in California and encourage the millions of other pandemically unpaid self employed who remain unpaid since 2020 to do the same. Fill out form DE 8498, EDD discrimination complaint form and blow the whistle on the EDD for discrimination and use EDD’s own form to do it. Form DE 8498 is also available in Spanish!
President Biden keeps dangling carrots saying unemployment will probably be extended into August now, while still not coming through with an unemployment assistance package so far at all in 2021. With promises that perhaps folks will be paid by April, just before it is currently expected to run out, who can trust our government? Not I. My guess is, it is all a government ruse -- no one will get paid by April. The government will implode by then.
A movement is currently afoot organizing in Mendocino County to be the voice of those unheard presently by the media and ignored by EDD, the state and the Feds, among whom Judy Chu is now one, hired recently by the Biden administration to work as a top official in the Health and Human Services Agency. Just think, with Chu at the wheel the entire nation can now be as screwed up as California is now under her recent former administration here.
A real nutmaker for instance among other things that don't make sense, I phoned the EDD PUA number today and gave my Social Security and PIN numbers and got a recording which told me to fill out the continued claim Form 4581 and mail it in. However, there remains, two months later, no way to complete or print this form on the EDD website so it cannot be done nor has EDD mailed out one to me as requested. Saying self-employed individuals as a class will have to wait until March 7 to certify this discrimination against a class of worker while workers under employers are receiving their benefits without hassle. Saying after certification that it may take until April 10, 2021 to receive retroactive unemployment is nothing you would ask of a legislator to go without even the most provisional of money, least of all the entirety of the first quarter of 2021.
And you want all the unemployed to give our facial recognition patterns to ID-ME? The night I tried to register with them I received two notifications, one to say my registration was received and it worked, and the other a second later saying it didn't work because their system was screwed up. I'm giving ID.ME my SSN? When I tried to contact them to find out what's up, the website appeared to be a subcontractor by the name of Blake Hall whom I was directed to tweet. Are you kidding me? Then came another lame e-mail saying they would get back to me without any specifics. And they never did.
I then tried to log in again to my EDD account. Four times it would not recognize my e-mail and password after being entered. On the fifth try I was able to login under my e-mail once again with no keystrokes changed because they are stored in the computer.
You thought January 6 was a mess at the White House? We are talking millions of self-employed of every damned color riding nothing but appaloosas with no jobs to keep them busy and angry as hell. Flash that EDD!
PS. As a self-employed individual who voted a straight Democratic party ticket in 2020 I received assistance through the EDD during the 2020 tenure of benefits through December 27, 2020. The EDD system was then broken and I was unable to apply for the next round of financial support because of EDD’s ineptitude. While I received a message in my EDD inbox saying that I have to do nothing but wait! The system would be able to take input after March 7 with another three weeks at least after that to see actual money.
President Biden recruited Ms. Chu to his administration in Washington even as she had left behind an irreperably broken EDD system and as a result screwed up EDD payments for millions. Why then if Trump was a murderous bigoted thug could I pay my rent during 2020 due to the public assistance that I received without hassle under that administration? Since December and since Biden took office however I've noticed that EDD remains unable for some reason to pay millions of self-employed individuals their rightful assistance in a timely manner. Having no income from the end of December 2020 through March of 2021 is nothing you would ask of yourselves. Rent for my office, my home and my storage has all gone unpaid since December 2020. Yesterday I was admitted to the local hospital for heart failure due to stress of no money. Food stamps are not augmented for this deficit in support of self. I stand to be evicted very soon regardless of lawful moratorium. I live simply but cannot do without money altogether. Can you? However, the EDD has chosen to eliminate money from the lives of all those persons particularly who are self-employed while others who suffer under employers are being paid. EDD has targeted injurious financial ruin to the lives of all self-employed persons as a class who would otherwise be able to support themselves had the government not erred with ineptitude in support of self-employed persons in the state of California. How Biden thinks that Ms. Chu is going to help in DC makes for an ominous future for the nation now. He should have hired from another state.
Ed note: Ms. Keipp reports that within days after filing this claim form her benefits were restored by EDD.
YOU ALREADY KNOW THIS but six Doctor Seuss books - including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo” will stop being published because of “racist and insensitive imagery.” Banning literature on the basis of “insensitive imagery” is your basic slippery slope given the extreme sensitivity of these book burning times. Used to be the rightwing agitating for book banning, now it's the fake left. Doc Seuss, incidentally, wasn't always the benign author of children's books, he drew these two cartoons for California newspapers, circa 1939:
A READER ASKS, “You complain about liberals all the time but say you are one. Please define ‘liberal’ for us.”
WELL, CLASS, I complain about liberals because they, the Democratic Party, claim to represent the good and the true but don't. Obviously. Some of the libs — Bernie, AOC, Elizabeth Warren — are better than the Pelosi-Schumer-Schiff-DNC Axis, but as a party they're half the reason millions of Americans are unrepresented, and the whole reason for Trump. Here's a more concrete definition of liberal: KQED devotes a couple of hours of extravagant praise honoring the great comic, Dave Chappelle, whose performances would never be allowed on KQED or any public television station. Closer to home, KZYX commemorates Ginsburg's break-through poem, Howl, but bleeps the profanity. Me? I'm in the left-lib bag, left of Bernie who's also liberal, not a socialist in any historical sense of the term, and I'm way to the left of the conservative Democrats who call the tune on the Northcoast, as are lots of libs around here who supported Bernie but got Biden.
WE'VE GOT ABOUT 900 generals for 1.3 million troops, plus them thousands of officer-rank personnel from colonel on down to lieutenant. But when a fast decision is needed the command structure seems to move with glacial speed. The head of the D.C. National Guard told Congress today that it took more than three hours to get Defense Department approval to send National Guard reinforcements when the yobbos took over the Capitol. If the yobs had guns, organization, and a plan… Yobbo spokespeople at Fox and other retro misinformation sites are still blaming the Benghazi fiasco on Hillary, but the prob obviously lies in the decision-making process. Why should it take hours to call up troops to beat back a mob? Why should the Secretary of State be required to make on-the-ground tactical decisions? Somebody on the ground in Libya should have sent in reinforcements as soon as it became clear the American ambassador didn't have enough protection.
SPEAKING OF THE YOBS, U.S. Capitol Police claimed today (Wednesday) they had received intelligence reports that indicated “a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group” on Thursday (March 4). The police claimed the intelligence is so “sensitive that we cannot provide additional details at this time.” O yea. And because it's pure wind, part of the general Democrat ramping up of police state measures to crush the Camo Buddies. Tomorrow (Thursday) is predicted by wacko followers of QAnon to be the day that Trump returns to power.
A LOCAL WOMAN posted this message:
“Anyone know a blond haired guy with dreadlocks probably in his 40’s that drives a newer gray/silver Audi wagon? It’s no one I’ve ever seen in the valley. Probably a coast person. Please let me know. He passed me on 128 headed to Cloverdale on a double yellow/blind corner then stopped in the road making it impossible for me to get by him, came at my window and spit and screamed at my daughter and I in our car this evening. He was tailgating me so close I couldn’t pull over. It’s not Joshua from AV...”
SHE WAS PROBABLY too unnerved to get this nut's license number, but most of us who travel 128 regularly have had death-defying vehicular adventures of one kind or another. Mr. Dreadlocks seems not to have internalized the Rastafarian message of peace to all beings, but the worst incidents I know of have involved men intimidating or even trying to kill women drivers, as happened to a local woman some years ago when a man tried repeatedly to bash her car off the road as she drove southbound between Philo and Boonville. I've come around blind corners to find an oncoming car in my lane. Only my lightning reflexes spared me a head-on. And, pre-cellphone, I followed a guy from Yorkville so drunk he was regularly in the oncoming lane. I finally got around him and ran straight to the Cloverdale Police station where a cop was dispatched pronto to intercept the drunk as he came off 128 at the Cloverdale junction. Years ago, when traffic wasn't nearly the speed and volume it is today we had a resident CHP officer named Burl Evans, a very nice man driven outtahere because some loud, influential locals thought they should be exempt from the traffic laws.
ON THE HOT SUBJECT of law enforcement, I saw a clip on the national news the other night showing the arrest of Daniel Prude, a black resident of Rochester who died seven days later in the hospital. The next day I listened to a radio discussion where the consensus was that a “trained social worker” would have been preferred to the police when Prude was running naked down the street loaded on PCP, a drug that makes people a lot stronger than they are in their un-stoned state. It was Prude's family who'd called him in. He was a known mental the cops dealt with regularly.
IT WOULD BE INTERESTING to watch a social worker talk down a crazed naked man doing late night wind sprints on a city street, but no sooner had Prude been restrained by a half dozen cops, strapped to a gurney and hauled off in an ambulance, than an insta-mob was on site claiming the police had murdered Prude “in cold blood.” They'd placed, not jammed, a face mask over Prude's head because he was spitting at them and writhing around to where it took several cops to restrain him. The Rochester coroner ruled that Prude died from “complications of asphixia in the setting of physical restraint.” Watching the film of the cops placing the mask over his head and restraining him, I tried to imagine myself as the in-charge cop, concluding I would have done everything as they had done it because there was no alternative in the context. Not to be too hard about it, but I'd say Prude killed himself.
BIDEN is “comfortable” cutting off stimulus checks to Americans who make more than $80,000, the White House spokeslady said today (Wednesday). Press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed news reports that said the president backed giving the full $1,400 to Americans who make $75,000 and giving no money to those who make more than $80,000. Same with couples who make more than $160,000. “He is comfortable with where the negotiations stand,” Psaki said. Couples who make less than $150,000 will receive the full amount, if the current version of the COVID-19 stimulus bill passes. The deal was made so that the Senate bill would maintain the $400-a-week unemployment benefit, a dollar amount that was etched out in the last COVID-19 stimulus package, passed under Trump.
With warmer days ahead and overall wellness on the rise, we will resume service on our patio beginning this Friday, March 5! Booking for our Farm Table along with the revival of a much-requested experience, Taste of Place: Wine & Cheese Tasting will be available Thu - Mon. Both options are hosted on our outdoor patio or under our covered tent at socially-distanced tables. Reservations are required and limited to group sizes of 6 persons or less. For questions, special requests, or assistance with your reservation, please call 707-895-2410.
Before you book your reservation and visit us, please make sure that you have read through our COVID-19 Policy. It explains our safety and health precautions, policy, FAQs, etc. These will be enforced to maintain a safe and enjoyable experience for all.
YOUR HONOR, WE THINK THIS RELATIONSHIP SHOULD BE DISCOURAGED
On Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 2:35 A.M., a Deputy from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was on patrol in the 6200 block of North State Street in Calpella.
During this time, the Deputy observed a vehicle parked in front of a closed business.
The Deputy conducted a vehicle check and contacted a male (Joshua Murray, 40 of Lake County) and a female (later identified as being Caytlin Collicott, 23, of Willits).
The Deputy requested Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Dispatch to conduct a warrants and probation/parole check on both subjects. Dispatch advised Murray was on active CDC Parole out of Lake County and the female had no warrants or probation.
During a search of the vehicle, two glass bulbous methamphetamine smoking pipes, a controlled substance, and a female's purse was located.
Inside the purse, the Deputy located personal identification for Collicott. The Deputy used the patrol vehicle computer system and located a prior booking photograph of Collicott.
The Deputy determined Collicott had given a false name and date of birth which was a real person.
The Deputy requested Dispatch check Collicott for warrants and probation/parole status. Dispatch advised Collicott was on active CDC Parole.
Murray and Collicott's Parole Officers were contacted and placed CDC Parole Holds on both of them. The Deputy arrested both Murray and Collicott without incident.
Murray was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail on drug possession charges and parole violation where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
Collicott was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail on the false ID charge and parole violation where she was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
A LIBRARY EXPERIENCE UNDER COVID, A READER WRITES: Apparently the Ukiah library is semi-open for curbside pickups. So I tried reserving a book on-line by filling out the library’s catalog website forms. The next day a nice young library woman called and after a short discussion told me I could pick up my book which would be ready for curbside pickup at the Library on Friday at 11am. Simple enough. I drove down out of the hills and arrived a few minutes before 11, having negotiated the downtown construction mess a little easier than expected. I walked up to the glass library doors behind which I could see a large older woman and a young man who were arranging a cart and some paper bags inside the otherwise empty library. I walked up to the door and kinda yelled through the glass that I thought I had a pickup. The woman seemed irked that I had interrupted her routine and came to the door and gestured at some printed papers that were taped to the inside of the door facing outward which said something to the effect that the library was only open for pre-arranged pickups. I said, That’s why I’m here. She shook her head no, and again somewhat angrily pointed to the papers on the door. Fortunately, I had printed a copy of the email the nice young woman had sent me confirming my appointment and pickup date and time. I held it up to the window and pointed and said, Yes, that’s why I’m here. The woman grudgingly looked through the glass at my printout then grumpily turned around and found a bag with my name and book and stuck it out the door without saying anything then quickly closed it. I could only assume that I had annoyed the woman because I had arrived two or three minutes before the appointed time or that I had not waited at the sidewalk for the cart to be wheeled out. Maybe they were intending to roll the cart out with the pickups a minute or two later. Sorry, ma’am. I accepted the bag and tried to ask if there was any special procedure for returning it. Still behind the glass door, she said something about being open on certain hours and days but she was too muffled by the doors for me to fully understand. I wanted to ask her to repeat herself but decided against irritating her any more and walked off with my book bag. Two weeks later I got an email saying my book was due back but offering no special return instructions. The next time I was in Ukiah I dropped it in their regular outside return bin which had no notice on it and appeared to work as usual. No further notices have been received. As much as I appreciated getting the book under these pandemic conditions, I do not want to go through that again. The woman would make a good courtroom judge, expecting people to arrange their lives to accommodate Her Highness’s own strict schedule.
UKIAH STREETSCAPE UPDATE
Due to changed conditions on the project site, we will need to close State Street between Mill and Seminary again this Thursday, March 4th. Construction crews will be paving trenches near the Mill Street intersection. Access to driveways will still be permitted and the street will be reopened as soon as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Also, businesses (especially restaurants) should be aware that Mendocino County is potentially getting closer to the red tier again. IF our current Covid positivity rate numbers hold up, we would be placed back into the red tier on about March 16th, which means that restaurants would be allowed to have indoor dining up to 25% capacity; most retail would move to 50% capacity. However, it is important to note that County officials are lobbying for an earlier change based on our data, and also that the State has been having discussions about revising the tier system altogether. I know that's a lot of vague information, and I wish there were more specifics to share, but I guess my point is that we should all be paying attention and preparing for changes to be announced at any time.
Please see the attachment for what business activities are allowed under each tier (CURRENTLY). Also, a good way to stay informed regarding the latest Covid announcements is to follow the County's facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mendocinocounty
Thanks again for your continued patience with the project. With our current outlook, the Streetscape Project is expected to be complete at about the same time that vaccines will be readily available, our businesses will have fewer restrictions, and our whole County will be safer. This is exciting!
Shannon Riley, Deputy City Manager, City of Ukiah, w: (707) 467-5793
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 3, 2021
RHONJENE AMMERMAN, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear.
DUSTIN CAVINO, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
RICHARD CAVINO, Willits. DUI.
KATELYNN FEYERHARM, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
DEBORAH, HELLER, Willits. Controlled substance while armed with loaded firearm, loaded handgun not registered owner, concealed weapon in vehicle.
JESUS HERRERA, Willits. Assault, battery, probation revocation.
JOSHUA MURRAY, Lucerne/Ukiah. Paraphernalia, parole violation.
VIOLETA ZAMORA, Ukiah. Domestic battery, child endangerment.
ALONG WITH the Weinstrasse I drove, with the river to the south and the woods of Osage Ridge to the north. Some farms hugged the bottomland, but the grapes were usually planted high up in the rich loess soil that glaciers deposited eons ago. The varietals were different from those I knew in California -- Catawba and Seyval, for example, rather than Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
In my days as a vineyard dweller, I learned a bit about viticulture and the wine business. Most grape growers thought of themselves as farmers, not impresarios, 30 years ago, and their tasting rooms in Sonoma County were often quite humble, just a barn swept clean of cobwebs. Even within the Napa Valley, already more advanced in terms of promoting itself, the accent was on the product and not the package. Some vintners were testy enough to deny boorish customers a taste of anything.
The industry became afflicted with gigantism though and turned into a juggernaut. The wineries got bigger, more corporate and elaborate, and devoted to squeezing a profit from every inch of floor space. Things rarely shrink in America. We equate smallness with death and obsolescence. If you have a chance to expand and refuse it you are considered a fool. Scale is what counts, the larger the better.
So the wineries expanded. The buildings grew to the size of warehouses and a fleet of architects were unleashed on them. The architects had a fondness for folly. One saw turrets, moats, drawbridges and funiculars.
Tasting rooms acquired a suburban patina and were stocked with knickknacks for sale -- glassware, coffee mugs, T-shirts, aprons, bad primitive paintings, even Hummel figurines. Gimmicks to attract visitors abounded -- llamas, exotic gardens, petting zoos…
With only 1350 acres bearing grapes, Missouri's output is still modest. So I hoped the wineries would convey a rustic charm. Amazingly, every state in the union has at least one winery at present. The idea of an Alaskan white or a Florida red sounds far fetched but they are available. California remains the kingpin however and sells 89% of the wine in the United States trailed very distantly by Washington, Oregon and New York.
The weinstrasse, amply bedeviled with twists and hairpin turns, could wreak havoc on an incautious taster. As a veteran, I understood the pitfalls of over-imbibing and how to avoid them. Swirl the wine in your mouth and then spit it out -- that was a good rule of thumb, albeit impossible to follow. Don't feel you must try every wine they're pouring, another hilarious bromide.
The road to Montelle winery was very steep. It led to a bluff with a painterly view of the Missouri through the trees. The owners had obviously studied the California model, incorporating a gift shop and a restaurant with a deck overlooking the valley. In temperate weather they offered live music on the weekends.
Inside, a jolly crew of tasters had convened around a long octagonal bar paneled in wood to work their way through the seven or eight wines to be sampled. All were crafted from grapes unfamiliar to me — not only Catawba and Seyval but Chardonel, Concord, Chancellor and St. Vincent. Montelle also makes wine from fruit -- strawberry, raspberry, blackberry -- and semisweet reds and whites.
I skipped the sugary stuff -- too much like soda pop, plus I lacked Chester Stogner's sweet tooth. As awful as it is to admit, if you've been raised on good California wines, it's difficult to settle for less. Against your will you become a snob. Only Montelle’s Cynthiana, a dry full-bodied red, impressed me.
In spite of Cynthiana’s $20 price tag it is the first varietal to sell out. The grape, a native American cultivar, also is called Norton, after Dr. D. N. Norton, the Virginian who developed it. A Norton from Missouri won the gold medal for the best wine of all nations at the Vienna world exposition of 1873. Often billed as the Cabernet of the Ozarks, Cynthiana ages well.
I visited two more wineries, both similar in style to Montelle and broke for supper in Hermann, still heavily Teutonic. Browsing in Blanche's on East First Street was like a quick trip to Dusseldorf, what with all the cuckoo clocks, nutcrackers in lederhosen and beer steins for sale. Hermann winery, housed in an old stone building had the sort of simplicity I had been seeking so I paid $20 for Cynthiana, unable to resist temptation the second time around.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The state of California spent $13 Billion in the last three years on homeless programs. The number of homeless people increased by 16% between 2018 and 2019. This is from the Legislative Analyst Office, which is bi-partisan and is very informative https://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/4152:
“The scale of the homelessness crisis in California is significant and even substantial investments in resources could quickly dissipate without demonstrating much progress if investments are made without a clear plan. We recognize that there is no obvious right answer as to how the state should address the homelessness crisis. That said, we find the Governor’s budget proposal falls short of articulating a clear strategy for curbing homelessness in California. In the absence of a clear strategy, state resources could be allocated in a less targeted/coordinated way. As a consequence, we believe the Governor’s proposed approach is less likely to make a meaningful ongoing impact on the state’s homelessness crisis. Additionally, we find that the details provided as part of the Governor’s 202021 homelessness proposal raise many important questions for the Legislature to consider.”
As mentioned many times our homeless crisis is not completely driven by a lack of affordable housing, most people who have jobs and need housing assistance can eventually find housing or they move to a cheaper place. I think we all know people who left the area because it was too expensive and they could have a better comfort level in a cheaper location. No one I know chose to become homeless and live in an encampment and expected someone to hand them an apartment for free. Homeless people have other problems like drug addiction and mental illness. The reason why California has so many homeless people is that Martin v. Boise made it hard to enforce vagrancy laws - states not in the 9th circuit can enforce them - and we have Prop. 47 which basically allows people to steal items less than $900 so if you're a drug addict and you don't want to pay rent and can live off stolen food from Walmart, Walgreens, 7-11 and other convenience stores, California is the place to be - you can spend all your money - if you receive disability or unemployment - on your drug addiction. Drug addiction is a disease and it does control people but you can't force an addict into recovery, you can only minimize the harm they cause to society.
ON MONDAY, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced a 20-point guide to how to empower women. Timed to coincide with next week's International Women's Day, it dripped with all the usual insufferably patronising self-righteousness that's become the hallmark of the couple's endless hectoring homilies to the world. Doubtless, we'll hear a lot more of this narrative during their two-hour interview with Oprah Winfrey. But then we woke up to a rather different narrative this morning. In a series of bombshell revelations in the UK's Times newspaper, Meghan stands accused of waging a systematic reign of bullying terror against her personal staff at Kensington Palace. The allegations were in an email written by the couple's then communications secretary Jason Knauf. The details of the Times story are jaw-dropping, outlining a litany of alleged bullying by Meghan towards her young female staff that reduced some to tears. It's too late for Oprah to ask them about it because her interview is in the can. The Times also contained a second shocking, and undenied, story: that Meghan wore a massive set of diamond chandelier earrings to a dinner during the Sussexes' tour of Fiji, which had been given to her as a wedding gift by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Three weeks before she wore them, Bin Salman ordered a hit squad to murder Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by sawing up his body into small pieces, because Khashoggi had dared to criticise the Crown Prince's brutal regime. But we're supposed to believe, as claimed by her spokesman, that Meghan, who has regularly spouted off about her horror at human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, didn't know anything about it because she doesn't read the papers. Take the hypocritical halos off, your royal highnesses - they're cracked.
— Piers Morgan
To the Editor of the New York Times:
Re “Aliens Must Be Out There,” by Farhad Manjoo:
It took Earth about 4.5 billion years to evolve. During that time there was only about one chance in, say, a quadrillion that we would evolve into intelligent beings. But here we are in this one chance looking out at the rest of the universe and wondering if there is anyone else like us.
How much longer will we be here: a thousand years, 10,000 years? There have been mass extinctions in the past. It will happen again. Many of our species are becoming extinct now.
What makes us think that there is some other civilization out there that we can communicate with that happens to be in existence now? The chances are one in a quadrillion.
But let’s say we heard from an alien out in space. And they are only 10,000 light-years away. They sent their message 10,000 years ago. So what?
Let us concentrate on our civilization and see if we can stop killing one another and destroying this little speck of Earth.
THE AGE OF SOCIAL MURDER
by Chris Hedges
Cancel culture is not the road to reform, it's the logical conclusion to today's White Liberalism and the road to tyranny.
As the climate crisis worsens, the political constrictions will tighten, making public resistance difficult. We do not live, yet, in the brutal Orwellian state that appears on the horizon, one where all dissidents will suffer the fate of Julian Assange. But this Orwellian state is not far away. This makes it imperative that we act now.
The ruling elites, despite the accelerating and tangible ecological collapse, mollify us, either by meaningless gestures or denial. They are the architects of social murder.
Social murder, as Friedrich Engels noted in his 1845 book “The Condition of the Working-Class in England,” one of the most important works of social history, is built into the capitalist system. The ruling elites, Engels writes, those that hold “social and political control,” were aware that the harsh working and living conditions during the industrial revolution doomed workers to “an early and unnatural death:”
When one individual inflicts bodily injury upon another such that death results, we call the deed manslaughter; when the assailant knew in advance that the injury would be fatal, we call his deed murder. But when society places hundreds of proletarians in such a position that they inevitably meet a too early and an unnatural death, one which is quite as much a death by violence as that by the sword or bullet; when it deprives thousands of the necessaries of life, places them under conditions in which they cannot live — forces them, through the strong arm of the law, to remain in such conditions until that death ensues which is the inevitable consequence — knows that these thousands of victims must perish, and yet permits these conditions to remain, its deed is murder just as surely as the deed of the single individual; disguised, malicious murder, murder against which none can defend himself, which does not seem what it is, because no man sees the murderer, because the death of the victim seems a natural one, since the offence is more one of omission than of commission. But murder it remains.”
— Friedrick Engels, “The Condition of the Working-Class in England”
The ruling class devotes tremendous resources to mask this social murder. They control the narrative in the press. They falsify science and data, as the fossil fuel industry has done for decades. They set up committees, commissions and international bodies, such as UN climate summits, to pretend to address the problem. Or they deny, despite the dramatically changing weather patterns, that the problem even exists.
Scientists have long warned that as global temperatures rise, increasing precipitation and heat waves in many parts of the world, infectious diseases spread by animals will plague populations year-round and expand into northern regions. Pandemics such as HIV/AIDS, which has killed approximately 36 million people, the Asian flu, which killed between one and four million, and COVID-19, which has already killed over 2.5 million, will ripple across the globe in ever more virulent strains, often mutating beyond our control. The misuse of antibiotics in the meat industry, which accounts for 80 percent of all antibiotic use, has produced strains of bacteria that are antibiotic resistant and fatal. A modern version of the Black Death, which in the 14th century killed between 75 and 200 million people, wiping out perhaps half of Europe’s population, is probably inevitable as long as the pharmaceutical and medical industries are configured to make money rather than protect and save lives.
Even with vaccines, we lack the national infrastructure to distribute them efficiently because profit trumps health. And those in the global south are, as usual, abandoned, as if the diseases that kill them will never reach us. Israel’s decision to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to as many as 19 countries while refusing to vaccinate the 5 million Palestinians living under its occupation is emblematic of the ruling elite’s stunning myopia, not to mention immorality.
What is taking place is not neglect. It is not ineptitude. It is not policyfailure. It is murder. It is murder because it is premeditated. It is murder because a conscious choice was made by the global ruling classes to extinguish life rather than protect it. It is murder because profit, despite the hard statistics, the growing climate disruptions and the scientific modeling, is deemed more important than human life and human survival.
The elites thrive in this system, as long as they serve the dictates of what Lewis Mumford called the “megamachine,” the convergence of science, economy, technics and political power unified into an integrated, bureaucratic structure whose sole goal is to perpetuate itself. This structure, Mumford noted, is antithetical to “life-enhancing values.” But to challenge the megamachine, to name and condemn its death wish, is to be expelled from its inner sanctum. There are, no doubt, some within the megamachine who fear the future, who are perhaps even appalled by the social murder, but they do not want to lose their jobs and their social status to become pariahs.
The massive resources allocated to the military, which when the costs of the Veterans Administration are added to the Department of Defense budget come to $826 billion a year, are the most glaring example of our suicidal folly, symptomatic of all decaying civilizations that squander diminishing resources in institutions and projects that accelerate their decline.
The American military — which accounts for 38 percent of military spending worldwide — is incapable of combating the real existential crisis. The fighter jets, satellites, aircraft carriers, fleets of warships, nuclear submarines, missiles, tanks and vast arsenals of weaponry are useless against pandemics and the climate crisis. The war machine does nothing to mitigate the human suffering caused by degraded environments that sicken and poison populations or make life unsustainable. Air pollution already kills an estimated 200,000 Americans a year while children in decayed cities such as Flint, Michigan are damaged for life with lead contamination from drinking water.
The prosecution of endless and futile wars, costing anywhere from $5 to $7 trillion, the maintenance of some 800 military bases in over 70 countries, along with the endemic fraud, waste and mismanagement by the Pentagon at a time when the survival of the species is at stake is self-destructive. The Pentagon has spent more than $67 billion alone on a ballistic missile defense system that few believe will actually work and billions more on a series of dud weapons systems, including the $22 billion Zumwalt destroyer. And, on top of all this, the U.S. military emitted 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon emissions between 2001 and 2017, twice the annual output of the nation’s passenger vehicles.
A decade from now we will look back at the current global ruling class as the most criminal in human history, willfully dooming millions upon millions of people to die, including those from this pandemic, which dwarf the murderous excesses of the killers of the past including the Europeans that carried out the genocide of the indigenous peoples in the Americas, the Nazis that exterminated some 12 million people, the Stalinists or Mao’s Cultural Revolution. This is the largest crime against humanity ever committed. It is being committed in front of us. And, with few exceptions, we are willfully being herded like sheep to the slaughter.
It is not that most people have faith in the ruling elites. They know they are being betrayed. They feel vulnerable and afraid. They understand that their misery is unacknowledged and unimportant to the global elites, who have concentrated staggering amounts of wealth and power into the hands of a tiny cabal of rapacious oligarchs.
The rage many feel at being abandoned often expresses itself in a poisoned solidarity. This poisoned solidarity unites the disenfranchised around hate crimes, racism, inchoate acts of vengeance against scapegoats, religious and ethnic chauvinism and nihilistic violence. It fosters crisis cults, such as those built by the Christian fascists, and elevates demagogues such as Donald Trump.
Social divisions benefit the ruling class, which has built media silos that feed packaged hate to competing demographics. The greater the social antagonisms, the less the elites have to fear. If those gripped by poisoned solidarity become numerically superior — nearly half of the American electorate rejects the traditional ruling class and embraces conspiracy theories and a demagogue — the elites will accommodate the new power configuration, which will accelerate the social murder.
The Biden administration will not carry out the economic, political, social or environmental reforms that will save us. The fossil fuel industry will continue to extract oil. The wars will not end. Social inequality will grow. Government control, with its militarized police forces of internal occupation, wholesale surveillance and loss of civil liberties, will expand. New pandemics, along with droughts, wildfires, monster hurricanes, crippling heat waves and flooding, will lay waste to the country as well as a population burdened by a for-profit health care system that is not designed or equipped to deal with a national health crisis.
The evil that makes this social murder possible is collective. It is perpetrated by the colorless bureaucrats and technocrats churned out of business schools, law schools, management programs and elite universities. These systems managers carry out the incremental tasks that make vast, complicated systems of exploitation and death work. They collect, store and manipulate our personal data for digital monopolies and the security and surveillance state. They grease the wheels for ExxonMobil, BP and Goldman Sachs. They write the laws passed by the bought-and-paid-for political class. They pilot the aerial drones that terrorize the poor in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Pakistan. They profit from the endless wars. They are the corporate advertisers, public relations specialists and television pundits that flood the airwaves with lies. They run the banks. They oversee the prisons. They issue the forms. They process the papers. They deny food stamps and medical coverage to some and unemployment benefits to others. They carry out the evictions. They enforce the laws and the regulations. They do not ask questions. They live in an intellectual vacuum, a world of stultifying minutia. They are T.S. Eliot’s “the hollow men,” “the stuffed men.” “Shape without form, shade without color,” the poet writes. “Paralyzed force, gesture without motion.”
These systems managers made possible the genocides of the past, from the extermination of Native Americans to the Turkish slaughter of the Armenians to the Nazi Holocaust to Stalin’s liquidations. They kept the trains running. They filled out the paperwork. They seized the property and confiscated the bank accounts. They did the processing. They rationed the food. They administered the concentration camps and the gas chambers. They enforced the law. They did their jobs.
These systems managers, uneducated in all but their tiny technical specialty, lack the language and moral autonomy to question the reigning assumptions or structures.
Hannah Arendt in “Eichmann in Jerusalem” writes that Adolf Eichmann was motivated by “an extraordinary diligence in looking out for his personal advancement.” He joined the Nazi Party because it was a good career move. Arendt continued:
The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal.
The longer one listened to him, the more obvious it became that his inability to speak was closely connected with an inability to think, namely, to think from the standpoint of somebody else. No communication was possible with him, not because he lied but because he was surrounded by the most reliable of all safeguards against words and the presence of others, and hence against reality as such.”
— Hannah Arendt, “Eichmann in Jerusalem”
The Russian novelist Vasily Grossman in his book “Forever Flowing” observed that “the new state did not require holy apostles, fanatic, inspired builders, faithful, devout disciples. The new state did not even require servants — just clerks.” This metaphysical ignorance fuels social murder.
We cannot emotionally absorb the magnitude of the looming catastrophe and therefore do not act.
In Claude Lanzmann’s Holocaust documentary “Shoah,” he interviews Filip Müller, a Czech Jew who survived the liquidations in Auschwitz as a member of the “special detail., ”
One day in 1943 when I was already in Crematorium 5, a train from Bialystok arrived. A prisoner on the ‘special detail’ saw a woman in the ‘undressing room’ who was the wife of a friend of his. He came right out and told her: ‘You are going to be exterminated. In three hours, you’ll be ashes.’ The woman believed him because she knew him. She ran all over and warned to the other women. ‘We’re going to be killed. We’re going to be gassed.’ Mothers carrying their children on their shoulders didn’t want to hear that. They decided the woman was crazy. They chased her away. So, she went to the men. To no avail. Not that they didn’t believe her. They’d heard rumors in the Bialystok ghetto, or in Grodno, and elsewhere. But who wanted to hear that? When she saw that no one would listen, she scratched her whole face. Out of despair. In shock. And she started to scream. How do we resist? Why, if this social murder is inevitable, as I believe it is, do we even fight back? Why not give in to cynicism and despair? Why not withdraw and spend our lives attempting to satiate our private needs and desires? We are all complicit, paralyzed by the overwhelming force of the megamachine and bound to its destructive energy by our allotted slots within its massive machinery.”
— Filip Müller to Claude Lanzmann, “Shoah”
Yet, to fail to act, and this means carrying out mass, sustained acts of nonviolent civil disobedience in an attempt to smash the megamachine, is spiritual death. It is to succumb to the cynicism, hedonism and numbness that has turned the systems managers and technocrats that orchestrate this social murder into human cogs. It is to surrender our humanity. It is to become an accomplice.
Albert Camus writes that “one of the only coherent philosophical positions is revolt. It is a constant confrontation between man and his obscurity. It is not aspiration, for it is devoid of hope. That revolt is the certainty of a crushing fate, without the resignation that ought to accompany it.”
“A living man can be enslaved and reduced to the historic condition of an object,” Camus warns. “But if he dies in refusing to be enslaved, he reaffirms the existence of another kind of human nature which refuses to be classified as an object.”
The capacity to exercise moral autonomy, to refuse to cooperate, to wreck the megamachine, offers us the only possibility left to personal freedom and a life of meaning. Rebellion is its own justification. It erodes, however imperceptibly, the structures of oppression. It sustains the embers of empathy and compassion, as well as justice. These embers are not insignificant. They keep alive the capacity to be human. They keep alive the possibility, however dim, that the forces that are orchestrating our social murder can be stopped. Rebellion must be embraced, finally, not only for what it will achieve, but for what it will allow us to become. In that becoming we find hope.
(Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact.)
FROM THE ‘JOBS IN MENDOCINO COUNTY’ FACEBOOK PAGE:
I’ll start by saying I’m not in Human Resources. I’m a site supervisor with a staff shortage looking for good candidates to refer to my company’s office.
I need 3 Courthouse screeners in Ukiah and Fort Bragg. This is a hands-off, low intensity security job. We work with Sheriff’s Deputy bailiffs who take over any conflict situations immediately - our side of things is more customer service / liason than enforcement.
Day shift only (Start times range from 7-8:45 depending on position and end times range from 4pm to 5:45pm- it’s an 8 hour shift with 1 hour lunch for Ukiah or 30min for Ft Bragg). We never work weekends or federal holidays. Starting pay is $17/hr.
You would operate a metal detector and an X-ray baggage screener at the entry to a courthouse to ensure weapons and other contraband are not allowed to enter. You would also direct people to where they are going in the building and sometimes provide ADA required assistance as needed.
Desirable schedule, competitive pay for the industry, safe work environment, entry level exposure to equipment used by TSA screeners and working experience with law enforcement and various people in the legal field. This would be a good job for someone who wants to develop their resume in hopes of moving into law enforcement or more demanding parts of the security industry, or could even be a networking opportunity if you’re interested in the legal field (several past members of our team work directly for the court now in various positions or have moved on to law enforcement).
You will need a guard card - AUS is able to help with that if you don’t have it already. First Aid and CPR are a plus, but again our company does a lot of training if you don’t already have that. We also would benefit very much from adding bilingual Spanish speakers to our team, though that is not a job requirement.
If you have any questions I can answer them for you, and if you wish to apply I can put you in touch with the manager who handles hiring for the courthouse posts.
A WONDERFUL VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER
From: Anderson Valley Village <firstname.lastname@example.org>
We wanted to let you know about a great project that our friends at "The Land" in Philo are organizing - Unconditional Freedom Project: Volunteer Correspondent
To sign up to be a volunteer correspondent or to ask questions, contact Marissa Ward at email@example.com or (917) 673-4983.
JOB ANNOUNCEMENT - OFFICE MANAGER
Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority (MSWMA)
Permanent, full-time: Starting wage: $18/hour
Workplace: 3200 Taylor Drive, Ukiah California
Application Deadline: Position is open until filled
The Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority (MSWMA), founded in 1990, is a joint powers public agency created by the County of Mendocino and Cities of Ukiah, Fort Bragg and Willits. MSWMA is governed by a Board of Commissioners consisting of two County supervisors and a council member from each city. MSWMA currently has five employees and provides services such as household hazardous waste collection (the “HazMobile”), appliance recycling, electronics recycling, illegal dump cleanup, solid waste contract administration, state reporting, grant administration and recycling public information. Although closely related to the County and cities, MSWMA is an independent local government entity.
This announcement is a synopsis of duties and requirements of this job. To review the complete classification specification and benefits, please see the MSWMA website. Applications must be submitted to MSWMA by the final filing date.
Under supervision of General Manager, the Office Manager will perform numerous financial and clerical functions to support MSWMA’s services. Specific duties will include payroll processing, accounts receivable, accounts payable, record keeping, deposits and payments, file management, correspondence, providing recycling and solid waste information to public, and related duties as assigned by General Manager. Software used includes Quickbooks and Microsoft Office (Word and Excel).
The Office Manager will be based at MSWMA’s office at 3200 Taylor Drive, Ukiah and will maintain normal business hours. The Office Manager will also make occasional field trips to audit records or provide on-site recycling information.
1. Valid California driver’s license.
2. Ability to work in Quickbooks, Excel and Microsoft Word.
3. Experience with office financial, payroll, and management procedures.
4. Skill in numerical comprehension and calculation.
4. Ability to communicate effectively and courteously with the public.
5. Skill in written English.
6. Attention to detail.
High school diploma or equivalent is required. Additional training or education in business, solid waste, record-keeping, customer service, community outreach, and bookkeeping are desirable.
Applicants should have a work history that demonstrates their general qualifications for the Office Manager position.
Selection & Training:
Applications will be reviewed with those applicants judged most qualified invited to interview for the position. Employment with the Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority (MSWMA) may require the successful completion of a pre-employment background and/or medical examination and may include drug screening and/or fingerprinting.
Terms Of Employment:
The starting wage is $18 per hour. The position is full-time, 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday. Hiring will be made on a probationary basis for six months, during which time the employee may be discharged at any time if it is believed to be in the best interests of MSWMA.
This information is a summary of general benefits. This information is not legally binding, nor does it constitute a contract. Eleven major holidays are paid. There are two weeks of paid vacation annually. MSWMA offers health insurance to full-time employees, and after three years' employment, employees are eligible for an employer-paid SEP-IRA pension plan.
Submit a completed MSWMA application, cover letter and resume to Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority, 3200 Taylor Drive, Ukiah, CA 95482. You may also submit via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications are available on our website, https://mendorecycle.org/Careers .
This class specification should not be interpreted as all-inclusive. It is intended to identify the essential functions and requirements of this job. Incumbents may be requested to perform job-related responsibilities and tasks other than those stated in this specification. Any essential function or requirement of this class will be evaluated as necessary should an incumbent/applicant be unable to perform the function or requirement due to a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Reasonable accommodation for the specific disability will be made for the incumbent/applicant when possible.
MENDOCINO THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS...
Mendocino Theatre Company's Reading Series continues on the radio this Thursday, March 4th at 7PM with a reading of THE CLOD by Lewis Beach.
Written in 1914, THE CLOD is a long-forgotten Civil War drama that explores the brutality of war and the dehumanizing effects of poverty with a sardonic sense of humor. Directed by Lorry Lepaule, the reading features Pamela W. Allen, Bob Cohen, Mark Friedrich, Ken Krauss, Phil Regan, and Katan Sosnovec.
Tune in tomorrow at 7PM to local community radio station KZYX, or stream online at kzyx.org. For more information go to mendocinotheatre.org.
THE CLOD approaches the true episodic roundness of the one-act drama, or the short story, in its best estate.”
--Walter Pritchard Eaton, WASHINGTON SQUARE PLAYS, 1916
TECHNO BABY SITTING
Parents trust public schools to provide intellectual and social foundations for their children. In fact, most parents do not get politically involved at the school level unless something is amiss. The pandemic empowered this silent majority, while also exposing how little some know about what goes on in the classroom. Slogans like “Schools not Screens,” or “No more Zoom Zombies,” bely that public schools have become almost wholly reliant on screen time for teaching and administration. EdTech companies are so thoroughly embedded in public schools that they cannot function without screens. Lessons, assessments and communications with stakeholders are done almost exclusively via screen. It’s been that way for decades, garnering more accolade than protest.
Schools are now opening, employing a Zoom-from-the-room model. Accordingly, there is no decrease in screen time. Students will still be on Zoom, sequestered behind plastic shields. If this is better than home isolation, it does nothing to address the cries of mothers and mayors demanding in-person instruction. This begs the question: Where were all of the protestors when high-tech was taking over their school? If screen-induced comas are so worrisome, then why didn’t we hear from these folks a long time ago?
UKIAHAIKU FESTIVAL IS IN GEAR and online for Spring 2021
The 2021 UkiaHaiku Festival (UHF) will be produced as an online virtual event hosted by our outgoing Ukiah Poet Laureate, Roberta Werdinger, and conducted by our incoming Poet Laureate, Melissa Eleftherion Carr. It will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 25th. In the tradition of past festivals, the event will be open to all ages (we encourage children & young adults to participate).
This year, participants will read one haiku at a time in a round-robin format. We're requesting folks to read no more than three haiku in total. We'll read in successive rounds until we've heard all the haiku. Time permitting, organizers will also read haiku from past UHF winners and/or from Japanese masters such as Basho, Buson and Issa.
For those new to haiku, the following is a thumbnail sketch:
1) Haiku is a Japanese poetic form consisting of three lines: short, long and short. (In English these were often required to be 5, 7, and 5 syllables, but we no longer require nor recommend this specificity.)
2) Typically, two of the lines are related (called a phrase) and a third line (fragment) provides an insight or unique observation related to the phrase (examples below follow this definition).
3) Traditional haiku captures a moment in nature and always includes a seasonal reference. Haiku is about an observation and evocation based in nature, not solely about an individual's preoccupations or concerns.
4) Haiku use clear, direct concrete language—generally no figurative language or rhymes.
Here are a few examples by Japanese haiku masters translated by Robert Hass:
A bucket of azaleas / in its shadow / the woman tearing codfish. —Basho
The cherry blossoms fallen / through the branches / a temple. —Buson
The man pulling radishes / pointed my way / with a radish. — Issa
If you'd like to participate in this year's UHF, please email Roberta Werdinger: email@example.com. When she receives your RSVP email, she'll send you a Zoom link. Please mark your calendar with it. We'll figure out the order of readers once we've all assembled on Zoom.
We look forward to joining you in a celebration of UkiaHaiku!
OLBERMAN, MOORE ON TEXAS
It started Tuesday night when former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann responded to the news that Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott was ending his state’s mask mandate and reopening businesses “100%” with a tweet that asked, “Why are we wasting vaccinations on Texas if Texas has decided to join the side of the virus?”
Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore echoed that sentiment on Wednesday, tweeting, “Texas - we hear you. You didn’t want to be part of our electrical grid. And now you’ve removed your mask mandate & are allowing large crowds to gather. We hear you! COVID is a hoax! So u don’t need our precious vaccine. We’ll send it to ppl who are saving lives by wearing masks.”
After the inevitable blowback from those who pointed out that the millions of Texans who might disagree with their governor’s actions should not be punished with what could constitute a death sentence for the most vulnerable, Moore walked back his sarcastic tweet—somewhat.
“Yes, we must and will find a way to vaccinate the poor and people of color in Texas,” he added. “To Texans who say, hey, it’s not me - it’s the Governor! Well, then, impeach and remove him. We’re tired of this.” Given that Texas is “no longer majority white,” Moore said, “let’s do everything we can to help that majority remove the bigots and ignoramuses from office. It’s killing them, and it’s killing us.”
KELLY LOEFFLER JUST LOST HER WNBA TEAM TO A PLAYER SHE REFUSED TO MEET
by Dave Zirin
By any measure, it should be the biggest story in sports: A franchise owner runs a racist Senate campaign, throwing their own Black players under the bus in the process. Meanwhile, one of those players takes the year off from playing ball to dedicate themselves to social justice concerns. That player asks to meet with the aforementioned franchise owner to discuss those concerns and is denied. The franchise owner refuses to meet and respectfully engage with someone who disagrees with them for political reasons. After the franchise owner faceplants their election campaign, ending in ignominious defeat, the players, the union, fans, and eventually even the league pressures them to sell the club.
That in and of itself would be a hell of a story. But this one goes to the next level: The aforementioned player joins an ownership group and buys the team. It’s positively cinematic. But this story isn’t getting the media attention it should be. That’s because it took place in the WNBA. Sexism is a hell of a drug, and it’s a damn shame because this is a story for the ages.
The now-former franchise owner is of course Trumpist lickspittle Kelly Loeffler, who lost her bid for Georgia’s senate seat to the Rev. Raphael Warnock. The team is the Atlanta Dream. The player is two-time WNBA champ Renee Montgomery. And this is truly news to celebrate.
I reached out to Montgomery and this is what she said: “I am excited to be able to continue my basketball career as the first former WNBA player to become a team owner and member of the leadership team for the Dream. My moments in Atlanta are continuing to build momentum in the community and I look forward to developing relationships that are mutually beneficial to both Atlanta and the Dream.”
It is not known how much of a stake Montgomery is going to have in the team; the majority owner is a real estate investor named Larry Gottesdiener from Newton, Mass. But the decision-making will fall to Montgomery—officially the team’s VP—and Suzanne Abair, a real estate exec who works with Gottesdiener.
Montgomery says her inspiration to try to be a part of purchasing the team came from LeBron James himself, who tweeted that he might be interested in being part of a group to wrest the team from Loeffler. That, and LeBron’s “more than a vote” campaign, pushed Montgomery in this direction. After the purchase, James tweeted congratulations, writing, “So proud of this Queen. This is everything we are about! #Morethananathlete.” But this moment is not about LeBron. It’s about Renee Montgomery, and the slogan that guides her work: “Moments equal momentum.”
The purchase of the Dream fulfills the desire across the WNBA community to get Loeffler away from the league. Loeffler ran her campaign using not so much a racist dog whistle as a racist foghorn, and the focus of her ire was the Black Lives Matter movement in general, and her own players in particular. Using them as racist scapegoats for “rioters” in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd, was more than the WNBA-world could stand. They supported Warnock when he had 9 percent in the polls and now they look like prophets. Since her epic failure, Loeffler’s sale of the team was a foregone conclusion.
The move by Montgomery creates a hell of a line in the sand across the sports spectrum. Once again, the WNBA is ahead of the game politically. It was when it embraced the Black Lives Matter movement, and it is again in forcing out a bigoted franchise owner and replacing her with a player’s voice. Donald Sterling was forced to sell his stake of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers in 2014 after racist recordings surfaced, but he was bought out by tech billionaire Steve Ballmer. Given the repellence of Sterling, that wasn’t exactly “old boss, same as the new boss,” but it didn’t solve a fundamental problem across the sports world: the near-total absence of Black franchise ownership—let alone Black women in positions of ownership. Now, franchise owners know that their long-standing practice of taking public funds while bankrolling this country’s right-wing political apparatus will be under scrutiny, and when they cross the line—as Loeffler gleefully did—from paying for racist dog whistles to taking up the practice themselves, players will not be silent.
Renee Montgomery’s having a minority stake is a step in the right direction. Of course, she is now moving to the other side of the desk. Given Montgomery’s roots as not only a player but also an activist, people are going to keep a close eye on what she does from her newfound perch.
COAST DEMOCRATIC CLUB ZOOM MEETING
Thursday, March 4 @ 6 pm
Report from California Citizens Redistricting Commissioner Derric Taylor, Los Angeles (Investigator, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department)
What is the Commission’s public review process?
Will candidates filing for office to run in the CA June 2022 primary be impacted by redistricting dates?
Note: We can ask questions about the process but public comments on proposed mapping will not be taken at this meeting. Comments should be sent to:
- CA Citizens Redistricting Commission
- 721 Capitol Mall, Suite 260
- Sacramento, CA 95814
- Report on County Redistricting Process
- Supervisor Dan Gjerde, 4th District, Board Chair
- Report on Fort Bragg Districting Process
- City Councilmember Tess Albin Smith
Current Redistricting Deadlines
September 30, 2021
Census data sent to the CA Commission
February 14, 2022
Maps for CA Congressional, State Senate and Assembly District must be completed
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 820 0173 6009 Passcode: ClubMeet