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Mendocino County Today: September 30, 2013

UglyOracleI'VE GOT IT! I know how to make the America's Cup an interesting event, an event for real boats and real sailors, not these water borne Lego constructs the billionaires get all excited about. Open the race to all kinds of sailboats, and run the race from Alcatraz out to the Farallones and back, and do it every day for five days. Everyone would be interested. The thing just won by Larry Ellison drew a crowd at race headquarters on the Embarcadero the police estimated at a mere 2,500. It's not an interesting event, and it's certainly not an aesthetically pleasing event in the tradition of white sails on a beautiful blue bay. What we got were black-sailed, corporate-logoed erector sets “racing” a very short distance on days and at times it wasn't too windy for these things. Say what you will about the ruling class of yesteryear, they understood spectacle.


STUFF YOU PROBABLY ALREADY KNOW: A marijuana legalization initiative will appear on the mid-term 2014 California ballot. The California Cannabis, Hemp and Health has collected the necessary 500,000+ signatures to qualify. The bill would specifically allow both the growing and possession of marijuana, direct the legislature to establish a regulatory, taxation and licensing structure for the retail sale of cannabis, legalize industrial hemp production and prohibit state officials from enforcing federal law (which explicitly states that pot is illegal) over state law. California voters rejected a marijuana legalization bill in 2010 by a margin of nearly 700,000 votes; the backers of the current initiative hope that successful efforts mounted in Colorado and Washington have pushed public opinion far enough in their direction to overcome any opposition.


BAD NEWS FOR ANTHROMORPHS, and bad news for Elk. New studies say Dolphins aren't any smarter than chickens, that their whistling isn't language. There's a dolphin-worshipping group in Elk, of course, but there are also a few people dumber than chickens.



ROBERT PREECE, whose 24-year-old son Jonathan Denver was stabbed to death on Wednesday night after a Giant-Dodger game, appeared at AT&T Park Sunday afternoon to deliver an emotional appeal for witnesses to his son's death to come forward. Jonathan Denver had made his home in Fort Bragg where he was learning the plumbing trade. Denver's grieving father, a security supervisor for the Dodgers, was present Wednesday night when his son was stabbed. Preece told the assembled media Sunday, “I believe that someone may have videotaped the incident and can help us discover the truth. Today, I'm making a plea to the public asking that anyone who may have witnessed the incident to come forward,” Preece said.

MICHAEL MONTGOMERY, 21, of Lodi, had been arrested for stabbing Denver, but he was released Friday night after San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon's office announced that police had not brought enough evidence to file charges against him. Montgomery said he stabbed Denver in self-defense after Denver swung a chair at his head.



WHO SAYS there is no advantage to Jim Eddie being chairman of the Golden Gate Bridge District's board of directors.

The whole crew is coming to Ukiah on October 4, next Friday on the toll payer’s dime.


To prove, I guess, that you can get here without swimming the channel between Frisco and Marin.


LAST WEEK PETER RICHARDSON settled his pot case by successfully claiming that he simply needed lots and lots of the weed the cops found at his home to beat back his prostate cancer. At that time, the well-known inland contractor whose Rainbow Construction Company built several Ukiah-area public structures before closing down after a contract dispute with Ukiah Unified, agreed to do 90 days on home detention, his probation on a prior pot conviction was reinstated, and the felony charges were dropped.

PeterRichardson2BUT APPARENTLY, home detention was too difficult for Mr. Richardson who was arrested yesterday (Sunday) for driving under the influence of alcohol and for violating his probation. He was booked into the County Jail on $30,000 bail.



by Eric Bergeson

Crossed into Canada and back last week, which required that I go through the checkpoints at the border, a process that undoes me every time. When I encounter people who have absolute power over the rest of my day, I seize up.

Border agents don’t have to let you through, and some of them want to make sure you know they have that authority.

As the agent acts all tough and tries to throw me off to see if I am actually a drug runner, or a terrorist, or an undocumented something or other, I start to wonder if I am actually a drug runner or a terrorist or something or other.

What if a stem of wild marijuana wrapped itself around my driveshaft? What if I forgot a pint of whiskey in the trunk even though I don’t drink whiskey?

What if there is a dried up apple under the passenger seat and I just lied when I said I had no fruit?


What if they decide that I just look suspicious and need to be taken out back and shot?

My guilt-ridden Upper Midwest upbringing — which we all share unless we turn out to be sociopaths who never feel guilty for anything, even things they’ve actually done — haunts me at the border crossing.

Sociopaths sail through border crossings and other encounters with power-drunk bureaucrats by projecting breezy confidence.

True Midwesterners doubt their own innocence as soon as they pull up to the booth.

Going into Canada, my guilty look got me pulled into the office for a background check.

“Have you had any trouble with the law?” the agent asked, after brusquely grabbing my passport as if I was guilty of murder.

“No,” I said, then paused to think.

“I don’t think so!” I added.

“Okay, if you have been in trouble with the law, it will be easier for all of us if you tell us right now,” the agent said, and looked at me as if he was sure something was going to come out.

“I got a warning for speeding six years ago,” I said, wanting to be forthright.

“I think you know what I mean!” the agent snapped.

While in college, we crossed the border to see Huey Lewis and the News in Winnipeg and when the agent asked if I had any drugs, I breathlessly confessed to having two cold medications along.

“I think you know what I mean!” the agent said again.

So, Mr. Border Agent, if you actually meant illegal drugs, why don’t you say illegal drugs? You said drugs, and over-the-counter drugs are still drugs.

If I am trying to get illegal drugs across the border, why would I suddenly decide to confess, “Yes! I have illegal drugs! They are in the air filter! I will show you!”


But they’re in charge, they do what they want.

Some countries actually train their customs agents and passport control people to represent their country with kindness and competence, while our customs officers seem to make it a point to bump you around a bit so you know who’s in charge.

Of course, they have an important job. Of course, they run across bad people.

Like me.

“Whose car are you driving?” the agent asked this past week as I attempted to cross back into the USA.

“Mine,” I answered.

Finally, I had the good sense not to get into the technical issue that I haven’t paid it off yet, so actually the bank still has the title.

“Why were you in Canada?” the agent asked, offended that I would want to leave our great nation.

“A meeting,” I answered.

She clearly thought I was lying, so I began to wonder if I was lying. I pondered, what were my real motives in going to Canada?

Maybe it was an urge to escape the debt crisis. Maybe I secretly wanted to hear spoken French. Maybe I hoped to see a polar bear.

In any case, if the agent had hooked me up to a lie detector, I would have failed no matter what.

“Is this your name?”

“Well, actually, Mom was hoping for a girl, so she had picked out Chris, which works both ways, but…”

Beep, beep, beep!

Sorry sir, you will have to be shot. Step this way.

In reality, I answered in one-syllable grunts. It worked. I didn’t get shot. The criminal background check revealed nothing, to my surprise.

“Have a nice day,” the agent said without making eye contact, in a tone which felt like “Get out of here, you sorry waste of time.”

Welcome home!


BillBrysonTODAY'S WISDOM: Every living thing is an elaboration on a single original plan. As humans we are mere increments — each of us a musty archive of adjustments, adaptations, modifications, and providential tinkerings stretching back 3.8 billion years. Remarkably, we are even quite closely related to fruit and vegetables. About half the chemical functions that take place in a banana are fundamentally the same as the chemical functions that take place in you. It cannot be said too often: all life is one. That is, and I suspect will forever prove to be, the most profound true statement there is.

— Bill Bryson




I met a Traveler from an antique land,

Who said, “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear:

”My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings.

Look on my works ye Mighty, and despair!”

No thing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that Colossal Wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

— Percy Shelley, ‘Ozymandias’ (1818)



Oh my god, could there possibly be anything more tear-your-hair-out annoying than the Republican antics currently playing out in Congress over Obamacare?! The 21 hour long meaningless exercise in narcissism performed by Texas tea party nut Ted Cruz set a new benchmark in congressional irrelevance. When the Rs claim that they're “listening to the people, who don't want Obamacare” they’re ignoring the fact that there have been two presidential elections, both of which were won decisively by the candidate proposing the Affordable Care Act; isn't that listening to people?

I think it must be that the only people that the Rs ever meet are the 1% who pay for their political careers! No wonder they have a different perception of what “the people” want!

If only a majority of Americans could see just how simple and effective medical care is in most other first world democracies; how little paperwork is created, how much more efficiently that time the medical professionals is used, once they are freed of the huge paperwork monkey they must carry on their backs in our system. We are forced, in effect, to pay twice as much as we should for health care, just so that we may enjoy the privilege of denying it to those deemed unworthy.

It's like the fact that I read about many years ago when BART was first built; that the portion of BART's budget devoted to taking and sales of tickets was less than the money generated by the sale of those tickets! The only excuse, therefore, for charging riders for using BART is to keep the rolling stock from turning into mobile homeless encampments. Perhaps Canada is not exactly like the USA, but their medical waiting rooms don't seem to have turned into homeless shelters.

If the Rs shut down the entire government and destroy our credit rating over their delusional misapprehension of the will of the people, costing us all a fortune in unjustified debt finance charges, will Republican voters have finally had enough?! One can only hope so.

Sincerely, John Arteaga, Ukiah

PS. WELCOME to the world of the rational! I was so delighted to read in your September 4 edition Off The Record, that at least someone there has taken the heretofore heretical stance of noting one of the absurdities of the anti-bypass obsessives; that in the endless war of attrition against this much needed project (now one quarter complete), the effort to trump up legal stumbling blocks to earthmoving efforts from a nearby Bald Hill source, may result in the clearcutting of a nicely wooded alternative soil source location, further from the site (thus requiring more fuel, road impact, traffic, etc.). Apparently the clear-cut may be done even if they don't end up using that soil, just so that that alternative source will be available if the courts, yielding to the relentless mau-mauing of the monomaniacal Luddites, block the use of the original, closer source! I wish that the diehard bypass opponents would give a few moments thought to what the actual effects of their cause is becoming; nothing but an expensive burden on their fellow citizens, and now the environment! Do any of them really believe that there is the slightest chance of them actually stopping the bypass from being completed?! Now that it is one quarter done? It seems to me that at this late date, anyone who truly believes that is simply delusional.


OPEN LETTER to General C. Robert Kehler, Commander, USSTRATCOM

To: General C. Robert Kehler, Commander, USSTRATCOM

Subject: Vice Adm. Tim Giardina

Date: 28 09 2013

Dear General Kehler, Commander, USSTRATCOM:

We met at your Christmas party at the Space Command at Peterson AFB in December 2010.

You may also remember that during these past few years I have copied you on press releases for some of my shows. I have done several shows here at KZYX, Mendocino County Community Radio, on the trillion-dollar cost of nuclear deterence, prompt global strike, missile defense, arms control, and the search for strategic stability in a constrained budget environment. My latest show (20 September) was about Israel's multibillion-dollar nuclear weapons industry.

See link:

With the latest scandal involving Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, Deputy Commander of USSRATCOM, I have four questions:

1.) When will you, General Kehler, issue a press release regarding the suspension of Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, Deputy Commander of USSRATCOM?

2.) If Vice Adm. Tim Giardina was suspended on September 3, why is it only now (28 September) that news of his suspension has become public information?

3.) When will the results of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service's investigation into Vice Adm. Tim Giardina's misconduct be completed and released to the public?

4.) Does USSTRATCOM expect implications for its FY 2014 budget request as a result of the scandal involving Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, and other negative incidents, i.e., the unprecedented removal of 17 launch officers at the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB due to a failed inspection on combat readiness?

Incidentally, a local young man, 2LT Max Walker, from Ukiah, CA, is currently assigned as a launch officer at Malmstron AFB. We a very proud of him here in Mendocino County.

Thank you. — John Sakowicz, Ukiah



Things feel a lot cheaper now. When

I was younger, so much younger than

today, the things you touched had

substance. Dull material substance.

My childhood was rich in paranois.

(Look closely at that. Not paranoia.)

What a dumb poet I am. What a scam.

That third stanza. Absurd. Should let

you figure that out. What a cheap

bastard giving you this when that

is what you need. Who knows. All

my energy comes begging me.

Here we go: The cheap core of America,

whores who own the Mickey-More

the most the best the only ones left

who can eat without fear who

weep crocodile tears, boast of thoughts

that shame dignity own us. They do.

It’s a cheap conceit: The rich are

different because they’re rich. Can

you keep up with me? They’re cheap.

Dear me. I should have let you sleep.

— Lawrence Bullock

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