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TEMPERATURES WILL TREND COOLER through the middle of next week, with widespread freeze conditions possible across interior areas of northwest California Tuesday morning. Otherwise, dry weather is probable during much of next week. (NWS)
FATAL ACCIDENT on Highway 128 near Yorkville
On April 2, 2021 at about 10:30pm, an as yet unidentified 36 year old male from San Rafael was driving his 2014 Polaris Ranger on a gravel road on the property of 20770 Highway 128 about 4 miles northeast of Yorkville. For unknown reasons, the driver made an unsafe turn causing the Ranger to overturn. As a result of the overturn, the driver was ejected from the driver’s seat and came to rest on the gravel roadway and the Ranger came to rest on top of the driver. At about 7am on April 3 the driver was somehow able to make a phone call for help and family members arrived to remove the Ranger from on top of the driver. Emergency medical personnel arrived and the driver was transported to the Ukiah hospital. Despite life-saving efforts from medical personnel, the driver succumbed to his injuries sustained in the accident. It is unknown whether alcohol or drug use was a factor in the accident which is under investigation by the CHP. (CHP Presser)
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Visit us at mendoanimalshelter.com to see all of our canine and feline guests, our services, programs, events, and updates regarding covid-19, as it impacts Mendocino County Animal Shelters in Ukiah and Ft. Bragg. Visit us on Facebook. For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.
THE MONTH OF MARCH brought another impressive drop in new Covid cases for Mendocino County.
Covid Cases/Deaths per Month (Mendocino County):
- 229 / 9 (Jul)
- 392 / 8 (Aug)
- 260 / 2 (Sep)
- 210 / 2 (Oct)
- 420 / 2 (Nov)
- 964 / 4 (Dec)
- 876 / 11 (Jan)
- 382 / 5 (Feb)
- 131 / 3 (Mar)
BILL KIMBERLIN: I ran across this 1937 Plymouth business coupe in downtown Boonville yesterday. All original and low mileage.
This is the kind of car a doctor or traveling salesman would have used. It still has the shelves behind the drivers seat for samples or medical bags. The owner give me a ride around the airport. Looking through the windshield, which tilts out from the bottom for air circulation, seems to slow time down for a few minutes. That view, framed in an almost ancient window frame, does something to the brain and it's a rather pleasant experience. The car also has a "wolf whistle" horn as an add-on that can get you in a lot of trouble today.
MY STATE OF CALIFORNIA has yet to adopt a ban on North Coast river fishing for Steelhead and Salmon from a drift boat/float vessel and it is way overdue.
I live in Mendocino County, I fish the Navarro River which is not a very large river at all. One cold winter morning about 30 years ago I was Steelhead fishing from the bank on the Navarro and I saw one of the first drift boats to go down the Navarro River. They drifted through the hole where I was fishing, pulled their rods in and said hello. Now I had been struggling all week to just get a bite and so when I asked them how they were doing one of the guys leaned back and said, "Had 9 hook-ups but we only netted 5 of them." Well I damn near fell face first into the river, either this guy was an outright liar or they were simply better fishermen than yours truly; I was putting my money on the guy's pants catching on fire after telling that obvious whopper. But still, there was something about that odd looking boat that spiked my curiosity. So between casts I watched them as they crudely positioned themselves at the head of a riffle just below me... "Nine Steelhead, pffftt, yeah sure whatever"
Satisfied with my assessment I looked away and reeled in my line to make yet another cast when suddenly I was startled out of my arrogant stupor by the loud clatter of metal and wood banging against one another and screams of joy. The noises were coming from the direction of that funny looking boat that just passed through and I immediately recognized them as the familiar chaotic sounds of "fish on!!"
After the excitement died down I watched that drift boat for the better part of an hour and in that time I witnessed strike after strike as they inched that boat down river literally vacuuming the fish out of it.
I was mad as hell because these guys and that boat were changing the rules of the game. By this devastatingly effective method they never gave the steelhead a fighting chance and I was struck with a horrible realization that this was probably the beginning of the end for the wild steelhead runs in the Navarro River. The end to everything I had been taught, everything that seemed fair, everything I had held so dear in my heart in my pursuit of this magnificent fish called Steelhead. And I was right.
Things were never the same on the Navarro, nor was I.
I often wonder what if there had been a ban put on drift boat fishing all those 30 years ago, perhaps....perhaps
AF BY ANY OTHER NAME
To the Editor:
Who is the County working for?
County residents decisively defeated measure AF. The County is now proposing a similar major Cannabis expansion that will transform neighborhoods.
Following are facts regarding the proposed expansion.
The County’s management of the existing Cannabis program has been dismal.
A large number of permits were issued illegally by the Agriculture Department, in their haste to collect permit fees.
The Planning Department says site specific CEQA will protect the neighbors and environment. Yet they admit they do not inspect whether Land Use Conditions are implemented.
Code Enforcement is chronically, severely under-staffed along with excessive staff turnover in most Cannabis related departments.
The Sheriff reports he is over-whelmed and out-gunned by the current Cannabis community.
This expansion exceeds current State standards of 1-acre maximum.
Rather than hire more enforcement personnel, the County hired a Cannabis lobbyist to head the Cannabis Program.
No Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has been prepared.
The County is rushing to enact the changes before July 1, when a County-wide CEQA analysis will be required to address cumulative effects. The County wants to look at each site individually and ignore cumulative effects.
Considering these facts, does going into a major Cannabis expansion make sense to you? Are you confident this will be handled competently? Shouldn’t this major change be voted on by the public? The County needs to explain how adding a significant workload upon an existing dysfunctional situation, will improve outcomes.
This issue will be decided in an April BOS meeting. This meeting may be your last time to decide the fate of the County.
If you are concerned about a significant Cannabis expansion in your neighborhood, contact the BOS (email@example.com) now or speak or comment at the BOS meeting later in April by registering before 7 a.m., the day of the hearing, under “public engagement” on the bottom left.
JOHN McCOWEN WRITES:
Regarding my comments on Phase Three: Your lead sentence is inaccurate. Williams put out a separate document about Phase Three Myths. My original lead: "Click on the link below..." was accurate if you include the link and his explanation of various points is much better presented than in the "interview".
TED WILLIAMS DEBUNKS PHASE THREE MYTHS
John McCowen Writes:
In the Ukiah Daily Journal interview Supervisor Ted Williams addresses some of the many myths about the proposed Phase Three ordinance.
PS. Re Ed Notes / Mr. Magdaleno - the paragraph beginning "I'm not trying to be a hardass." The last sentence refers to his booking photo — that is an old booking photo, so injuries, if any, from the recent incident obviously would not show.
ACCORDING TO last week's Independent Coast Observer almost $6 million was distributed to the South Coast area under last year’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). ICO Reporter Susan Wolborst said that the nearly $6 million translated to “a total of 729 jobs supported through the PPP in this area including 458 jobs in Gualala, 153 in Point Arena, 113 in The Sea Ranch and five in Annapolis.” Gualala Supermarket owner Chuckie Sorensen said the loans help his business keep 39 employees working. Dozens of other South Coast businesses said they were each able to keep dozens of employees employed and that the money was very helpful. Most helped were construction companies, retail stores, and "accommodation and food services." At the end of the article, reporter Wolborst added, “The Independent Coast Observer received $73,090 protecting 14 jobs including the job of the reporter bringing you this story.”
GEOGRAPHY, AN EXCHANGE
Where does “the Mendocino Coast” begin and end?
Technically, Gualala(lalalala) is the southern extent of the “Mendocino (County) Coast,” but most folks living there identify with the “Mendonoma” Mendocino-Sonoma crossover contingent including all of Sea Ranch and further south to Jenner. I often spaz out a little going over the Gualala River bridge, trying to remember if I remembered to remember to bring my county-line passport, before I realize I've never had such a thing.
Westport to Elk is more cohesive, ignoring the towns that no longer exist or are reduced to five houses (Hellooooo Bridgeport!), because from those stretches of extent, folks travel towards the middle of that range for supplies and connections--Fort Bragg to Mendocino, with an average in Caspar, so that has been my understood Belly Button of the omphaloskeptic contemplation of the center of the Mendocino Coast. Though folks in Manchester may take exception to the exclusion... but ask them where they would go to buy a last-minute needed ingredient for a fancy recipe, and they'll probably face south to Point Arena or the ululated city at the southern extent of our Fair County.
Albion is, of course, its own nation, but considered an ally and perhaps (secret) annex of the Mendocino Coast, which reaches in as far east as Comptche on a foggy day, but is flung back (to Little River) when the Downtown Comptche and Keen's Summit thermometers reach 100.
A claimed Casparado, lifelong Elkite, summer camp Comptcheite, Mendocino alumni, and currently residing in Fort Bedraggled,
Few folks here on the south Mendocino Coast consider ourselves “Mendonomans,” not “most”' of us as the writer alleges. My take on it is that Mendonoma is a term used by the Gualala paper, the Chamber of Commerce, Realtors, and others with something to sell. Others of us eschew considering all of Sea Ranch and Timber Cove part of “our” Mendocino Coast. Someone living in Elk or Fort Bragg might not realize that.
Peter in Point Arena
RESPONSE TO COCKBURN on Pot — The Dominoes Are Falling
Cockburn rightly identifies the first boom — taking the land away from the Indians who also got into the act and grew marijuana. Some Indians are still growing it. Members of every ethnic group have grown weed.
Some growers did significant prison time. Dennis Hunter — five years in federal prison. But then he became the CEO of a cannabis company.
On the law enforcement side of the story, Cockburn leaves out Operation Green Sweep when active duty troops from the 7th Infantry Division, who had taken part in the invasion of Panama, were deployed in Humboldt. Locals protested — a violation of their civil rights, they said. Troops parachuted into backyards. Kym Kemp has told this story which she witnessed first hand. It's worth retelling which she has done. Cockburn is off on the price per pound, but I don't fault him for that. The price per pound depended in part on how close or how far from the pot patch. The closer to the patch usually the less expensive the weed. The further from the patch the more expensive the weed. Cockburn might have written about the illegal export of Humboldt weed all around the country which is still going on. Dennis Peron deserves much of the credit for Prop 215, as Cockburn points out, but others were also involved including Valerie Corral, Dale Gieringer, Bill Panzer and Tod Mikuriya.
At the end of his piece Cockburn suggests that legalization would put an end to the pot boom. It is now 5 years since the passage of Prop 64 which sorta legalized weed and opened the doors to taxation and regulation. The black market is robust, to say the least, in 2021. The pandemic kicked off an increase in the demand for cannabis and suppliers responded generously (ha ha ha.) One of the latest tricks of the trade is the bifurcated market whereby growers sell legally and also as they put it “out the back door.” Cannabis has deep, deep roots in Humboldt and Mendo and networks that are decades old, with sons and daughters, inheriting the family biz and carrying on. Uprooting long standing business practices, and breaking the lines of succession will take a lot more time. How do you end a culture, a way of life and an economy? Clearly not through law enforcement and federal troops. In the last week or so, New York and New Mexico both legalized “adult” use. As one grower said to me two days before Easter 2021, “The dominoes are falling.” I like the image.
— Jonah Raskin
INDIAN CREEK PARK will be open soon. Probably would have been opened earlier but for confusion at the County level and the County's shabby treatment of Russ Clow, who'd been the live-in manager. Russ departed and, one supposes, a new live-in manager is being sought. Adding to the confusion at the County level, the county parks have been folded into “Cultural Services.”
LOOKING BACK at newspapers from 2000, I came across a re-print of an intriguing display ad that appeared in the Willits News that year: “Got Noise? If anyone has any information regarding a low decibel hum (vibration) that usually begins around 10 p.m. and lasts throughout the night. This noise can be heard all around Brooktrails, from Poppy Drive through Troll Ridge and 1st, 2nd, 3rd Gates. If you've heard this unusually low decibel frequency (resembling the lowest note on a bass violin), please call 459-4436 and leave your name and phone number so we can try and find out where this sound originates from. Carol Orton. 459-4436.”
SO, LIKE, was the source of the mysterious hum ever discovered? Laz? Laz promptly replied: "There were a few theories floating around. There was speculation a rather eccentric grower was using a sound system to generate the basic sound of the universe. Om or Aum was being piped over her weed… to mellow it out… The tinfoil hat crowd said it was the government, something to do with airplane contrails. My fave was the UFO rap. Apparently, a couple left the Third Gate area for good after they saw a saucer land in their meadow, and 3 small grays got out and walked around the spaceship. Personally, because of the era, the noise was likely a large generator, or several generators, bouncing their sound waves around the nooks and crannies of Sherwood Forest. Generators were relatively new to the grows in those days. Interestingly, during this time, Sasquatch sightings were being reported on HWY 20 from Willits to Bragg. Sasquatch, Small Grays, Aum? Believe in everything but have a little doubt…"
LOOKING BACK at the Bear Lincoln trial of 1998, which the junior DA shoved forward to try it, Aaron Williams, described as “capital murder or nothing,” the case against Lincoln presented by Williams was a confused mish-mash of a case which could have, and should have been clarified simply as, Did Bear Lincoln come back up the hill knowing he was now shooting it out with two Sheriff's deputies? Williams was alone against Tony Serra's traveling troop of researchers, script writers, and assistant defense attorneys. DA Susan Massini, who should have tried the case herself, ducked it.
THE FAMOUS shooting had begun, some of us will recall, when Lincoln and his friend Leonard Peters, both carrying long guns, were walking up the hill west of Covelo from the Lincoln place when they walked into gunfire from two deputies, Dennis Miller and Bob Davis. Lincoln and Peters assumed that a rival family had attacked them. Peters died instantly, Lincoln retreated back down the hill, returning a few minutes later for a second round of fire, during which Deputy Davis was shot and killed.
THE ENTIRE series of deadly events had begun earlier in the day with the shooting death of Gene Britton in the parking lot of Covelo High School.
A KIND OF HYSTERIA, and certainly command confusion, characterized the police response to the murderous events of that cold, full moon April night, the moon often disappearing behind skittering rain clouds, as police from various agencies poured belated, wild gun fire down the hill in the general direction of the Lincoln home, a home occupied by Lincoln's mother and several children. The next day, a helicopter appeared over Covelo, out of which a dozen camo-clad fantasists rappelled down onto the valley floor to no tactical purpose. Police swarmed the rez as tribal residents complained of harshly rude encounters with the forces of law and order.
BEAR LINCOLN survived the hunt for him, which almost certainly would have resulted in his death if the law posse had found him but.… How did he escape the full court press of a hunt for him? Lincoln has never said how he eluded the massive police search, but we've been told, on reasonably reliable authority, that he escaped north on horseback deep into Humboldt County where he was sheltered in an outback cabin by "hippies." Four months later, the fugitive was surrendered by attorney Serra at a media conference at Serra's office on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, the Mendo authorities were compelled to sign an affidavit that Lincoln was uninjured when he was turned over to Mendocino County.
THE LINCOLN TRIAL went off in some unusually futile directions, one path leading to the editor of the Boonville weekly when he was charged with contempt of court. The DA wanted a letter-to-the-editor written from the County Jail by Bear Lincoln. I said No, that communications to newspapers were privileged, that no way would I give the original to the DA who, of course, was traditionally hostile to me and also suspected that the letter had been edited and typed before it was sent off to Boonville by Ukiah attorney, Phil DeJong. If newspapers function as an adjunct of law enforcement nobody would trust newspapers, not that anybody does anyway. My case was fast-forwarded to the State Supreme Court where I lost, natch, but received one vote of support from the late, great justice, Stanley Mosk.
THE RUB? Letters from jail are handwritten in pencil. Bear Lincoln could not have typed a letter from jail because typewriters are not available to prisoners, only pencils are. DeJong must have vetted Lincoln's handwritten original and typed it before he sent it on to me, removing any statement that might be inimical to Lincoln's defense. Soon after losing my appeal, I found myself in a County Jail iso cell, ordered there by Judge Jim Luther until I coughed up the original of the Lincoln Letter. (As the world has turned, these days retired judge Luther is a regular contributor to my newspaper.)
I FORGET how many days I was in that claustrophobic cell — 13 I think — but so long as I had a regular supply of books the time flew by, and I'll always remember the kindness of one of the jailers who walked me down the hall to a pile of paperbacks where I grabbed as much of the quality lit as I could find. A week or so later, I was released. My only regret is that I'd been jailed for what Lincoln's lawyer, Phil DeJong, had done. DeJong had re-typed that handwritten letter and had sent it on to Boonville. The guy never thanked me, either.
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 3, 2021
EDUARDO ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Suspended license, parole violation.
MICHAEL BARNES, Redwood Valley. DUI-alcohol&drugs, smuggling controlled substance or liquor into jail, under influence.
JODI BOEN, Hopland. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
IRA BOWES, Ukiah. Under influence, ammo possession by prohibited person, resisting.
DONALD BOWMAN, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
ROLAND BUMPHUS, Valley Village/Ukiah. Fugitive from justice.
VERONICA CASTILLO, Fort Bragg. Robbery, domestic battery, controlled substance, paraphernalia, conspiracy.
JOHN CEA, Shirley, New York/Ukiah. Grand theft, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, robbery.
ALICIA ELLIOTT, Covelo. Paraphernalia, parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
REGINA FABER, Point Arena. Elder/dependent abuse resuilting in great bodily harm or death, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, robbery, conspiracy.
SKYLAR HENDERSON, Willits. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
DAVID LINCOLN, Ukiah. Contempt of court, disorderly conduct-alcohol.
KIAI LINCOLN, Hoopa/Ukiah. DUI causing bodily injury, suspended license for DUI.
JOSE LOPEZ, Willits. Disorderly conduct-drug&alcohol intoxication.
JESSE MCGARY, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
MIGUEL MOLLE, Riverside/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JESSICA OLIVER, Covelo. Manufacture/import of short-barreled rifle, sell/convert to machine gun.
SARAH SOLOMAN, Eureka/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
VIET THANH NGUYEN’S BIG RED BOOK
by Jonah Raskin
“While the best situation for an anti-imperialist was to live in an imperial country where one could benefit from imperialism while righteously opposed to it, as happened quite often in the United States, the French had the second-best situation, being anti-imperialist in a formerly imperialist country.”
– Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Committed
How humiliating! How ignominious! First, the Vietnamese had the gall to defeat the U.S. on the battlefield, and then they had the grit to outsmart U.S. diplomats around the negotiating table. Now, along comes a Vietnamese-born American novelist who makes many of the U.S. authors who tackled the war on the printed page look like novices just learning the English language. Viet Thanh Nguyen is the name of the novelist with the balls, as he himself would say, to write not one but two spectacular novels that explore “the American War,” as the Vietnamese call it, and its aftermath. The Sympathizer and The Committed are the titles of Nguyen’s Big Red Books that waltz, tango and jitter bug with capitalism, colonialism, national liberation struggles, as we called them back in the day, and with communism and anti-communism.
In chapter one of The Sympathizer, the narrator drops the names of Karl Marx, V. I. Lenin, Chairman Mao, Ho Chi Minh, and mentions the Little Red Book and The Communist Manifesto. In chapter one of The Committed, he explains that he was “a communist spy inserted into the shabby ranks of the exiled South Vietnamese army” and that he sent “encoded messages about the machinations of some elements of this army who hoped to take back our homeland from communist rule.” Communism and anti-communism run like a river of blood through both novels, which are published by Grove, and available in bookstores and public libraries everywhere. Oddly enough, most reviewers in major U.S. newspapers have either ignored Nguyen’s exploration of communism and its foe, anti-communism, or didn’t see it at all. Perhaps communism is still too hot a topic to handle even in a review of a book.
Anti-war protesters who once poured into the streets of New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, as well as other cities and towns all over the nation—and chanted “Ho Ho, Ho Chi Minh, the NLF is gonna win”—would benefit greatly from reading these mind-boggling, mind altering books. Even demonstrators who heeded the call of the pacifist-leaning National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, (better known as “the Mobe”) will likely find Nguyen’s mythic works of fiction nearly as Rabelaisian as François Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel, as Melvillian as Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick and as Joycean as James Joyce’s Ulysses.
The Sympathizer was published in 2015 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016. The following year, Nguyen was awarded a MacArthur and a Guggenheim. Born in Vietnam in 1971, he came to the U.S. with his family in 1975, after the liberation (also known as the fall) of Saigon. The Committed was published this year and features the same irascible anti-hero as The Sympathizer. He has a French father and a Vietnamese mother and has a habit of looking at everything and everyone from two different sides. Also, he takes on several different identities including “anarchist.”
It’s not necessary to start with The Sympathizer. The Committed stands on its own two feet. Still, in some ways it makes sense to begin with the first novel. After all, it offers a nifty introduction to the narrator’s rather cynical perspective and his appreciation of dualities. The Sympathizer also shows how deeply ingrained his penchant for symbols. At one point, when he’s attracted to a woman’s breasts, he explains, “The Chinese might have invented gunpowder and the noodle, but the West had invented cleavage.“ He goes on to say that to cleave has a “double meaning”: “to cut apart and to put together.” He adds that breasts are “two separate entities with one identity.”
In The Sympathizer, Nguyen dissects American Coca Cola culture. He also lampoons Americans who “pretend they are eternally innocent no matter how many times they lose their innocence.” In The Committed, he explores the brutalities behind the veneer of the culture of France. “Everything sounded better in French,” the narrator explains, “including rape, murder, and pillage!” He describes the baguette as the “symbol of France and hence the symbol of French colonization!” Nearly everything he encounters, triggers his reflections about empire, invasion, occupation and liberation.
It’s a delight to read Nguyen’s playfulness with language, which seems to have a life of its own and that teaches him a lexicon to navigate an underworld of sex, lies, betrayals and the ideals that lure men and women into the ranks of revolution and capitalism.
“Make love, not war,” might be the Sixties slogan that calls to the narrator more loudly and more passionately than any other. “Slogans were my turn-on and my political convictions were my most erogenous zone,” the narrator and main character exclaims. Indeed, he pumps out slogans as fast as a Colt 6920 and hits the bullseye again and again. So, up against the wall, anti-imperialist mother fuckers. Put on your flak jackets and wade into steamy, slimy Paris, France, the surreal setting for The Committed, where pimps, prostitutes and drug pushers collude, collide and clash.
Nguyen borrows most of the clichés of pulp fiction, including the femme fatale, the fall guy and the fanatical wheeler dealer. He blows them up and lodges them in a drama that veers from farce to agitprop and romance. The big attraction is the author’s own intellectual pyrotechnics which rarely slow down, get lost in the nuances of the plot or in the unraveling of the characters who have cartoon-like names such as Grumpy, Shorty, Bon, Man, Boss, Mona Lisa, the Maoist Ph.D., BFD, and who are little more than scarecrows who enable the author to expound on Marx, Gramsci, Fanon and Mao.
Nguyen argues with most of the major theorists and pamphleteers in the pantheon of the Left. When a man with an AK-47 points it at the narrator, he exclaims, “Mao said that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, but you could not imagine anything growing from this kind of barrel.”
Revolutionary violence of the sort espoused by Mao and Fanon, and endorsed by Sartre, gives the narrator fits. Do the ends justify the means? He wonders. Near the end of the book, he offers a sermon of sorts: “This, too, is the dialectic, to take the revolution seriously but not to take the revolutionaries seriously.” He adds, “the only revolution you can commit to is the one that lets you laugh and laugh and laugh. Perhaps, Nguyen would endorse Abbie Hoffman’s “revolution for the hell of it.”
He certainly wrestles with many if not most of the moral and ethical dilemmas that have faced revolutionaries since the time of Robespierre, Danton, Marat and Charlotte Corday who made history during the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror that sent citizens to the guillotine.
“I was not short of opinions,” the narrator says and makes good on his word: “Shit was the secret of every society”; “fantasy is better than reality, which has syphilis;” and “the most meaningless symbol in the West is the wedding ring.” Nguyen is an author who wages continual cultural warfare.
Some of the best lines in The Committed belong to a woman who points a gun at the narrator and tells him, “You take us for granted. You assume we’ll cook your food, wash your dishes, launder your clothes, giggle at your dumb jokes, swoon at your poetry or love songs that you love to write until the day you marry us, when you’ll never write us another poem or love song again, since you’ll be writing them to your girlfriends.”
The narrator in the second book is more than a bit insane and ought to be committed to a mental institution. But his madness enables him to see through hypocrisies and illusions. The Committed is a tour de force. It made me think of The God that Failed (1949), a collection of essays by former communists about why they could no longer believe. Andre Gide, Richard Wright, Arthur Koestler and Ignazio Silone contributed essays.
Nguyen never was a communist and isn’t an anti-communist in the way that Koestler and company were, though he’s wary of ideologies and revolutionary rhetoric. He seems to want to keep the faith in revolution, but he has seen too much to make him a true believer. “The only real mystery,” he writes, “is which part of us—our humanity or our inhumanity—will triumph in the human species’ perpetual game of Russian roulette with itself.” If you’ve solved the real mystery, call Nguyen who lives in Southern California soaking up the rays of the American Dream. Please clue him in. If you’re like me and are still wondering which way humanity will turn, jump head first into The Sympathizer and then its sequel, The Committed, and test your own endurance for the workings of the almighty dialectic.
(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.)
LETTER FROM A WILLITS TRENCH
Attention AVA readers who are dissatisfied with their news sources. Try typing in the Huffington Post. You may be delighted. For a different perspective, try the Daily Beast or Politico. Now David Brooks says he's moving to the left. Brooks has been moving to the left since 2008. I don't remember him disagreeing with Obama. He has never agreed with Trump. I say that Brooks is usually entirely reasonable, sometimes I notice a little stink from the right. So there are two. I would hate to be Maureen Dowd's enemy. Lately she has been biting Biden’s ass. You can always predict where Paul Krugman is going to land. He is 100% on the left. I like to read someone on the right. Douhout and Stevens aren't much fun. That leaves us with Jonah Goldberg who always writes an interesting column. If you AVA readers don't read the press Democrat every day you are missing out on a pretty good paper in this climate of bad television and sad Ukiah Daily Journal.
The AVA isn't written for little old ladies in Dubuque. The AVA should have 4000 subscribers to the print edition in this county. That includes the inmates in the county jail. That leaves the county with 75,000 people who are too dull to talk to. Three year old children are more interesting. Save all of your flattering comments about Mike Maguire. He has his eye on higher office. How many years will it take to undo the damage that Mitch McConnell has done to this country? Some say 25 years.
Here comes a true story about the monarch butterflies of Willits, dedicated to Vladimir Nobokov. I found the easiest way to get rid of redwood and fir stumps is to dig all the dirt around them and cut them up in small pieces for firewood. I dug out a huge fir stump at the end of my driveway. This left me with a big hole suitable for a partially underground garage. Mendo Mill was selling blocks that didn't make code for half price.
I see butterflies every day and once in a while a monarch, maybe two or three a week. I dug a trench around the perimeter of a 20 x 12 single car garage early one hot August morning. A ready mix truck arrived and I filled the trench with wet cement. A couple of hours later I had the cement poked down and smoothed out ready for the first course of blocks and the rebar. It was 1 PM so I went to eat lunch while the cement set up. When I returned, guess what I saw? The entire trench filled with cement was covered with Monarch butterflies, hundreds of them. Every space was covered. All of the butterflies from Humboldt, Glenn, Lake, Colusa, Sonoma and Marin counties were having a retreat. After the cement dried they left for another adventure. The garage got built. That was my first experience laying blocks. Building with wood is easier. I filled the blocks and did the floor by hand, mixing the cement in a box. The floor in 4x4 foot squares over 30 mornings.
If I remember correctly a Lutheran minister who was white supported Dr. King in Montgomery, Alabama. He helped him in several situations. I don't remember the details. I read the Taylor Branch biography. I don't recall reading about any other white church leaders supporting King throughout the white trash states from Oklahoma and Texas around to the Carolinas and Virginia. I believe King wrote about the lack of support from the white clergy in "letter from a Birmingham Jail."
The point I'm trying to make is that it is about where we are today. Back in Eugene Debs’s time when someone spoke out about economic, social and political injustice, they could count on a large outcry from all of the country. Organizing was done and action was taken.
Now we are in the periodically gun conversation again. Thom Hartmann thinks showing pictures of the victims will help. Every AVA reader knows that the first consideration of an elected official who has to make a decision is "What's in it for me?" Will it cause me to be opposed in the next primary? Yes, Republicans will be challenged in most white trash states if they vote "wrong" on guns. The answer to the gun problem? Elect more progressives to public office. A young Democrat club in every county will do it.
Incidentally, why didn't I go to Mississippi Summer? Answer: you had to pay your own expenses and I didn't have any money. However, a prominent person in Willits who subscribes to the AVA marched with Dr. King in Alabama. He also spent some time in the Santa Rita Jail for prohibited acts in the Bay Area.
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BEARS found with same troubling symptoms under investigation in Tahoe bruins
A mysterious complex of symptoms that has shown up sporadically in young black bears in the Tahoe Basin in recent years has now appeared in two severely underweight yearlings found in Northern California over the past five weeks. The sickly youngsters, both euthanized and found to have brain inflammation, or encephalitis, were found about 15 miles apart in east Humboldt County and just across the county line in Trinity County in late February and early March.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
It's not a lack of water, it's overpopulation that causes our problems. ABAG whistles and local carpetbagging (definition "an outsider, especially a politician who presumptuously seeks a position or success in a new area") our politicians quake in their boots and continue to try to build an affordable house for everyone who chooses to come here. It's our duty we're told. Ignore our antiquated roads, our limited water supply, our inability to actually teach our children (for now, indoctrinate them) our overcrowded beaches, our loss of freedoms? Vague memories of scenic views that used to soothe our souls.....? before the ridges sprouted hotel size homes.. Our obviously failing electric grid. Now because of the sins of the "planning" crowd we will be harried, shamed, lectured and made miserable this summer. Couldn't one of our 5000 county employees see the obvious result of unchecked development? Probably they did, but hoped they'd be on the retirement gravy train before the obvious chickens had come home to roost.
CRAIG? CRAIG STEHR?
From: "Edward Carter" <firstname.lastname@example.org> (Coast Listserve)
Hello. There will be a group meeting Sunday April 4th @ 4pm on the west lawn of the Ford House, where we will chant mantra.
The goal is to strengthen our connection to our breath, strengthen our sound current and raise the frequency of our home and ourselves.
Please bring a blanket or mat to sit on. Everyone is welcome.
Suggestions/comments are welcome and may be directed to Edward - email@example.com.
May your days are filled with blessings
TRAVELS IN MEXICO
by Paul Theroux
I drove across the border at nine, over the Rio Grande -- green and narrow at this point, worming its way to the Gulf. I was apprehensive for my being conspicuous: Ignacio, my guide, was right -- no gringos visible, either in cars or walking. I paid a deposit of one $450 and some smaller fees for my vehicle importation permit, about an hour of paperwork, the back and forth generally friendly. There was no line, no one waiting; I was the only person being processed in this building full of clerks and policemen.
"You will drive out of here and on to Monterrey -- lovely Monterrey," the parking lot security guard crowed as he affixed my permit to the proper place on the windshield, making a business out of it, in expectation of the tip he saw me chafing in my fingers. "A beautiful day for a journey, sir!"
Within 10 minutes I saw the reality of Reynosa, no longer the sedate Plaza Principal, but the broken roads and back streets and shacks of the scary town, scattered on both sides of a stagnant canal, shabbier and bleaker than what I had left behind.
I took a wrong turn. I found myself on a bad narrowing road, among splintered fences, surrounded by sinister shacks. But a man lying on his back under an old vintage car rolled over and crawled out to give me precise directions to the bridge over the canal, to the main road to Monterrey.
Passing through Reynoso proper I saw how the pretty plaza near the border was misleading for being unthreatening and decorous, with its church and narrow streets of shops and taqueries. The full horror and hodgepodge of Reynosa was hidden from the pedestrian who wandered across to buy discount Viagra; it was deeper into the town, the disorder, the ruinous buildings, the litter, the donkeys cropping grass by the roadside. Reynosa was not its plaza, but rather another hot, dense border town of hard up Mexicans who spent their lives peering across the frontier, easily able to see -- through the slats in the fence, beyond the river -- better houses, brighter stores, newer cars, cleaner streets, and no donkeys.
At the first stop light at the intersection of a potholed road in Reynosa, a fat, middle-aged man in shorts and wearing clown makeup -- whitened face, red bulb nose, lipsticked mouth -- began to juggle three blue balls as the light turned red, and a small girl in a tattered dress, obviously his daughter, passed him a teapot which he balanced on his chin. A small girl hurried to the waiting cars, soliciting pesos.
At the next light, a man in sandals and rags juggled three bananas and flexed his muscles while making lunatic faces. A woman hurried from car to car with a basket, offering tamales. Farther on was a fire-eater, a skinny man in pink pajamas gulping smoky flames from a torch. And I thought: the odd, medieval strategies of the very poor, clowning, performing, selling homemade food: but not begging.
Masked policemen and masked soldiers manned checkpoints along the main road, Boulevard Miguel Hidalgo, and peered it at me before waving me on. Within minutes I was out of Reynosa and headed into open country, over the state line from Tamaulipas into Nuevo Leon. It was the same sort of Texas landscape of mesquite and cactus and browsing cattle, the other side of a river that, owing to an 1836 treaty and a war 10 years later, turned this river valley into two countries, which had lately reverted to its earlier condition as a war zone, of fence jumping, of Mexicans splashing madly across the river, of human trafficking and the drug trade and random killings, the cartels contending for dominance. I was now deeper into Mexico than I had driven so far.
MORE THAN 3 MILLION CALIFORNIANS are without health insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic, revitalizing the movement for a statewide single payer (Healthcare for All) system. In 2017, the State Senate passed AB 1400’s predecessor, SB 562, but the bill was abruptly shelved by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who insisted at the time that funding would require approval from the Trump administration. With a governor who campaigned on the promise of supporting single payer now sitting in Sacramento, and now with California-grown Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra–who has previously voiced support for Medicare for All–serving the Biden administration in DC, the time to guarantee healthcare as a human right for all Californians is ripe.
The California Nurses Association (CNA) joined Assemblymember Ash Kalra on February 19, 2021 to introduce the California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act (CalCare), Assembly Bill 1400, which would guarantee comprehensive, high-quality health care to all California residents as a human right. According to CNA, “the establishment of the CalCare program is an improved Medicare for All-type health care system.” A 2017 poll by Public Policy Institute of California found that 65% of adults surveyed support the creation of a single-payer state healthcare program to cover all of the state’s residents.
Assemblymember Jim Wood represents Humboldt, Eureka, Mendocino, Del Norte, Trinity, and Sonoma counties (Assembly District 2) and chairs the Assembly Health Committee. Kaiser Health News reported in February that Wood “cast doubt on the feasibility of single-payer late last year, saying the state should instead build on the Affordable Care Act. Supporters fear his potential opposition could block the bill.” According to a Daybreak PAC analysis of publicly-available campaign contributions, Wood has received at least $85,000 from private insurance companies and other groups opposing single payer health care, including Blue Shield of California, the California Association of Health Plans, Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net, and Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies.
Daybreak PAC, a new all-women-run grassroots, corporate-free political action committee, has been conducting outreach to Wood’s constituents and encouraging them to email their assemblymember in support of CalCare. They are also looking to recruit a corporate-free candidate to challenge him in 2022, should he fail to support AB 1400 this year.
(Presser from the Daybreak Political Action Committee)
GOOD FRIDAY NIGHT: A DANCE TO SPRING.
The recording of last night's (2021-04-02) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg is right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0430
Also, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com there's a fresh batch of not-necessarily-radio-useful but worthwhile items that I set aside for you while gathering the show together, such as:
Blackbird in Mi—kmaq.
Make your own Bayeux Tapestry thingy. (via Everlasting Blort)
Fingerstyle Robot Rock.
And flying around in the Museum of Pinball I smell dusty stale solder flux, cigar smoke and salt-water taffy.
p.s. Email me your written work and I'll read it Friday night on the radio on the very next MOTA. That's what I'm here for.
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org
NEUROSES, like all illnesses, are symptoms of maladjustment. Because of some obstacle—a constitutional weakness or defect, wrong education, bad experiences, an unsuitable attitude, etc.—one shrinks from the difficulties which life brings and thus finds oneself back in the world of the infant.
– Carl Jung, Collected Works 13, par. 473