Heating Up | 101 Fatality | Hopkins Fire | 1913 Parade | Forest Defenders | Boonville 1920 | Strong Recommendation | Horse Troopers | Grange Display | Highrollers 2014 | Big Fine | Precipice Parking | Ed Notes | Dog Out | Slow Mail | Hi-Fi | Tommy Texting | Greenville Speed | Client Liability | Yesterday's Catch | Preventing 911 | Ultimate Battle | Broken Heart | Mad Brute | Wrenching Poem | Day Shift | Marco Radio | Beach Censor | Solar Conversion | Poison Dinner | Afghan Women | Bernardo Provenzano | Bruising Statistic
THE INTERIOR WILL HEAT UP heading into Tuesday, with localized triple digit readings. Sunshine will be muted in some areas by smoke and haze. The coast will remain cool, but with decreasing marine layer clouds through mid-week. Rain will be possible for portions of our region over the weekend. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Ukiah 97°, Yorkville 96°, Boonville 92°, Fort Bragg 64°
FATAL HEAD-ON COLLISION, HIGHWAY 101
THE HOPKINS FIRE near Calpella north of Ukiah was declared “forward progress stopped” about 10pm Sunday evening and evacuation orders were reduced to warnings. Fire size was estimated at 275 acres. At least 20 structures were known to have burned down. No injuries or deaths were reported. No cause has been reported. Air and ground crews rushed to the scene and were widely praised for keeping the fire from blowing much farther north across Highway 20 in the brisk winds.
‘INTENSE, QUICK’ BLAZE DESTROYS HOMES, FORCES EVACUATIONS NORTH OF UKIAH
Joyce and Paul Kobetz had a sinking feeling Sunday afternoon when their security company called to say that the smoke alarms were blaring inside their empty Calpella home.
JACKSON STATE FOREST
Forest Defenders Plan Action Ahead of Suspected Logging in Jackson Demonstration Forest
Since mid-June, logging has been on pause in most areas of Jackson Demonstrations State Forest - a public forest in Mendocino County which is now home to a lively debate over the best use of public lands. In April, a tree sit sparked a multi-month activism campaign calling for a two year moratorium and a reexamination of the forest’s management.
Now, activists worry that the California Department of Forestry and the Licensed Timber Operators may start up their saws again.
In a recent email to their volunteers and members the Mendocino Trail Stewards wrote: “We have been seeing signs that logging is imminent on three stalled timber harvest plans in Jackson. The mills that purchased the right to cut the People of California's trees are likely pushing hard, as they paid bottom dollar last Winter, just before lumber prices soared. Some of the biggest Redwoods in Caspar 500, baby giants that should live to be the Grandmothers of the future--beings that live twenty to thirty times as long as humans--are now, in the crassest terms, worth $50,000 to $100,000 each as decking and picnic tables. Meanwhile, giant Douglas fir with 10% of the commercial value are killed just to be gotten out of the way, and left lying for later, possibly to be trucked off as an afterthought. We cannot let this happen.”
Forest Defenders have actions planned to interfere with any attempted logging, and are encouraging anyone interested in joining to reach out through their social media: Mama Tree Mendo on Facebook, @mama.tree.mendo on Instagram, or through email firstname.lastname@example.org
Michelle McMillan: 707-734-0588 email@example.com
BOONVILLE FAIR CIRCA 1920
COUNTY BACKS OFF VACCINE MANDATE – Dr. Coren will instead require signs describing vaccination policies, status
by Justine Frederiksen
After hearing from many restaurant owners concerned about the negative impact a Covid-19 vaccine mandate for employees and customers would have on their already struggling businesses, Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren announced Friday that he will instead “strongly recommend” vaccines for staff and screening of customers.
“Many business owners, not all, objected to this, and held a meeting to speak out against the order,” said Coren during his latest public update Sept. 10, referring to a gathering hosted at the Ukiah Valley Athletic Club on Sept. 4 that he “gladly attended.”
Coren said he has received “many letters from both sides, many with very positive suggestions, and perhaps the strongest influence on me has been the deep divisions in our community that have created a roadblock, (and in the hope) of moving our community forward in a unified way, I have changed my plan.”
Instead of a mandate, Coren said he will be making “a strong recommendation” that employees be vaccinated and customers be screened, rather than mandating such procedures. In addition, he said he will require “each establishment that serves food or alcoholic beverages to post in the front of their business what protections consumers can expect inside,” a concept similar to the nutrition facts labels required to be on food and drink packages.
Coren described the plan as providing “transparency, consumer protection, and allowing everyone their freedoms.”
When asked whether he thought people would really pay any attention to such signs and utilize them in their decision making, Coren said he believed that some people would see a sign stating that the facility’s staff was not fully vaccinated and decide, “I can find another place to go that’s safer, while others will say, ‘I really don’t care.’ And that’s the beauty of living in our community. We come in all shapes and sizes. And this will allow people to make an informed decision.”
As for current outbreaks, Coren said the most recent one at the Mendocino County Jail appeared to be under control, with “no new cases reported in the last week, and I think they will probably be testing out of this outbreak in the next week or so.”
He also described two outbreaks in skilled nursing facilities, one that is “tightly controlled and nearly ended, and another (facility) is getting technical assistance that we’ve asked the state” to provide, such as training and recommendations. Coren did not name either of those facilities.
“Another outbreak is in the homeless shelter,” said Coren, explaining that several people were provided alternate shelter “so they can recover safely.” Coren also pointed to the “Safeway in Willits” as having an outbreak.
As for the number of Covid-19 cases overall, Coren said that the county has been experiencing a “consistent” decrease in cases over the past three weeks that is similar to the decrease statewide and that he was “cautiously optimistic” about.
As for hospitalizations, Coren said that on Thursday there was only one Intensive Care Unit bed available in the county, but that three were available on Friday. Mendocino County officials reported 77 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, and that 25 people were hospitalized, eight of them requiring the ICU.
As for schools, Coren said they have been open “for almost a month” in the county, and that while there have been no “outbreaks (technically), we have detected 31 positive cases, and that has involved three teachers, and 16 schools.” However, Coren said that early testing has “allowed us to isolate infected people and quarantine those classes using the new, modified quarantine (procedures) to prevent spread, but still allow the schools to be open.”
Coren said the cases are not considered “outbreaks” because the infections were all brought into the schools from outside, then reportedly contained by the facilities without further transmission.
As for vaccines, Coren said that “the demand (for them) has been increasing, especially since Pfizer has received full authorization and people feel that it is much safer.”
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
DEPUTY SQUIRES DISCUSSES NIGHT TACTICS when Fair Weekend was Drink and Fight
THE GRANGE AT THE FAIR
The AV Grange is participating in the Fair again, by entering a Display Booth in the Agricultural Hall. This is an annual fundraiser, with the proceeds going to our Scholarship Fund. So while we expect a reduced fair attendance, we will be represented in our display in the Agricultural Building.
We could use your help with:
Tuesday 9/14 6PM at the Grange Hall to glue all the seeds onto the display. This will be done in the auditorium with lots of spacing. Masks are required, the tables will be well spaced. Please abide by social distancing guidelines. Of course family groups can cluster about a table.
Thursday 9/16 starting about 4PM will be the setting up of the display. The Grange theme this year is “Variety is the Spice of Life”. Some extra help is needed in decorating, but the biggest need is your extra vegetables and herbs. So please put some type of vegie or a spring of spices from your garden in a tote bag and drop by the display and leave it for us. The last fair we did was a bit slim on vegies, so all is appreciated.
Just drop them off and go on your way. Thursday really is the best night to enjoy the fair, it's free, uncrowded and is pretty much just exhibitors only.
If you have any questions, contact Andy Jones, Mea Bloyd or Gail/Bill Meyer our distinguished fair display committee chairs.
Anderson Valley Grange #669
Post Box 363
Philo, CA 95466
UNFAIR, BIG TIME
I own a small yoga studio here in Ukiah. I was recently fined $25,000 by the California Department of Industrial Relations for not having Workers Comp Insurance for my first year in business. I did not know that I didn’t have the insurance. As soon as I realized this, I immediately got a policy. Having employees is relatively new for the fitness industry. We have traditionally had independent contractors. The law was recently changed, and our industry is now required to have employees. I thought I would make all my yoga teachers employees before this law took effect and get ahead of this new law. In the process, I missed a step, getting Workers Comp Insurance.
I had a hearing with hearing officer Richard Gage and David Gomez, Deputy Labor Commissioner on June 24 2021 online. I should have had a lawyer. They decided to fine me $1,500 for each employee (17) that I had that year, $25,000. They could have fined me $2,168.74; which equals double the amount I would have paid for Workers Comp Insurance that year. I explained to them that this was an honest mistake, I did not realize I didn’t have the insurance, and that once I knew, I immediately got a policy. I also explained that I am a new small business owner, and that I don’t make $25,000 in a year. I also do not have any full-time employees. Our industry doesn’t work like that. And that by issuing me this fine this large, it would indeed put me out of business and cause my employees to lose their jobs. This didn’t seem to matter.
I need this to be heard, I need this to be shared. I want people to know that this is how the state is choosing to treat small business, and during a pandemic. I think the law needs to change because it does not include my type of industry. This fine amount is meant for big corporations that are purposely trying not to pay the Workers Comp Insurance, not a small yoga studio. This fine is extremely large for my type of business and is not inclusive of my industry. The law needs to change. I cannot afford to appeal this. Lawyers’ fees can be between $8,000-$10,000 for this type of appeal process. AND – the fine might not get reduced. Also, no type of payment plan is offered either. This seems extremely unreasonable. I had to pay a lawyer to negotiate a payment plan for me with the Department of Industrial Relations.
I have reached out to my State Senator Mike McGuire and to my State Representative Jim Wood. Hopefully this can change and doesn’t happen to any other small businesses in the future
Erin Paulsen, Radiant Yoga Ukiah
PARKING AT THE GRAND CANYON, 1914
FROM LOST COAST OUTPOST: “A shadowy shell corporation is threatening our future with an apparent proposal to purchase the Northwestern Pacific rail line, kill the dream of the Great Redwood Trail, and ultimately export coal from the Midwest out of Humboldt Bay....”
PURE HYSTERIA. It would cost many millions of dollars to carve out a trail through the Eel River Canyon, and restoration of the rail line? Into a billion, at least.
LIKE SENATOR MCGUIRE'S chimerical Great Redwood Trail, this manufactured scare story about a coal train linking the Bay Area and Eureka's “deep water port” is also fronted by the senator.
KICKING the coal train nonsense around at halftime of Sunday's Niner game, The Major suddenly blurted, “I smell Bosco!” Bosco is our shorthand for the utter ethical bankruptcy of the Northcoast Democrats, a dull collection of unprincipled career officeholders and miscellaneous opportunists, who, with the advent of former congressman Bosco, somehow wound up with the former Northwestern Pacific Railroad.
LIKE there isn't the Port of Oakland to ship coal outtahere? Like it isn't known exactly who is floating this preposterous scheme? There's something else at work here, and it already smells. Stay tuned.
RECOMMENDED READING: “The Decadent Society: How We Became a Victim of Our Own Success” by Ross Douthat. The old joke has it that America is the first country in history to move directly from barbarism to decadence without an intervening civilization. The author seems to agree.
DOUTHAT was a new name to this outback decadent. I found his analysis riveting. And true. And examined from a Christian perspective, also a departure for this sinner who hasn't read anything from a religious perspective since the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, circa 1960.
I WAS DEEP into The Decadent Society, a copy of which I found at the excellent San Anselmo Friends of the Library sale before I read the jacket identifying the author as a conservative columnist for the New York Times.
POLITICAL BIGOT that I am if I'd seen that before I started reading I probably would have put the book aside, wrongly anticipating some rightwing nut raving about liberals as communist dopehead subversives.
NOPE, good writer and, seems to me, a true statement of where we're at, which isn't a healthy place either spiritually or physically. Only in his very last para does Douthat recommend we get down on our knees, lift our eyes to the skies and pray for the deliverance only You Know Who might arrange, since he set the grand whirlygig in motion in the first place.
THE AUTHOR is a versatile scholar who means by “decadence” the ennui he (and millions of us) feel that appears “to be sustainable rather than a prelude to collapse.” This malaise derives from large, scloratic, seemingly irreversible, entropic forces — economic, institutional, technological, cultural, biological — that keep on keeping on short of the collapse doomer-thinkers anticipate. Best overall statement of The Problem I've read.
DEB SILVA WRITES:
I have relatives in Texas, mostly in the Houston area. I read a FB post from a cousin complaining about her mail delivery. A couple of people who also live in Texas commented that their mail has been dribbling in.
I found an article telling about a plan by DeJoy that is suppose to streamline the mail. It's set to start Oct. 1: kxan.com/news/texas/usps-slowing-some-mail-delivery-starting-oct-1-south-texas-may-see-some-delays/
I hadn't heard about this plan to slow the mail down. I think it's unusual that South Texas would be the first to notice that their mail is being slow and that they have already seen a difference in their delivery services considering that the plan isn't suppose to start until Oct. 1. No doubt, something is afoot, probably politically motivated.
SEE TOMMY TEXT. TEXT, TOMMY, TEXT!
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
Stepping boldly into the 1990s, I got me one of those pocket-size flat-screen entertainment centers last month. What next—a Prius?
My new smartphone is actually an old model iPhone and looks just like everybody else’s unit, being flat and rectangular, a sleek slab of chrome and glass that fits awkwardly into any shirt or pants pocket.
But the benefits are already obvious: My neck is bent and sore, my thumbs ache, my bank account took a big hit and I’m unable comprehend 98% of what my new little pal can do.
I’m mystified and mildly thrilled every time my phone does something, like when it shuts itself off with a notable Click, like the glove box closing in a Bentley. Classy and authoritative, that click.
Amazing tricks and capabilities escalate from there. My phone has more stuff stuffed inside than a museum has in its attic and basement combined. It’s like a clown car disgorging one astounding thing after another in a nonstop orgy of incomprehensible information.
Realistically, I’m the last person on the planet able to appreciate the charms and thrills of an iPhone, and for proof just remember it’s 2021 and you are reading my column on a sheet of newsprint fresh off a printing press with ink-stamped letters embedded on the pages. I also have a pet brontosaurus. A small one. A Brontadoodle.
So I’ve had this device a measly month and can already tell you what time it is, the weather outside, who won the Super Bowl last year, and both the Dow-Jones average, which goes up every day, and Joe Biden’s IQ, which goes down.
And I can text but only to people who just texted me so all I have to do is hit a “Respond” button. Maybe. My problem with texting has to do with fingers and thumbs working on a screen the size of a baseball card and typing on a keyboard the size of a postage stamp.
I might as well be wearing boxing gloves. The keyboard is touchier than a Venus Flytrap and I’m clumsier than Joe Biden eating spaghetti. Doesn’t keep me from trying, though.
Just a few hours ago I texted exited dgahtr SntacLaus Rosa doonf drfl nixt but she hasn’t answered. Maybe she doesn’t know where the Respond button is. I’d call her but I don’t know the app.
Now let’s do more of the thingie that runs the weather, and apparently there’s a whole lot of it. I should go outside and look but why bother when I got a Smartphone in my pocket.
It’s 7:32 in Madrid, air quality is uncertain in Redding and there are 240 shopping days til Christmas. What the heck did people do before there were Smart Phones??
OK, SERIOUSLY: How is an iPhone anything less than a magical instrument capable of astonishing feats no one can come within a hundred miles or three paragraphs of explaining?
It’s far beyond the rational comprehension of any of us. An iPhone is a small chunk of such condensed and powerful ju ju that if you owned the only one on the planet you’d be king. Ahh, but no. Its magic requires dozens, hundreds, millions of other clowns climbing out of the car at the same time, wave after wave shimmering in cyberspace, all equally unaware they hold the most powerful information weapon ever devised, by a hundredfold.
Me, I might as well be crouched in my cave, grunting, squinting, scared to come out, unwilling to confront this new terrifying invention called Fire. And so soon after the Wheel!
What might come next, or have we reached the limits of our powers on Earth?
Traffic data is piling up and it’s all on the wrong side of the ledger when it comes to Ukiah’s brand new downtown Streetscape. Trucks, even normal size ones, can’t negotiate right hand turns onto State Street without slubbing over the curbs.
Big truck? Fergetit. Fire engines, 18-wheelers, RVS ought to be redirected to save them being mired hub-deep in a bulb-out bog and needing a (very large) tow truck. Not that tow trucks can manage State Street turns either.
The problem? Bulbouts force vehicles to continue straight out onto State Street an extra few feet, then make hard, 90-degree turns. They can’t. Front tires rub against the curbs and rear wheels rolls atop them.
Proof? Go look at the curbs where right turns are made (off west-bound Perkins, for example, or West Church onto south State). These and other brand-new curbs are heavily tire-blackened in a scant month of use. Older intersections, minus the bulbouts, show no such wear and tear despite 20 or 30 years service.
Repairs are inevitable. Might need to raise taxes or maybe cut police and fire budgets. Can more consultants be in our future, and an ad hoc committee?
(Tom Hine was listening to an A’s game on radio KUKI, and heard an ad for Southwest Airlines announcing nonstop flights to Hawaii. TWK only travels to Pacific islands via Greyhound.)
FOOT THE BILL
To the Editor,
I am totally in agreement with TWK’s point of homelessness in his column titled “Perfect Weather for Arsonists,” and, if you don’t agree with TWK, then I recommend that you read a little item that occasionally appears in the Ukiah Daily Journal called The Daily Digest which lists fire calls and arrests in Ukiah.
What is worrisome is that here lately, the fire calls far outnumber the arrests, and, most of the fires seem to be caused by homeless people, and, I would like to know why something can’t be done to force the people who are getting rich dealing with the homeless to pay for the costs of fighting these fires and any property damage that is incurred.
Maybe if these people had to foot the bills for their clients, they and their clients would be interested in moving elsewhere.
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 12, 2021
THOMAS BROGAN JR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-loitering, petty theft with priors, disorderly conduct-alcohol, controlled substance, paraphernalia.
ALEJANDRO FRAGOSO, Sacramento/Ukiah. DUI causing bodily injury.
DARIN HAMMOND, Ukiah. Vandalism.
MICHAEL PARSONS, Willits. Hit&Run with property damage, no license.
DOES ANYBODY KNOW ANYTHING
by Mark Scaramella
Washington politicians are fond of saying nothing could have been done to prevent the 911 terrorist attacks.
Both Democrats and Republicans had done very little with terrorist warnings since the early 90s leading up to the famous attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but the people who ignored them have never had their butts seriously and publicly kicked.
After conveniently ignoring the role of Saudi Arabia, the main things coming out of the 9-11 Commission, were goofball aphorisms.
Fox News covered the glaring clues missed by the so-called “intelligence” agencies as far back as May of 2002. Shortly thereafter Time Magazine covered Richard Clarke’s “revelations” and a lot more in an extensive cover story called “Could 9/11 Have Been Prevented?” Nevertheless, the press acted like the 9-11 Commission hearings were “news.”
Here’s Fox News’s Carl Cameron quoting Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer in May of 2002: “The president was aware that bin Laden, of course, as previous administrations have well known, that bin Laden was determined to strike the United States. In fact, the label on the president’s presidential daily briefing was ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike the United States’.”
And here’s Time Magazine’s Michael Elliott in August of 2002:
“The heading on Slide 14 of [Clarke’s] Powerpoint presentation [to Condoleeza Rice] reads, ‘Response to al Qaeda: Roll back.’ Clarke’s proposals called for the ‘breakup’ of al-Qaeda cells and the arrest of their personnel. The financial support for its terrorist activities would be systematically attacked, its assets frozen, its funding from fake charities stopped. Nations where al-Qaeda was causing trouble — Uzbekistan, the Philippines, Yemen — would be given aid to fight the terrorists. Most important, Clarke wanted to see a dramatic increase in covert action in Afghanistan to ‘eliminate the sanctuary’ where al-Qaeda had its terrorist training camps and bin Laden was being protected by the radical Islamic Taliban regime.”
Clarke later complained that the Bush administration didn’t act on his advice.
Those are just two quick examples, out of many.
So Ms. Rice et al should have known, as the Clinton administration should have known, and acted accordingly. But they didn’t do anything. So there was the all too predictable disaster, on 9/11.
Thomas Pickard, the FBI’s Acting Director pre-9/11, testified that he told his field agents about the “threat spike” in the summer of 2001, when “something spectacular,” according to federal officials, was about to happen. But most of these agents told the 9/11 Commission staff they didn’t know about the increased threats. The agent in charge of terrorism in the Washington field office, according to the Commission, “was neither aware in the summer of 2001 of an increased threat, nor did his squad take any special steps or actions.”
“I learned that the FBI didn’t know what it had,” testified former attorney general Janet Reno. “Sometimes I thought we had made progress, but then we’d find something else that we didn’t know we didn’t have. I quickly learned the FBI didn’t know what it had. The right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing.”
911 Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste rephrased it: “Not only did the FBI not know what it knew, it didn’t know what it didn’t know.”
I can see a somber 911 Commission recommendation like, “We believe that the FBI should institute procedures and systems which will ensure that the agency not only knows what it knows but that it also knows at least some of what it doesn’t know, and further that systems are in place to permit agents to know that there are things that are not known or not known entirely.”
FBI reply: “OK. However, the cost of such a system is unknown, perhaps in the hundreds of billions.”
Here’s a bipartisan exchange between two of our most highly articulate and esteemed dunderheads from the Senate’s Government Oversight Committee in 2003 (from the congressional record).
Democratic Senator Charles Schumer: “So, let me get that straight again. In the trenches, in the Minneapolis office or somewhere else, before 9/11, if they punched in the word ‘aviation’ or ‘flight school’ — not a name, because you said it was different for a name — could they get every EC report that mentioned aviation and flight school?”
FBI Director Mueller: “It is my — and I am not sufficiently expertise in our computer systems. It is my — if you put in ‘airline,’ you may well be able to pick up those — well, actually, I’m not — can you excuse me just a second?”
Mueller: “This gets into the technology. I do not believe it can be done, because I do not believe there is full text retrieval, Number 1. And secondly, there was a system in place at the time of blocking certain cases from searches, not necessarily from headquarters, but searches from around the country as the part and parcel of the security provisions, so that there are certain — for instance, the Phoenix EC at the Phoenix EC was uploaded on the computer. There are only a limited number of people that could see it.”
Mueller: “A limited number of people who would be able to do the search of it…”
Mueller: “… to pull up flight school.”
Schumer: “That’s a different issue, but was the technology there that if you punched in certain words that you can see every report that mention those?”
Mueller: “I do not believe that is the case, but I am not sufficiently technologically astute to be able say that…”
Mueller: “…with assuredness.”
Mueller: “We are — the one thing that I do know is that you have to put in the specific — if I put in Mueller, it has to be M-U-E-L-L-E-R. It will come up M-U-E-L-L-E–R, but what we will not pull is M- U-L-L-E-R, M-I-L-L-E-R or other variations of it.”
Schumer: “You know, that’s even — that’s a little different. But…”
Schumer: “…I mean, every day, every one of us goes on our computer and does searches of certain words, and…”
Mueller: “We may have had…”
Schumer: “… it’s not very difficult to do. And I’m just — I guess what I would ask you is, how was it — I mean, because I think is important for — I am trying…”
Mueller: “I think we are way behind the curve. I have said it from the first day.”
Schumer: “But how was it we were so far behind the curve that it was almost laughable? What was wrong? That’s not something dealing with information — well, maybe it is. Maybe it deals with turf in its most fundamental way, but it just makes my jaw drop to think that on 9/11 or on 9/10 the kind of technology that’s available to most school kids and certainly every small business in this country wasn’t available to the FBI.”
* * *
Right. Sure. Yeah. Ok. Uh-huh. Fortunately, Senator Schumer didn’t ask Director Mueller how he would search for “al-Zarqhawi.”
Mueller didn’t offer and Schumer didn’t ask for any follow up report on the question of computerized searches.
The point is that this is what passes for high level discussion of subjects which the principles themselves consider to be critical to the nation’s security.
Nevertheless the 9-11 Commissioners repeatedly said that they are “not trying to place blame.” Of course not! They’re part of the political class that didn’t know anything and didn’t do anything. Are they going to blame themselves and their friends?
Instead of knowledge or action, however, we got a lot of touchy-feely hand-wringing about 9/11. Even the supposedly “tough” president who supposedly abhorred the “feel your pain” liberalism of Bill Clinton, seems to have been infected with a bad case of the warm fuzzies. In President Bush’s press conference on the subject words like sad, angry, feel, grieve, disappointed, concerned, happy, believe…were dribbled throughout.
“Some of the debate really centers around the fact that people don’t believe Iraq can be free, that if you’re Muslim or perhaps brown skinned, you can’t be self-governing and free. I strongly disagree with that. I reject that because I believe freedom is the deepest need of every human soul.
“You know, I just — I’m sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hasn’t yet.
“People needed to come together to work. And therefore, empty words would embolden the actions of those who are willing to kill indiscriminately.
“I happen to believe we’ll find out the truth on the weapons.
“I was very clear about what I believed.
“And of course that concerns me. All those reports concern me.
“Look, I can understand why people in my administration are anguished over the fact that people lost their life. I feel the same way. I mean, I’m sick when I think about the death that took place on that day.
“I plan on telling the American people that I’ve got a plan to win the war on terror. And I believe they’ll stay with me.
“I’m of the belief that we’ll find out the truth on the weapons.
“I believe so strongly in the power of freedom.
“I also have this belief, strong belief, that freedom is not this country’s gift to the world. Freedom is the Almighty’s gift to every man and woman in this world.
“If I tried to fine-tune my messages based upon polls, I think I’d be pretty ineffective. I know I would be disappointed in myself.
“I feel strongly about what we’re doing. I feel strongly it’s the course this administration is taking will make America more secure and the world more free and, therefore, the world more peaceful. It’s a conviction that’s deep in my soul.
“I hope today you’ve got a sense of my conviction about what we’re doing.”
* * *
Who cares what the president believes, hopes, or is concerned about? The chief executive isn’t supposed to sound like a Miss America contestant.
Whatever America’s problems are, goofballs, ignoramuses and warm-fuzzies in high places are not going to solve them.
BROKEN HEART TO MEMORY
When the birds
The most difficult thing
I can’t address or understand
How a fractured memory
Survives itself daily again
Except because I’m mortal
Mortal in an uncomfortable laugh
An understanding that
But I was jealous
And again the most difficult thing
But I was surviving
Surviving was like living
Alone and free bird fluff stuff
Comfortable daily in toil
My memory was broken again
Because I couldn’t feel
It sing to me
Something besides pain
— Quincy Steele
On 9/11/2001 I was living remotely, connected online through a telephone modem, and started the morning as usual on my little laptop Powerbook 170, by checking a stack of links in black and white, with no images of course, from AP, that included, Planes Hit WTO, Towers Fall, with the next line being a sports score. The feed was very slow throughout that day, so I was not staggered, but I realized that my planned participation for that evening in a poetry reading would require more than praising the moon. Here’s how I tried to wrestle the appearances, twenty years ago, in a cabin up the path. No cigar for what I’ve learned since.
. . .
Harald the Viking
watched a walled city
saw a flight of birds
enter in the morning
. . .
to perch on the eaves
and return in the evening
to the forest thus
sent fire to burn the town
. . .
the president says
was attacked this morning
his shield appears porous
. . .
we are surprised
who in the world
would be angry at us
some people hate
freedom so much
they’re willing to
die for it
. . .
— September 11, 2001
QUIET DESPERATION, PLEASE.
“From Hell's nose I snirkle at thee.”
The recording of last night's (2021-09-10) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) is right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0453
This show begins with the hour-and-twenty-minute Snap Sessions tribute to musician/graphic artist John Chamberlain and ends with a Futility Closet podcast featuring the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. And, in between, the usual goods, at least an hour of those goods via the Anderson Valley Advertiser, America's Last Newspaper.
BESIDES ALL THAT, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering that show together. Such as, for instance:
What we forget.
An intricate zootropic dream of money. Not zootrophicâ“ zootropic, from zootrope.
People modifying their space. This reminds me of one of the school dormitory blocks I lived in in the late 1970s, where it became a fad to bolt two-by-fours horizontally to your corner of the tiny two-person room for a platform, put one vertical two-by-four to post up the unsupported corner of it, and move your desk and chair underneath. If both occupants did this, it added almost a third to the floorspace of the room. End of semester, time to move out, reverse the process, save the bolts, leave the wood out by the dumpsters. Nobody ever got in trouble for it, and as far as I know no bed every tumbled out of the sky... I really like the idea of a promised place to live. Give people good jobs building them, and a non-ridiculous guaranteed annual income, and solve so much, alleviate so much insecurity and angst and real suffering in the world. /Then/ let's see how many people want to try to sleep huddled on the sidewalk in the rain, or in a drain culvert, or get hosed out of a doorway, or kicked or burned to death or pissed on in an alley or the park, because I don't think anyone does. And it would be so easy. The Soviets did it when they were poor as dirt.
And ground zeroes of Earth. An outrage, every one. A cowardly attack from space on our Homeplanet. That's why we have to throw ten trillion dollars and twenty years and a million lives at Pluto to bust up the terrorists' ability to ever do it again. Who's with me?
— Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
WE DID IT
We began to convert to solar power two years ago, starting with an electric car. Then we installed a solar panel array on our roof, large enough to power the entire house and charge two electric cars, even though the second is on order. We installed batteries to supply electricity at night (and during public safety power outages), recharged during the day by the solar panels. We replaced our gas water heater with an electric heat pump water heater, and soon we will have mini-split heat pump space heating and cooling installed.
The cost of our conversion to a small carbon footprint lifestyle was reduced a lot by all the discounts, rebates and tax credits offered to encourage these changes, not to mention that we sell our excess electricity back to Sonoma Clean Power.
Our gas bill is zero, and our electric bill is $14 per month, the minimum PG&E charge. Our electric car saves us hundreds of dollars every month not buying gasoline, as it is refueled for free by the solar panels.
Following Roy Wallace’s advice (“Solar solution,” Letters, Aug. 30) is one of the few times we can do well by doing good.
THE OTHER AFGHAN WOMEN
by Anand Gopal
This past spring, around the time that President Joe Biden announced that U.S. forces would be withdrawing from Afghanistan by September 11th, I happened to reread a short story by the science-fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas.” It describes a serene utopia, named Omelas, with grand public houses, avenues of trees, and a bountiful farmers’ market. Through some cruel arrangement, though, this Valhalla of “prosperity and beauty and delight” functions only because, in a basement beneath one of the beautiful houses, a small child is locked in a cell. “I will be good!” the child cries. “Please let me out.” The paradise depends on the continued internment of this child—a reality that most citizens uncomfortably accept.
When reading this parable about utilitarianism—the doctrine that we should judge right and wrong by what brings happiness to the greatest number of people—I couldn’t help but be reminded of Afghanistan, a country I had once lived in for three years, and have been reporting on for more than a decade. When I first moved to Kabul, in 2008, I fell in love with the city’s hillside houses, its smoky cafés, its stalls selling burgundy-colored rugs. I made dear friends, and the city came to feel like home. Several months ago, I called my friends to discuss the U.S. withdrawal. They were journalists, doctors, academics—the kinds of urban Afghans whose sense of liberty had expanded the most over the past two decades. They were deeply worried—as was I—about the fate of their city after September.
Yet there was another Afghanistan, in far-off provinces like Helmand, where the bulk of America’s war was being fought. I wondered how the impending withdrawal looked through the eyes of people living there. In Helmand, the Taliban-controlled Sangin Valley was one of the most heavily bombed regions on Earth. Could Sangin be, like the imprisoned child in Omelas, the price of progress? I decided to go there.
The first challenge was securing the Taliban’s permission to enter their domains. The movement is hostile to the free press, and rogue commanders have kidnapped reporters. Fortunately, over years of reporting in rural Afghanistan I’d developed contacts with the organization, and it approved my request to visit Sangin, although I did not explain my primary interest, which would have been too controversial for the Taliban: I wanted to speak to women living in their territory.
Meeting women in Helmand is difficult. The southern countryside is deeply conservative; you can spend days driving on the rutted dirt paths, or walking along the ill-kept irrigation canals, and not see a single woman outdoors. Usually, only grandmothers are given leeway to speak to unrelated men. Fortunately, a friend introduced me to a female relative of his, who helped connect me to other women. Each time, I’d tell them, “I’d like to hear your life story, from the beginning.” We’d spend hours, sometimes days, poring over details and revisiting distant memories. I would call each woman’s friends, asking for their recollections. Sometimes I met multiple women at once. Often they spoke with one another in Pashto, a language I understand, and I silently soaked up their stories.
By the time I met Shakira, the subject of “The Other Afghan Women,” I had a strong sense of the arc of the life of an impoverished woman in Sangin. But Shakira’s sheer determination to survive—to cling to hope for a better life for herself and her children—struck me as a powerful lens through which to view the past two decades. Like the other women I met in Sangin, she spoke of forced evacuations from her village, and of terrifying nights hiding in a ditch behind her house. When she mentioned deaths in her family, it was usually in passing. But, as our conversations continued, it became clear that Shakira, like other women in the area, had suffered an extraordinary number of losses. Although I had reported in Afghanistan for years, I was taken aback by the scale of her personal tragedy.
Not long after I left Helmand, the Taliban marched into Kabul. There are no easy answers to Afghanistan’s tragedy: I mourned for my friends in Kabul, even as I breathed a sigh of relief for those in Sangin. Yet, as I watched pundits and cable-news anchors debating the ethics of our withdrawal, I could not shake Le Guin’s description of Omelas and what it might suggest about America’s role in the world. Many of Omelas’s citizens accept the moral compromise at the heart of their society, but others cannot bear such a weight on their consciences. “They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, they do not come back,” Le Guin writes. “They seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away.”
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Last month for Miami-Dade County Public Schools was an especially grim sign of the times. At least 13 employees, including teachers, school bus drivers, and a cafeteria manager, have died “from complications of COVID-19” since August 16, NPR reports <https://apple.news/Ap-YIz7zUQ-S1sYAJ-Q5_cA>. “It is a big number. It is a bruising statistic that we need to absolutely internalize,” Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told the outlet. The majority of the 13 workers became infected and died prior to the beginning of the school year; all were unvaccinated and African American, United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez-Mats also told NPR. The loss, Carvalho said <https://apple.news/Ap-YIz7zUQ-S1sYAJ-Q5_cA>, “underscores the impact of misinformation and disinformation efforts through some vocal entities, who quite frankly profess anything but scientific reality.”