- California Conflagrations
- Little Dog
- Sprinkle Denied
- Motorcyclist Down
- Defensible Space
- Fire Relief
- Moisture Deferment
- Vaccination Exemption
- Not Pelosi
- Mendo Budget
- Crabbing Delayed
- Yesterday's Catch
- Collapse Scenarios
- Gun Deaths
- Mushroom Walk
- Bukowski's Cat
- London Contradictions
- Stronger Without
- Donnie Danger
- Marco Radio
AIR QUALITY in Ukiah remains somewhere north of Mumbai's. Here in Boonville it's like being in a heavy fog. We're informed local visibility is about one mile.
WITH THE BODY COUNT still rising from the ongoing Butte County catastrophe, President Windbag has blamed authorities in California for their “gross mismanagement” of the state’s forests.
“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Trump Tweeted early Saturday. Hours after issuing an emergency declaration to provide federal funds to help firefighters, Trump threatened to withhold the funds. “Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!” Trump’s typically ignorant blasts came after authorities announced that at least nine people had been killed in Paradise, where thousands of homes have been destroyed and dozens of people remain unaccounted for.
* * *
CAMP FIRE MAP (November 9, 2018)
* * *
AS OF SATURDAY EVENING the Camp Fire in Butte County was over 105,000 acres with 20% containment. 6500 residences and 260 commercial buildings destroyed. 15,000 structures threatened.
Calfire: “Fire crews continue structure defense and fire suppression in the areas with fire activity. Forecasted strong northeast winds, in combination with low relative humidity and dry fuel moistures will continue to produce extreme fire behavior including dangerous rates of spread, and long range spotting.”
* * *
‘NOTHING HERE’: RETURNING TO RUBBLE IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
* * *
CELLIST ESCAPES BUTTE COUNTY WILDFIRE ON BICYCLE
* * *
* * *
* * *
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I can barely see three feet outta my igloo, the air is so bad, and these people won't even spring for one of those WD-40 protective masks. But get this: Skrag and his girlfriend, Alice, both have them! Talk about discrimination!"
WE'VE OFTEN WRITTEN about Mark Sprinkle, now 57, once of Ukiah. (His story is linked below.) He's just been denied parole. Again. He can re-apply in three years. Sprinkle was sentenced to 45-to-life for a few seconds of sexual touching, 15-to-life for each maiden he allegedly violated in March of 1995. Sprinkle has steadily denied the charges, and his denials over the years, beginning with his rejection of an original offer of 3-5 years to plead guilty. Which he refused, and has now been imprisoned for 22 years. Steadily employed as a long-haul truck driver when he was free, Sprinkle, assuming he doesn't die in prison, would resume that employment when and if he ever gets out.
IN BRIEF, the voluptuous daughter of Sprinkle's former girl friend, a fourteen-year-old with the adult figure of Stormy Daniels, arranged for her and her two friends, on a pre-arranged "Let's race!" to voluntarily disrobe in Sprinkle's car as he drove the trio of jail bait out the Masonite Road west of Ukiah. The girls were pranking the guy, Stormy rubbing her breasts in Sprink's face. Yes, that's right, the three girls shed their clothes voluntarily. Sprinkle's mistake was to remain in the vehicle with them. Sprinkle's vengeful girl friend managed to parlay the ensuing breast chucks and external vaginal explorations — alleged — as full-on child molestation. There is no indication from the Sprink's psych work-ups that prison authorities are acquainted with the facts of his case. And the State Parole Board has routinely denied parole as if the guy is some kind of playground lurk, the rightly feared cho-mo our porn-drenched society seems to produce in ever increasing numbers. This ancient event costing Sprinkle 22 years of freedom is obviously a one-off occurrence, and why this guy, just as obviously the victim of his depraved ex-girlfriend who put her daughter up to entrapping him, is still in prison amounts to cruel and unusual punishment out of all proportion to the crime alleged. But there he sits.
Prior parole hearing item from 2012: theava.com/archives/14320
Short version from Feb 2017, last parole denial: theava.com/archives/65453#3
The only full length story on line is the reprint of the Sprink story in Warren Hinckle's Argonaut in 2012 by Bruce Anderson: argonaut360.com/argonaut/ArgonautJUNE2012websm.pdf
BLUFF ON THE WAY TO WESTPORT
(Photo by Judy Valadao)
MOTORCYCLIST HITS VEHICLE ON HIGHWAY 128
The scanner & CHP page said the Anderson Valley Fire Department & ambulance were dispatched to the intersection of Highway 128 & Greenwood - Philo Road for a motorcyclist down in the westbound lane. A reporting party said the vehicle had its left blinker on to turn onto Greenwood - Philo Road and the motorcyclist rear-ended the vehicle. All ambulances have declined to fly due to smoky conditions. It looks like Anderson Valley Fire will rendezvous with an Advanced Life Support ambulance from Ukiah on SR-253. Starr Automotive in Philo got the call to retrieve the motorcycle - reportedly 15’ down the embankment.
DEFENSIBLE SPACE, an on-line exchange (Coast Listserve)
The latest fire is yet another reminder that clearing dead and dying brush and trees is critical to preventing loss of structures in a wildfire. Watching some video of the fires creeping along the ground, or climbing up trees, or leaping from tree to tree did it for me. I found myself thinking, "If only they had cleared away all that dead stuff!" The more you can create defensible space around your buildings, the safer you will be in a fire. So next time you feel like getting some exercise, don't go golfing, or to the gym, or running- get on a pair of gloves and some grubby clothes and go out and make your neighborhood safer. Stack it up, wait until burn season, and Voila! Problem resolved, or at least the danger is diminished. What is large enough to use as firewood can be cut and used to make heat for you this winter.
If you don't open up the overstory, the growth of the understory would be much less. Actually, the trees use the stuff on the ground, eventually. Not to mention all kinds of critters. Trees work on a different timeline.
Yes, the trees use what is on the ground for fertilizer, and small critters live in the undergrowth. But if left unchecked...in my little patch of pygmy forest, I leave all the green stuff, and clear out the dead stuff. The following year, however, it's full of dead stuff again- the pines keep dropping branches, etc. The dead stuff isn't really necessary for critter habitat, is it? Anyway, probably the most important thing is to clear anything dead at least 50 feet (100 is better) around your house and make sure no branches are overhanging. It's not a perfect solution, but if a fire does come through, it will have a lot more trouble finding fuel. It creates what they call "defensible space"- and you might be able to knock the flames down with a garden hose. Also- very important to clear around your water and power sources, and your propane, keeping flames as far as possible from these critical resources.
PEDRO GTP RELIEF — HELPING THE CITIZENS OF REDDING GET THROUGH TOUGH TIMES.
UKIAH SHELTER PETS OF THE WEEK
Nancy and Drew came to us as stray cats, but due to their similar looks and how much they love each other, we assume they are siblings. They are both about 1 year old and short hair. We would love to see them get adopted as a pair. They are both pretty mellow cats who are affectionate and enjoy getting pets.
Quill was found out in the boonies of Mendocino County with a severely damaged back leg and porcupine quills embedded in his face. Try as we might, there was no saving his leg, and it was amputated. During his recovery, Quill had to wear a no-lick collar, and his other rear foot was bandaged €”but he was stoic, easy to handle, good-natured and sweet. Quill has learned to get around on three legs, and he’s ready to find a permanent home. He was a stellar model during his photo shoot--calm and loving. Quill went to the CASA DE LAURA for an afternoon getaway, where our volunteer told us, “To be the best possible dog he can be, Quill will need training, as he doesn't appear to have any. Structure and a predictable routine will help him build self-confidence. In general, he was very sweet, and allowed me to give him face massages.” For lots more about Quill, click here:
The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah, and adoption hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm and Wednesday from 10 am to 6:30 pm. To see photos and bios of the shelter's adoptable animals, please visit us online at: http://www.mendoanimalshelter.com
For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
PRESIDENT TRUMP, who eluded service in Vietnam by claiming "bone spurs," has called off a visit to a US military cemetery outside Paris because it's raining. It wasn't raining hard enough to deter Trump's Chief of Staff General John Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford to visit the Aisne-Marne American cemetery located at the site of a 1918 battle in which American and French forces fended off German troops during World War I, a major event in U.S. Marines Corps history in which at least 1,800 troops died. Trump was meant to take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the site for Veterans Day weekend.
EVEN THE PRESS DEMOCRAT SAYS, "Doctors fail kids by abusing vaccination exemption." They sure do, but a dismaying number of Mendo dupes are not vaccinating their children, enrolling their unvaccinated kids in public schools, thus putting all children at risk of communicable diseases like measles that until recently were virtually wiped out. The anti-vaxxers get exemptions from sympathetic physicians for their unvaccinated children to enroll in schools, and if you know who among Mendo's medicos is cooperating with the anti-vaxxers we wish you would give us their names so we can expose them for throwing the rest of us back into the middle 19th century. (Anonymity guaranteed.)
DEMOCRATS OPPOSING PELOSI (HUFFMAN NOT ON THE LIST)
MUDDLING THE NUMBERS — MENDO'S BUDGET
by Mark Scaramella
Mendo’s budgeters have produced their first quarter budget review for Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.
The numbers don't add up.
Readers may recall our preliminary attempt last week to calculate the size of the looming budget deficit with available data. With this week’s budget report we can compare our projections to the County’s and update the numbers.
Last week we said, “Instead of the rather arbitrarily budgeted 2% income over last year, the County will be lucky to get the same as last year, for a revenue shortfall of at least $1.3 million.”
Next week’s budget report simply says, “Based on FY 2017-18 actuals in BU [Budget Unit] 1000 the Auditor anticipates an increase in BU 1000 [property tax] at mid-year.” There’s nothing about sales tax projections which we expect to be down, not up 2%, the other big discretionary revenue source.
However, the County says they’ve got an extra $4 million in unbudgeted carry over from last year. We’ll accept that number.
So, combining that $4 mil with our continued projection that revenues (property and sales tax) will be down by at least $1.3 million, we will give the County $2.7 million in net revenue increase, but that increase could easily go down further as real revenue numbers come in.
We said: at least $0.5 million over budget.
The County says they’ve laid off more people than we thought in Juvenile Hall by closing one entire wing and laying off three cooks.
So the Juvenile Hall is probably on budget or a little under, although still high compared to other neighboring counties.
Sheriff’s overtime and patrol:
We said: at least $1 million over budget.
County says overtime is down some but overall the Sheriff’s department (not counting the jail) is more than $2 million over budget.
We’ll take the County’s number of more than $2 mil over budget.
Management and executive pay and benefits:
We said: at least $0.5 million over budget.
The County completely ignores management and supervisor raises in their summary of the budget status.
So we stand by our original estimate of over half a million over budget in self-given management raises.
We said: at least $0.5 million over budget.
County says they’ll only be over by about $9k. But they have a fishy note appended that says “a budget adjustment has been requested.”
So we stand by our estimate of half a mil over budget.
Pot permit program:
We said: at least $1 million over budget.
County says the pot program is “on budget.”
That seems ridiculously misleading, particularly with another “budget adjustment request” note added. So we stand by our estimate of at least a mil over budget on that one.
* * *
Then there’s the new overruns projected by the County:
Jail: almost $800k over.
Human Resources: $100k over
Public Defender and Alternate Public Defender: more than $400k over.
Plus the planned one-time “essential” capital equipment expenses for: Deferred Maintenance, the IT Master Plan/IT modernization, Critical Public Safety Infrastructure (mostly communications/radios), and the Jail Expansion Project for a total of about $4 million in planned new expenditures.
Notes: There’s an interesting list of 64 terminations since July 1, 2018, and another showing 50 new hires. Which may imply some undetermined salary savings.
There’s no money budgeted for line employee pay raises that were presumably being planned via the ongoing salary survey but probably won’t kick in until the following fiscal year.
Total budget gap (revenue and expense):
We said last week, there would be a net deficit of at least $5.0 million.
This week we update that to:
Revenue: up $2.7 million ($4.0 million carryover minus $1.3 million shortfall from projection).
Overruns and other added expenses (including departmental overruns and capital expenses if not deferred): Up $6.8 million.
Net deficit: Up about $4 million. ($6.8 minus $2.7 million)
Because the County deploys rosy revenue estimates, pretending that the Cannabis and Ag departments are not in serious deficit and pretends that “budget adjustments” (?) will fix problems in some departments, the County is claiming there’s no big or insurmountable problem.
We say that if County management wants to spend any money on “essential capital” projects they will be around $9 million short. If they postpone these "essential" projects they'll still be at least $5 million over budget.
PS. So far there’s no indication that the County plans to do monthly budget status reporting as they previously said they'd do, so we won’t have another budget update until February. But there may be some adjustments after Tuesday’s board meeting.
PPS. Under “budget priorities” for next year we were surprised to read: “Development of property liquidation options for the Willits Justice Center and Ukiah Courthouse.” (The Willits Justice Center, sold to the taxpayers as necessary courtroom space, is occupied only by the Willits Police. It's also the ugliest public building in the state, or at least in the running. One option would obviously be to sell the building to Willits. Other options might include Measure B conversion, or commercial sale, but Willits already has lots of empty storefronts.)
So the County may be in the planning stages for selling off the existing Ukiah courthouse in semi-anticipation of the completely unnecessary new courthouse four blocks away near the railroad tracks. The courthouse project appears to be on permanent hold, given that only the judges want it and funding remains problematic. How that proposed sale will affect the County’s courthouse-related departments – DA, Public Defender, Probation — remains to be seen.
SOUTHERN COMMERCIAL DUNGENESS CRAB SEASON DELAYED IN OCEAN WATERS NORTH OF BODEGA HEAD DUE TO PUBLIC HEALTH HAZARD
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham has delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery from Bodega Head, Sonoma County north to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line. The commercial Dungeness crab fishery south of this area will open as scheduled on Thursday, Nov. 15.
State health agencies determined that Dungeness crab in state waters from Bodega Head, Sonoma County north to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line have elevated levels of domoic acid and recommended a delay of the commercial fishery in this area.
The commercial delay includes ocean waters from the southern boundary of Bodega Head State Marine Reserve, Sonoma County (38° 18’ N. latitude) north to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line (38° 46.125’ N. latitude). Commercial take and/or possession of Dungeness crab is prohibited in these waters. North of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line, the Dungeness crab commercial season is not scheduled to open until Dec. 1. That opener is also subject to delay pending test results both for domoic acid as well as crab quality.
The area south of the southern boundary of the Bodega Head State Marine Reserve, Sonoma County to the California/Mexico border will open at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, to be preceded by an 18-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 6:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
This delay shall remain in effect until the Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), in consultation with the State Public Health Officer at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), determines that domoic acid no longer poses a significant risk to public health and recommends opening the fishery in this region. CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in Dungeness crab to determine when the Dungeness crab commercial fishery in this area can safely be opened.
Once a positive determination is made to open the fishery, CDFW may provide the fleet a minimum of 72-hour advance notice announcing when trap gear can be set.
Additional information on the commercial Dungeness fishery can be found here.
The recreational fishery for Dungeness crab opened in most areas of the state on Nov. 3 under a health warning issued by CDPH for Dungeness crab caught in Sonoma County. The recreational fishery remains closed in state waters from Patrick’s Point in Humboldt County north due to elevated levels of domoic acid.
Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine alga, whose levels can be increased under certain ocean conditions, and can accumulate in shellfish, other invertebrates and sometimes fish. It causes illness and sometimes death in a variety of birds and marine mammals that consume affected organisms. At low levels, domoic acid exposure can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness in humans. At higher levels, it can cause persistent short-term memory loss, seizures and death.
For more information:
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 10, 2018
LUIS ACOSTA, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, nitrous oxide.
JUAN CANUL, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
THOMAS CHANDLER, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
DANIEL ESCAMILLA, Ukiah. Resisting.
ERIC GARCIA, Redwood Valley. Under influence, failure to appear.
ANDREW GRESHLE, Ukiah. Stolen vehicle.
LUNA MAGDALENO, Philo. Probation revocation.
JULIE MARRS, Ukiah. Disobeying court order.
SHIDEEWUM MARTINEZ, Laytonville. DUI, nitrous oxide, probation revocation.
FRANCISCO MARTINEZ-RODRIGUEZ, Fort Bragg. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, stolen vehicle, no license.
MELISSA MOSQUEDA, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation.
ALEXANDER POULIDES, Willits. Battery, failure to appear, probation revocation.
WILLIAM RETZLOFF, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.
MONICA ROMERO, Gualala. Domestic battery.
ROBERT ROSALES, Potter Valley. DUI.
JENNIFER SERR, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
ANN TAYLOR, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, evidence destruction/tampering, resisting.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I would argue decline is well under way these days. I’m also starting to wonder about collapse looking more like the Hunger Games model than the Mad Max model. In the Hunger Games model the cities still had high tech, stupid-assed cultures and they ruled the hinterlands which were like prison work camps. All the resources went to maintaining the small pockets of techno-buffonery in the cities. Whereas Mad Max was smallish war lords and dog-eat-dog existence in wastelands. In the past it appeared that the Mad Max model was the dominant idea of collapse. However, I am leaning more towards the Hunger Games model anymore, at least as long as they can sustain it. I also would argue that model is being played out right now.
FEAST & FORAGE
November 11th forage and feast at JugHandle Farm and Nature Center
Jug Handle Creek Farm and Nature Center will host "Walk on the Wild Side" as part of the 2018 Feast Mendocino Festival in Mendocino, on Sunday, November 11th from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The location of the event is at Jug Handle's red and white farmhouse on the east side of Highway One - 15501 North Highway One in Caspar. "Walk on the Wild Side" features guided mushroom identification walks in the lovely surrounding woods of Jug Handle Creek Farm and Jug Handle State Reserve. A special new display this year featuring Mushrooms as Medicine will be prepared by Lisa Matthews, who will showcase and describe medicinal uses of fungi. Medicinal teas will be available to sample and purchase, and several medicinal mushroom products will be on display. Mushroom based medicinal teas will also be for sale. Mushroom hor d'oerves: appetizers, mushroom based drinks, and mushroom desserts will be served, prepared by Alison Gardner and Merry Winslow, the authors of "The Wild Mushroom Cookbook, Recipes from Mendocino." The authors and cooks will be there to discuss the recipes, and their cookbook will be available for sale. Ruby Maddock will also prepare mushroom based refreshments. Forays into the surrounding fields and woods searching for mushrooms will be led by Steve Jahelka of State Parks, Jim Gibson, Leanna Lytle and Fern Tahja. There will also be a large mushroom display prepared by Eric Schramm of Mendocino Mushroom Company, who will do a power point presentation and mushroom talk after the hike, when mushroom-based salad, soup, desserts and drinks will be served. Cost to attend is $25 per person. Please RSVP by calling ( 707) 937-3498. Jug Handle is a non-profit Nature Education Center and overnight lodge, and this event is a fund raiser for our education programs with local and regional schools. The link to the Nature Center's website is: jughandlecreekfarm.org/nature-education/
BUKOWSKI & HIS CAT
JACK LONDON: A MESS OF SEETHING CONTRADICTIONS
by Jonah Raskin
The anniversary of Jack London’s death on November 22, 1916 is near. In honor of the occasion, which I will observe, we might revisit some of his ideas and take another look at his life. For decades, literary critics and cultural historians knew where the American author, Jack London, (1876-1916), stood on the political spectrum, even while they recognized his contradictions and oddities. In 1917, his friend and romantic interest, Anna Strunsky wrote an obituary for London that appeared in The Masses. “Napoleon and Nietzsche had a part in him, but his Nietzchean philosophy became transmuted into Socialism—the movement of his time,” she explained. Philip S. Foner called his book, Jack London: American Rebel (1947). Robert Barltrop’s titled his, Jack London: The Man, the Writer, The Rebel (1978).
More recently biographers and critics such as Earle Labor, the author of Jack London: An American Life (1994), have turned him into a Jungian more preoccupied with myth, archetype and symbol than with class, race and gender. Yes, myths, symbols and archetypes are in London’s fiction, but before he turned to Jung (and also to Freud) near the end of his life, he embraced Darwin, Marx, and Nietzsche, as Anna Strunsky pointed out in her obit.
Now, Dan Wichlan turns London into a moderate—something he never was, as he himself recognized. “I always was an extremist,” he wrote in his memoir, John Barleycorn: Alcoholic Memoirs. A former business executive at the Bank of America and Charles Schwab & Co., Wichlan belongs to the London faithful, and, while he is not an academic or a trained scholar, he has gathered together in one volume London’s Unpublished and Uncollected Articles and Essays (2018) which is available at Amazon.
Wichlan touts his own horn and claims to have unearthed previously unknown works by London. He insists, for example, that London’s political essay, “What Socialism Is,” which was originally published in The San Francisco Examiner in 1895, is “not listed in any of the published bibliographies.” Wichlan includes the piece in his anthology. He might have looked at Russ Kingman’s A Pictorial Life of Jack London, where that 1895 essay is included. But that is the least of the flaws in Jack London: Unpublished and Uncollected Articles and Essays.
Wichlan’s book offers 42 articles and essays by London, an introduction by the editor himself and prefaces to each article and essay. It’s good to have London’s writing about politics, journalism and more between covers. But Wichlan tends to glorify London, downplay his genuine radicalism and whitewash his belief in white supremacy. If nothing else, London was a walking talking contradiction. Wichlan doesn’t see that either. Upton Sinclair liked his writing and so did H. L. Mencken, Anatole France, Max Lerner, Leon Trotsky, V.L. Lenin (sometimes) and Emma Goldman who called him in 1910, “The only revolutionary writer in America.” In many ways, London was all-things to all-make-and-manner of men and women.
For much of his life, London considered himself a socialist; he was a member of the American Socialist Party, and, though he didn’t attend meetings, he spoke and wrote for the Socialist Party to recruit new members and swell its ranks. He ran for mayor of Oakland twice on a liberal-left ticket.
Briefly, he urged violent revolution in the U.S. to overthrow the capitalist system and usher in socialism by which he meant the end of the rule by the men who owned the factories and the transfer of power by any means necessary to those who toiled in those same factories. In “What Socialism Is,” London wrote that it “is a phenomenon of this century.” He added, “We have slavery, feudalism, capitalism—and socialism. It is the obvious step.” For much of his life, London thought that socialism was inevitable.
Wichlan writes that London became a socialist because he wanted “labor reform.” That perspective neglects the London who defended the Industrial Workers of the World (The IWW) and empathized with anarchists like Alexander Berkman, though he didn’t endorse anarchism of the deed. Wichlan also talks about London’s “discontent” with the Socialist Party and his resignation in 1916, the year he died, but he ignores the two decades when London was a fiery radical and a loyal party member.
Wichlan calls London an “anti-racist,” but in two essays in this book, “The Salt of the Earth” and “Washoe Indians Resolve to Become White Men,” London stands with white men and against men of color. Indeed, he wanted Indians to go to U.S. government schools where they would lose their Indian-ness and be turned into white people. Indians have been rebelling against that kind colonization for hundreds of years.
London was a socialist who identified with the British Empire and wanted a kind of pan-Atlantic alliance that would connect the Anglos and the Americans and stand against yellow, brown and black people. For much of his life, he was against war, but at the start of World War I, when the Germans threatened the Brits, he urged the U.S. to join with them and make war against “the Huns.”
When one looks deeply into the life and the works of Jack London, the less heroic he appears and the more deeply flawed.
The best essay in Wichlan’s anthology is entitled “In the Days of My Youth.” It’s autobiographical and it was published in 1905, the year London identified with the Russian revolutionaries whom he called his comrades. “I am out on a hunt for the boyhood which I never had,” London says. He adds that he was “very lonely.” Indeed, all his life he was surrounded by loneliness, which is why, in part, he joined the Socialist Party. It was a social organization.
On the subject of his own radicalization, London explains, “In the Days of My Youth”: “I tramped all through the United States, and the whole tramping experience made me become a socialist.” The writers who influenced him the most, when he reached adulthood, he noted, were Karl Marx, the Communist, and Herbert Spencer who borrowed Darwin’s idea of the survival of the fittest and applied it to human society.
In “The Salt of the Earth,” London explained that, “In the struggle for food and shelter, for place and power, the weak and less efficient are crowded back and trampled under, as they always have been.” In his eyes, the weak and the less efficient were people of color. Paradoxically, or perhaps not, he also believed that the wealthy were weak and so doomed to become extinct when the revolution arrived.
Before we indulge in the worship of Jack London, we might remember that he could be a bigot and a chauvinist. In a 1914 essay included in Wichlan’s volume, he insisted that, “woman is the conservative factor of the sexes, whereas man is the radical.” But he also felt that women in primitive (i.e. pre-capitalist) societies were healthier than women in modern societies.
Those who say that London held the popular, dominant ideas of his time, and ought to be excused may not know that in his era there were feminists, anti-imperialists, and antiracists who helped create organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and demanded the right to vote for women.
Even as he believed in progress, London looked back fondly to the past and to all that humanity had sadly lost. Ah, Jack, poor Jack, after all these years, we’ve hardly known who you really were, though Anna Strunsky did.
“He believed in the inferiority of certain races and talked of the Anglo-Saxon people as the salt of the earth,” she wrote in her obit. “He inclined to believe in the biological inferiority of woman to man, an extremist he embraced socialism even as he endorsed white supremacy.” She loved him nonetheless. “He was a captive of beauty—the beauty of bird and Bower,” she wrote. “A captive of sea and sky and the icy vastness of the Arctic world.”
(Jonah Raskin is the editor of The Radical Jack London: Writings on War and Revolution.)
I DON'T SCARE EASY.
I never ducked and covered, never expected the Russians to obliterate us, used to jump out of airplanes in the army, do fun stuff that's sometimes risky--all that.
But I'm a little scared now. President Roy Cohn gets more tightly cornered every minute. It's better not to trap nutcases that way. AND he has a following of similar nutcases, among them the National Rifle Association, the KKK, all his MAGA friends and the Supreme Court.
The handfuls of rich people he made incalculably richer with his tax cut carefully keep their traps shut about his weird lawlessness, lying etc. What do you do about the dangerous nut who just handed you a million bucks?
So. Roy Cohn, aka You-Know-Who, has lots of deep pockets around him--American, Saudi, Russian, Mafian, etc., and he has an army of armed violence-loving loyalists (not that small).
At the same time, he's stuck in a country wherein the majority feels we just dealt the trumpians a body blow, and we should be able to untangle, readjust and renew our tattered republic.
These two sides show zero inclination to accommodate each other, and we are, increasingly, a flat-out violent country. Your girlfriend, a pile of parking tickets, PTSD, just plain meanness or, seemingly, nothing whatsoever is enough excuse to get your gun and empty it into people you don't know. Or do.
The whole mess is a mess. I think of the movie--just the title--”There Will Be Blood.” It sounds like a comment on the highly volatile situation we face right now. A rogue president, taught only Trouble and greed from birth and knowing nothing else, who constantly demonstrates--"demon-strates"--hostility for his native land and its laws, customs & values, faces disgrace and possible jail, with his family. What might he do?
I see the country as closer to civil war than at any time since 1860.
MEMO OF THE AIR: Armistice Day
The recording of last night's (2018-11-09) KNYO Fort Bragg and KMEC Ukiah Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available by one or two clicks, depending on whether you want to listen to it now or download it and keep it for later and, speaking of which, it's right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0306
Also at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you can find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile educational items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
They stoled the dang Double-D payroll and kidnapped Uncle Bill!
Smooth Criminal on uke, in the back seat.
Postcards for Ants, by Lorraine Loots.
And I love this wonderful sweet comic genius girl's Cooking with Tourette's show.
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org,