SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE ANN MOORMAN last week stood up to a brazen attempt by Supervisor Hamburg to rig a court appearance for his troubled son. I know, I know. Fathers and sons, etc. But, as described by Bruce McEwen in this week's AVA, Hamburg's efforts to protect his son involved some extremely shady interference in the process by, of all people, County Counsel Tom Parker, who seems to be functioning lately as Hamburg's free lawyer. Worse, was a quick palsy-walsy sign-off by visiting judge Richard Kossow. Kossow was elected exactly once, back in the middle 1970s when lots of people in Anderson Valley thought it would be funny to elect a hippie judge to the one-day-a-week Anderson Valley Justice Court. The joke's been on all of us ever since.
THE OCCUPANTS of the part-time justice courts were then elevated to Superior Court status and Kossow has ridden a highly lucrative wave ever since as a visiting judge around the state. But he was a rum character as a hippie, and he's a rum character now as a judge, as he demonstrated last week by joining Hamburg, Parker and an old Hamburgian from Ukiah, the therapist Kevin Kelly, in an attempted end around the courts on behalf of Hamburg's son.
THE ANNUAL SALMON Barbecue is this Saturday down in Noyo Harbor, Fort Bragg. Proceeds support salmon restoration efforts, this year fish counts in the Usal Forest and work on spawning grounds in the Noyo River. 11am to 6pm, $30 at the entrance, $23 in advance from Harvest Market, Fort Bragg. This being a good salmon year, the fish should be right off the boats. Nice event, good cause.
GOOD TO SEE DAVE EVANS back in the live music business this year with two great shows. On Saturday, July 15th, Dave presents Roy Rogers and the Delta River Kings with Boonville native Guy Kephart on the grill. Music at 6:30, gates open at 6.
LATER THIS SUMMER, the amazing blues man, Charlie Musslewhite, will appear at the amazing Navarro Store venue with his two brothers for a rare family appearance of a genius musical family. Stay tuned for the date.
WHEN THE NSA spying scandal broke, so did the illusion that President Obama was significantly different than his predecessor, Bush Jr. Obama’s meticulously crafted image was specifically created as an alternative to Bush: Obama campaigned as a peace candidate who loved civil liberties and wanted to work with the UN instead of unilaterally launching wars. But now that the president has been fully exposed as an aspiring Bush III, will he retreat back into the sheep’s clothing he wore as candidate Obama? Or will he shed any remaining pretense and fully adopt Bush’s international recklessness? The answer is that both are likely true: Obama will continue to perform his stale routine as a “pragmatist” while in reality acting out an even more dangerous foreign policy than Bush. (—Shamus Cooke)
LAST FRIDAY, the Ukiah Police Department was called to sort out the folllowing: A man said his child was locked in a dungeon behind the family couch, but soon called back to say the child was asleep in his own bed. A woman screaming from under a bridge was non-existent. A man was asleep under a tree at the WalMart parking lot. An aged cat hadn't moved from a vacant field until police took it to Animal Control. A raving tweeker was taken into custody. A resident of North Franklin said there was a raccoon or a possum in her bed. It was her cat. Items reported as bombs in a parked car were fishing tackle. A woman selling books door-to-door was advised to dial down her sales pitch. A water balloon accidentally struck a passing vehicle.
ALL DAY EVERY DAY, this is what the cops do everywhere in Mendocino County, everywhere in this unraveled country.
WE ARE THE PEA
by James Howard Kunstler
The political air lies thick and heavy upon us, like the subtropical wedge of atmospheric sludge that has bogged down the northeast USA for weeks of soupy gray days when there is nothing to do but wonder when things will become unstuck. If the world is an organism, something is wrong with its blood. That blood is money, which allows the “developed” nations to run their advanced techno-industrial economies. Only the “money” is not exactly what we suppose it is, that is, colored paper coupons representing claims on future work or tangible collateral. The “money” is a matrix of counterparty entanglements so abstruse and impenetrable that all the vicars of Christendom (plus the mullahs of Islam, the monks of Mahayana, and the Op-Ed flunkies at The New York Times) would not avail to describe its metaphysical substance. Rather, a cosmic shell game is being played and we are the pea. Unlike other commentators, I don’t see this as a conspiracy of one-percenters, Rothschilds, Bilderbergers, and United Nations intriguers. Rather, it is just a sticky pass in world history. Things have gone a certain way for us for a long time, and now they can’t, and the inertia from all those decades of doing and being what we were persists in the illusion of motion, like the sound of a truck that still rings in your ears after it has passed by. So we, the pea, sit in the dark under our cosmic walnut shell, waiting to see what happens next. When the Great Bernanke spoke not long ago, an ominous rattling was heard throughout the banking system as of things shaking loose. Even if nobody quite understood exactly what money was anymore, an intimation wafted on the still, muggy air that there was liable to be less of it, at least in the form that The Wall Street Journal pretended to understand — a particular digital carry-trade between the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve. Markets puked at Bernanke’s mild utterances as though he was Thor flinging a thunderous hammer at them. The gold market, already punch-drunk, went reeling into the roadside weeds, covered indecorously in its own vomit — leading many to suppose that gold would soon be as precious as sheetrock. Then, the Great Bernanke, via subordinates, tapered his tapering talk and a nervous, tentative, march forward resumed into the summer pea soup of events. Here we are, waiting, waiting in the murk, for the sound of shoes dropping. If you listen carefully enough, you can hear a few things in motion distantly. The mobs roistering in surprising places — Sweden, Turkey, Brazil — ought to unnerve even the quants immersed in their charts and auguries. Something wicked this way emanates from Japan. It has the outline of a political death-wish and is being played out with the sharp instruments of capital. The Japanese, I suspect, have at least had enough of uncertainty and have elected to move toward resolution, whatever that may hold. One thing it will mean is that the hands of bankers elsewhere around the world will be forced by what Japan does. Interest rates, for example, do not exist in exquisite isolation but only in relation to other things, most particularly that money earlier alluded to, of which nobody knows the value. The answer to that may lie in the riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma known as derivatives. My own guess is that we’ll discover the value of gold is not equivalent to its weight in sheetrock. The third quarter of 2013 might go down in history as the great moment of price re-discovery in a world that thought — for a while — that the price of things can be whatever you say it is. Historians of the future, squatting in the plastic and silicon midden-heaps of bygone technocracy, may note that FASB Rule 157 provoked a four-year psychotic episode of worldwide accounting fraud in which anything could mean anything. That only goes on so long until civilizations shudder and fall. The pea under the walnut shell can’t see much outside, but it can certainly feel the earth tremble.
ARGUMENT OF THE DAY: Schizophrenia affects almost three million Americans—more than six times the number of people with multiple sclerosis, two and a half times the number of people with Parkinson's disease, and more than twice the number of people with HIV/AIDS. Less than one-third of patients with schizophrenia can hold a steady job or live independently. A large portion (about one-third) of homeless people in the U.S. suffer from the disease.
Though they receive little attention in the legalization debate, the scientific studies showing an association between marijuana use and schizophrenia and other disorders are alarming. A 2004 article in the highly respected British Journal of Psychiatry reviewed four large studies, all of which showed a significant and consistent association between consumption of marijuana (mostly during teenage years or early 20s) and the later development of schizophrenia. The review concluded that marijuana is a "causal component," among others, in the development of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.
A 2007 study in the Lancet, a British medical journal, concludes that using marijuana increases the risk of young people developing a psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia. This risk is greatest—up to a 200% increase—among those who use marijuana heavily and who start using at a younger age.
Those not familiar with epidemiological causation may wonder how cannabis could "cause" schizophrenia if so many people who smoke marijuana or hashish don't develop the disease. As an example, medical researchers have known for several decades that smoking causes lung cancer, yet over 80% of smokers do not develop lung cancer.
As research accumulates, the emerging picture is that marijuana precipitates schizophrenia or related psychotic disorders in people whose brains are inherently vulnerable to psychosis. All of us who do not regularly experience hallucinations or delusions reside on what may be called a "cliff of sanity." Some of us, for reasons still unclear (thought possibly to be genetic), are closer to the edge of the cliff than others.
Marijuana may push everyone a few feet closer to that cliff. For those who were already close to the cliff, the drug pushes them over the edge into the chasm of insanity, hence precipitating the development of schizophrenia.
(Samuel T. Wilkinson, The Wall Street Journal)
CALIFORNIA'S GAS TAX HISTORY
1923: State lawmakers institute first gas excise tax of 2¢ a gallon.
1927: Tax rises 1¢ a gallon to pay for new road construction.
1932: A 1¢ federal gas tax is created.
1947: State raises tax to 4.5¢ a gallon.
1971: State applies sales tax to fuel purchases, with money going into the general fund.
1983: Lawmakers boost excise tax to 9¢ a gallon; federal gas tax also raised from 4¢ to 9¢.
1990: Federal gas tax rises to 14.1 cents.
1990-94: Voters support Proposition 111, which hikes excise tax to 14¢ a gallon, with automatic penny increases each year through 1994, to a total of 18¢ a gallon.
1993: Federal gas tax rises to 18.4¢.
2002: Sales tax moves out of general fund into transportation.
2010: Sales tax on gasoline reduced, and excise tax set at 36¢ a gallon.
2013: Increase of 3.5¢ a gallon begins Monday, making total tax of 71.9¢ a gallon — 39.5¢ state, 18.4¢ federal and 14¢ in sales tax.