- Bridge Proposals
- Lake Navarro
- More Krassner
- Little Dog
- Yiannopoulos Appearance
- Ed Desk
- Uppity Negroes
- Great Negotiator
- Sanitation Board
- Keegan Boys
- Medication Madness
- Yesterday's Catch
- NFL Unity
- Cartoon Timing
- Cracker State
- Power Bitch
- Fantastic Driver
- Profligate Decisions
- We Mystics
THE PHILO-GREENWOOD BRIDGE based on the arch design the community saw when it was first proposed three years ago, has been approved by all the relevant agencies and may begin construction as early as Spring of 2020. Last Wednesday night, the engineers from Quincy Engineering in Sacramento updated some 40 locals on the project at the Philo Grange. The graceful concrete arch which now holds up the Philo Greenwood Bridge over the Navarro near Hendy Woods State Park will be retained, reinforced and widened as initially proposed. If approvals are received in a reasonably timely manner, the project will get underway with Phase I in the Spring of 2020. Phase I will involve the installation of a wide, arched segment beside the existing bridge while traffic is routed over the next door lane. Phase II in the followiong spring will connect the new half to the existing half. Fortunately, the original bridge, which dates back to the mid-1950s, was installed at a point in the river where there’s solid bedrock on both sides, convenient supports for he widened bridge structure. The presentation met with few formal questions other than Kathy Bailey’s inquiry about parking for people enjoying the swimming hole just north of the bridge. The engineers replied that the shoulders on both sides of the bridge should provide at least as much parking as there is now, but that all such questions can be raised as necessary when the draft Environmental Impact Report is circulated for comment. County Transportation Director Howard Deshield said that there will be a few short periods (a day or two at a time) where the road will have to be closed during construction but closures will have plenty of notice so that emergency services can arrange for alternatives as necessary.
A SECOND PRESENTATION -- Wednesday, September 27 at 5pm -- from the same engineering outfit is scheduled at the Grange to discuss the Lambert Lane Bridge over Robinson Creek near the center of Boonville. It suffered storm damage in 2015-16 and again in 2016-17. A large section of the bridge support on the Boonville side was washed away after being scoured and undermined by heavy flows. Emergency rip-rap installed by Boonville’s road crew in the winter rain has held up nicely so far. After last Wednesday’s presentation at the Grange, the Quincy Engineers indicated that something much larger than the present support structure will have to be installed at the tight curve in the creek where the old bridge support was. It will be interesting to see what the designers have in mind.
AFTER FLOWING TO THE OCEAN throughout this summer, the Navarro has finally been cut off by the sand bar.
PAUL KRASSNER: INTERVIEW PART II
by Jonah Raskin
Readers seemed to enjoy the Q & A I did with Krassner. So, I sent him some more questions and these are as responses. Thanks for all the comments on the AVA website. They helped me frame the second round of questions. I think this is it for the time being.
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Q: Where Is the Humor in the Middle East?
A: There are comedians there, not to mention innumerable individuals who make families and friends laugh.
Q: Are you becoming more sentimental as you age?
A: Not really. I live in the present, though I do miss old friends like Tim Leary and Dick Gregory and my first wife Jeanne with whom my current wife Nancy became a fine friend.
Q: Your fans expect you to be brilliantly funny all the time. Does that help or hinder your creativity?
A: I don’t take criticism personally and therefore I don’t take praise personally though of course it’s appreciated. Years ago I quit Facebook when I reached 5000 “Friends” mostly those I never met who might have liked my work, but ironically they distracted me from my work.
Q: What, if anything, do you regret saying or doing?
A: I try to avoid that by soul-searching first. I do regret having watched too much TV and hardly dancing.
Q: What would you do or say if someone made fun of you because you were born into a Jewish family?
A: It’s their problem, not mine.
Q: Someone said that the satirist loves the things and people he/she ridicules. Is that true or false and why?
A: My targets are triggered by hypocrisy, smugness, dishonesty, and my own foibles. I love when others enjoy my books. My favorite is my autobiography, Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut: Misadventures in the Counterculture, available at my website or more inexpensive at Amazon, expanded & updated edition of 2012.
Q: You made fun of the bomb decades ago. Would you make fun of it today in light of North Korea and Trump saber rattling?
A: The competitive insanity of Trump and Kim is provided by their ultra-absurdity and tragedy as two sides of the same coin.
Q: Shouldn’t hurricanes be named after real villains like Mussolini and Idi Amin?
A: More appropriate would be those who deny climate change.
Q: If the U.S. is an Empire do you wish that it would decline and fall already?
A: We can only hope.
Q: Don’t you think that Ken Burns ought to have a sense of humor, especially in light of his Vietnam documentary?
A: He deleted Tom Hayden’s important antiwar role.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Seeing as how I'm outside year round, I'm weather-sensitive, and I can't tell you how happy I am on the first day of fall — hot days, cold nights. I wish I had longer tail so I could wag hell out of it.”
YAPADOODLE TOUCHES DOWN IN BERKELEY
by Jill Tucker, Kimberly Veklerov, Lizzie Johnson and Nanette Asimov
Ultraconservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos blew kisses, signed autographs and took selfies for about 15 minutes on the steps of Sproul Hall at UC Berkeley Sunday, an appearance that cost the university an estimated $800,000, officials said.
Hoping to prevent the kind of violence that shut down a scheduled speech by Yiannopoulos on Feb. 1, UC officials brought in an “unprecedented” number of police officers from about 10 jurisdictions, including the city of Taft, as well as police from other University of California and California State University campuses.
Security included a labyrinth of orange barriers, which prohibited access to Sproul Plaza until shortly before noon, requiring attendees to pass through a single metal detector to enter the area. In the end, only about 150 people in Sproul Plaza saw Yiannopoulos. Hundreds remained outside waiting to get in when he left.
“Because we were operating and planning in the blind — we just were not getting information from the student group — we had to plan for what we felt was going to happen with speakers of this magnitude here,” said Chief Margo Bennett. “And that’s why we staffed it the way we did.”
Bennett said that campus police and administrators would decide Sunday night whether to provide special security for the rest of the week.
Yiannopoulos arrived on the steps of Sproul Plaza shortly after noon, fulfilling his vow to show up even after student organizers canceled what had been billed as Free Speech Week, a four-day event that was to include Steven Bannon, President Trump’s former adviser, and alt-right author, Ann Coulter.
Despite calling the event a defense of free speech, Yiannopoulos didn’t give a speech. He wasn’t allowed to use an amplification system, a rule university officials said would apply to “any private citizen who would seek to make use of the Sproul steps for a similar purpose.”
Instead, wearing an American flag hoodie and accompanied by an entourage that included private security, he greeted supporters for several minutes and then started singing the National Anthem when protesters began yelling at him, challenging him on his views regarding immigration.
Then, security escorted Yiannopoulos away from Sproul Plaza while police held back people who tried to follow him.
“No, I didn’t get to say much,” Yiannopoulos told The Chronicle later in a text message, adding that he plans to return either later this week or sometime in the next several months. “We will be back to Berkeley over and over again, until the university starts treating its conservative students fairly.”
He also criticized police, saying they prevented people from entering.
“Nonsense,” said UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof. He said the security screening was slowed after one person was caught with plastic brass knuckles, a dangerous weapon that wouldn’t be caught by a metal detector.
“Our job as a campus and as a police department wasn’t to facilitate this event,” Mogulof said. “What drove our arrangements and our preparations and our decisions was the safety and security of the public, the campus community and any private citizens that may have come onto Sproul.”
Several hundred people descended on the south side of the campus in anticipation of Yiannopoulos’s visit, a split between those who supported him and those who didn’t.
Throughout the morning, there was verbal sparring and a few scuffles between the two sides, as well as competing chants of, “USA!” and “Fascists go home!”
Police banned weapons of any kind as well as face masks from the area, perhaps deterring groups like the Black Bloc or Antifa from participating.
Two people were arrested during the protest off campus. Kyle McCoy, 28, and Keith Sherman, 30, both of Oakland, were arrested for carrying a banned weapon and wearing a mask while committing a crime, police said.
As the protests wound down Sunday afternoon and the crowd dissipated, university officials said that they would likely be looking at changing event and speaker policies.
It’s unclear if existing rules can accommodate these kinds of “unprecedented protests,” Mogulof said, adding that Chancellor Carol Christ is considering putting together an advisory group of students, faculty, experts and administrators review those policies.
He noted that the event was initiated by a student group called the Berkeley Patriot, a group that was organized by two students after Yiannopoulos’s first speech was canceled.
“We need to ask ourselves, ‘Should a relatively small student group have the ability to schedule four straight days of events?”, he said. “There’s a lot for us to examine and think about.”
* * *
THIS YAPADAPADOODLE CHARACTER merely threatens to show up in Berkeley and the whole town has a nervous breakdown. Yes, he's repulsive and he's basically a fascist, but do you mean to tell me there's no one left on the left who couldn't dismantle this creep without breaking an intellectual sweat? He's got to be shut down? Ditto for Ann Coulter and Bannon. There should be a stipulation that the fascisti appear in debate formats, but the left, such as it is, ought to know better than to censor people they don't approve of — worse than censor, threaten violence against them. Who appointed Antifa to tell me who I could hear and who I couldn't hear? Yeah, yeah, yeah. These are bad people promoting bad stuff, but we're not in a Weimar political situation here, all the loose talk about fascism in the White House notwithstanding. The soft fascism we'll get here will come with someone like Billery, not Hitler and Mussolini.
ONLY TRUMP could manage to alienate NFL owners who, as a group, are the Koch Brothers, squared. Now he's got all of Sports World denouncing him, and that's a huge world to estrange. Myself, I'd like to see the whole league go out in protest of the obvious owner's boycott they've slapped on Kaepernick. Older old timers will remember how Baseball boycotted Curt Flood when Flood held out for free agency, which made multi-millionaires out succeeding generations of ballplayers.
IN THE BATTLE OF WITS BETWEEN Trump is and will be getting reverse slam-dunked such as this one from LeBron James: “U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!”
* * *
ANTIFA lost me when the national news ran a clip of that self-alleged Berkeley Antifa guy running up on a Trump fat girl and hitting her over the head with a battery in a sock. The fascist impulse is where you find it, and it seems to me a lot of these black-masked vigilantes are simply the other side of the same fascist coin.
* * *
GOOD IDEA from Paul Krassner: Name hurricanes after climate change deniers. Why sully perfectly nice names like Irma and Harvey when you could name the big winds after the windbags whose ignorance has made them worse?
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"IF YOU WANT TO LOOK in our rearview, it’s lynchings and race war and genocide all the way back, from Hispaniola to Jolo Island in the Philippines to Mendocino County, California, where we nearly wiped out the Yuki people once upon a time." — Matt Taibbi
US RIGHTEOUS ONES could agitate for a name change for the Hastings College of Law. Hastings, by far, is Mendocino County's all-time criminal, responsible for many more murders than Jim Jones, our over-achieving runner-up. The time is ripe. All over the country artifacts of the more unsavory events in our history are being torn down. Hastings is long overdue for a tear-down.
ONE MORE TIME, in brief: Hastings, California's first state supreme court justice, moved in on the Indians living in Eden Valley wedged in between Potter Valley and Round Valley east of Willits where, circa 1850, he established a horse ranch. His foreman, a 6'7" psychopath called Texan Boy Hall, promised the Indians that if they humped Hastings' furniture over from Mendocino, where it had been off-loaded from a ship up from San Francisco, he'd give them the shirts they especially coveted. Hastings and Texan Boy reneged on the deal so the Indians, in retaliation, killed Hastings' stallion. And Hastings, for the loss of his horse, got the California legislature to job out the destruction of all the Indians in the entire Eel River Basin.
ANOTHER MURDEROUS PSYCHO called Jarboe won the job. He formed Jaboe's Rangers to get it done. Jarboe and his gunmen were paid per scalp, including those of women and children. Jarboe, subsequently Ukiah's first lawman, falsified his invoice; he didn't get full payment but his Rangers killed hundreds, perhaps several thousand Indians. Of course the slaughter didn't cease with Jarboe. Freelance killers continued to murder Indians until the Lincoln presidency when Abe became aware of the monstrousness of the crimes committed in the Eel River Basin and sent in the troops.
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RECOMMENDED VIEWING: "Taboo," an Amazon series starring Tom Hardy. Not recommended for family viewing or persons disturbed by depictions of mayhem, specifically, evisceration, incest, torture, graphic sex, a violent episode every five minutes.. Lefties will appreciate the sub-theme of vicious rival imperialisms circa early 19th century, when the Brit East India Company was as powerful as the Crown and baby America. Wonderful acting as only the English seem capable of.
DONALD TRUMP likes to brag that he’s a great negotiator. Doubt it. In Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal” he lists ten “secrets” to good negotiating: “Think big. Protect the downside and the upside will take care of itself. Maximize your options. Know your market, Use your leverage, Enhance your location, Get the word out, Fight back, Deliver the goods, Contain the costs, Have fun.”
CONSPICUOUSLY missing is the most important: Do your homework. In other words do lots of preparation and research about the operations and aims of the other party so you know more about what they want or need than they do. Trump’s too lazy, too short-tempered, too inclined to bluster to be a good negotiator.
YEARS AGO, I was involved in negotiating a contract with the Navy for servicing 40 T-34 simulators the Navy bought from the training equipment company where I was VP of Engineering. The Navy contracting office wanted us to guarantee that the trainers would be “operatinally ready” for 96% of the time. We’d get an incentive payment if we were over 96% but a penalty if we were lower than 96%. After speaking to our field services manager it became clear that the instructor pilots who used the simulators had strict schedules they had to maintain. Pilot trainees had to finish their training in a certain amount of time. If that was the case, I asked the field service manager, What did they do when the simulators malfunctioned? The field service manager replied that they usually trained around the problem by switching subjects or simply pointing to the malfunctioning instrument and explaining how it worked whether it actually worked or not. For record keeping purposes, we said that the instructor pilots would have to fill out a detailed form documenting the malfunction and why it caused them to be unable to use the trainer. The pilots hated to fill out those forms. It was time consuming and a pain in the ass, but the contracting office didn’t know much about how the trainers were used. So I proposed to the Navy contracting officer that the penalty-incentive language be modified to read “operationally ready for training,” instead of just “operationally ready,” which seemed like an innocuous change. The contracting officer didn’t realize the significance of the change and agreed to it and, after griping about how high the 96% was and how hard it would be to achieve, we “reluctantly” signed the contract. A year later we had miraculously achieved 100% “operationally ready for training” and pocketed a small but nice incentive and everybody was happy. PS. It was this kind of thing that got me promoted to VP of Engineering, not my rather limited engineering expertise. (Mark Scaramella)
SANITATION DISTRICT CAN’T SEEM TO STOP ITSELF
Once more we must take issue with yet another full-page advertisement from the San District attempting to make sure that the incumbents in the upcoming San District board election keep their seats.
The San District has issued paragraph after paragraph of complete untruths, exaggerations and cherry-picked information designed to convince voters that their efforts to extort money from the City of Ukiah — efforts that have already cost those same voters $4 million in legal fees — are worth the cost.
After last week’s untrue claim that the city has paid the San District close to $9 million in reparations from the District lawsuit (when in fact the city paid them their own money from their own dwindling reserves as requested by the San District), this week the San District tries to paint the city as an egregious polluter, a failed bond holder, ratepayer abuser, and political manipulator.
First, let’s talk about the political issue. The ad paid for by the San District claims that the city employees deliberately overcharged San District customers in an effort to sway their votes in the November San District election, and oust San District incumbents. That’s political advertising in our view. And it’s illegal for the San District to pay for such statements.
The overcharges that occurred were, in fact, the direct result of the San District’s own conflicting and confused reporting of water use among its customers.
The latest San District spin document also says the grand jury in 2012-13 recommended the San District get a lawyer and sue the city “to recapture lost revenues.” What the grand jury actually said was that the city and the San District should work together to settle their differences, and as a last resort, go to court. But over what? The grand jury report never said the city owed the San District millions of dollars. The revenue they said was at issue in their report was a small number of fines and fees the UVSD had paid and the grand jury’s view was colored by a draft report ordered up for LAFCo by the then-LAFCo director who consequently hired on as the San District manager and urged this lawsuit. The LAFCo board itself rejected the draft report.
The San District also takes the city to task for not refinancing the bonds issued to build the sewer plant to get a better rate. In fact the city tried to refinance the bonds, but could not because of the San District’s lawsuit, which among other things states it wants to pull out of the agreement by which the bonds are repaid.
The rates at which city or San District customers are charged depends on the different rates at which the San District and city charge for water, nothing more.
The San District makes much of the city’s operation of the sewer plant itself. Citing Regional Water Board citations and fines, the San District would like the voters to think that the sewer plant is being mismanaged. Not true. When the plant was being designed, the city went to the Regional Water Board and specifically asked them if there were any upcoming pollution regs the city needed to build into the plant. They were told no. As frequently happens, California did indeed soon impose new sewer standards — for nitrogen — which automatically put the city’s new sewer plant into non-compliance. The Cease and Desist Order which the San District ad makes so much of, was actually the Regional Water Board giving the city some protection from outside civil suits (like from folks like River Watch) since if the regional board is acting, a civil suit cannot. The Regional Board, acknowledging the city’s inability to immediately comply with the new standards, has given the city waivers and more time. However, there are automatic fines that the Regional Board cannot waive and which the city has paid as a result. We should point out that some 421 sewer plants in California are out of compliance in one way or another and of those 380 of them have settled with the Regional Board in the exact same way. The district claims they weren’t told. Rubbish. The city budgets for these fines every year. If the San District didn’t know about them it’s because the San District has refused to review or adopt the sewer plant budget since 2012-13. And, the city had a plan to take care of the nitrogen problem, but almost lost a state grant to pay for it, again because of the San District lawsuit. The city cleverly worked around that, but now the San District says it shouldn’t have to pay for any of those improvements.
The District says it has asked “for decades” for lists of its customers from the city. In fact the first time they asked was in 2014 and the city provided it. What the city did not provide was the County Assessor Parcel number for each customer, information the city did not keep.
We could go on and on, but the important thing to remember here is that the San District board is desperate not to have its apple cart upset in the upcoming election. This is why they are spending so much on trying to impress voters. Contrary to statements made over and over by the San District, the city has transferred only the district’s own money held in reserves for them or in rate stabilization funds – in total about $9 million – since October 2013. There have been no “reparations” or “settlement” payments. In fact the last check the city sent of $4.5 million back in April, represented the last of the District’s money at that point.
We are getting tired of talking about the San District’s tall tales, so let’s just say that we advise that everyone just ignore any further full page ads taken out by the San District in the knowledge that what they are saying isn’t true and is simply a desperate attempt to keep the voters from asserting control of a board that has lost any credibility along with $4 million of the ratepayers’ money.
K.C. Meadows (Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
WHERE’S THE CONCERN FOR THE SONS?
To the Editor:
I recently read the letter from Luke and Simon Keegan regarding the upcoming prosecution of their father, Peter. When I heard that Dr. Keegan had been indicted, and would stand trial for the death of his wife Susan, I was stunned. No one knows what actually happened to cause Susan’s death, but at this point my focus is centered on her sons. These young men suffered an enormous loss in their mother’s sudden death several years ago. Now their father is terminally ill, and they will be without either parent. I cannot understand what the legal system, and those who have strived to have Dr. Keegan brought to trial for Susan’s death imagine will be accomplished by this prosecution except to create a horrific experience in the limited time they have left to be with their father before he succumbs to cancer. For clear disclosure, the Keegans were part of a group of parents sharing child care in the early years of our children’s lives, and our families became friends through this connection. Dr. Keegan became our family physician as well. My experiences of Susan and Peter over the years impressed me with their loving care of their children, their humor and creativity, and their enrichment of our community. In a county where so many young men drifted into marijuana cultivation, Luke and Simon did not. Their parents devotion to them, and maintaining an integral family unit that supported them, resulted in raising two young men who are loving, responsible people who contribute to their communities, and remain devoted to and confident of their father’s innocence. I cannot imagine Susan would want her sons to have to endure the loss of their father compounded by going through a criminal trial that depletes the family’s personal and financial resources, and creates more heartache than they’ve already had to bear. This indictment of Dr. Keegan may provide a sense of justice and revenge for a small group of Susan’s friends, rather than supporting and caring for her sons as they prepare to lose the father they love and trust.
Muhasibi Shalom, Ukiah
To The Editor:
The November ballot will have a measure to decide with or not to build a $30 million (estimated cost) building to be a mental health facility paid for with increased sales taxes.
Now that psychiatry has become an arm of the phrarmaceutical industry (as Dr. Peter Breggin so convincingly argues in his book, “Medication Madness”), it is appropriate to consider that public safety is being harmed by the drugs so easily distributed by doctors who are being deceived by the pharmaceutical industry. In some people these very common antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood elevators and tranquilizers CAUSE suicide, violent behavior and murder. We may rationally consider each mass murder event in terms of psychiatric drug use, also, each suicide. The same drugs may help some people, for many there are better ways to help.
The psychiatric drug companies can not possibly pay to correct all the harm they do to individuals, families and communities. This proposed centralized facility risks being an outpost of the pharmaceutical industry. Maybe they should pay for it.
ED NOTE: The implication that a mental health facility will lead to increased use of psychiatric pharmaceuticals is a stretch beyond reason. To link this much needed facility to the harms associated with psychiatric drugs is unfair, and has nothing to do with the pros or cons of Measure B.
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 24, 2017
PAVEL BITZ, San Francisco/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
THOMAS COOK, Ukiah. Bicycling under the influence.
JOSHUA DEFREE, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license, paraphernalia, controlled substance, petty theft, failure to appear.
KELLY ELLIOTT, Laytonville. Domestic battery.
DOUGLAS FOOTE, Redwood Valley. Under influence, indecent exposure.
JACOB HALLOWAY, Fort Bragg. Burglary, stolen property.
LANIE HOLCOMB, Willits. Battery.
MATTHEW KAISER, Ukiah. Fugitive from justice.
IGNATIO NAVA, Ukiah. DUI, no license.
SETH SMART, Willits. Battery with serious injury.
MARTIN WATTENBURGER JR., Ukiah. DUI.
WHAT A SUNDAY!
by Dave Zirin
The Fragile, Toxic Masculinity of Donald Trump
It’s exhausting to have a president who gets angrier at outspoken black athletes than at Nazis. It’s exhausting how shameless he is about his bigotry and his toxicity. This is a president who never played football. He never served in the armed forces. He frets over what conclusions we draw from the size of his hands. His skin is thinner than the gossamer wings of a butterfly. He is the epitome of a bullying but frail brand of masculinity. He belongs in a psychological textbook as a case study, not in the White House. Look at Trump’s comments—in their entirety—about the current state of the National Football League, from his speech at a campaign rally in Huntsville, Alabama.
Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out, he’s fired. He’s FIRED!” You know, some owner is gonna do that. He’s gonna say, “That guy disrespects our flag; he’s fired.” And that owner, they don’t know it. They don’t know it. They’re friends of mine, many of them. They don’t know it. They’ll be the most popular person, for a week. They’ll be the most popular person in this country.
Then, the very week that the autopsy of 27-year-old former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez went public, which found he had stage-three CTE, Trump claimed that the game was too soft. He said:
Today if you hit too hard—15 yards! Throw him out of the game! They had that last week. I watched for a couple of minutes. Two guys, just really, beautiful tackle. Boom, 15 yards! The referee gets on television—his wife is sitting at home, she’s so proud of him. They’re ruining the game! They’re ruining the game. That’s what they want to do. They want to hit. They want to hit! It is hurting the game.
This is Trump, the violent fantasist who dreams of a physical supremacy he never achieved, and has then spent his life expressing this insecurity and hostility through boardroom bullying and, of course, sexually predatory behavior. He has lived his life in thrall to toxic masculinity, but lacked the ability to prove this “manhood” on the football field, and then dodged the armed forces, never attempting to prove his “manhood” on the battlefield. He has chosen instead to spend a lifetime tearing down the people who have dared stand in his path, and the women who dared to say “no.” Call it irony, call it divine coincidence, but it’s stunning that the day Trump publicly yearns for the time when football fulfilled his vicarious desires of physical domination, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Friday scrapped a key part of government policy on campus sexual assault. It’s so on the nose, a screenwriter would reject the scenario.
But Trump’s speech wasn’t over. His radar, always firmly attuned to the worst impulses of his audience, turned his attention again back to black players who protest, and he said:
But do you know what’s hurting the game more than that? When people like yourselves turn on the television and you see those players taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem. The only thing you could do better is, if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up and leave. Not the same game anymore, anyway.
Some could argue that this is just a case of a divisive autocrat going after obvious targets of racial animus and of a base that doesn’t care if nuclear Armageddon looms, as long as they get their culture war—while Trump’s party gets its tax cuts for billionaires. But whether Trump realizes it or not, there is something else at play. These athletes are doing a lot more than sitting or kneeling or raising a fist during the anthem. They are offering up an alternative model for unity, justice, and even manhood. They are showing that what makes an adult is whom you can help, not whom you can cuss, and certainly not whom you can destroy for shameless and divisive political gain. Look at the work that’s been done by Michael Bennett, Colin Kaepernick, Malcolm Jenkins, the Charlottesville scholarships just funded by Chris Long… the list goes on and on of NFL players attempting to use their platform to highlight a different path for healing this country. The anthem protest is just a means to that end, an effort to highlight the gap between the promises that the flag represents and the lived experience of too many people in this country.
This is a model of politics—as well as manhood—that threatens Trump’s entire agenda of poisonous, divisive narcissism. Look at the outpouring of comments by NFL players following Trump’s remarks. None of them have sunk to his level. Instead, they share the tone of Seahawk Richard Sherman who said, “The behavior of the President is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. If you do not Condemn this divisive Rhetoric you are Condoning it!!” The cornerback, who is not even 30 years old, is showcasing more adulthood then the 70-year-old president. This is the new reality. And Sherman is absolutely correct. To be silent in the face of this destructive person is to condone his actions. That’s not an option. This president is a child bully, and bullies are emboldened by our silence.
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For the NFL, It Was ‘Choose Your Side Sunday’
The 1960s and 1970s saw a hurricane of political athletes: legends like Muhammad Ali, John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Curt Flood and Billie Jean King. But nothing, literally nothing, in the history of sports and politics can compare to what happened on Sunday.
Expressions of dissent broke out in every single NFL game during the playing of the National Anthem. Some players kneeled, some sat, some raised fists, and some linked arms, some stayed in the locker room during the anthem. But all of them were standing in opposition to Donald Trump. Announcers and commentators discussed their actions sympathetically. The booing one might expect from fans was sparse. Two anthem singers – a black man in Detroit and a white woman in Tennessee – took a knee during the last note of the song. How did this happen? How did the sport that—from ownership down—has historically been associated with the most conservative politics, see this maelstrom of united discontent?
It starts with Colin Kaepernick and it ends with understanding the “brotherhood” that exists in NFL locker rooms. Kaepernick, of course, is the blackballed (or whiteballed) free-agent NFL quarterback who took a knee and protested during the anthem last season to highlight the issue of police violence. I can say unequivocally from my reporting that while only a small group of NFL players joined Kaepernick in this protest last season, the respect he garnered throughout the community of players for doing it week after week for four straight months, weathering all kinds of brutal criticism, was deep. Kaepernick lit the match. It was kept alight earlier this season by players like Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett, Philadelphia Eagle Malcolm Jenkins, Oakland Raider Marshawn Lynch, and a dozen members of the Cleveland Browns and others, but the gasoline was poured upon this flame by Donald Trump on Friday. People no doubt are aware of what should be known as “the Alabama speech” where he called on protesting NFL players to be fired and described the ones who have protested as “son of a bitch.”
This is where we get to the question of solidarity. Donald Trump never played football and therefore does not understand what Bennett calls “the brotherhood.” Football players are very tight-knit as a community. It’s certainly not always a positive solidarity, most pointedly seen in the reticence of players to speak out when a teammate commits an act of violence against women as well as the pressure to play when hurt, which often comes from your “brothers,” not coaches. But this “brotherhood” also means that when someone threatens the livelihoods of the players and disrespects their families, they will stand as one.
From Trump’s perspective—leader of, as former NFL player Adalius Thomas called it in a scathing critique of Trump on MSNBC, “The Divided States of America”—these players probably seemed like a smart target. Trump reserves his greatest venom for black people and women—as we have seen time and again—and certainly thought that going after wealthy black athletic dissenters was a clever move. But it didn’t line up as he had hoped. First the union came out strongly in defense of players and challenged management to do the same. Then team owners and Roger Goodell came out—far less strongly, but still made it perfectly clear what side they were on. Even though their comments were not exactly fiery, they stood with the dissenting players. This matters when we consider just how many of these owners supported Trump in the campaign. (If they were truly on the side of angels, not to mention meritocracy, they wouldn’t just talk the talk, but they’d sign Colin Kaepernick.)
Then this tumult spilled over into the Sunday morning shows. People like former NFL player Anquan Boldin had a platform on ABC News to say, “I don’t like the hate speech that is coming out of [Trump’s] mouth. Neither do the players in the locker room.”
Seahawk wide receiver Doug Baldwin shamed Trump with a statement so eloquent one wondered why he couldn’t be President.
Then there was the declaration of the entire Seahawks organization, on team letterhead, which read, “As a team we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work towards freedom and equality for all.”
But even beyond these voices, there was also Fox announcer—and southern NFL icon—Terry Bradshaw, who said, “Not sure if our president understands those rights, that every American has the right to speak out and also to protest.”
Then there was former NFL coach Rex Ryan, a vocal Trump supporter who campaigned for the man. He said: “I’m pissed off I’ll be honest. I supported Trump, and I’m appalled at these comments. SOB’s? Not the men that I know.”
One could certainly be forgiven for wondering what Trump he was watching during the campaign. But all of it speaks to the very intense, if at times deeply distorted, sense of solidarity that exists throughout the league at every level.
This is what Trump lacked the capacity to understand—and the divider in chief painted himself into a corner. For one day, the NFL was united.
The line of the day that explained it all was said by ESPN NFL commentator and future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson. He said, “This is choose your side Sunday. It really is. And what side are you on?”
When it comes to the NFL, that “side” does not involve standing with Donald Trump. In the 1960s, athletes made history. On Sunday, a new link was forged.
"ONE THE SADDEST LESSONS OF HISTORY is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.
— Carl Sagan
TO K.C. MEADOWS, Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal
From Friday's UDJ — what timing! Only one to get a notice from the fire boys and I don't have polka dot boxers! But thank you. Lee Howard, Ukiah
FROM THE DESK of Coach Paddy Roller, Cracker State College:
All you boys better quit that knee-takin' stuff and git yo' asses back on the gridiron of this heah plantation if you know what's good for you, hear me? Now git yo' minds right an git back to work!
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Speaking of PR, Florida and no electric, here is a little anecdote:
Tomorrow is my wife’s 50th HS reunion party. About a year ago a classmate who had long ago moved to Florida from Jersey got it in ‘her’ head that a 50 year celebration was called for. ‘She’ started to pull together a team and my wife was among them. I am putting small quotes around all references to the reunion leader’s gender because ‘she’ is a male to female tranny formerly named Robert H. and now named Barbara K. Barbara K. has gone the whole nine yards by having SRS (Sex Reassignment Surgery) which, if you are a male and viewed the video someone posted here a month or so ago of the procedure, you would barf. How any man could watch this well-done animated video and say to themselves “Yeah, I’m up for it” is beyond incredible.
Barbara K. has taken tons of hormones to grow tits and to otherwise try to take on a female persona. And to an extent it has worked in that ‘she’ has become a female-like emotional mess.
Barbara K. is married to another male to female tranny who immigrated from Norway or Denmark (I forget which) and ‘she’ drives a long haul 18 wheeler. ‘She’ loves taking off on one of ‘her’ long road trips because (we assume) ‘she’ cannot tolerate being around ‘her’ over-emotional, nut case spouse, Barbara.
This pair of trannies live on the West coast of FL in the St Petersburg area. Irma knocked out their power for 5 days while the truck driver tranny was away on a road trip leaving Barbara K. to fend for ‘her’self. (‘She’ went and lived for several days with a relative in Panama City until ‘she’ got word that the juice was back on at home.)
With the reunion date of 9/23 rapidly approaching and with flight ticketing issues but no computer usage, etc., Barbara K. was becoming an emotional wreck, even threatening suicide to her teammates on the committee. Then the juice was restored and things calmed down briefly. But Wednesday, just before she was to fly north to NJ, an 18-wheeler took out 3 electric poles and Barb was without power AGAIN.
I have been kept apprised of this soap opera because my wife refuses to pick up our house phone when she sees that it is the pain-in-the-ass Barbara calling yet again. The chore falls on my shoulders. On two occasions my wife has told Barbara K. to go fuck ‘her’self and hung up on ‘her’.
I am going to meet this Barbara K. tranny for the first time tomorrow at 6 PM.
Long story short: loss of electric power is a bitch.
IT’S ONLY YOUR MONEY
To the disgust of everyone and the surprise of no one, Mendodo College just gave its subpar president, Arturo Reyes, another big raise. This cat, fatter than most around here, now pulls down more than $300,000 annually in salary and benefits.
A couple years back Reyes was crowing about the new job he’d landed in southern California, and had already packed his bags and was having someone write a farewell speech for him to read before he left town. Then the job offer was pulled, Reyes came tiptoeing back to town, and the college board rewarded his “loyalty” with another raise and a contract extension.
Do you get the impression that people who work for the government around here are treated differently? Does it seem their salaries are always the highest but with no reason to explain why? I’ve had my eye on Reyes for a while now and have yet to see anything that indicates his skills or leadership are even mediocre. He’d be overpaid, and replaceable, at a hundred thousand a year in an open job market.
It’s the same over at city hall and at the county’s office of education, where big salaries are the norm and where the people who authorize those salaries behave as if prudent money management is irrelevant. No matter how much money they spend there’s always more available.
Let’s be generous, they think to themselves and say to each other. It isn’t our money. And who cares if we’re irresponsible? We won’t be around when the ship starts to sink.
* * *
THE PRICE ISN’T RIGHT, OR EVEN CLOSE
The city just agreed to pay $1.8 million for some upgrades to the intersection at Talmage Road leading to Walmart and, eventually, Costco. What will the final price be once certain unforeseen costs such as hourly wages and the price of concrete get factored in? We can only speculate.
It’s always this way, and city officials know it. As Willie Brown, one of California’s premier political spenders and the author of many expensive boondoggles once explained, the estimated cost of a public works projects “is just the down payment.” Brown said the initial gush of money should be used “to dig the biggest hole possible” so there will be no going back on the project or the spending.
It’s a dirty cynical world of sleazy politics, and we’re just watching a smalltime sideshow. Remember: One point eight million dollars. Ha ha.
(Tommy Wayne Kramer, Ukiah Daily Journal)
VISHNU WITH CRAIG
Into the Mystic!
Please know that I have just attended an exceptional talk at the San Francisco Vedanta Society, in which the resident swami at Olema Retreat Ctr. defined the difference between philosophy and mysticism. Although philosophy is important, he elaborated that the philosopher is intellectualizing, whereas the mystic actually experiences the Divine. Going further, he explained that the path spiritually forward is to go toward the Light, and then to go beyond the Light. Just as someone looking at the sun sees the brightness, what lies behind the brightness is still to be seen. The swami concluded his remarks by saying that beyond the brightness, all mystics discover that the face of God is their own! ~Om Shanthi~ If this message is of interest to you, then please continue your relationship with me, because for we mystics the path is always worthwhile, and besides, spiritual good company is heightening. ;-)
Craig Louis Stehr