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Mendocino County Today: Friday, May 21, 2021

Frost Fanning | 4 New Cases | Drought Watch | Friday Markets | Brock Farms | Branscomb Kids | Mendo Covid | Willits Creamery | Wayne Berry | Green Street | Garden Contest | 200 POWs | Weed Abatement | Laytonville 1920 | Stupid Equations | Tate Robbins | Artistic Delusions | Swedish Hell | Ed Notes | Royal Babies | May 24 | Deficit Kings | May 25 | Republican Science | Yesterday's Catch | CEO Paradise | Digital Heat | Fillmore 1969 | Harris/Biden | California Prices | Greensill Capital | Ontology Dept | Arkansas Storm | Still Life | Whiskey Whiskey | Olompali 1968 | Israel Targets | Big Berg

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UNSEASONABLY COOL WEATHER is expected to persist today with brisk northwesterly winds by afternoon...and local frost early in the morning for wind protected valleys. Isolated showers and thunderstorms will be possible over Lake and eastern Mendocino counties this afternoon, otherwise mainly dry weather will persist through the weekend. (NWS)

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4 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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DROUGHT WATCH: The drought is bad, as we all know, but this week we learned that it’s even worse than we thought. It’s so bad on the Coast that the Town of Mendocino has officially banned the refilling of hot tubs. First refillings will generate a warning (assuming the hot tub scofflaw is caught on video by some hyper vigilant busybody videographer with a cellphone). But if you’re caught refilling your hot tub again you could be slapped with a $250 fine. Of course the enforcement mechanism has some obvious flaws, but if they can catch outlaw pot growers, they should be able to finger the illegal hot tub refillers.

IN FORT BRAGG, no mandated restrictions have been issued for their Stage 1 drought declaration, so far. But, according to City Manager Tabatha Miller, “At a Stage 2 or 3, it gets a little harder, and that’s when we force our hotels and restaurants to stop providing towels and sheets on a regular basis.” Fort Bragg is also considering mandating disposable cutlery and plates at city restaurants.

AV FIRE CHIEF Andres Avila told us Thursday that he’s in the process of trying to take an inventory of water for firefighting in Anderson Valley. Unofficial reports have it that vineyard ponds that can be dipped into or pumped out of in a normal year are low and even the ones with some water don’t have enough for a helicopter water dipper bag to gather up, although they might be able to be pumped out of into a water tender to some degree. Calfire doesn’t use their own in-house water tenders for firefighting; they usually hire commercial water tenders (from construction outfits or commercial water purveyors), or call on tenders from local fire departments. If water sources are low when a fire hits during the drought, the tenders will have to drive farther to refill, if they can refill. Otherwise, firefighting strategies will have to be modified to manage the fire depending on the conditions on the ground using such things as backfires, bulldozers and hand crews. We have not heard how the big air tankers will refill during the drought, but obviously that will be a challenge as well. The big specially modified DC-10 and 747 air tankers can hold between 12,000 and 19,000 gallons, but that kind of volume is going to be hard to source this year.

(Mark Scaramella)

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The first couple Boonville Farmers Markets of the 2021 season were a great success. We had veggies from Logan Family Produce and Inland Ranch, who also brought eggs and meat. There were several varieties of mushrooms from The Forest People. Natural Products of Boonville brought a lovely selection of garden plant starts. The Boonville Barn Collective had a beautiful display of seasonings and soon they’ll have strawberries. Scott Miller the knife sharpener was there sharpening an impressive spread of gardening implements, and Angels Touch had a wonderful selection of body products. 

Fridays 4-6pm at the Anderson Valley Brewing Company, 17700 Boonville Rd

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BROCK FARMS will open for the season, Saturday, May 22. Open hours: 10 to dusk Tuesday thru Saturday, 10 to 2 Sunday, and closed Mondays. We will have the following produce available: chard, kale, salad mix, spinach, sugar snap peas, carrots, turnips, broccoli and eggs. Coming soon are: basil, cabbage and zucchini.

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Branscomb Family, Laytonville

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Open Letter to Mendocino County Residents:

Mendocino County was one of the first in California assigned to the Yellow Tier (least restrictive) with less than 15 new Covid cases per week. We had no one in our hospitals most days, and deaths were rare. Over 59.6% of our community has now received at least one dose of vaccine.

A lot has changed in the last two weeks. New cases have nearly tripled, and more are in the hospital. We see this pattern in a surge. Testing is way down, crippling our ability to quarantine and blinding us to the spread of disease and the increase of variants in our community; this hurts our most vulnerable and essential workers who have not been able to get vaccinated.

This past week President Biden and Governor Newsome announced that some people might not need masks since vaccines are effective. So, many people, employers, and store owners want to stop following the State and County mandates that are still in force. Yet masks have proven effective from operating rooms to industry. They are cheap, effective, and accessible. Wearing a mask prevents the disease from spreading to those still at risk.

As the Public Health Officer for Mendocino County, I have been asked what we should do now? Here are my thoughts:

There is science behind the statements made by the President, the Governor, and the CDC. These statements should give us HOPE but not be taken as the WHOLE TRUTH.

There are many unanswered questions like how long do these vaccines last? How effective are they for the elderly or ill? How effective are they against the new variants? Do they prevent transmission?

Ending the mask requirement may be ok for some now, but not for all.

There is now a danger of surge, which could cripple our economy just as we are trying to get back to normal.

We are living in 2 worlds, one for those who are vaccinated and are very safe. Another world (over half in Mendocino County) exists for those who are not fully vaccinated - for various reasons. Some have not been able to get a vaccine due to transportation or work. Some are suspicious of the health system, the government, fear being fired or being deported. And some still fear side-effects of vaccination more than Covid, which has claimed over 3 million lives worldwide, almost 600 thousand in the US, and 49 of our Mendocino County neighbors.

We continue making vaccinations available to all. My advice is to GET VACCINATED and wear your MASKS in public, inside or outside, when you cannot keep 6 feet of distance from others who are not part of your household and may unwittingly carry this deadly virus.

Have parties and events outside as much as possible. Keep the numbers low and eat outside 6 feet apart.

TEST often (I recommend monthly) whether or not you are vaccinated-- especially before big events (graduation or other celebrations) or travel (and upon return). Testing helps us know what is happening in our community and makes disease control possible. And if you are called for an abnormal result, please cooperate to protect yourself and your loved ones so the County can offer services you may need.

Working together, our County will keep the spread of COVID down, and we will be able to return to work and play soon.

Andrew Coren, M.D.

Mendocino County Health Officer

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Willits Creamery

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In the early morning of Thursday, May 13, 2021, Crescent City man Michael Lee Confer purportedly drove his Pontiac head-on into a motorcycle on the Willits Bypass section of Highway 101. The collision resulted in the death of the motorcyclist. The deceased has been identified as Wayne Berry of Gold Beach, Oregon by the California Highway Patrol Garberville Office.

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Fort Bragg Garden Club’s "Sidewalk Gardens to Bragg About" Contest

By Friday May 21, please nominate a beautiful yard - your own or another's - for the Fort Bragg Garden Club's 12th Annual "Sidewalk Gardens to Bragg About" contest. This contest recognizes and honors the many beautiful yards in Fort Bragg and the gardeners who lovingly tend them. To qualify, the garden must be in the Fort Bragg city limits, can be seen from the sidewalk, and is a pleasing-to-the-eye, well-kept space. From May 24 - 30, Fort Bragg Garden Club members will judge the gardens based on visual appeal, plant variety and health, design, creativity, and maintenance. A gift certificate to a local nursery will be given to the first, second, and third place winners, and to the Fort Bragg Bee City USA's Annual Pollinator Garden. Bernie Norvell will choose his favorite for the "Mayor's Choice Award." If you have a yard to nominate, please provide the address. Send an email by May 21 to or call and leave a message or text (707)397-5824. More information can be found at

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Third week of April 2021 - Multiple commercial cannabis locations identified, plants voluntarily abated to avoid penalties.

Post Date: 05/20/2021 12:01 PM

Action Date: 05/14/21 – 05/20/21

Location: Multiple Locations


In the third week of April 2021, the Mendocino County Code Enforcement Division conducted investigations regarding non-permitted commercial cannabis cultivation at the listed locations below.

The Code Enforcement investigation confirmed that commercial cannabis cultivation was occurring in non-permitted structures, without a County Cultivation Permit, or State Cultivation License. The responsible parties voluntarily abated the cannabis plants being cultivated, and thereby avoided the associated penalties.

5/13/21 – 8900 Block of West Road in Redwood Valley – 500 Cannabis plants abated.

5/17/21 – 30200 Block of West highway 20 in Fort Bragg – 810 Cannabis plants abated.

05/19/21 – 10600 Block of Monterey Road in Redwood Valley – 144 Cannabis plants abated. 

05/19/21 – 3200 Block of Ridgeview Road in Willits – 96 Cannabis plants abated. 

Code Enforcement intends to take additional action as needed to achieve compliance with the non-permitted structures.

The Code Enforcement Division receives all Cannabis and General Code Violation complaints in the unincorporated areas of the County. Complaints can be made in person at our offices or by visiting our website at: to file an online complaint. Cannabis specific complaints can also be filed by calling the Cannabis Complaint Hotline at: (844) 421-WEED(9333).

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Laytonville, 1920s

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Simple math for simple minds:

Drought + Pot Expansion = Stupid

Jackson State Demonstration Forest – Old Growth = Stupid.

Casey Pryor


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Tate Robbins, Logger

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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

Ukiah was among California cities hardest hit by the pottery craze of the 1970s. 

Ukiah suffered crippling waves of pottery fevers until they lessened and broke circa 1985. Smaller, less toxic crafts-borne plagues were reported as late as the mid-90s.

Artistic delusions that erupted during the era included weavers, decoupage and macrame practitioners, leather doodad makers, embroiderers, beads, jewelry wrought from deer antlers, pukka shells and spoon handles remade into ugly rings. Most were harmless diversions, but the area’s disproportionate number of self-described artists remains a hangover from those long ago pottery follies. 

The trend would have expired from natural causes had Mendocino College not kept those pottery wheels a-spinnin’ many years too many. Students who might have benefited from a history class or a semester in Auto Repair 101 were instead steered into producing handmade clay objets d’art

This is understandable. Young minds are easily filled, and fooled, with artistic pretensions, and pottery isn’t the worst of it.

There’s poetry, for instance.

But pottery is to blame for the ongoing nuisance of elderly county residents believing themselves blessed with artsy talents and who further think their clumsy works ought to be displayed in public places. And far too often, they are.

I was reminded of all this on a recent aimless stroll that brought me to a yard sale. Beyond the mounds of children’s clothing, past a clock radio and boxes of paperbacks and old plastic Christmas ornaments, I encountered crude ceramic relics from bygone days. I’ll not describe them in detail because I plan to surprise my wife on Christmas morning.

Any amateur yard sale archaeologist might unearth similar prizes. Scores of Ukiah garages hold shabby bowls and misshapen plates, survivors since the day some anonymous craftsperson rose from a stool, having “thrown a pot” on a “wheel.” After being “fired” in some special oven, the sad lumpy thing was coated in special paint, usually brown. 

Half a century later those plates, cups, bowls and ashtrays can be yours at a yard sale for just a dollar. Uhh, 50 cents?

We must ask ourselves if such a series of artistic catastrophes could have occurred minus the outsized number of migrants who washed up here 50 years ago. And the answer is: Of Course Not.

The pottery epidemic was a backfired byproduct of the back-to-the-land invasion. An assembly line of newcomers morally opposed to working for a living but who found the strain of living the utopian dream on a commune on a hillside on a ranch on a remote parcel among bossy sociopaths up Low Gap Road too exhausting, quickly returned to the comforts of middle class life. Yet cling they did to a lifestyle vision as free spirits and a self-image decidedly un-middle-class.

Hence, delusions of artistic talent. Next stop: pottery classes.

Thus came a city full of dull, silly art. Examples today include murals disgracing downtown buildings reflecting back-to-the-land nonsense in simplistic slogans and goo-goo imagery of nature as a playground and semi-naked hippies frolicking along riverbanks. Oh yes. Note the west side of the deadbeat dad social services building across from the brew pub. Many other murals, some worse, are within blocks.

Similar sentiments reverberate at Grace Hudson Museum’s vacant lot, charitably described as a “garden” paying tribute to Native American culture. (Question: How many Native Americans a week, or year, visit the Hudson Museum to marvel at the historically accurate re-creation of their ancestral lands, right down to genuine authentic dirt, rocks and weeds just like the rocks and weeds their ancestors once ignored?)

Of course there will always be craftspeople churning out goods, mostly harmless trifles like afghan sofa throws, or “dreamcatcher” yarn contraptions once prominently on display in teenager bedrooms in the 1980s.

Some enterprising person or group ought to diligently search out and acquire as much of this debris as possible and donate it to the county museum up in Willits. The day will come when visitors will come from far away to stand gawking at tables made from stolen PG&E wooden spools and coated in polyurethane. Old worn out Frye Boots and Birkenstock sandals will make a captivating display.

Long lines will assemble for the chance to see a traveling wardrobe collection featuring homemade “granny” dresses sewn from old curtains and embroidered with signs of the Zodiac, plus headbands made from used neckties and gypsy-inspired scalp coverings fashioned out of old kerchiefs and hankies.

Hit those yard sales now and start filling your garage with ‘70s-era pottery, handmade marijuana pipes, beaded roach clips, leather vests and other valuable memorabilia. Their past can be your future.

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KAITLIN WILTJER ASKS: "Did you witness this? Last night [Monday, 17 May] between 9:30-10:00 I was driving through Boonville towards the coast. As I was passing the Buckhorn a car started flashing their lights, which at that time I realized I left my high beams on (I don't do well driving at night and I'm also human). So I turned them off immediately. Next thing I see in my rear view mirror the White SUV aggressively turn around. There was a small dark car behind me that got driven off the road and the SUV was behind me with their brights on. I started to pull over and they cut me off, I tried to get back in the road, and got cut off again. They were driving very close to me and at one point I almost stopped and they tapped the back of my car. I tried to grab my phone to call 911, as I was swerving to miss the parked cars. I started speeding up and the SUV screeched their tires and flipped back and went the other way. Please if you were the car that witnessed this, please let me know! Also please drive safe at night. I was scared for my life and this was right in Boonville." 

THERE'S WAY too much maniacal driving through all areas of the Anderson Valley, especially Boonville where, by my informal, daylight count, every fifth vehicle is driving through town above the speed limit or driving startlingly above the speed limit through town. When we had resident deputies they would write a reckless driving ticket if they happened to see the recklessness. But for inexplicable (to me anyway) jurisdictional reasons the CHP is solely responsible for Highway 128, whose traffic volume seems to grow by the day. The jerk who menaced Ms Wiltjer should be arrested, and maybe will be if he can be identified, but there are multiples of him out there, unfortunately, and we need the CHP over here on a regular basis.

MY NEIGHBOR, Mr. Suarez, has a lot more patience than most of us. The same night as Ms. Wiltjer's adventure, I heard a terrific din from next door at his Redwood Drive-In where a young man too old to be tantruming in the middle of the night or any time of day was screaming incoherently and beating on the fuel pumps. The Drive-In closes promptly at 8pm. Mr. Suarez puts in long hours, and he was still cleaning up inside when the screamer started screaming. My colleague, The Major, pulls the ava's night shift. The commotion next door roused the night shift who hustled over to the fence where he could clearly see Mr. Suarez talking calmly to the young psycho. “I was going to jump the fence and help out if that guy hit Ricardo [Suarez], but Ricardo talked the nut down and everything ended peacefully.” 

FROST FANS IN MAY? In the third week of May? Yes, they roared to life in the pre-dawn this morning, Thursday, although there was no frost, raising the spectre that the lords of the grape will disturb our sleep whenever the temperature falls below 40 degrees. Class action anyone?

BERNIE SANDERS says he will introduce a resolution of disapproval on the $735 million American arms sale to Israel. The resolution aims to halt the planned sale to Israel by the Biden administration of JDAMs, or Joint Direct Attack Munitions, and Small Diameter Bombs. (A tentative cease fire was declared today [Thursday] after 11 days of a ruinous assault by Israel on the Palestinians. 

BERNIE'S resolution needs only a simple majority to pass the Senate, but if it's vetoed by Biden, it would need a two-thirds majority in both chambers to take effect. 

"AT A MOMENT when U.S.-made bombs are devastating Gaza," Bernie said, "and killing women and children, we cannot simply let another huge arms sale go through without even a congressional debate."

WILL OUR CONGRESSMAN vote for Bern's resolution? Huff? Are you there, Huff?

ON TUESDAY May 19th, a HumCo task force raided a Myers Flat dope gro visible from Highway 101 for nearly a decade. “During the service of the warrant, deputies located approximately 29 greenhouses with growing cannabis plants inside. Deputies eradicated approximately 7,934 growing cannabis plants. Deputies seized and destroyed approximately 12 pounds of cannabis bud and over 600 pounds of cannabis shake. Deputies also located and seized four firearms, one of which had been reported stolen. Six individuals were detained and later released on scene.”

SIMILAR grows have sprouted virtually everywhere on the Northcoast.

AN INTERESTING EXCHANGE this morning on Redheaded Blackbelt: “Come to Eureka!!!! See our famous drug addicted homeless do battle on Second Street with knives and broken off pieces of pallet!! Photograph the Carson Mansion and return to your car to find the window broken and your suitcase stolen!! Buy weed in one of our 37 dispensaries and revel in the joy of violating federal law!! Try your hand at the “gauntlet of death,” drive around near H and 6th and see if you can pass through unscathed!!! Join the courthouse protesters demonstrating against this week’s outrage which happened 2500 miles away but which still riles up the indignant!!"

THE REDHEADED BLACKBELT HERSELF, Kym Kemp, responded: “I’m the last person to say there isn’t crime in Humboldt but… I’ve lived here for 61 years. I go to town and shop. I go to the parks and hike. I go to tourist attractions and…not once have I been a victim of a crime. I have however, seen breathtaking views while having tears of joy stream down my face, I’ve been enchanted with adorable kids in the park, visited with friendly locals, loved our festivals, eaten amazing food both in our restaurants and from locally available treats. I’ve been to multiple places in my relatively long life and only Ireland and the coast of Maine came close to the beauty and touristing experience found here.”

MEDIA WORLD is like a giant Little League banquet. Everyone gets a trophy, with the large circulation press getting most of them because they employ full-time people whose job it is to fire off the applications. The Press Democrat wins a bunch of awards every year from an association of newspapers just like it. Reporting this morning because no one else would, the PD jubilantly announced that it “won a record 32 awards, including five top honors for print and digital journalism in a statewide contest that recognized the newspaper and its website for coverage of the 2020 wildfires, the COVID-19 pandemic, protests of racial injustice and incisive stories about local politics and government.”

"WE'RE NOT in this great profession because of awards, but it means so very much when peer journalists review our work and say favorable things,” said Richard Green, editor of The Press Democrat and chief content officer for Sonoma Media Investments, its parent company. “Overall, the company’s publications won 66 awards.”

ONE doesn't know whether to laugh or cry, but this is a man who’s lost his way, assuming he ever knew it. 

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Post Date: 05/20/2021 4:33 PM

Community Partners, Colleagues, and Interested Parties:

The Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda for the Tuesday, May 24th, 2021, meeting is now available on the County website:

Please contact Clerk of the Board at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.

Thank you,

Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and

Executive Office

501 Low Gap Road, Room 1010

Phone: (707) 463-4441

Fax: (707) 463-7237

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Post Date: 05/20/2021 4:34 PM

Community Partners, Colleagues, and Interested Parties:

The Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda for the Tuesday, May 25th, 2021, meeting is now available on the County website:

Please contact Clerk of the Board at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.

Thank you,

Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and

Executive Office

501 Low Gap Road, Room 1010

Phone: (707) 463-4441

Fax: (707) 463-7237

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Avalos, Branscomb, Cabrera

ROGELIO AVALOS, Winton/Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, evidence tampering, controlled substance while armed with loaded firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, ex-con with with firearm, handgun-not registered owner, resisting.

REBECCA BRANSCOMB, Laytonville. Controlled substance, protective order violation.

IZIK CABRERA, Fort Bragg. DUI, felon-addict with firearm.

Chapman, Dalson, Granados, Lovato

TIMOTHY CHAPMAN JR., Redwood Valley. Battery.

JUSTICE DALSON, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, vandalism.

JUAN GRANADOS, Winton/Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, concealed weapon in vehicle, controlled substance while armed, handgun-not registered owner.

DANIEL LOVATO II, Ukiah. Child endangerment/cruelty: possible injury or death.

O’Leary, Page, Turner

TARA O’LEARY, Rocklin/Ukiah. Under influence, suspended license.

KAMARA PAGE, Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale.

CHELSEA TURNER, Ukiah. County parole violation.

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We are under attack every day by digital outlaws. Hospitals, power plants, school systems, vital infrastructure hacked and held for ransom. Even a cloud of suspicion hangs around our elections. The coin of the realm for these outlaws is Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is one of many digital currencies that utilize Blockchain technology to create a thing of value digitally. These coins exist in a ledger system on multiple digital platforms. One transaction with Bitcoin can use the equivalent of 38 days of electricity in the common home. In our house that is about $150 times trillions of transactions. This is an exponential growth issue on carbon-based electric grids heating up an already overheated earth.

In economics, we understand if a society wants less of an activity we tax it. A carbon footprint sales tax embedded on all digital currencies would create two solutions. The embedded sales tax in the coin algorithm would enable governments to track down any holder of illegally gotten digital currency, gutting the ransomware business plan. This multinational carbon sales tax on digital currencies would recoup global climate costs.

Funding is now in place to hunt down those who threaten America and our allies by hijacking our infrastructure.

Steven Garcia


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Fillmore, 1969

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Harris is a personification of the Democratic credo. No ideas, no action, spend all your time making up excuses for inactivity, create an enemy to distract folks with. To make it all work, you must have that enemy, politicians know that as a given. 

Harris will continue doing nothing. The strings moving Biden originate somewhere else.

I wonder if Biden has official tasters for his food and drink. The Secret Service certainly have him bottled up in the WH. I do notice that Harris is always with Biden when he graces us with his presence. Do you think he's maybe obeying the adage, Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer?

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by Matt Taibbi

Scrooge never painted out Old Marley’s name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley — Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.

Charles Dickens never quite explained the business of Scrooge and Marley in A Christmas Carol. We knew old Ebeneezer was familiar with the fellows at the “’Change” (the stock exchange), spent time in a “counting-house,” and was owed money all over town. One of the few things that made him happy was the passage of time, for debts to him — marked “three days after sight of this First of Exchange pay to Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge” — would become mere worthless securities, “if there were no days to count by.”

One theory is “Scrooge and Marley” were engaged in an age-old business called “supply chain financing.” The concept is simple. A supplier sells an order to a buyer. Rather than wait for the buyer to pay, the supplier accepts immediate payment with a slight discount from the supply chain financier, who in turn later collects the full amount from the buyer. Scrooge once would have been a perfect fit as a leading man for Supply Chain Financing. It's “blocking and tackling” finance work, a simple, unsexy living, best left in the hands of one who holds pennies in a vice-grip. If you’re not the type to bring a book of debts home for pleasure-reading, you wouldn’t prosper in this profession.

That was consensus, until Lex Greensill came along. The Anglo-Australian son of melon and sugar cane farmers in Queensland is a charmer. His toothsome, button-eyed, just-happy-to-be-here persona comes off like an Australian version of an aw-shucks Southern televangelist lost in prayer as you pass the collection plate. The video below shows him after receiving an $800 million capital injection for his new, “democratized” supply chain finance business, deflecting questions about Greensill Capital’s exploding valuation, acting as though an IPO were the furthest thing from his mind.

Lex wowed the cream of British society. As far back as 2012, former Prime Minister David Cameron made Greensill an unpaid “senior advisor,” even giving him a business card with a 10 Downing Street Address: Prince Charles in 2018 decorated him as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire at Buckingham Palace, for “services to the British economy.” He was nominated by the late Cabinet Secretary, Lord Jeremy Haywood, the country’s most powerful civil servant. Upon receipt of the honor, Greensill humbly paid tribute to “Mum,” saying, “I couldn't go to university because we didn't have the money… today was the graduation Mum had never been able to go to.”

In finance there regularly appears a character who stands on a soapbox and claims to have re-discovered the natural laws of the universe. Go ahead, jump: with 10 shares of Invest-O, you won’t come down! Alan Greenspan’s declaration in the middle of the first tech bubble that we might be in the middle of a “once-or twice-in-a-century phenomenon that will carry productivity trends to a new higher track” helped birth the “new paradigm” theory, which denounced caution before investing in companies without revenues or plans as anachronistic timidity.

Greensill prophesied a revolution in his erstwhile dull trade. He hammered the theme that “AI” and “Big Data” were bringing about a “tectonic shift,” described by one writer as “the biggest revolution in history.” A Greensill circular from two years ago summed up the pitch...


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by Paul Theroux

“Twisters Path: 3000 Dwellings” was the headline two days after the storm. The affected areas were declared a “major disaster zone.” This storm had been one of the most powerful in Arkansas history and in some parts of Central Arkansas almost 8 inches of rain had fallen in three hours. Flooding was general, roads turned into rivers, houses submerged, people drowned. Witnesses spoke of the “rumbling freight train sound” of the twister moving past their houses while they hunkered in basements and safe rooms. This storm that I had slept through a few miles away had now claimed 35 lives, including people in Alabama and in Mississippi where it had been particularly destructive in Tupelo. Swathes of trees in the path of the storm had been scoured from the earth and ones on the periphery had been debarked.

A greater factuality and a summing up appearing in the Little Rock newspaper on the third day. On the enhanced Fujita scale -- the scientific measure of tornadoes -- the storm was designated a category EF4, with winds up to 200 mph. The force of such winds can derail a train, demolish an entire house, and uproot trees, sending the trunks flying like battering rams. This was the worst storm in Arkansas since a category EF5 hit in 1929 killing 23 people and wiping out the town of Sneed: the place was abandoned and never rebuilt.

Days after the strange selective storm, the local hospitals were still unable to cope with all the injured and dying and people kept arriving with severe trauma, broken bones, pierced flesh, collapsed lungs -- 150 victims at one hospital. An accompanying story in this locally well reported tragedy was a lengthy account of “storm tossed pets,” such as the Labrador retriever found hanging in a tree -- and rescued.

I had slept through it all. That was the oddness for me in this punishing and dramatic weather event that had gripped three states. I had gotten wet feet, but otherwise the storm had not touched me and had hardly inconvenienced my travel. It was a day or two of alarm, of reports, of voices off. A terrible wind came and went, a singular Arkansas drama, and although it was reported throughout one news cycle, it was not headline news anywhere else in the United States.

“This is a weather state,” a man said to me later in Little Rock. “People are crazy about the weather -- always discussing it. Maybe it's because we are agricultural and need to know. And we do have amazing weather.”

One church took advantage of the tornado to put up a billboard: “Doesn't the unusual weather tell us that Jesus is coming back very soon?”

Citing Luke 21: “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

But if you weren't directly in its path, it was no more than a wet day in the Ozarks, unremarkable except for the sound of distant thunder. For those who were buffeted by the power of the whirling wind, it was devastating, the commencement of days of funerals and laborious cleanups and sad stories of sudden homelessness.

But it was a remote episode; it was local. It was just more misery in the South, and for most of the United States the storm with its disruption and death was so far beneath notice it could have happened in a foreign country.

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She's a little bit of the sunshine

Just before the rain

A little like this quiet night

Before the cold winds came

. . .

She's a little bit like the weather

I never know when she's gonna change

She's a part of my heart

And a whole lot of my pain

. . .

Whiskey, whiskey, my old friend

I've come to talk with you again

Milk of mercy please be kind

Drive this feeling from my mind

. . .

Don't you know somehow her smile

Can make the day begin

She'd take away this mask of gray

And let the sun shine in

. . .

Now I find I've been blinded

By the cold and wintery wind

She disguised behind her eyes

Oh, what a fool I've been

. . .

Whiskey, whiskey, my old friend

I've come to talk with you again

Milk of mercy please be kind

Drive this feeling from my mind

. . .

Whiskey, whiskey, my old friend

I've come to talk with you again

Milk of mercy please be kind

Drive this feeling from my mind

— Rita Coolidge

* * *

* * *


by Norman Solomon

Israel’s missile attack on media offices in Gaza City last weekend was successful. A gratifying response came quickly from the head of The Associated Press, which had a bureau in the building for 15 years: “The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.”

For people who care about truth, that’s outrageous. For the Israeli government, that’s terrific.

The AP president, Gary Pruitt, said “we are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza.”

There’s ample reason to be horrified. But not shocked.

Israel’s military began threatening and targeting journalists several decades ago, in tandem with its longstanding cruel treatment of Palestinians. Rather than reduce the cruelty, the Israeli government keeps trying to reduce accurate news coverage.

The approach is a mix of deception and brutality. Blow up the cameras so the world won’t see as many pictures of the atrocities.

Of course, there’s no need to interfere with journalists documenting the also awful -- while relatively few -- deaths of Israelis due to rockets fired by Hamas. In recent days the Israeli government has spotlighted such visuals, some of them grimly authentic, others fake.

The suffering in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is tragically real on both sides, while vastly asymmetrical. During the last 10 days, as reported by the BBC, 219 people have been killed in Gaza. In Israel, the number was 10. In Gaza, at least 63 of the dead were children. In Israel, two.

In the midst of all this, shamefully, President Biden is pushing ahead to sell $735 million worth of weapons to Israel, a move akin to selling more whips and thumbscrews to torturers while they’re hard at work tormenting their victims.

On Wednesday, a few members of Congress introduced a bill that seeks to do what the Israeli targeting of media seeks to prevent -- the galvanizing of well-informed outrage. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Mark Pocan introduced a resolution opposing the sale of those weapons.

“For decades, the U.S. has sold billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel without ever requiring them to respect basic Palestinian rights. In so doing, we have directly contributed to the death, displacement and disenfranchisement of millions,” Ocasio-Cortez pointed out.

Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress, said: “The harsh truth is that these weapons are being sold by the United States to Israel with the clear understanding that the vast majority of them will be used to bomb Gaza. Approving this sale now, while failing to even try to use it as leverage for a ceasefire, sends a clear message to the world -- the U.S. is not interested in peace, and does not care about the human rights and lives of Palestinians.”

As usual, Israel’s latest killing spree can avail itself of deep pockets provided by U.S. taxpayers, currently $3.8 billion a year in military assistance. An article published last week by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace makes a strong case that the massive subsidy is legally dubious and morally indefensible.

Not many members of Congress can be heard calling for an end to doling out huge sums to the Israeli government. But some progress is evident.

A bill introduced last month by Congresswoman Betty McCollum, H.R.2590, now has 21 co-sponsors and some activist momentum. Its official purpose flies in the face of routine congressional evasion: “To promote and protect the human rights of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation and to ensure that United States taxpayer funds are not used by the Government of Israel to support the military detention of Palestinian children, the unlawful seizure, appropriation, and destruction of Palestinian property and forcible transfer of civilians in the West Bank, or further annexation of Palestinian land in violation of international law.”

Right now, the government of Israel is exerting deadly force on a large scale to underscore an assertion of impunity -- in effect, wielding power to subjugate Palestinian people with methodical disregard for their basic human rights. The process involves reducing as much as possible the eyewitness news coverage of that subjugation.

Israeli leaders know that truth about human consequences of their policies is horrific when illuminated. That’s why they’re so eager to keep us in the dark.

(Norman Solomon is the national director of and the author of many books including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 and 2020 Democratic National Conventions. Solomon is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.)

* * *


An enormous iceberg, a little bigger than the state of Rhode Island, has broken off of Antarctica.

The finger-shaped chunk of ice, which is roughly 105 miles (170 kilometers) long and 15 miles (25 kilometers) wide, was spotted by satellites as it calved from the western side of Antarctica's Ronne Ice Shelf, according to the European Space Agency. The berg is now floating freely on the Weddell Sea, a large bay in the western Antarctic where explorer Ernest Shackleton once lost his ship, the Endurance, to pack ice.


  1. Eric Sunswheat May 21, 2021

    RE: Ukiah suffered crippling waves of pottery fevers until they lessened and broke circa 1985. Smaller, less toxic crafts-borne plagues were reported as late as the mid-90s…
    Artistic delusions that erupted during the era included weavers, decoupage and macrame practitioners, leather doodad makers, embroiderers, beads, jewelry wrought from deer antlers, pukka shells and spoon handles remade into ugly rings. Most were harmless diversions, but the area’s disproportionate number of self-described artists remains a hangover from those long ago pottery follies. (Tommy Wayne Kramer)

    ->. Abalone shell dust is very toxic, possibly causing heart arrhythmia and other organic damage. The dust contains a toxic substance the body mistakes as sugar and thus allows passage to various organs. To protect yourself wear a gas mask, gloves and cover up with clothing as much as possible (the substance can be absorbed through the skin!). Cut the abalone under water or with a stream of water. If I haven’t scared you too much, abalone is a beautiful shell to cut.

  2. Cotdbigun May 21, 2021

    A tentative cease fire was declared today [Thursday] after 11 days of a ruinous assault by Israel on the Palestinians. 
    This makes it look like Israel is the aggressor, odd.
    It’s been reported that it was in response to thousands of rockets being fired into Israel, maybe I heard wrong.

  3. George Hollister May 21, 2021

    Dr. Coren: “There are many unanswered questions like how long do these vaccines last? How effective are they for the elderly or ill? How effective are they against the new variants? Do they prevent transmission?”

    Followed by: “We are living in 2 worlds, one for those who are vaccinated and are very safe. Another world (over half in Mendocino County) exists for those who are not fully vaccinated – for various reasons.”

    And then: “TEST often (I recommend monthly) whether or not you are vaccinated– especially before big events (graduation or other celebrations) or travel (and upon return). Testing helps us know what is happening in our community and makes disease control possible.”

    Needless to say, there are inconsistencies with the Doctor’s statement. At some point we need to get on with our lives. Why not right now? The CDC says vaccines work 95% of the time. If you are vaccinated, go about your business as before. If you are not vaccinated, that is your choice, and not everyone else’s problem. If we keep up with what we are doing, this Covid crap will never end.

    • Marmon May 21, 2021

      Whoever thought this mask thing was a good idea ought to have their head examined.


      • George Hollister May 21, 2021


  4. George Dorner May 21, 2021

    #2 in a series of comments on the reality of warfare

    According to a recent news article, Hamas fired a bombardment of 1,500 rockets, then called for a ceasefire. The same article noted that Gaza harbored a stockpile of 30,000 rockets. Unnoted was the supplier of said rockets. Also unmentioned was the fact that rockets without guidance systems are so inaccurate they are area denial weapons, comparable to the carpet bombers of World War II. Too inaccurate to reliably strike military targets, they are aimed to demoralize the Israeli civilian populace. Instead, it unites them, just as the British and German populations pulled together in resistance.

    On the other hand, the vaunted JDAMs fired from Israeli aircraft are more accurate, but not perfect, as skeins of cloud, etc can confuse the guidance systems and send the ordnance astray. Then too, locating military targets of a guerrilla opponent among a crowd of Arab civilians is chancy. Again, dead innocents. Again, I repeat, bombardment as a terror tactic is instead a unifying force.

    What is to be learned from this? Simple. Don’t fight wars.

  5. Steve Heilig May 21, 2021

    KQED radio traffic report yesterday:

    “On Highway 101 North at Cloverdale in Mendocino County this morning, unconfirmed reports of at least 100 sheep on the roadside, some of them appearing to want to get to the other side.”

  6. Jim Armstrong May 21, 2021

    In the loop of the calving iceberg, a superimposed figure appears toward the end.
    This gives plenty of opportunity to read what it says inside it, but I can’t.

    I’ve been under fire of various kinds and it is pretty scary.
    I’ll take random rockets of the high school lab variety over state-of-the-art aircraft fired missiles and bombs and artillery any time.

    • Harvey Reading May 21, 2021

      Try left-clicking the image. The enlargement of the animation that results is enough to make the text readable: “A-76 iceberg 4320 km2” (i.e., square kilometers). The text on the larger area is “Ronne Ice Shelf”. At least that’s how I read it.

      • Jim Armstrong May 21, 2021

        Thanks, but wrong places.
        Above (north obviously) of the berg, just an outline.

        • Harvey Reading May 21, 2021

          “Majorca” or (Mallorca), an island in the Mediterranean, belonging apparently to Spain. The outline on the image matches the outline of the island from other sources. Apparently “3640” sq. km. in area, also greater in area than Rhode Island.

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