- Candidate Forum
- Schnurrbart Sabotage
- Pepperbox Delgado
- Little Dog
- Homeless Rights
- House Plans
- Nuisance Property
- Trade War
- Pot Pioneers
- Ballot Signatures
- River Trespass
- Skunk Plans
- Whiteboy Rick
- Skewered Wolfe
- Yesterday's Catch
- SNAP Chatter
- Hurricane Cooper
- Full Disclosure
- Farina Puns
- Placebo Buttons
- Antique Hearse
- Prostate Month
- Appealing Cults
- Tedious Rachel
- Social Security
- Accusation Timing
CANDIDATE FORUM FOR MENDOCINO COAST DISTRICT HOSPITAL BOARD
The League of Women Voters - Mendocino County has announced that a Candidate Forum for the Mendocino Coast Health Care District Board of Directors will be held at the Redwood Coast Senior Center, 490 North Harold Street, Fort Bragg, CA on Monday, October 1, 2018, from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. All candidates have been invited and have agreed to participate. Each candidate will be given up to two minutes for an opening statement, followed by the candidates answering written questions from the audience. There will be a one minute response time for each answer. At the end of the forum, each candidate will have up to two minutes for a closing statement. Candidates may remain after the forum to answer any questions people may have. Please note that this is NOT a debate. The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates or parties for any public office, but one of their missions is voter education, hence their sponsorship of this candidate forum. This event is open to the public; a League member will be the moderator. If you have any questions, please contact The League of Women Voters - Mendocino County at 707-937-4952.
Pat Dunbar, Publicity, firstname.lastname@example.org
STEVE SPARKS NOTES: Pic taken at the Fair (not by me) when the Republicans were distracted and a little mischief was performed (also not by me)…
It was there for about 45 minutes before they noticed and the addition was removed.
FELON WITH PEPPER BOX
On September 17, 2018 at approximately 9:37 p.m., an Officer of the Fort Bragg Police Department was on patrol in the 300 Block of Chestnut Street when he observed a male suspect riding a bicycle without displaying a white lamp during the hours of darkness. When the Officer attempted to contact the suspect, the suspect fled on his bicycle leading the Officer on a multi-block pursuit which ended in the 500 Block of S. Franklin Street. Once in the 500 Block of S. Franklin Street, the suspect abandoned his bicycle and attempted to flee on foot before being apprehended by the Officer a short distance away.
Once apprehended, the suspect was identified as Johny Delgado, 22, of Fort Bragg. A records check showed that Delgado was on Post Release Community Supervision from State Prison under Assembly Bill 109. A search, incident to arrest and in accordance with Delgado’s probation terms was conducted, leading to the discovery of a firearm and suspected methamphetamine. The firearm in Delgado’s possession was identified as a unique “pepper box” style firearm (photo below).
Delgado was placed under arrest for multiple charges including being a convicted felon in possession of a concealed firearm and being in possession of a firearm while also in possession of a controlled substance.
Delgado was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he awaits arraignment on the charges of Felon in Possession of Firearm, Possession of Firearm and Controlled Substance, and Fleeing Police.
(Fort Bragg PD press release)
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Skrag's about to make his move on the goldfish. I've warned these people but they don't listen, and they also see Skrag perched over the pond. These people want it both ways: they want me to keep an eye on everything then ignore me when I do.”
THE 9th U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS has ruled that it's unconstitutional to ban homeless people from sleeping on the streets. “Just as the state may not criminalize the state of being ‘homeless in public places,’ the state may not ‘criminalize conduct that is an unavoidable consequence of being homeless — namely sitting, lying, or sleeping on the streets,’” Judge Marsha Berzon wrote for a three-judge panel. The ruling is a major setback for local municipalities trying to devise their own methods to keep the homeless on the move. Here in Mendocino County, despite annual millions shoveled to our helping professionals, who are roughly equivalent in numbers to the County's homeless population itself, homelessness, especially the grislier alcohol and drug-addicted casualties people seem to conflate with homelessness, there are no proposals, and less leadership on the issue to do anything about.
THE MARBUT REPORT commissioned, paid for and ignored by the Supervisors, basically suggested ramped-up local care for local casualties, a meal or two for the transient sectors of the homeless population before they're refused further assistance and encouraged to move on. Marbut also pointed out that there is no reliable count of the homeless in Mendocino County, which makes it impossible to enact sensible programs to help those with roots in this place.
THE MOST RECENT "point in time" homeless count by self-interested local agencies whose state and federal reimbursements depend on these counts, found 1179 persons living rough in Mendocino County. Marbut said a more realistic count would have revealed about 200 homeless in Ukiah, 100 in Fort Bragg, 20 in Willits, in other words, a relatively small number of people, many of them irremediably screwed-up, but a manageably small enough number that effective local government could effectively house and maybe even help to regain themselves. As it stands, the County of Mendocino does nothing for the homeless but ensure they remain unhoused and their pathologies unaddressed.
MENDO’S CHIEF BUILDING DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL, Michael Oliphant, returned our call Tuesday about the availability of pre-approved house plans. Oliphant said the Building Department had indeed prepared the plans — one set for a 2 bed/1 bath home and another for a 3 bed/2 bath home — but they have not been released yet, pending a review by the County Counsel’s office. So there’s at least some chance they’ll be available before the end of the year. Oliphant said it was the County’s “goal” to provide the plans and specs at no cost to people whose homes had been burned down in last year’s Redwood Complex fires and that it would be “great” if they could be provided to others. Oliphant added that he’d let us know when the plans were ready for distribution. Oliphant’s message did not say, however, whether use of the plans would translate to reduced or no-cost permit fees, which was the context in which Supervisor Gjerde raised the subject of the free plans and specs in the first place. — ms
NUISANCE ABATEMENT, FORT BRAGG STYLE
Fort Bragg City Council Agenda for September 24
Item 6a: Receive Report And Conduct Public Hearing On Imposition Of Lien Against Nationstar / Mr. Cooper In The Amount Of $20,927.79 For Delinquent Nuisance Abatement Charges Related To 119 Pine Street
ISSUE: On January 20, 2018, 119 Pine Street was partially burned to the ground. This property was formerly owned by a hoarder and was the subject of many code enforcement cases over the past ten years. In 2017, the property was red-tagged as uninhabitable due to non-code and unsafe wiring and non-code and unsafe propane heating and cooking setup. The property was also a known location for illegal camping.
In response to the fire, City staff installed barriers around the building, installed stormwater protective devices, hired a company to install construction fencing, and initiated code enforcement against the property owner to abate the nuisance. On March 14, 2018 the insurance company (Assurant) made a payout on the insurance loss to Nationstar / Mr. Cooper in the amount of $173,285.94.
The Mortgage Holder, Nationstar / Mr. Cooper, foreclosed on the property sometime in the March/April timeframe. Over the course of the following five months, City staff and the City Attorney reached out to Nationstar / Mr. Cooper on multiple occasions without response from Nationstar.
In May of 2018 the City scheduled a hearing between the City Manager and Nationstar / Mr. Cooper to address the nuisance conditions. The property owner was notified by registered letter and did not attend the hearing. City staff continued to try to work with Nationstar to get the partially destroyed building and the many tons of accumulated debris removed from the property with no response from the property owner.
In June of 2018 the property owner attempted to list the property for sale. The City Attorney threatened to file an injunction against the property owner, and to avoid the negative publicity, Nationstar unlisted the property.
Due to a lack of response from Nationstar to the numerous code complaint letters that the City sent to the bank demanding that the bank demolish 119 Pine Street and clean up all related structures and debris, on July 10, 2018, the City began fining the property owner $1,000 per day per Fort Bragg Municipal Code Chapter 6.12 (Nuisances) and Chapter 1.12 (General Penalty).
On July 12, Nationstar’s contractor Above All Property Services obtained a demolition permit for the demolition of 119 Pine Street and all associated structures. Above All Properties underbid the project and encountered difficulties scheduling the delivery and removal of full waste dumpsters by Waste Management and so the demolition process extended over three weeks, resulting in multiple mobilizations. Additionally, the amount of debris on the property was much more than estimated due to years of hoarding by the former property owner. In total, over 450 cubic yards of waste was removed from 119 Pine Street. The project site was effectively cleared and revegetated by the end of August.
The City sent a demand letter to Nationstar / Mr. Cooper’s attorney on August 16, 2018, noting that the owner of the parcel has not paid charges, costs and fines related to the nuisance abatement due to the City.
Direct staff to impose a lien against Nationstar / Mr. Cooper in the amount of $20,928 for delinquent nuisance abatement charges and violation fines related to code violations at 119 Pine Street
Provide alternative direction to staff.
The following charges have accrued to the City of Fort Bragg for the code enforcement actions related to code enforcement of 119 Pine Street. The $20,927.79 noted in the table below includes costs accrued after the property was foreclosed upon by the bank. It also includes the physical improvements which were made to the property (including placing barriers, stormwater devices and warning signage on the property). These improvements totaling $759.03 were transferred with the property and are included in the table below as reimbursable costs. City Staff also expended considerable time working with the prior owner and the insurance company prior to the foreclosure of the property and its transfer to Nationstar, and those costs cannot be included in the lien and are not included in the table below.
- Nationstar initially listed the property for sale in May for $51,000, prior to building demolition.
- The bank spent $31,230 on the demolition (although the contractor asserts it lost $11,789 on the building demolition).
- In September of 2018, the property was listed for sale for $110,000, which represents a $59,000 increase in value over the May list price.
- After accounting for the demolition costs, the new sales price is $27,770 higher than the sales price in May.
Placing the lien on the property will allow the City to be reimbursed for expenditures associated with the code enforcement action on 119 Pine Street.
The lien will be placed on the property as soon as possible. The lien will be paid to the City upon sale of the property; the timing of the property sale is difficult to predict.
CALIFORNIA WINES will take a big hit: China is tacking $60 billion in additional tariffs on US goods a day after President Trump instituted additional sanctions on Chinese imports, intensifying the trade war between the world’s two largest economies. More than 5,000 U.S. goods will be subject to Chinese tariffs of from 5 to 10 percent starting Sept. 24, including meat, crops, industrial materials and wine. The 10 percent additional tariff on wine disproportionately hurts California, which accounts for 90% of US wine production. Chinese tariffs on US wine had already increased from 48.2% to 67.7% in April. China and the U.S. already imposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of each other’s goods before Trump said Monday that another $200 billion in Chinese products would be subject to new tariffs. Trump threatened to add tariffs on an additional $267 billion in Chinese imports if China retaliated. That would mean the imposition of tariffs on nearly all products that China sells to the U.S. (AP)
SUNDAY AFTERNOON WITH THE “PIONEERS OF POT”
by Anne Cooper
Medical cannabis patient-defendant turned litigant Pebbles Trippet will be joined by cannatourism company owner and cannabis heritage expert Brian Applegarth September 23 at Mendocino’s Kelley House Museum, from 4 to 5:00 p.m. In Brian’s words, their discussion “will trace the history of cannabis, the roles it has played, and the brave pioneers to whom we must pay homage.”
Pebbles Trippet grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she began her lifelong activism at the age of 17, helping to integrate public restaurant lunch counters with the local chapter of the NAACP. From there, Pebbles kept on working to change the world by educating herself, attending rallies, debates and the first national peace march in Washington D.C., with Students for a Democratic Society, in 1965. For the next seven years, Pebbles’ commitment to social justice took her all over the country, to New York City, Boston and back to Oklahoma to form an anti-war committee. 1970 found Pebbles moving to Mendocino as part of the back to the land movement. She then joined the California Marijuana Initiative as a petitioner and organizer. Pebbles moved to San Francisco in 1974, where the work to achieve some measure of legal status for the medical use of marijuana continued. She made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court on a Cert petition as part of the appeal process in her various prosecutions. People v. Trippet was heard by the California Court of Appeals in 1997, retroactively after the 1996 passage of the Compassionate Use Act, California’s Proposition 215. Her victory resulted in the “implicit right” to transport marijuana for medical purposes and a quantity standard determining the allowable amount. Pebbles’ knowledge of the laws relating to cannabis is vast and personal. Upon returning to Mendocino and residing in Elk, Pebbles has gained recognition for her efforts. She co-founded Medical Marijuana Patients Union in 2000, and received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from both the Emerald Cup in 2003 and Women Grow of Mendocino in 2016. Since 2013, she has been a contributing editor and “Tokin’ Female” columnist for Skunk Magazine. She delivered the keynote speech at the 2017 Mendocino Cannabis Resource Conference. At the end of last year, NBC’s “Bay Area Revelations: Cannabis Rush” profiled her key role in medical marijuana litigation.
Guerneville resident Brian Applegarth has a passion for northern California cannabis culture and history. In 2015 he launched The Cannabis Trail, a non-profit dedicated to preserving and celebrating northern California's cannabis heritage. He also established the cannabis tourism company Emerald Country Tours and, in 2017, the California Cannabis Tourism Association. He has collaborated with Pebbles Trippet to create graphics relating some of the cannabis heritage of California’s North Coast and the Emerald Triangle. He earned a BA in International Relations from UC Irvine.
The presentation is part of the ongoing “Sunday Afternoon With…” speakers’ series and is presented in tandem with the autumn museum exhibit, “Outlaws of the 20th Century: Rum Runner and Pot Farmers,” which runs through November 12, 2018. Seating for “Pioneers of Pot” is limited, so please arrive when the doors open at 3:30 p.m. to assure your place. The Kelley House Museum is located at 45007 Albion Street, at Lansing, in Mendocino. Cost for museum members is $5 and for non-members $7. For more information, please visit kelleyhousemuseum.org/pioneers-pot or call 707-937-5791.
AT LAST, TWO USEFUL MOVES BY McGUIRE
The November 2018 midterm election is going to be one of the most important elections in a generation. With just 50 days to go, Governor Brown has signed a landmark bill into law that will preserve the votes of thousands of Californians at the ballot box.
Effective immediately, SB 759 establishes the process for election officials to notify voters when their Vote By Mail signature mismatches the one on file. Specifically, this bill requires elections officials to notify voters of a mismatching signature at least 8 days prior to the certification of an election, and give the voters an opportunity to verify their signature.
In California, according to the Secretary of State’s Office, over 25,000 residents had their ballots thrown away and not counted in the November 2016 General Election cycle. These mail ballots were thrown out because of a mismatching signature — the voter’s signature on their ballot did not match what was in their file.
While mismatching signatures can occur for a number of reasons, until now there has never been a law that mandates local election officials notify voters that their ballot will be tossed, or provide them with an opportunity to correct the mistake.
“The stakes could not be higher. Voters on all sides of the political aisle will be turning out in droves for the November election and this new law will ensure all votes count here in the Golden State on November 6,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “We’ve been grateful to work with Secretary of State Alex Padilla, the ACLU and local election officials to see this important bill through.”
“A majority of California voters already cast vote-by-mail ballots each election,” said Secretary of State Padilla. “For many voters, signatures may change over time or disabilities may make it difficult to sign the ballot properly. SB 759 ensures that voters have a chance to remedy a signature mismatch on their mail ballot. Once again California is taking steps to improve the elections experience for voters. I thank Governor Brown for signing this measure in time for the upcoming election and affirming voter’s fundamental right to have their ballots counted.”
According to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union last year, California ballots went uncounted because elections officials determined the voter’s signature on the Vote By Mail ballot didn’t match the voter’s signature on file. To make matters worse, residents whose votes were not tallied did not get notified and had no way of correcting their action, let alone casting their ballot in an election.
There are a number of reasons why a signature may not match. For example:
- A person may have a disability
- The voter’s ability may change or make it difficult to match the signature because of a shaky hand
- A different member of the household – such as a spouse or a caretaker – may sign
- A voter’s signatures can change or evolve over time
- Or the person, such as someone whose second language is English, may be unaware that they have to sign their ballot the same way as it is on file, and sign in the characters of a non-English alphabet.
SB 759 was signed today by Governor Jerry Brown. This bill was adopted with an urgency clause (which also received bipartisan support) to ensure it becomes law prior to this critical November election.
* * *
Also from the Office of Senator McGuire:
One of the most important Governmental transparency bills of 2018 was just signed into law by Governor Brown.
Senator McGuire’s SB 929 – the Special Districts Transparency Act – requires every independent special district in California to create and consistently maintain a website with specific and detailed information including meeting agendas, clear information on the district’s budget and expenditures, compensation reports, information on how to contact representatives of the district and more.
California has over 2,000 independent special districts that operate a slew of vital services for millions of Californians, such as water, wastewater, fire protection, parks, and transit. However, less than half of all special districts have websites. This presents a significant transparency gap for the millions who are served by these districts.
“Millions of Californians have no idea how their hard earned tax dollars are being spent or what their district board is doing, let alone how to ask for help, because their local district doesn’t have a website,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “We are grateful to Governor Brown for signing this important bill that brings needed transparency to hundreds of districts that work on behalf of hard working Californians.”
In 2017, the Little Hoover Commission released a report on the state of special districts which cites a need for greater transparency and public involvement in special districts. Today, there is no requirement that special districts must create and maintain a website, which leaves many residents in the dark.
Under SB 929, districts would be provided one year to comply with this new law (January 1, 2020). The legislation was supported by the California Special Districts Association.
(Press Release from McGuire’s office)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Yesterday the Editor mistakenly characterized Mr. McCowen’s night time activities as a cleaning up the river operation. In fact, the Supervisor does that, often with help, during daylight hours, as documented in UDJ reports over the years. That is fine and legal.
At night time he is telling people, at a minimum, that their presence down by the river is illegal per local ordinance. This includes non homeless folks out walking, who are told they are trespassing (even though his ordinances identify only camping as prohibited behavior).
Bruce McEwen’s idea just has too much plain common sense to it for many our local leaders to take up…but elsewhere:
The eviction of the clean, pristine encampment at the EDD parking lot has been nixed. Safe ground sites like this are the way to go as we prepare to build and assure shelter for every damn sapien choosing to not sleep “rough”.
The courts also ruled that Orange County can NOT restrict night time access to a portion of the river where there is an encampment.
And, in Redding, police are pushing back against anti homeless vigilantes who have gone into encampments to aggressively confront the homeless.
This can be tested when I get back to town by me resuming walking along the river, which is claimed to be trespassing. I have now read enough news accounts of court actions to know that is a bunch of bull. (Mike Jamison)
NEXT STOP FOR SKUNK TRAIN: DEAL TO BUY FORT BRAGG LAND FOR HOTEL, HOUSING
CRAIG JOHNSON COMMENTS: The PD article says 60,000 passengers annually, that's around 165 a day. I see the train head out almost daily with an average of 25 during the week and maybe 35 on weekends during peak season. Willits depot may get a few more, but I doubt it's 165 total paid riders every single day of the year. Something's not adding up
MARK SCARAMELLA NOTES: Let’s take this math one step further. Assume, generously that the Fort Bragg route carries 30 paid passengers per day. At $25 per adult, $15 per youngster, you’re probably talking about 30 x $20 per day or $600 per day on average. Then assume 40 per day for the $65 Willits side (adults/children midpoint rate), or $2600 per day. For a total of maybe $3000 per day. The Skunk runs a few other operations which might bring them up to $3500 per day. $3500 per day x 365 (which it probably isn’t anywhere near) might be around $1.3 million per year of revenue. Minus operations and overhead costs. On the other hand if you assume 60,000 passengers annually, that might translate to 60k x (say $50 per on average) or on the order of $3 million annually. So if the Skunk really does gross around $3 million a year they might have spare cash or enough net revenue to finance a loan (with interest). But if they only gross $1 million or so, it does seem like the finances might be a problem. PS. Conspicuously missing from this conversation, of course, is how much money would change hands for how much land and property.
WHITE BOY RICK
by Zack Anderson
“You can waken men only by dreaming their dreams more clearly than they can dream them themselves."
There's a certain beautiful sadness to the Northgate Mall, a mostly deserted collection of modest shops and restaurants featuring the requisite American staples: discount knitwear in 17 shades of pink, three-pound honey-soaked gluten-free cinnabuns and Ethiopian espresso by the jug, kiosk islands dedicated to repairing cracked iPhone screens while you wait, a video game store front displaying the latest vamped-up cartoon princess death-mammas toting laser-guided plasma cannons and titanium nipple bombs, and a few dozen stalwarts like myself, shuffling in blissful catatonia beneath the piss-pop muzak and happy shouts of toddlers climbing aboard the plastic trains in the FunZone, while the ironically smiling kid opens up the Mini-Bungee Jump, conveniently ringed by Wonder-Pretzel, Cookie-Heaven and Monsieur Pizza's By The Slice, free refills on sizes jumbo deluxe and up...
Up, sideways, down… What's a well-meaning consumer of Made in China patriotism to do? Jump, jump! Let's all close our eyes and leap from the existential belly of this careening C-130 circling on auto-pilot through the choking smog of toxic angst and bitter despair, i.e., go to the movies. Have some popcorn. Sit in the dark with three strangers (four counting yourself) while the digital hallucinations club your cerebellum back into the viperous pit of comfortable disbelief. Strap in your popcorn and soda and extra clips of ammo because we're going to the picture show, and hopefully it's not the last.
But unfortunately progress, like the narrative drive of the movie "White Boy Rick," is mostly a Darwinist/DNC plot, aspirational and well-meaning in theory, but soul-stealing and tedious in reality. Hollywood's most recent "based on true events" story is this: in the Reagan 80s, a down-and-out white kid in war-ravaged inner-city Detroit starts selling crack cocaine with a notorious and deadly crew known as the Curry brothers. All of 14, White Boy Rick becomes a legend for his street savvy, knowledge of guns, and because he runs with an otherwise completely black crew of thugs, pimps and kindred parasitical degenerates driven (the overworked social worker argues) to their Faustian fates by the cruel and racist policies of the Rothschilds, Nancy Reagan and General Jeb Stuart. (Note: the internet was but a gleam in Al Gore's eye in the mid-80s, so the tragedy of the American underclass could not yet be blamed on Reptilian overlords from Nibiru, gender specific lavatories, or Christmas.)
Complicating White Boy Rick's journey is the odd but true fact that he was also a paid FBI informant, a dangerous gig his gun-dealing and part-time stoolie dad, Big Rick, had arranged. Their youngest informant ever, the FBI hoped White Boy Rick would help net Motown's bigger rotten fish, a resilient web of corruption that included renegade police officers all the way up to Mayor Coleman Young. Throw in a drug-addled sister whose performance recalls the more frightening moments of "The Exorcist," a set of grandparents trying to live out their golden years with a semblance of dignity, a deadbeat dad in Big Rick, an absent mom vaguely accused of abandoning her dysfunctional nest, beautiful photography of the crumbling urban hellhole, drugs, guns and a short trip to Vegas for a Tommy Hearns fight, and that's your basic no-frills landscape, sirens, derelict smokestacks and teenage pregnancies included.
Of course every American audience worth its Scarface posters knows that neighborhood drug lords, however soft their fur lapels and shiny their brand-new Cadillacs, are as transient as ketchup on an In-N-Out Burger condiment bar. Sure enough, the feds eventually take some crack dealer scalps, paranoia abounds, and White Boy takes a bullet in the gut. Enterprising youth that he is, our pale-faced wunderkind returns to the life of crime, though it's unclear whether with the FBI's blessing or not.
And herein lies the problem: the movie is frustratingly ambiguous, starting with the actor portraying White Boy Rick, who comes across as sullen and one-dimensional, lacking the flamboyance expected from a teenage drug czar swimming with sharks. The actor has about as much charisma as cold, slightly soiled dishwasher with shards of broken spork lurking beneath the oily film.
White Boy Rick's mumblecore acting is punctuated by a brilliant and electric performance by Matthew McConaughey. His work is nuanced and devastating, and the story might have been riveting if told through his eyes. Bruce Dern as White Boy Rick's grandfather likewise exhibits life and vital humor. The criminals in their gold chains and ghetto strutting are adequately portrayed, though nothing to write your probation officer about.
The only other positive is that White Boy Rick's zombie-eyed sister, Dawn, is rescued, by force, from a crack house, then locked into a room until addiction's black tentacles have loosened their grip around the throat of her soul. She is also a teenager but looks like a half-buried Black Death cadaver. Dawn's rehabilitation is one of the film's high points, in an otherwise dreary march into hopelessness, tragedy and roller disco.
As it turns out, the true story of White Boy Rick is more interesting and tragic than the Tinsel Town version. The one-time street legend is still in prison, the longest serving inmate for a non-violent crime in Detroit history. Crooked cops set him up, according to White Boy Rick and others who knew him, including hitmen and FBI agents. One tantalizing theory is that White Boy Rick's cloak and dagger hijinks got too close to Mayor Coleman Young and the degenerate intersection of politics, money and control. Either way, I left the theater angry at the injustice of the story, an honest burn multiplied by the inadequate artifice of its telling. In the end the only sympathetic character was Matthew McConaughey's Big Rick, a marginal gun runner with dreams of a big score and a naive faith in family. Such are the failures and victories of profit-driven art.
Back outside, in the mall's womb of antiseptic safety, the mini-bungee jump is deserted. A hand-scrawled sign reads: "Back in Ten." There's no reason to doubt the kid, but I keep walking just the same.
THE DECAY OF LETTERS: LEG-HUMPING WITH TOM WOLFE
by Alexander Cockburn (May 31, 2000)
Someone made the odd, maybe malicious, certainly rash decision to put Tom Wolfe on the right hand side of Harper’s 150th anniversary cover, facing Mark Twain, a leonine, earthy, dignified old devil, sitting in alert repose, apparently listening. A man to whose energetic image the white suit is incidental. Over on the right hand side, Wolfe’s white suit is dominant, looking just a shade too big for its shriveled occupant, who gazes nowhere in particular with a smirk of wooden self-satisfaction, looking like some second-rank official from the British foreign office, retired to Bermuda, out of the closet at last and squawking at Basil in the kitchen.
Why Wolfe should want to look like an old-line fairy, handkerchief far too carefully arranged in his breast pocket, escapes me, but then why Lewis Lapham, Harper’s editor, should want to set Wolfe alongside Mark Twain escapes me too, though perhaps Wolfe’s wife, for whom Lapham apparently has entertained a regard, bent the great editor’s ear. Perhaps there should have been a disclosure-of-interest statement in Harper’s about this, right next to the letter from Bill Clinton congratulating the mag.
These anniversary editions are usually promoted by publishers as a way of garnering extra ad pages. By this standard Harper’s 188-pager looks to me like a commercial flop, though the beautiful back-cover black model touting Virginia Slims comes as pleasant refreshment after the shock of seeing Wolfe set alongside Twain. As usual a goodly slab of the editorial content consists of out-of-copyright freebies or “readings” coaxed out of authors or their agents for a song. But this is appropriate, since Harper’s began as a literary Napster, pirating Dickens and other English materials with shameless abandon, as Lapham readily concedes in his essay on the magazine’s history, positioned right before Wolfe’s essay, with the juxtaposition reminding one that both men have far higher estimates of their prose styles than the evidence warrants.
In person or on the phone I’ve always found Lapham to be a jolly fellow, light-hearted and caustic. But somewhere along the line as a writer he decided to be a gent, lounging around on plump cushions of urbanity and graceful phrase-making. Since he’s the boss no one at Harper’s has ever dared tell him to get out of his easy chair, read a little Twain and crank some zizz into his sentences.
Here’s a chunk of Lapham’s history of Harper’s, about which his assistant editors and fact checkers could have usefully had a few quiet words with the great man: “The travelers making their way west on the Oregon Trail… looked for a garden in a landscape that was mostly desert, for something glimpsed but not yet seen in a play of sunlight on a canyon wall or through a drift of rain in tall trees. The Indians in the Great Plains were still peaceable enough in the spring of 1850, more curious than belligerent, watching, in silence and from a distance, as the white man moved what they assumed were his villages to hunting grounds unknown.”
What is that stuff about “play of sunlight” or “drift of rain” meant to mean? What precisely is that “something”?
As for Lapham’s historical kitsch about the watchful silent Red Man and those “hunting grounds unknown,” by the time Lewis and Clark mounted their expedition in 1804 the Assiniboins and Crees were trading with the English of the Hudson’s Bay and North West companies. The Crow were trading with the Shoshoni who in turn were exchanging commodities through the Utes with the Spanish settlements in the South West. To the Indians, the hunting grounds were known.
“Watching in silence and from a distance”? By the early 1830s the Plains Indians were constant visitors to trading posts like Fort Clark and Fort McKenzie and often settled their villages nearby. Inter-marriage was common and Indian art already reflected close study of the work of George Caitlin and Karl Bodmer who traveled to the Upper Missouri at that time. Allesandre Bartolla’s glass factory in Venice was taking Plains Indian orders for specialized beadwork, the American glass beadwork being rejected by Mandans, Crees and Ojibways as of inferior quality. Lapham’s ignorance here is entirely appropriate to his anniversary edition since a prime function of Harper’s in its early years was to misrepresent the West.
The bizarre juxtaposition of Wolfe with Twain consummates thirty years’ inflation of the former’s modest talents. To read his breathless prose, shrill with yaps and self-importance, is like having a small dog attack one’s leg. Kick it off, and then five minutes later there it is again, paws locked round one’s calf.
Wolfe’s anniversary essay is called “In the Land of the Rococo Marxists. Why no one is celebrating the Second American Century.” As January l, 2000 arrived, Wolfe asks, “did a single solitary savant note that the First American Century had just come to an end and the Second American Century had begun?” To which of course the answer is that Americans saw the millennial chronology as mostly hype, hooked loosely to the Christian calendar, but excitingly dressed up in the vestments of a modern Apocalypse or Second Coming, the Y2K circus.
Wolfe’s habitual technique is to say something and then repeat it at accelerating degrees of shrill enthusiasm for his own insight. In this case, paragraph one announces popular indifference at the millennial turnover to America’s imperial triumphs. Paragraph two belabors the same thought again: “Did a single historian mention that America now dominates the world to an extent that would have made Alexander the Great, who thought there were no more worlds to conquer, get down on all fours and beat his fists on the ground in despair because he was merely a warrior and had never heard of international mergers and acquisitions, rock and rap, fireball movies, TV, the NBA, the World Wide Web, and the ‘globalization’ game?”
More of the same in paragraph three. “Was a single bard bestirred to write a mighty anthem.” Kick the little dog off and he’s back in paragraph four: “Did anybody high or low look for a Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi to create a new tribute on the order of the Statue of Liberty.”
Down boy! Down!
But no. Doggie’s back in paragraph five: “Did any of the America-at-century’s-end network tv specials…” Finally off goes doggie, only to return in paragraph six with a fresh bone. Wolfe says he contacted the University of Michigan’s “fabled public-opinion survey resources.” From four U of M studies Wolfe extracts the tidings that 73% of Americans don’t want the United States to intervene abroad unless in cooperation with other nations” and have “no strong feelings about their country’s supremacy one way or the other.”
What Wolfe doesn’t grasp is that his fellow Americans have better manners than he. Does a man boast about making his second billion? Most Americans know their nation is Numero Uno, and are less interested in boasting than in figuring out how to get a piece of the action that presumptively comes with Numero Uno status. As for attitudinal surveys of the sort conducted by the U of M, where has Wolfe been? Americans lie constantly to surveyors.
“Now that we’re number one, don’t you feel thrilled the way we can go into any country and kick butt?”
“Have you had a personal encounter with Christ?”
“I think so.”
“Who’s Al Gore?”
“I’m not sure.”
And so on. It’s a national game, same as an Indian in the Amazon once told me he and his friends used to play on anthropologists, demanding five bucks an answer and then rolling around with laughter after the nosy fieldworker had gone on his way, notebook cluttered with nonsense. “Have you slept with your aunt?” “Of course.” They did the same thing to Margaret Mead, I’m sure.
So Wolfe’s premise is balderdash. Americans know they have an empire. It’s simply bad form to exult along the lines proposed by Wolfe. Indeed, until quite recently in the academies it’s still poor judgment for an academic on tenure track in the political science department to use the word “empire” at all. We were the leader of a democratic association called the “free world.” That was, still is, the tactful way of putting it.
But Wolfe isn’t attacking the American common man for being too purblind to acknowledge imperial glory for what it is. Wolfe, don’t forget, purports to speak for the common man against the intellectuals, the people he terms, in his latest retread of a stunt he’s been pulling since he unveiled “radical chic” all those years ago, “the rococo Marxists.” The RMs somehow in all their puissance have persuaded the American people that it’s wrong to be vainglorious.
Now, to put this in Wolfean argot, isn’t this a little late, a tad déjà vu. I mean, haven’t we been here before?
Of course we’ve been here before. Wolfe is flogging a horse so dead there’s neither hide nor flesh left on the bones, just a skeleton in one of those canyons Lapham was so eloquent about. Didn’t Harper’s research department nudge Wolfe’s elbow, direct his attention to the tempest over political correctness at the start of the Nineties when the PC crowd, aka the rococo Marxists, were sapping the nation’s virility with exhibitions like the Smithsonian’s 1991 “West as America,” where the heroic 19th century paintings were tricked out with beastly, knowing captions compromising America’s historical virtue? Didn’t they offer him a copy of D’Souza’s rantings, hint tactfully that it’s a little late in the day to discover the pernicious influence of Foucault or Derrida or to make jokes about PC profs getting their students to spell “women” as “womyn”? Didn’t they… but we must stay our hand. Wolfe’s prose is catching.
Wolfe knows very little about anything interesting. What he mostly knows is how to be knowing. Try this: “[Kipling] and many others had the uneasy feeling that the foundations of European civilization were already shifting beneath their feet, a feeling indicated by the much used adjectival compound fin de siecle. Literally, of course, it meant nothing more than ’end-of-the-century‚’ but it connoted something modern, baffling, and troubling in Europe. Both Nietzsche and Marx did their greatest work seeking to explain the mystery. The term both used was ’decadence’.”
This is the sort of stuff that is presumably meant to have the rubes and middle-brows, to whom Harper’s has always been aimed, agape at Wolfe’s learning. Except it’s all wrong, both about Nietzsche, at his greatest when undercutting the Enlightenment and Marx on top form when writing about the economy.
The undergrowth of Wolfe’s prose rustles with these absurdities. Here’s another passage, where Wolfe is grandly announcing that the operative definition of the intellectual is someone who has quit seemly specialization for larger fields: “The prime example was Noam Chomsky, a brilliant linguist… But Chomsky was not known as an intellectual until he denounced the war in Vietnam, something he knew next to nothing about — thereby qualifying for his new eminence.” In other words, assessment of the merits of killing off a couple of million Vietnamese was a specialized discipline, the purview of Samuel P. Huntington, Walt Rostow and other house intellectuals of Empire. Chomsky, who made Vietnam the object of close study for more than a decade and a half was somehow disqualified because he wasn’t a political scientist under contract to RAND or one of the war-strategizing university think-tanks or the Pentagon.
Back one more time into the rustling thicket of nonsense: “…structuralism, post-structuralism, postmodernism, deconstruction, reader-response theory, commodification theory. This will not be Vulgar Marxism; it will be… Rococo Marxism, elegant as a Fragonard, sly as a Watteau.” Elegant as a Fragonard! What can Wolfe be talking about? Late Marxism and post-Marxism in all their myriad hues may have some redeeming qualities, but the elegance of Fragonard is certainly not among them. Wolfe doesn’t know anything about Marxism. His ignorance is so profound he doesn’t even know how to be knowing about it. Even within the terms of his act, he’s off in his timing, like an old vaudevillian well past his prime and ready to be shunted into the rest home.
It’s all so… dated.
Here he is making labored fun of Susan Sontag (“her prose style… had a handicapped parking sticker valid at Partisan Review”) about twenty years too late. Here are little pillows of prose hurled at Stanley Fish or Judith Butler. Dated again. Poor Wolfe, someone should tell him the news. Those good soldiers in Seattle or in Washington raising their ruckus against Empire didn’t have Fish or Butler or even Foucault in their backpacks. They’re on different terrain altogether. Wolfe always was a follower of fashion, and there’s nothing so silly as a fashion-plate appearing in the intellectual and prose equivalent of periwig and ruffles, like some figure of the ancien regime when the rest of the world has moved on.
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 18, 2018
ALEXANDER ANDREWS, Ukiah. DUI.
DYLAN BATTLEY, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
JOHN FRANCIS, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
COREY JAMES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
HEATHER MARSH-HAAS, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, domestic abuse, parole violation, suspended license.
MARK SPITSEN, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
RICHARD SUGGS, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, false imprisonment, disorderly conduct-alcohol, vandalism, violation of domestic violence court order.
CHARLINA TOMAHAWK, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
LEAVE FOOD STAMPS ALONE
Right as school let out in June, the House of Representatives took a vote that would make it harder for more than a million low-income families to put food on the table. They proposed draconian new requirements for SNAP (what we used to call “food stamps”) in the House version of the farm bill. Fortunately, the Senate chose a better path, with a bipartisan bill that protects SNAP.
Now as school is back in session here, members of Congress are back in Washington negotiating the final version of that bill. I hope I can count on them to do the right thing — following the Senate’s lead in protecting a program that helps more than 40 million people put food on the table. Making cuts or changes to SNAP won’t help anyone find work or move out of poverty — it will just make people hungry.
MAINSTREAM NEWS HURRICANE COVERAGE
EVER SINCE STORMY DANIELS said she was writing a tell-all book, there has been feverish anticipation about what dirt she’d reveal about Donald Trump—but it’s safe to say no one predicted this. According to a copy obtained by The Guardian, the book gives excruciating detail of her alleged affair with Trump, including one nightmarish image in which she compares the president’s penis to Toad—the incredibly annoying mushroom character from Mario. “He knows he has an unusual penis,” Daniels writes in a book fittingly titled Full Disclosure. “It has a huge mushroom head. Like a toadstool… I lay there, annoyed that I was getting fucked by a guy with Yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart… It may have been the least impressive sex I’d ever had, but clearly, he didn’t share that opinion.” So, now you know. (Daily Beast)
“My thoughts and prayers have been answered!”
CHEERS FOR COMING T-DAY
Editor and Fellow AVAers,
Why did the tomatoes lose the race? They didn’t catch up.
And what is the name of the street where all the roofs collapsed? Wall Street.
Diana Patricia Farina Bangladesh Vance
PHONY BUTTONS: OUR ILLUSION OF CONTROL
Have you ever pressed the pedestrian button at a crosswalk and wondered if it really worked? Or bashed the "close door" button in an elevator, while suspecting that it may, in fact, have no effect whatsoever?
ANTIQUE BRITISH HEARSE
SEPTEMBER IS PROSTATE CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
by Karen Oslund
"Write what you know," is an adage I have taken to heart, perhaps to a fault. I have written about women-specific cancers three times in the past year and not once about men's cancer. This is an oversight I intend to correct. September is prostate cancer awareness month, so I called on an old friend of the Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County, Dr. Stephen Banks, to find out what it is most important for people to know about this, the most common cancer in men (excepting skin cancers) and the second leading cause of cancer death in men, after lung cancer. Read about our conversation here –
I dedicate this month's cancer blog post to my dad, husband, and sons. For anyone seeking additional information, an excellent website with links to resources and up-to-date information is zerocancer.org - http://cts.vresp.com/c/?CancerResourceCenter/06a2ff3575/c8bebd9577/79b6717ae7 , the website for Zero Prostate Cancer, an organization whose mission is to end prostate cancer. We can all get behind that! -- Karen Oslund, Executive Director.
New Coastal Women's Support Group Starts October 2 A new support group for women at any stage of their cancer journey will begin meeting October 2 at 4:30 p.m. at CRC's coastal office in Mendocino. Regular meetings will follow on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. The new group will be professionally facilitated by Giovanna Pagano, LCSW (left in photo) and Diane Devore LCSW (right). Both are experienced psychotherapists who share a long-standing interest in holistic health and wellness and a commitment to provide nurturing and compassionate support in the healing process. The support group will be a safe and confidential place to discuss concerns and share experiences. For more information about the Cancer Resource Centers' support groups or other services, call 937-3833 or visit the CRC website at crcmendocino.org –
All services provided by the Cancer Resource Center are absolutely free of charge.
The Gift of Music--A trip to the Symphony! The Ukiah Symphony has gifted the Cancer Resource Centers with some free symphony tickets for our clients. Please call our Ukiah office at 467-3828 to let us know if you are interested. For information on the 2018-19 symphony season, visit the Ukiah Symphony website at ukiahsymphony.org –
Thank you, Brenda Hoek, for thinking of this. Save the Date: Saturday, November 10 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. Willits Center for the ArtsThis first-time fund-raiser in Willits will be an evening of community singing led by Richard Jeske, Don Willis, and friends. The art gallery will be open for your enjoyment. Sample many pies, both sweet and savory. Enjoy a glass of wine, buy a unique item at the silent auction. Tickets available now online - http://cts.vresp.com/c/?CancerResourceCenter/06a2ff3575/c8bebd9577/a8b8902a67 and at Cat's Meow in Willits beginning Oct. 1: $10 in advance, $15 at the door. To volunteer at this event: email@example.com
A wonderful 14th Annual Pure Mendocino!
Pure Mendocino 2018 was a great success. The 280 attendees enjoyed an elegant, late summer evening of organic food and wine, spirited music, and friends joining together in support of a good cause. Many thanks to Paul Dolan for hosting this event at his beautiful Dark Horse Ranch for 14 years now. Thanks to Robin and Heath Dolan for their sustaining support of the event and for every thing they do quietly behind the scenes. Dozens of volunteers worked together to make the event a success, and every dollar donated supports the vision that no one in Mendocino County will face cancer alone. Special thanks to all table sponsors, donors, artists and merchants who contributed to the silent auction, winery donors, and a special shout-out to The Back Porch Project for playing this gig for free in support of the Cancer Resource Center. We look forward to Pure Mendocino's 15th anniversary on August 24, 2019, and hope you will join us.The Cancer Resource Centers' board of directors: Executive Director Karen Oslund, Paula Cohen, Carol Michelson, Michelle Greene, Nancy Puder, Board Chair Peter Braudrick, Robin Dolan, Dr. Jim Flaherty, and Jendi Coursey. Not pictured: Margaret Fox, Xochilt Morales de Martinez.How you can help: Information, advocacy and support for cancer patients in Mendocino County is provided free of charge by the Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County. We rely on your donations – http://cts.vresp.com/c/?CancerResourceCenter/06a2ff3575/c8bebd9577/c40d9b4e1c to make this possible. Thank you for being part of the vision that no one will face cancer alone.
Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County
PO Box 50
Mendocino, California 95460
I was surprised to see an article on UFOs in the London Review of Books, since the academic/intellectual community have usually either scoffed at or ignored the subject.
The writer refers to the video above from the To The Stars Academy site, though it's not clear enough to be convincing to my skeptical and untrained eyes. The reaction of the pilots, based on both what they're seeing and their instruments, however, is more impressive.
Nick Richardson in the August 2 edition of the LRB:
In December, footage of UFOs taken from US military planes, officially declassified and approved for release by the US government, was published online by an organisation called To The Stars Academy. The first video of two---a third was released in March---was captured by a US Navy Super Hornet fighter plane using an infrared camera. It’s only about thirty seconds long, and the date of the footage and the plane’s location have been withheld.
As soon as it starts one of the pilots can be heard saying, ‘It’s a fucking drone, bro,’ as the camera locks onto a small white blob (the camera is in ‘white-hot’ mode, so hot things show up as white), longer than it is wide, flying over the clouds at a steady distance from the Super Hornet. The other pilot replies: ‘There’s a whole fleet of them.’ ‘My gosh,’ the first pilot says; the other points out that the ‘drones’ are flying against the wind and that the windspeed is 120 knots. In the last few seconds of the video the object rotates 90º about one of its axes and the first pilot splutters, ‘Look at that thing!’, to which the other replies: ‘It’s rotating!'...
From the Washington Post in March: The military keeps encountering UFOs. Why doesn’t the Pentagon care?
(Rob Anderson, District5Diary)
U GOTTA C THIS: The Modern Library's Readers' List of the top 100 books includes in its TOP TEN, these: "Atlas Shrugged," by Ayn Rand, "The Fountainhead," by Ayn Rand, "Battlefield Earth," by L. Ron Hubbard, "Anthem," by Ayn Rand, "We the Living," by Ayn Rand, "The Invaders Plan," by L. Ron Hubbard and "Fear," by L. Ron Hubbard.
Look it up. Then tell me if a society as thoroughly hoodwinked as ours can get anything right. These are two Titans of Ignorance, both science-fiction writers, both self-described philosophers and both restless and driven people who created sprawling, successful and childishly appealing cults that put personal, material success above any other goal.
by Bruce Brady
Please, out there somewhere, let there be a Shakespeare, maybe even a Sophocles to give some sense of the real depth and magnitude of this tragedy, of what it was like to be here on the ground. Looking out there -- listening to the news, being aware -- is to confront a world of chaos such that not even Lear ever saw. It is, in effect, to see the general level of morality, ethics, and what used quaintly to be called 'manners' displayed in most accurately at the average middle school recess. Except it is the political nervous system of our country, in some foundational ways its soul itself. Watched closely by eyes that matured in the sixties, it is the stuff of tragedy. In the flash of one election, the more-or-less functioning America of my childhood and of my forebears now commits offenses against history and reason that beggar both memory and reason most of them contrived by my contemporaries. A palpable lunatic (as well as one of the the most self-absorbed and incurious men in the history of men) has gotten himself elected to be the president of the most powerful and influential nation in the history of the world, and for at least the time being appears encouraged and impregnable up there at the podium, and preening and miming on a bazillion screens, often in extreme close-up which make him larger -- much larger -- than life, in common with so-called 'strong men' everywhere.
For those like myself, still grasping to understand what has happened, dealing with all this is a daily challenge. For myself, the image that does it best is of someone fastening her seat belt as she switches on the news. I expect that somewhere many more times than once some solitary young man breakfasting on salmon or buffalo or rattlesnake and regarding the ruts left by the last few groups of men and wagons heading generally west had much the same thought. What the hell is happening? I was never like this before…
There is a strong and very human tendency in this event to, in Twain's wonderful phrase, 'Light out for the Territory,' which in the present context is to mimic the behavior of the ostrich, suckered into the idea that most anything will just go away if you can't see it. Besides, the Indians used to inhabit the territory here, and look at what happened to them.
Nor does it seem to help when someone becomes so obsessed with it all that seemingly everything he knows or has ever known blends seamlessly into labyrinthine palace intrigues involving the president and his endlessly feculent associates, at least those not yet in prison. This leads to the sort of wisdom attained by a professor of early-Lithuanian staghorn art: much a plethora of footnotes, but nobody cares, at least not any more.
No, one needs something encouraging complete attention, but only for a time. Like seeing a star most clearly by focusing the vision off to the side of it, going metaphorically somewhere else is a way of seeing, of paying attention. Sport -- any sport -- is a serviceable and handy place to go for many, but horticulture, brewing, reading (anything), pet grooming, German opera, pornography, church work, classic car restoration, mindless exercise… The list here might go on for pages. And any of the items on it may easily substitute for what baseball does for me. Baseball is an alternate place to go for awhile almost every day in season. It is a place, usually, of many people but no politics, although such activity will probably grow and the real world sometimes intrudes. There are, as far as I know, no metal detectors at baseball stadiums. The A's/Orioles game yesterday brought the news that a 24 year old Orioles pitcher just signed a five-year contract for $146 million. In most places, the game is played in the sun, or at least outdoors. The rules of the game are universally known and acknowledged. True also for most sports, being a spectator comes with permission to scream and to yell, not otherwise easily arranged these days except sometimes at rock concerts (and lately, political rallies and such.) Endless computer analyses of decades of statistics on athletic performance, measured, diced, minced, and sorted, yields a depth of analysis that would do the Catholic Church or CNN proud, and many get lost in that. A surprising number of so-inclined folks, pencils and slide rules once attached to their pockets, wander into the numbers and never, it seems, come out.
It is comparatively easy to strive for eloquence if seduced into suggesting the myriad earthly delights of fly fishing, for an easy example drawn at random from the low hanging fruit of ways to avoid watching the news. As a participant or as a spectator, rock climbing, with ropes or without. For quite a number, archery, although I am here to assure you that is by no means seductive as a spectator sport (30 years ago the NCAA National Archery Finals happened on the lovely and manicured lawns of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, while I was there attending a month-long seminar on the History of the Idea of Environmentalism in American Thought.) Whatever the extent of its attractions to a some, archery will never make it to network television. But, fortunately, in the best and most welcoming and optimistic meaning of the vastly overused word, whatever. Anything will do.
Failing a consuming interest in anything much beyond appearing constantly busy, the average American person of any sex and hue pretty much becomes the standard issue bag of blood, organs, and experience anointed as a consumer. With nothing competing for attention, the consumer becomes the hapless target of an unceasing barrage of sex fantasies, narcissistic wet-dreams, visions of power and the instant fulfillment of wishes, motivational fairy tales, guilt trips, and lessons in the power of compound interest. Many, though certainly not all, of these people (particularly if they are white and at least approximately middle class), now carry the constant weight of mortgages, student loans, truck payments, credit card debt, and the whole putrescent rest of it.
I have never met Rachel Maddow, but she comes across to me as someone who would be pleasant to interact with in line at the grocery store. Her sexual orientation, as they say, is clearly and forthrightly expressed. She is smart and plainly well educated. However, after about eight minutes (literally, for I have measured this over time) after eight minutes of hearing her television voice, I have noticed, I am usually reminded of a few students in my career who have been saddled with unfortunate voices. Worse than that, I have lost the faintest clue to whatever she is talking about. As the winner of my personal Pundit-Who-Gets-Turned-Off-Most award, this may be a result of an hour or two of listening to other people try to explain it all before she comes on at six. Her voice has something, like Willie Nelson's, of the nasal. But the reason for the 'off' switch is not politics, as I agree with nearly everything she says. When I was directing community theater, I became familiar with 'patterning', the common tendency to follow similar melodies, so to speak, when speaking consecutive sentences. Hearing similar speech patterns repeated becomes tedious, an acting sin fairly easily corrected, in my experience. So it has nothing to do with her narrative.
I think that switching the input to baseball (in my case), or perhaps to a quick poker game or something by Agatha Christie helps, at least for a time, to nurture, in the face of it all, a core belief that the world does, after all, make sense, that beyond all the gaslighting and insult, some things hold true. Fundamental decency. Respect. Rationalism. Honesty. Responsibility. These, of course, are the very elements of understanding most battered about by the hand that reality seems to have dealt us who find ourselves here in the early twenty-first century. As the Orange One bellows and threatens, to understand that the center fielder has no arm and that the batter can do 4.3 from/home to first is to know that, in spite of it all, there is a way to think this through. At the end, though, we all wake up in the end to the necessity, whatever the numbers, of actually playing the game.
To the Editor:
U.S. Circuit Court Judge for the Court of Appeals, Brett Kavanaugh, has now seen his confirmation hearings to the U.S. Supreme Court become a three ring circus. I have a few questions.
1. Is Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation against Kavanaugh an Eleventh-Hour Attack?
2. Are Christine Blasey Ford and the Senate Democrats making a mockery out of the #MeToo Movement and its true victims?
3. Has U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein weaponized the #MeToo movement?
So think about it.
Why did she wait so long?
Why did Christine Blasey Ford and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein both wait so long?
On September 13, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said that a woman, Christine Blasey Ford, came forward anonymously back in July with what may be, or may not be, credible and specific claims about an alleged sexual assault she suffered 35-years ago at the hands of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when she was 15 and he was 17. The principal objection raised? That her timing, and the timing of Senate Democrats, is the material issue here.
Sen. Lindsey Graham released a statement agreeing to at least hear Ford’s claims, while still disputing her decision to wait until the last minute to come forward. Sen. Susan Collins echoed this sentiment: “What is puzzling to me is the Democrats, by not bringing this out earlier, after having had this information for more than six weeks, have managed to cast a cloud of doubt on both the professor and the judge,” she told the New York Times on Sunday night. “If they believed Professor Ford, why didn’t they surface this information earlier so that he could be questioned about it? And if they didn’t believe her and chose to withhold the information, why did they decide at the 11th hour to release it? It is really not fair to either of them the way it is was handled.”
Is Christine Blasey Ford and the Senate Democrats making a mockery out of the #MeToo Movement and its true victims? Is the #MeToo Movement being weaponized?
What do you think?
I don't know. I'm just asking. I'm a feminist. I have a wife and five adult daughters.
I'm not saying I support Kavanaugh, but I am confused by the timing of this complaint. I think it may devalue the #MeToo Movement.
Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation seems opportunistic. And the Senate Democrats seem to be using any tactic at their disposal to stop Kavanaugh from being confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
It seems to me that the #MeToo Movement shouldn't be used by anyone at anytime under any circumstances for political opportunity or advantage. It's like alleging child abuse. Or like alleging war crimes. Some things are above politics. Right?
Or am I just being naïve?