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A ROBUST COLD FRONT will bring rain and significant interior cooling today. Showers and lower snow levels will follow tonight. More precipitation is expected with another front Tuesday night through Wednesday. An active and wet weather pattern will continue during the latter portion of the work week and next weekend. (NWS)
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Dude has a happy-go-lucky personality and seems to enjoy being outside a lot. We noticed what a smart guy he is when we asked him sit and shake. We also noticed that Dude did not seem interested in making a new canine friend. He wasn’t reactive, but clearly was not interested and seems more people-oriented. Dude is an energetic dog who will need daily exercise and plenty of outdoor space to enjoy. He also needs a cat-free home. Dude is 2 years old, 58 pounds, and neutered—ready to sashay out the shelter door and into your life.
For more about DUDE, visit mendoanimalshelter.com While you’re there, check out all of our canine and feline guests, our services, programs, events, and updates. Visit us on Facebook at: facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/
For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.
FROM SHERIFF MATT KENDALL: TRIAGE MODE
I wanted to reach out to the public and discuss several crimes we are currently experiencing in Mendocino County. I would also ask all of our residents to help us, help you.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, as well as most law enforcement agencies in California, are experiencing low personnel numbers.
Several factors have contributed to this, to include COVID shut downs of police academies as well as an exodus of law enforcement officers to other states.
The lack of personnel is causing all law enforcement agencies to create greater incentives for hiring and retention. This is occurring at a time when we are seeing a greater demand for first responders.
The needs range from assistance during natural disasters, to wild fires caused by natural events and arson, violence and homicides as well as a large increase in illegal drug activities. The resources to investigate and deal with these crimes are getting harder to come by.
Our detectives are working several homicide cases in which the victims and suspects aren’t from our area. This causes us to have to travel outside of Mendocino County to adequately investigate these crimes.
Many crimes which are considered non-violent have had punitive reductions.
Several felonies which would have been housed in our state prisons are now housed within county jails across California.
Many crimes have been reduced from felonies to misdemeanors and with the current legislation moving to releases of all non-violent misdemeanors we are seeing more of these types of crimes.
Mail theft is again on the rise and we have made arrests and continue to investigate these types of crimes.
Several other calls for service such as noise complaints are continuing to rise and I received several correspondences regarding loud generators, loud parties and vehicle noise.
One evening we had several complaints regarding loud music while our deputies were searching for a murder suspect.
Please be patient and understand we have to triage calls for services as they come in. Often we simply have calls which take priority over other calls. Calls for service are always assessed and those which effect life and property have to come first.
Mental health cases are also an area which draws greatly on our resources, not only in our county, however across the nation as well. We are continuing to work with Behavioral Health to find good solutions for treatment of people in crisis. We have seen a steady increase in behavioral health issues, this increase seems to be directly associated with substance abuse.
With these things in mind, I would ask a few things of our residents that will help us keep Mendocino County safe. I am asking everyone with a rural mailbox to retrieve their mail on a daily basis. If your mailbox is empty there will be nothing to steal.
Also packages which are delivered to your residence, please try to retrieve them as soon as possible this will also help us curb theft.
We have solved several crimes with the help of security cameras which are privately owned at residences and businesses.
I am asking anyone with a security camera to please keep them in good working order. When a crime is committed in an area, we would like to know who has video cameras and would be willing to provide us with footage.
If you see something, please say something. If something doesn’t look right in your neighborhood please take note of it and contact us. It may be connected to something much larger than you realize.
Nearly every crime which is solved by our office, is solved with the assistance of our residents. Take note of license plates and descriptions of vehicles and persons while the event is fresh in your mind. It may be nothing however it could be something.
I receive emails and letters on a constant basis from residents who are extremely appreciative of the work our deputies are doing.
I share these messages with our deputies and it is always appreciated.
I am asking when our deputies and first responders are working in your areas, please take the time to let them know you appreciate them.
Our deputies work hard and make sacrifices for the people around them. It is our duty however it is much easier to do when they know they are supported and appreciated.
We have reached an odd time in our nation. A time when everyone wants to condemn any violence committed by police, however no one is talking about persons who resist arrest.
Actions create reactions and we need to start looking at the entire picture.
I am currently working towards greater incentives for hiring and retention within Mendocino County.
We will be presenting several options to our Board of Supervisors which I believe will allow us to hire and retain personnel at a greater rate.
This will assist us as we move forward to continue meeting the needs of Mendocino County.
Sheriff Matt Kendall
VAX OR PAY
To the Editor:
We are currently in the middle of the worst Covid-19 surge in the last 18 months, and hospitals are approaching their bed and ICU capacity. The situation is so dire; a person with a life-threatening heart attack is in danger of not getting the care needed. The medical staff members are having to make the hard decision on who gets the care they desperately need.
If the hospital capacity gets much worse, one of the decision points may have to be whether or not the Covid-19 patient has been vaccinated, and not be based on first come, first served. It’s a very difficult call, but if the Covid-19 patient had elected to be vaccinated, the likelihood of them being in the hospital or in ICU would be remote.
On 9/12/21, I wrote the following to our Public Health organization: “I have supported Dr. Coren and his decision to be firm with the non-vaxxers by announcing the Covid-19 vaccination mandate. Now, I understand from the UDJ he has relaxed the mandate in favor of using personal choice about vaccinations. I am disappointed because this is not the time to pander to a few hurt feelings. These folks are largely responsible for the increased cases and occupying the hospital beds. Also, the anti-vaxxers, which represent nearly 13% of our county population are putting the other 87% at risk from the threat of a new, more aggressive, variant. Make the difficult decision and let’s wrap up this pandemic as quickly as possible. Follow through with the vaccine mandate you announced earlier, and we will be able to move on with our lives!”
And further, it has been reported that in a recent BOS meeting, our 5th District Supervisor, Ted Williams, introduced the idea that unvaccinated employees should have to pay $200 a month to offset the cost of Covid-19 testing. I couldn’t agree more. Yes, it is their body, but if anyone refuses to get vaccinated, they should pay for the testing. It is my tax dollars that are paying for their reluctance, and I prefer they be used to support responsible causes needed by the 87%.
ERNIE BRANSCOMB: Dog stories… Why do they always have to be so heartbreaking?
I am descendant from a long line of country pioneers, ranchers, and farmers. As you might guess, dogs are a very big part of our story. All of the dogs that we have had were of the McNabb/Terrier stock. They were smart, fast, and resourceful.
My grandfather had a dog named Jack that in the evening would wait patiently for my grandfather to tell him, “Okay Jack, go get the cows.” Jack would take off like a shot out of a gun and go up the hill after the cows. If he missed one he would go back and find it.
My Dad had a little black dog called Speed that he would use for hunting. He would go up on the hill and tell Speed, “Bring me a deer.” Speed would take off and find deer. He would chase them past my Dad. If he didn’t shoot one, Speed would be very disgusted and pout. Dad said that the dog finally figured out to only bring the ones with horns. I’m not sure how true that was, but Dad loved that dog and he swore it was true… So I’m going to have to go with it.
The dog that we have now was so cute as a puppy that all the girls would pick him up and hug him. So, he is spoiled and useless, but he has wormed his worthless little self into my wife’s heart and he knows how to work it.
DREDGE LAKE MENDOCINO? Experts say it’s ‘not worth the bang for the buck’
by Mary Callahan
Now that Lake Mendocino holds only a fraction of what it should, there’s a whole lot of lake bed exposed to the sky, and folks are wondering why the government doesn’t exploit the opportunity to dredge the lake and increase its capacity for the future.
It’s an increasingly common question as the lake has receded from the shoreline over months of severe drought, and the prospect of increasing extremes in rainfall going forward accentuates the need for expanded water storage.
But it’s not as obvious a solution as it may seem, officials say.
Though a substantial volume of sediment has accumulated in the lake bottom since the reservoir outside Ukiah was dammed and filled more than 60 years ago, the cost and trouble of dredging it suggests a “bang for that buck that is pretty low,” one U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official said.
Estimates suggest the hardened silt now occupies the space that would otherwise store between 7,500 and 8,500 acre feet of water — or almost 14 million cubic yards.
That’s equal to about 7% of the lake’s overall storage capacity of 118,000 acre feet, or about 64% of what the diminished reservoir currently holds. (The lake held a little more than 13,000 acre feet on Friday, or about 4.2 billion gallons of water.) It’s not an enormous amount of space, but having it available for surplus water in the future would be welcomed.
But removing the sediment would be a great big deal, officials said.
“The volume is staggering,” said Brad Sherwood, a spokesman for Sonoma Water, which manages lake releases in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “If you piled the sediment at the bottom of Lake Mendocino on to one football field, it would be almost a mile and a half high, or over a million truck loads.”
Even if you moved 100 truckloads a day of earth excavated from the bottom of the lake, it would take years — assuming the lake stayed dry enough to work that long, he said.
But even before it got to that point, tapping the millions of dollars in federal funds and acquiring authorizations necessary to do the work would require studies and environmental assessments, not least because of the turbidity that would be churned up, potentially affecting imperiled fish downstream, said Townsley, with the Army Corps.
There also would be important questions about emissions and air quality related to trucking away all that earth.
And even though the amount of sediment in the lake seems like a lot, it’s relatively little compared to reservoirs in steeper watersheds where water flows in at a higher velocity, bringing in more soil and silt with it, Townsley said.
Then there are the questions about the mud, once it’s dredged, he said.
“What are you going to do with it? Where does it go — even assuming you’re not going to find too much bad stuff in there?”
“It would be, I think, a lot of effort for not very much return,” Townsley said.
“We do, in a moment like this, understand that intuitive thought that, like, ‘Hey, let’s dig it out,’ ” said Nick Malasavage, operations and readiness chief for the Army Corps’ San Francisco District. “ … For us, the big takeaway is that every scoop of earth is a whole lot of investment in permits and energy to get it done.”
Townsley said that doesn’t mean the time for dredging would never be right.
“At some stage of the game, the water may in fact become valuable enough that we, as a society, start making decisions to do stuff like that,” he said. “I just don’t think we’re there yet.”
FRUSTRATING end to the playoff game between the Giants and the Dodgers Thursday night. A checked swing that really was checked short of a swing? We'll always wonder if the guy would have hit the next one out. And here come the demands for mandatory replays and, for the National League, designated hitters. Noooooooo! Leave the game alone. In fact, take it back to 1950 — no batting gloves and no sliding gloves for god's sake! No flyovers, either. No giant electronic scoreboards.
SO MUCH OF SPORT beyond the sport itself is so cliched you can almost see and hear millions of tv sets going off when the post-game corks pop and the apparently mandatory clubhouse celebrations begin. Champagne sprays are ritualistic now that the boys of summer (and endless fan-gouging playoffs) don special plastic eye protectors before the "fun" commences. I remember the Giants dousing each other with Roederer one year, a primo example of wretched excess if there ever was one. And the football coaches getting doused with GatorAde. How many times have we seen that one? Finally, cease all live interviews with athletes who, coached to never say anything that might even be close to interesting, faithfully never say anything close to interesting. For interesting go to the many excellent sportswriters where the writing is good and candid. (You will have noted that sports writing is much livelier than the rest of the newspaper and much smarter than the political talk on the big tv networks.)
MENDOLIB, at least that part organized and active in the Democratic Party, is fearful that the “village” of Mendocino and its consignment of auto-pilot Democrat voters will be shape-shifted from the 5th District into the 4th District (Fort Bragg, mostly) where by the basic gringo value standards of net worth and psychology Mendocino rightly belongs.
US AMERICANOS are trained not to consider social class, but applying a loose class angle to Mendo and Fort Bragg, the two areas are more demographically and politically alike than different, hence the appeal of the conservative liberalism dominant in both places, and the dependable elections of supervisors in both districts that reflect the prevalent inside-the-bubble delusions common among people who don't (and never have) live with the wolf at the door while the large majority of Mendocino County people have the wolf sitting at the dinner table with them.
AND THEN there's Mendolib's audio branch, KZYX, where all of the above is reinforced round the clock, a self-alleged “community radio station” that leaves out most of the community, where never ever in its droning, predictable history has a single dissenting word ever been heard. “Politics, A Love Story” hosted by station trustee, Bob Bushansky, says it all. Bushansky, incidentally, like many tiresome old socks before him, bought his way onto the air and onto the station's board of directors, rounding out a perfect pitch of audio entropy. The programming, for 32 years now, has been like someone sneaking into your house and slapping a chloroform-soaked rag over your face the instant you turn your radio on. The Democratic Party is on the air!
DAVE CHAPPELLE'S latest stand-up on NetFlix is called ‘The Closer.’ How funny is it? Well, NPR hated it so you know it's funny. $24.1 million funny? I guess so if the calculation is viewers, and Dave packs 'em in.
THE OBJECTIONS to Chappelle are summed up by NPR this way: “The content of Dave Chappelle’s controversial stand-up special The Closer—the dangerous transphobia, the gaslighting, the false equivalence of marginalized communities, the erasure of intersectionality—wasn’t shocking so much as it was pedestrian, the most basic, unenlightened kind of ‘humor’ about the LGBTQ community.”
UH, kind of like sorta, but the whole of it was really a plea for tolerance as summed up by Chappelle's touching tribute to a trans comic friend of his. The only caveat I have, which is the old one for me, is that Chappelle always tosses in gratuitously vulgar remarks. Maybe I'm just too old school but with him there's always a few comments that make me wince. “Jeez, did he have to say that?” But Chappelle is very, very funny, busting up the “smelly little orthodoxies” of these intellectually stifling times.
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 16, 2021
CASSIDY BAKER, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
RYAN DICKERSON, Ukiah. Tresassing, polluting state waters, failure to obey peace officer’s lawful order.
SARAH GINSKEY, Fort Bragg. DUI, resisting, probation revocation.
SERJIO GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JOHN HARRIS, Willits. DUI, probation revocation.
ALBERT MCCAIN, Ukiah. DUI, domestic battery, child endangerment.
JOHNNY MORALES, Manchester. Domestic battery.
JAMES MORRISON, Santa Cruz/Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, vandalism, probation revocaiton.
MARTIN PANIAGUA-MORENO, Ukiah. Domestic battery, damaging wireless communications, criminal threats.
LARRY WOLFE SR., Ukiah. Domestic battery.
ANOTHER SHITSTORM IN BERKELEY
by Jonah Raskin
The shit is hitting the fan in Berkeley, again. The city, which is notorious for not thinking clearly or honorably about People’s Park and its legacy, announced plans recently to install a public toilet on Haste Street directly in front of a legendary mural that Osha Neumann and O’Brien Thiele painted 45 years ago. The smell of teargas had just barely begun to fade.
“I don’t think the toilet was meant intentionally to be malicious, though it amounts to that,” Neumann told me. He added, “If I hadn’t heard about it I think it would have gone through. The city is focused on toilets, not on murals.”
Lord knows, the city desperately needs places for people to pee and poop. Signs everywhere and especially in the front windows of cafes and restaurants say, “restrooms for customers only.” It’s not just a problem in Berkeley. It’s a problem all over post-pandemic America.
“Portland Loo” is the name of the toilet. The cost: $96,000. The dimensions are 8 ½ feet tall by 10 ½ feet long. The first Portland Loo was installed in Portland, Oregon in 2008. Since then more than 50 units have been sold.
The Haste Street mural depicts Mario Savio and the 1964 Free Speech Movement as well as People’s Park, where, in the spring of 1969, Governor Reagan dispatched the National Guard. One man, James Rector, was shot and killed, another man blinded, dozens wounded and arrested. For Reagan the White House was the next stop.
People’s Park is a sore spot, for sure. After all these years, the emotional and psychological wounds haven’t healed. In an email Neumann sent to the Berkeley city manager, the mayor and the city council, as well as the Director of Public Works, he asked, rhetorically “The City can’t find any place to install a toilet except smack dab in front of my mural – our mural? And somehow that’s okay?”
Then he went on a rant of sorts, which seemed to be appropriate, and in keeping with his own Sixties personal history as a member of the Up Against the Wall, Motherfuckers.
Neumann explained that the toilet would “permanently obscure the view of a mural, which has been a Berkeley landmark since it was painted in 1976, and which was officially landmarked in 1990.” He added, “a mural which is still the only memorial in the city (and perhaps anywhere) to the events that gave Berkeley its reputation as a place where people struggle for the betterment of human kind, for the end of stupid brutal wars, for the elimination of racism, for freedom of speech, and for life free from repressive strictures on how to dress, whom to love, and how to wear your hair. All those freedoms this mural celebrates.”
He sent his email to scores of Berkeleyites, some of whom might be called “The usual suspects.”
A reporter asked Neumann, a longtime activist and artist who is now a lawyer, “Will the city’s decision to install the toilet in front of the mural create a shitstorm?” “I hope it will do that,” Neumann replied.
He has been a lawyer since 1987 and has represented the homeless, victims of police abuse and people arrested for acts of civil disobedience.
The Haste Street toilet isn’t a done deal. The head of public works emailed Neumann and said he wanted to talk. Neuman replied with his own email address. He hasn’t heard back.
“I have a feeling that they know they have a problem,” Neumann said. “There’s a lot of opposition to the toilet.” Indeed, it’s another Berkeley movement and it’s growing fast.
Jonah Raskin is the author of Beat Blues, San Francisco, 1955.
What about the waste? It is a question we should ask about all energy systems. Nuclear power plants are required to contain their waste and establish funds for waste management and plant decommissioning. Had this been required of all energy systems, we probably would not be experiencing climate change.
Nuclear waste can be managed in a variety of ways, ranging from recycling to deep geologic burial. Recycling using a fast reactor can increase the energy yield of uranium by a factor of 150, reduce the quantity of waste by about 95%, reduce the complexity and duration of waste storage and reduce the need for uranium mining for hundreds of years.
Solar and wind energy systems have not been required to establish funds for waste management and system decommissioning. Due to their low energy density and need for backup energy systems, their resource use and volume of waste is many times greater than nuclear per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced. A lot of it, especially wind-turbine blades, end up in landfills.
Granted, some nuclear waste has toxicity that declines over thousands of years but deserves careful disposal. However, solar waste contains elements that are toxic forever. It also deserves careful disposal.
‘THERE HAVE TO BE CONSEQUENCES’: Judge ups sentences for Capitol rioters
A federal judge in Washington has repeatedly sentenced people who stormed the U.S. Capitol to more prison time than prosecutors sought, saying that even people who were not violent should face consequences for joining the unprecedented assault.
In the past week, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has imposed sentences ranging from 14 to 45 days on four people who pleaded guilty to unlawful parading and picketing inside the Capitol building on Jan. 6 — a misdemeanor offense.
"There have to be consequences for participating in an attempted violent overthrow of the government, beyond sitting at home," Chutkan said at one of the hearings.
REPORTER’S ALERT: PART IV
by Ralph Nader
Reporters at major newspapers and magazines are hard to reach by telephone. Today it is increasingly hard to converse with them about timely scoops, leads, gaps in coverage, and corrections to published articles.
We started an online webpage: Reporter’s Alert. From time to time, we use Reporter’s Alert to present suggestions for important reporting on topics that are either not covered or not covered thoroughly. Reporting that just nibbles on the periphery won’t attract much public attention or be noticed by decision-makers. Here is the sixth installment of suggestions:
1. More states are recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day, giving rise to the need for a broad report on all the treaties tribal nations signed with the U.S. government that are still intact and that are still violated by the U.S. government. Recall for example, on Thursday July 9, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court had occasion to recognize the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s rights to the land in much of Tulsa and eastern Oklahoma as being part of their reservation. (See, https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/18-9526_9okb.pdf). There will be fascinating revelations from a report on this topic.
2. Numerous people have been asking me “What’s happened to all those lawsuits against Trump?” Trump has escaped the grips of the law for years, most recently the stalled civil justice (tort law) suits by several women claiming sexual assaults, by prosecutors in New York, Washington, D.C., and Georgia. Trump has even managed to escape, so far, depositions under oath, including one that Robert Mueller should have demanded. This is so remarkable that there should be a seminar at Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown Law Schools about how Trump has escaped, with all the ways his lawyers have shielded this serial outlaw from federal, state, and local laws.
To make his escapes more current, since Trump is a clear-cut violator of criminal statutes, including the Hatch Act and the Anti-Deficiency statute, obstruction of justice, again and again, brazenly and openly, one might expect the Justice Department should be readying some law enforcement. See letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland recounting the DOJ’s avoidance of its duties vis-à-vis Trump’s sexual violations, thus demonstrating that Donald J. Trump is indeed repeatedly ABOVE THE LAW. Also remarkable is that this topic has to be suggested to the Fourth Estate as a major, comprehensive inquiry.
3. State legislatures and governors in many states are using “pandemic” pretexts to eliminate rights and democratic procedures. In California, which has one of the more liberal legislatures, lawmakers are taking bills to the floor discarding past rules providing every bill have committee staff analysis and a legislative hearing with questions from legislators, and testimony from citizens. Assembly Bill 2167 is one such example, favoring the insurance industry. Imagine what more conservative state legislatures are doing. Also, the California State Assembly voted to allow votes on bills without members being present in the chamber, despite an opinion from the state’s legislative counsel that it likely violates the state Constitution.
Governors, citing the pandemic, have issued dubious executive orders that let vendors in healthcare avoid the tort laws for their negligent (or worse) injuries to innocent persons. For reporters, the quest is to find out how widespread these strictures have become and how permanent.
4. Sports injuries are more prevalent than ever before. Despite, more advanced knowledge, training, and self-care by athletes, professional teams are experiencing so many recurrent injuries that some sports announcers have started a regular “Injury Report” on sports radio. In baseball, injuries have become epidemic, when in the 1950s and 1960s they were quite rare. It is not a candidly discussed subject among the sports media and fans receive few if any explanations. The injury epidemic is so pronounced that the Yankees baseball radio announcer has started a daily Injury Report brought to you by an orthopedic practice ad in New York.
Some reasons suggested are (1) the players are bigger, and (2) the play is more strenuous. In baseball, pitchers’ arms start getting strained in their teenage years, given the dreams about throwing 100 miles per hour fastballs in the major leagues. These days after every pitch announcers note what the mph was. Tommy John operations are numerous every year. With the ever-greater emphasis on home runs, players are becoming muscle-bound with added risks of straining a ligament. Certainly today, baseball professionals have better equipment – helmets, gloves, safer shoes, and they are protected by padded walls in the outfield. These advances prevent injuries, yet today’s players are placed on the injury list far more than those in the past. What with the many years of covering up concussions in football etc., it seems important to look into this broad area. (See, leagueoffans.org). Sports reporters take note!
5. What’s happened to NASA? It has increasingly become an agency that outsources or contracts out, losing the technical and scientific capacity to better pay offers by the contractors. The brain drain is rampant: nearly 80% of NASA’s budget is contracted out. The Old NASA did far more things itself and kept its intellectual property close to the vest. NASA is now a shadow of itself, a trademark on press releases; so much so that it is losing control over policy and other matters to the contractors. A reporter should get copies of these contracts and see the extent of the multiple giveaways, corporate welfare, and undue influence taking the search all the way to congressional committees.
P.S. Next week from October 22-23, 2021, corporate crime specialists from around the world will attend the symposium at Georgetown Law Center titled, Imagining a World Without Corporate Criminal Law (Register for the event here).
THE WOLF AT THE DOOR. THE FLAN IN THE FACE.
The recording of last night's (2021-10-15) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) is right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0458
Email me your writing on any subject and I'll read it on the radio next week. That's what I'm here for. I'll try not to mess it up too badly. If it's more than plain text, please provide a link to the media you want me to see or hear, rather than attach it.
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:
James Bond theme a capella.
My step-brother Craig, dead now for 40 years, once when we were kids won ten dollars in an off-camera game show studio audience participation contest. Afterward we were at a toy store and he spent it on a set of hundreds of green plastic army men in a big bag. I don't remember which one of us was burned worse playing with lighting them on fire in the back yard, to hear the vooOOP or voooEET or vvvv-WUTT sound falling drops of burning army-man plastic made. They probably don't make them out of napalm anymore. Pingpong balls were also interesting to burn. They burned in a fascinating growing then contracting ring shape and were consumed so completely that they left no ashes, just a string or wisp of lighter-than-air barely substantial soot that floated up and vanished. Also: the sound of pingpong balls burning. That was something.
And the hippie temptation. (50 min.)
— Marco McClean, email@example.com, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
WHY I’M LEAVING AMERICA
by Guy Saperstein
My wife and I have spent sixty years fighting for social justice in America and trying to be good citizens, me as a civil-rights lawyer who litigated — and won — the largest race, age, and disability employment discrimination cases in American history, and my wife as a teacher, social worker, healthcare activist and philanthropist. I retired at fifty-one, having built an enormously lucrative practice, never losing a case as I pursued legal restitution on behalf of clients who had gotten the short end of the stick.
America once led the world in innovation. No more. We don’t even have one mile of high-speed rail, unless you count Disneyland. China has 30,000, and counting. Which country do you think is prepared to prosper in the next century?
We can’t even keep our roads repaired. America’s roads are a mess, many as bad as any Third World country. In fact, that is what America is becoming — a Third World country.
The battle is lost. America is in terminal decline and nearly 75 million Americans seem to be willing to pull it down further. How can it be that so many millions voted for a man who failed in everything he ever tried—a man who started more than a score of businesses and every one failed, who cheated repeatedly on three wives before each marriage failed, who is despised by even members of his own family, who went out of his way nearly every day to show that he is a racist and a sexist, a man who has been caught, according to the Washington Post, in more than 30,000 lies in just the four years he was president, who cheated at nearly everything, including golf, how is it that such a man is held up as a paragon of virtue by nearly half of the electorate? Something has gone seriously off the rails.
I can no longer bear the chest-thumping triumphalism of the No-Nothing Party. I can’t stand the self-congratulatory promotion of the hoary notion of American exceptionalism. People who think America is the greatest in all things are people who simply have never been anywhere else. America is not now — and has never been — a representative democracy and won’t be in my lifetime and probably not in yours, either. Biden won by 7.3 million votes — a smashing win, right? — but if just 43,000 votes in a few states had switched, Donald Trump would still be president today. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom could have received 49% of the vote in the recall election and have lost and some Republican hack could have received 18% and won. And because each state has two senators, 18% of the electorate elects 51% of senators. Explain that to Cleisthenes.
We now have an active right-wing attack on voting itself, much of it racially motivated, but imperiling us all. And then, alas, we have the filibuster, which has almost made America ungovernable.
I want out. I’m tired of waking up to some crackpot ranting that COVID is a hoax, or vaccines don’t work, or masks are an assault on freedom, or that the 2020 election was stolen and Joe Biden is not really President, or that January 6 was just a peaceful gathering of fun-loving people.
While Trump has been diminished, we are surrounded by his supporters — Americans who voted for one of the most despicable men who ever strut upon the American stage, most of his supporters continue to believe — with no evidence — that he won. Most prefer superstition to science, many would apparently rather die than wear a mask or take a vaccine, and tens of millions believe cockamamie conspiracies. These people are not going away.
This woebegone predicament is likely to get worse. Moreover, our priorities as a nation seem perilously upside down. We spend more than twice the amount for healthcare as any developed nation and get the crappiest healthcare system in the world because the medical Establishment — mainly the drug companies — has Washington in its pocket. And that includes Biden.
We have among the worst economic disparities in the world — which are getting worse — a hollowed-out middle class, money overwhelming politics, and even the Democrats unable to do anything about any of this.
We are exiting Afghanistan, which is good, but the forces of the American imperium, which includes many Democrats, are actively bemoaning the fact that Afghans might actually rule Afghanistan. We still have a military budget almost ten times bigger than any other nation on earth and nearly 900 military bases girdling the globe. China, the big bogeyman, has none. China is taking over the world at amazing speed because they are strategic, not just belligerent. If you think the expensive debâcle of Afghanistan and Iraq will mean any rethinking of American foreign policy or scaling down our massive defense apparatus, you are going to be sorely disappointed. The forces of imperial expansion in America are robust and thriving despite the defeats of the past half-century.
If I were a young man, I might stay, but after fifty-plus years of social struggle, I think I have a right to take a rest, enjoy my success and have some fun with my family. America’s downward slide is terminal, and I do not have the energy or influence to have a major impact.
I’m moving to France, which has a vibrant middle-class, a real labor movement and twenty times less violent crime than America.
I say: Goodbye America; you won’t be missed.