- Hometown Hero
- Jailhouse Reads
- Catch of the Day
- Calfire Burn Bans
- Sleepy Juror
- Bookshop Feelings
- Bring Back the Draft
- Garage Sales
- Library Closures
- Angry Gut Radio
- Hilary's Haughty Hyperbole
OF THE MANY men and women nominated for Toyota's 'Hometown Heroes' NASCAR weekend, Fort Bragg's Lt. John Naulty was named the winner. The contest was open to active or retired military, police, firefighters, emergency responders or teachers who were nominated for their for acts of bravery and service to their country or community. Naulty was nominated by his daughter, Kalynn, for his bravery on March 19, when he confronted an Oregon fugitive moments after the man shot and killed Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino in Cleone. Deputy Del Fiorentino, Lt. Naulty, Police Chief Scott Mayberry and Sheriff's Lt. Greg Stefani stopped the heavily armed fugitive before he could enter Fort Bragg. In so doing, it is certain they prevented further bloodshed.
AS THE GRAND PRIZE winner, Lt. Naulty will wave the green flag at the Toyota/SaveMart 350 race this Sunday, June 22, at the Sonoma Raceway, in addition to gaining entry to the full weekend of NASCAR events. He'll also watch the Sunday race from the “Hero Hospitality Chalet” and drive the track with three friends and a NASCAR driver in the introduction parade lap on Sunday.
FROM THE MEDIA ALLIANCE:
CA Dept of Corrections Clampdown — A new set of prison censorship regulations have been put forth by CDCR (the California Department of Corrections and Rehabiltation). The sweeping new rules [http://media-alliance.org/article.php?id=2402] would set new low standards in vagueness, targeting a huge variety of materials, including San Francisco's “Bayview” Newspaper, and exposing inmates to the threat of solitary confinement for reading or possessing “publications that indicate an association with groups that are oppositional to authority and society.”
The (brief) public comment period closed on June 17th, but we encourage people to write in anyway.
Here is the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ODD THAT PRISONS would be trying to keep “oppositional” publications away from inmates at a time there is virtually no political movement of an oppositional type. Boonville's beloved newspaper occasionally was interfered with by prison authorities — the pen at Marion, Pelican Bay a couple of times — but we haven't had any trouble in years. The proposed regs are silly. As some sage pointed out a long time ago, the only way to combat bad ideas is to let them be argued out of existence by better ones.
CASE IN POINT: I had a friend confined to the SHU at Pelican Bay. He was an Aryan Brotherhood guy, a tough guy, too. No dummy, though. He wrote a good letter. We were arguing back and forth about racism. He wrote once that he was a great admirer of Nathan Bedford Forrest, founder of the Klan. As it happened, I'd just read a biography of Forrest, who had to have been just about the fiercest individual ever produced by our savage motherland where fierce individuals are commonplace. I relayed my fresh knowledge to my AB penpal, including the revelation that Forrest had renounced racism and died regretting what would now might be called his “false consciousness.” The Bro didn't believe me so I sent him the bio, which turned out to be a pretty good investment as the Bro did indeed revise his thinking, so far as I know. He said the way prison worked he'd had no real choice but to align with his fellow tribesmen but he'd had to consider the true fact that the man most Americans assume was a race fanatic turned out not to be one at all.
MEDIA NEWS GROUP, based in Denver, owns lots of outback newspapers. Prior to the internet, all newspapers returned huge profits. The four here in Mendo sent a couple of mil a year in pure net gain every year, not that you'd know they were capable from the look of them. But if you do the math — advertising rates plus the size of the ads minus the pittance they pay their staffs — you'll see that even in their present debilitated state they make money.
MEDIA NEWS GROUP, in our immediate neighborhood, owns four Mendocino County papers and one in Lake County.
AS PRINT newspapers fade into techno-oblivion, and every other person in America writes his own on-line newspaper, Media News Group continues to gut its antiquated, print-related holdings, squeezing its Mendo newspapers for whatever's left to squeeze. All four of those papers — the Ukiah Daily Journal, The Willits News, and the interchangeable Fort Bragg Advocate and Mendocino Beacon — now operate with skeleton staffs.
AS OF THIS WEEK, the UDJ, the TWN, and maybe the Advocate-Beacon (haven't seen them yet) are being assembled in identical generic format in Chico via a process called Saxotech, a dumber, blander version of USA Today.
THE WILLITS NEWS looks like it's screaming at the reader with headlines throughout in oversize caps. “COUNTY SKIMMED $1.2M FROM PUBLIC LIBRARIES” — Oh, really? Somebody embezzled $1.2 million from the Library?
QUALITY OF THE PRINT is even worse, with some of the photos printed with a weird reddish tinge.
The type is almost unreadably small as in the old AVA. (We keep the AVA's print small so we can bring you, dear reader, that much more riveting material.) The revised Journal and Willits News are about ¼ inch narrower across (that’s been that way for a few weeks for TWN at least) and the newsprint is so thin that if you open the paper and hold it up, you can’t read page 2 because the huge heads on the front page blast on through.
THE END IS NEAR for Media Group, as production of their papers is centralized and they're slowly strangled. Several properties housing Media Group papers are being sold. Here in Mendo, only the Ukiah Daily Journal is housed in a Media Group-owned property. The Beacon-Advocate and The Willits News work out of rented space.
CATCH OF THE DAY, THURSDAY, JUNE 19TH
MICHAEL DONAHE, Ukiah. Drunk in public. Frequent flier whom the local justice system simply catches and releases again and again.
ROBERT HAGGARD, Willits. Felony domestic assault, probation violated.
JEFFREY HOCKETT, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, second arrest in as many weeks.
BRANDON HUGHES, Upper Lake. DUI.
TRAVIS HUMPHREY, Talmage. The Hump! Frequent flier. This one was for being under the influence of a controlled substance. The Hump is combative under the influence, and perhaps combative generally, but he's always a major hassle for anyone who has to deal with him.
OSCAR NATARENO, Ukiah. Misdemeanor Domestic Battery.
JONATHAN YOUNG, Willits. Possession of a controlled substance.
CALFIRE ORDERS BURN BANS ACROSS 31 MILLION ACRES
Record Setting Drought Conditions Have Increased Fire Danger
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) Director Ken Pimlott issued an order to suspend open burning across 31 million acres of State Responsibility Area in California. The suspended burning order is part of CAL FIRE’s continued efforts to mitigate the increased threat of wildfire due to the state’s drought emergency.
“The increase in fire activity this year, coupled with record-setting drought conditions, requires us to take every step possible to prevent new wildfires from starting,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “In support of the Governor’s Drought State of Emergency, I am ordering each of the 21 unit chiefs and six contract county chiefs to issue local proclamations suspending burning on State Responsibility Area lands in their respective jurisdictions, effective no later than July 1, 2014.”
The process of geographically specific burn bans will allow for greater flexibility to cancel individual bans locally during the fall months if conditions warrant. The localized proclamations will include suspension of all residential burn permits, forest management, hazard abatement, and other industrial-type permitted burning. Campfires may still be allowed in designated campsites. For information, visit your nearest CAL FIRE station - http://calfire.ca.gov/contacts/index.php .
CAL FIRE has already responded to 2,118 fires this year, a nearly 70% increase in the average number of fires for the same time period. Residents are urged to visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org for tips on how to prepare their homes and family for wildfire. The website also links to important water saving tips, a resource critical to the control of wildfires.
Governor Brown has called on all Californians to reduce their water use by 20 percent and prevent water waste — visit saveourH2O.org to find out how everyone can do their part, and visit drought.ca.gov to learn more about how California is dealing with the effects of the drought.
183 YEARS TO LIFE
You probably never thought you'd hear from me after getting sentenced to 183 years to life in your beautiful little county. Before I get too far along I'd like to address two things.
On a serious note to Deputy Brewster, I am very sorry for any harm I caused you and your family physically, mentally or emotionally because of my stupid and dangerous actions on February 27, 2013. It surely doesn't make it okay or wipe my slate clean, but I want you to know my apology is sincere.
Secondly, to the Hagas, I had no right going in your house and stealing your things you worked hard for. I am embarrassed and ashamed and hope you can accept my apology.
To Mark Bennett, I should have given you the crank you wanted for your old lady's laptop. You obviously ended up getting it somewhere and all I did was make myself a perfect scapegoat. 36 to life for not stealing your laptop, and 36 to life for not threatening your life. Wow, that's justice in Mendocino County. You are sleeping well I am sure.
It took the jury one hour and 40 minutes to deliberate and find me guilty. I think that's how long juror number nine was asleep two days in a row.
Oh yeah, by the way, it's on the record, did you guys have any clue that a sleeping juror denies me the right to a fair trial? The court of appeal is aware of it. I can't spell too well, but I can spell "reversal" and I can spell "new trial." There are laws and rules outside of Mendocino County that have to be followed. Did you know that DA Eyster kicked a six-month-old sleeping baby out of my trial? He didn't want me in eliciting any sympathy from the jury. Good luck with that, right. They convicted me so quick they didn't have time to finish their coffee.
Anyway, you at the AVA remind me of an old country song every time I see you, "I get stoned in the morning, get drunk in the afternoon." Your coverage of my trial was a joke, almost like the 13 years with half Chris Skaggs got. For his cooperation with the District Attorney, he'll be out in less than five years. No worry though, I am sure he will be a changed man and a productive member of society.
You can hold Mr. Eyster responsible for whatever happens. He is the one who is letting him out.
In closing, I am not a monster. I am not a target. I am not a feather in some DA's hat. So he can go high-fiving his buddies in the hallway. I am a son, a brother, a father and most people think I am a damn good friend.
I say all that to say this, I never claimed innocence. In fact, I did myself no favors along with Skaggs' 36 page statement and Tracy's 93 pages. Two and a half days before I even got busted, before they even knew I was in the car, I was convicted, guilty, and no chance of a fair trial.
Regardless of guilt or innocence I have a constitutional right to a fair trial.
They let Tracy Cox on the stand knowing she was a liar, coaching her on what to say. Judge Behnke, my lawyer and Deputy Brewster have been friends and teammates for over 20 years. They allowed a juror to sleep during my trial for two days in a row. I was kept in isolation with no disciplinary history of any kind at the jail for one year.
I ain't dead yet and I ain't in Pelican Bay or Corcoran, but if and when I do die in one of these miserable places I will be there because I was given a fair and objective trial, not railroaded in your Barney Fife county.
So take care and hopefully the AVA will send a sober journalist to my new trial.
Walter Miller #AE5304
Deuel Vocational Institution/Prison
Box 600, Tracy, CA 95378
BOOKSHOPS have an almost universal appeal. What constitutes this appeal is hard to pin down. When you enter an art gallery or an antique shop, you see what you hope will surprise and delight you, but a bookstore does not show what it is selling. The books are like closed clamshells. It is from the collective impression, from the sight of many books wedged together on many shelves, that the mysterious good feeling comes. Is there something that leaks out of the closed books, some subliminal message about culture and aspiration? The association of books with humanistic ideals is deeply entrenched in the public imagination, and finds its way into the rueful articles that regularly appear about the closing of bookshops in cities throughout the world, whose own subliminal message is that books are kind of last bastion against barbarity.
— Janet Malcolm
LETTER OF THE DAY
As the drums of war beat again in the hearts of congressional Republicans and Democrats demanding that more American troops be sent to Iraq, let us all now insist that Congress immediately reinstate the draft, starting with this September's freshman classes at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, Princeton, UC Berkeley, Columbia and every other university and college in America. Let us draft the homeless and the unemployed, men and women alike. Let us all fight the war we allowed President George W. Bush and Congress to start that they said would bring democracy to Iraq. Let us agree that this war requires more than a volunteer army. It demands sacrifice from all of us.
Tom Peck, San Francisco
My junk is your jewel
Your trash my treasure
scattered, like birds picking a tree,
as early as the listed hour and the seller
will allow. Their eyes grab.
Their hands reach for what their eyes
have set aside.
I saw that one first.
They are both pulling/
This isn't a white sale we're at!
They come from need:
student, immigrant, the entrepreneurial poor,
up and coming by the numbers;
from boredom, habit, the urge for more
driven by a deeper need,
hunger for some what they cannot name.
But we don't need any of this stuff....
Who's talking about need?
they may not want it when they get it home,
Yet they let the glitter of some seller's glut
Magnetize their spirit, for an instant
dispel their gloom.
— Adam David Miller
MENDOCINO COUNTY LIBRARY CLOSURE
All branches of the Mendocino County Library will be closed on Friday, July 4, 2014. In addition, the Coast branch in Point Arena will be closed on Saturday, July 5, 2014. (Mendocino County Press Release)
DEAD AIR — GUTLESS, FUNDLESS LIBERALS
by Clancy Sigal
All I know about rightwing Rep. Eric Cantor’s “shock horror” primary derailment by the blissfully named David Brat in Virginia, that cesspool of bad Tidewater politics, is what Rachel Maddow and CNN tell me. Plus a long history of taking time to listen to “conservative” talk radio that I’ve never been able to persuade my liberal friends to tune into, not even as an experiment. Talk about closed minds.
Cantor, a Wall Streeter to his fingertips, spent $5 million versus Brat’s mere $200,000 (not all of it used) and lost to a cleverly manufactured populist swell against government “programs that benefit the rich and powerful.” Brat, an Ayn Rand Calvinist Catholic libertarian — say that again — justly accused Cantor of “crony capitalism,” citing Cantor’s weakening of a bill to prevent members of Congress and their families from insider trading.
Brat was a total unknown until the Terrible Trio of berserk radio hosts Glen Beck, Mark Levin but especially the wild woman of the microphone, Laura Ingraham, took up his cause, organized fundraisers and drummed Brat! Brat! Brat! into their AM listeners’ ears. Among Cantor’s sins was his mildly decent concession to Obama on immigration. Ingraham & Co can congratulate themselves for causing even more misery to Honduran, Nicaraguan, Salvadorean and Guatamalan children currently pouring across our porous border. Congrats, guys.
Cantor, like my liberal friends, believed AM driveby talk radio was beneath him. Five minutes of listening to El Rushbo or Ingraham might have opened his mind to the looming threat from his right. So Cantor is in good company with almost all my friends who despise talk radio so much they howl at me for listening.
Since the FCC’s abolition of the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1987, and the 1996 Telecommuncations Act practically mandated radio network “consolidation” (a monopoly like Clear Channel is home to many of the professionally outraged), half-crazed radio has become the dominant form, opening the floodgates to Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Mark Levin etc.
As of this year Rushbo and Hannity are the most listened-to radio programs in any format with ten of millions of listeners. (Repeat that last sentence.) So-called “progressive radio” including the increasingly timid NPR doesn’t even come close. An attempt a few years ago to create a liberal counter-radio in Air America failed dismally. Whether with Randi Rhodes, Stephanie Miller or Thom Hartman, we simply don’t know how to do it well, certainly since Al Franken deserted radio for the Senate.
Why are liberals so voiceless?
It shouldn’t be that hard. Arbitron polls say that the majority of talk radio listeners are 54-plus age males, a dying Tea Party-invigorated constituency that kicks and screams — and votes — on their way out. Yet we consistently drop the ball when it comes to “progressive” radio. Properly done there’s a big potential audience in the tech-savvy Occupy generation who know how to nimbly access online, podcast, iTunes and satellite radio, where the lone maverick Bill Maher has his spiel. But most young people probably think talk radio is a boring lost cause.
Mainstream AM (now increasingly FM) driveby shows are almost a fourth arm of government now. Its hosts, funded by moneybags like Americans For Prosperity and the Koch boys’ Freedom Works, wield enormous influence on a demographic whose guts churn at the very mention of Obama’s name. For them we on the left are the moochers and takers, they are the financially or existentially impoverished givers. These listeners hurt, they’re raging. What they listen for is a voice that communicates: Yes We Know How You Feel And This Is Why.
Trouble is, our liberal pitch gets constipated by political correctness and a sort of ideological uniformity. We appeal to the rational head and bleeding heart but rarely the angry gut. We weep for Darfur and have “concern” (one of Obama’s favorite non-words) for dislocated immigrant children but, on radio, rarely vocalize that same kind of empathy for street-level realities as experienced by most of us. Emphasizing gay rights, pro-choice, transgenderism, whatever, we lose touch with vast audiences who don’t share our cultural reflexes. For example, I can’t recall ever hearing a radio host speak, in plain language, to conservative religious preoccupations. P.C. sometimes blinds us to what’s actually happening to real people in real situations.
Yes I know about Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez’s “Democracy Now” and the virtually unlistenable to, in-constant-turmoil Pacifica stations. Liberals with microphones have a tendency toward misery porn. Only, in the grand tradition of late lamented Studs Terkel, Jon Wiener’s KPFK Wednesday 3-5 pm music-comment-and-interview show makes my cut, and is close to what a liberal voice should sound like: Bob Dylan songs, rap-and-rock-n-roll, solid reporting and hard factual history.
Maybe I’m missing something here, and none of us has time for driveby radio. If so, that’s sheer fatal political snobbery.
Does it come down to economics? A friend of mine theorizes that gut-punching, emotionally true liberal radio hardly exists because a critical sector of our own demographic — that’s us, presumably — are financially comfortable and simply have lost the moxie that once was synonymous with a fighting liberalism.
Are we too dumb or too rich to have a radio voice?
(Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives.)
HILLARY’S HAUGHTY HYPERBOLE!
Oh, the Hard Choices
by Ralph Nader
Last Sunday’s New York Times Book Review section featured a one page interview with Hillary Clinton, author of the just released Hard Choices which brought her a $14 million advance from Viacom’s Simon and Schuster.
My first reaction was “Can anybody believe this?” I’m referring to the replies by Mrs. Clinton to questions about her book reading habits which turn out to be prodigious. How can such a super-busy person have the time to absorb such a staggering load of diverse books?
The Times sends questions in advance to the person that they are going to interview each week. This gives the person being interviewed enough time to think about their favorite books and be precise about titles. The titles Hillary said she is reading could have been poll-tested for the 2016 presidential race.
First Hillary declared that she is absorbing three books at one time, which she explained are among the “pile of books stacked on my night stand that I’m reading.” They included Mom & Me & Mom by the late Maya Angelou.
To the question, “What’s the last truly great book you read?” She listed not one, but four of them: The Hare With Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal, The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, Citizens of London by Lynne Olson and A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth.
Revving up, she took on with gusto the question “Who are your favorite contemporary writers,” including “any writers whose books you automatically read when they come out?” She replied that she “automatically” reads “anything by Laura Hillenbrand, Walter Isaacson, Barbara Kingsolver, John le Carré, John Grisham, Hilary Mantel, Toni Morrison, Anna Quindlen and Alice Walker,” plus “the latest installments from Alex Berenson, Linda Fairstein, Sue Grafton, Donna Leon, Katherine Hall Page, Louise Penny, Daniel Silva, Alexander McCall Smith, Charles Todd and Jacqueline Winspear.”
Whew! That’s not all of her responses. I have read some of this popular New York Times column’s interviews over the years, many with professional authors, fiction and non-fiction, and not one replied with such an oceanic immersion, even though many of these authors regularly read many books for their craft.
The former First Lady explained that she finds time to indulge in “guilty pleasures and useful time fillers,” by reading “cooking, decorating, diet/self-help and gardening books.” Time fillers? For one of the busiest people on Earth? Has Hillary discovered the 72 hour day?
It gets better, when asked her opinion on the best books about Washington, DC to recommend, she chose Our Divided Political Heart by E.J. Dionne Jr., who “shows how most everybody has some conservative and liberal impulses, but just as individuals have to reconcile them within ourselves, so does our political system if we expect to function productively.”
To the question “Is there one book you wish all students would read,” Hillary could not hold back providing three: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen, and Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally.
As for the “one book that made you who you are today,” Hillary replied, as she does often, that it was the Bible, which she elaborates “was and remains the biggest influence on my thinking.” Which parts of the Bible remain unknown, but presumably she has read the wide range of choices including the parts about “an eye for an eye,” “turning the other cheek,” and “the golden rule.”
More insights into her eclectic interests came from responses to the question “which books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?” “You might be surprised,” she admitted, “to see memoirs by Republicans such as Decision Points by President George W. Bush” (whose criminal Iraq War she voted for), “and Faith of my Fathers by Senator John McCain” chief sabre-rattler in the Senate.
Perfecto! With this interview Hillary has used her literary interests to pander to homemakers, ethnic groups, poets, lovers of fiction, adversaries, hard-line Republican leaders in Congress, religious groups and the swooning credulous.
Why is Hillary Clinton unable to resist straining our credulity?
A few days earlier, Hillary told Diane Sawyer of ABC News that she and Bill left the White House “dead broke.” This comment prompted the press to report on their combined $23 million book contracts, ample Presidential pension, $200,000 a speech for Bill and other rewards provided to them by friends.
Sure politicians are calculating, even cunning. Those are occupational traits. Maybe Hillary thinks she can push the envelope into prevarication and distortion with impunity. After all, as a Wall Street corporatist and a war-mongering militarist, she has gotten away with much worse.
Rocky Anderson, the former twice-elected mayor of Salt Lake City, cited polls and examples in his presentation to the mass-media in which he both addressed Clinton’s “recognized reputation for lying, distorting and evading,” and suggested important questions that they may wish to ask Hillary on her North-American book tour.
One such episode involved her trip to Bosnia as First Lady in 1996. By her account she landed under sniper fire and had to run “with our heads down to get into the vehicles.” This narrative was contradicted by the videos and the report from accompanying CBS reporter, Sharyl Attkisson. The video shows Clinton and daughter Chelsea, in Attkisson’s words “speaking with young people at the airport, taking their time and not rushing, heads down or otherwise, to any vehicles.” For the full list of Anderson’s basic questions, go to the Facebook group: Progressives Opposed to a Clinton Dynasty.
On June 10, 2014 the lines of people seeking autographed copies of Hard Choices started lining up at 3am in front of the Barnes & Noble bookstore at Union Square in New York City, the launch of Hillary’s book tour. The New York Times reported that “dozens of Secret Service agents” were establishing orderly processions by the customers. Retired presidents and their families are given a permanent, small Secret Service detail. A private citizen doesn’t have “dozens of Secret Service agents” to help sell her books. The reporters didn’t push this subject. It is a small wonder that Hillary’s march to the White House is being described as “a coronation.”
With so many curtseying instead of inquiring, how can her path be anything but Queenly?
(Ralph Nader’s latest book is: Unstoppable: the Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State