- County Notes
- B Meeting
- FB Committee
- Holiday Pies
- Cheap Sneakers
- USCG Lifeboat
- Cannabis 2018
- People Pictures
- Storm Debris
- Coast Toasters
- Yesterday's Catch
- Not Intelligent
- Sad Process
- Senior Disregard
- Private Power
- Solomon Interview
- State Preschools
- American Pickers
- Bubble Watch
- Water Agreement
- Human Reaction
- Beto Balloon
- Found Object
THE QUESTION of how to finance necessary roof repairs at the County admin center, the main jail, and the emergency operations center was magically solved on Tuesday by simply taking $1 million from reserves.
SUPERVISOR John McCowen casually noted that this probably would not be a problem because he "believes" that there will be substantial "fund balance carry over" — meaning that even though there is no revenue or budget data to base his optimism on, McCowen is certain the county will spend less than what they’ve budgeted for general fund dollars and have some money left over (“carry over”) by the end of June of 2019.
McCOWEN'S magical thinking looks like the pure speculation it obviously is. Things may become slightly clearer next month when the second quarter budget update is provided to the supervisors.
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AFTER TWO-PLUS YEARS of Mendo’s pot permit program reporting, the Supervisors today (Tuesday) finally got around to trying to figure out what's holding up most of the permits. According to a partial review of the 454 applications claimed to be “under review,” most of them appear to be held up because the applicants have not provided some important information or the applications are sitting somewhere at the Regional Water Quality Control Board or the Department of Fish and wildlife offices.
SUPERVISOR McCOWEN declared that the 454 applicants stuck somewhere in marijuana limbo represented "progress," adding that the county is not the primary cause of permits being held up. Of course, this begs the questions of what took so long to figure this out? And, Where are the applicants having the most trouble? And, Why the state offices are sitting on the permit applications? Apparently, as far as Mendocino County is concerned, as long as they can blame others and not their overly complicated process,"progress" is being made.
MEASURE B COMMITTEE MEETING Wednesday, December 19. A week early due to the Holiday. 1-3:00 pm, Conference Room C at the County Admin Center, 501 Low Gap Rd. Ukiah.
FORT BRAGG SEEKS COMMUNITY MEMBERS FOR CITY COMMITTEE TO EVALUATE ELECTION SYSTEMS
The recent California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) Settlement Agreement with the Coast Committee for Responsive Representation (Committee) and the Committee’s attorney, Jacob Patterson, calls for the formation of a separate committee to research and evaluate electoral systems and make a recommendation to the City Council on a preferred electoral system. Two members of City Council will be appointed to the new committee and, at a minimum, three members of the community will also be appointed. As part of the electoral system review, the new committee will also consider the benefits and limitations of a charter city and, if recommended, suggest a draft ordinance to be placed on the ballot in November 2020.
If you are interested in serving as a member of the community on the Electoral System Review Committee, please complete the application form and return it to the Attention of Brenda Jourdain, City Hall, 416 North Franklin Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437 or BJourdain@fortbragg.com. Please include a brief description of why you are interested in election systems and serving on this committee.
Questions regarding this information should be directed to Tabatha Miller, City Manager, at (707) 961-2829.
HOLIDAY PIES MADE TO ORDER!
I'll be taking a limited number of last minute orders for Holiday pies this season. Also you will need to pick them up a couple of days before Christmas since I will be going out of town to visit family.
Pies: $20 small (8 inch); $25 large (10 inch)
- Apple Berry
Specialty Pies: $22 small; $28 large
- Blackberry Dark Chocolate Ganache
- Huckleberry Dark Chocolate Ganache (limited supply)
- Chocolate Mousse with toasted almond crust
- Bannoffee (Banana, caramel and cream in a ginger crust)
- Chocolate Pecan
- Caramel Apple Pecan
- Dark Chocolate Coconut Custard
Mostly organic ingredients. Local seasonal fruit. Gluten-free options on all and vegan on some items.
Jacquelyn Cisper, 250 N Harrison, Fort Bragg, email@example.com, 541.272.1217, 707-962-3083
INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS have even numbers for east-west routes and odd numbers for north-south routes. The larger the odd number the further east it is, and the larger the even number the further north it is. I-5 goes up the West Coast and I-95 goes up the East. In between, the major routes are by I-15, 25, 35, 55, 75, and 85. East-west I-10 (the dime) goes from Jacksonville, Florida to Los Angeles (Jayville to Shakeytown). I-90 goes from Boston to Seattle (Beantown to Needle City). In between are I-20, 40, 70, and 80. Three digit numbers indicate sour routes to the system. Odd numbered three digit routes do not reconnect to the main highway; even-numbered roots are circular and are usually built ways around cities. Using Washington, DC (Bullshit City), as an example, I-495 goes around the city and I-395 ends in the city. It's a simple system that works extremely well except in massive, older urban areas like Chicago (Windy City), where the route numbers coalesce into a Rubik's cube of confusion.
You’ve got the new CVS, the Wal-Mart, Home Depot on the fringes, while the old downtowns are either empty or the buildings have a Goodwill store, an immigration law office, and an "antiques" store, meaning junk. The chains on the outskirts provide the $9 an hour jobs and wire today's receipts to Bentonville or New York every night.
I hate it personally but we deserve what we’ve got. We wanted the $8 sneakers and the 45¢ tubesox. Well, it's not unlikely that those socks and shoes were made by a 12-year-old girl in Madagascar more or less chained to a machine. While we were happily buying goods on the cheap, the developers were buying the local politicos on the cheap and getting the zoning changed so they could build even more big boxes. We didn't consider that maybe it would be a better bargain to pay $20 for sneakers and buy them from the neighbor who owns the to store downtown and stocks sneakers made in Maine.
It's too late now. The game's been won by companies who don't give a shit about community character or decent jobs. Congratufuckinglations, America! We did the deal. Now we've got an unlimited supply of cheap commodities and unhealthy food and crumbling downtowns, no sense of place, and a permanent underclass. Yay. This underclass isn't relegated to urban ghettos either. It's coast-to-coast and especially in between. Take US 50 West from Kansas City to Sacramento or US-6 from Chicago to California and you'll see a couple thousand miles of corn, soybeans, and terminally ill small towns. It looks like an episode from The Walking Dead. If there is such a thing as the American heartland, it has a stake through it. What's left are factory farms and meatpacking plants far off the main roads jammed to the rafters with immigrant laborers getting paid who knows what. So let's all enjoy the cheap porkchops while wearing our new sneakers because we paid a heavy price for them.
This country has almost 20,000 towns and I'll bet I've been in or through most of them. The pattern of sprawl on the fringes and decay in the center is firmly established everywhere. The other thing just as firmly established is American mythmaking. I love seeing tourist posters of America the Beautiful. In New England a cultural icon is a small town with a white church. In the West is the false front frame saddlery with the hitching post. In the south it’s the roadside peach stand, and in the Midwest it’s the ruggedly handsome farmer in a John Deere hat. Oh really? Is that what America looks like? I'm all over the country all the time, and guess what? There are barely any family farms left in the Midwest, hardly anyone goes to church in New England, the Georgia peach groves are tract houses, and towns in the West are either bedroom communities or ghost towns. If a tourist poster of America were made with some verisimilitude, it would show a Subway franchise inside a convenience store gas station with an underpaid immigrant mopping the floor and a street person at the traffic light holding a cardboard sign that reads, "anything helps."
Finn Morphy, “The Long Haul”
COAST GUARD IN NOYO HARBOR
(Photos by Judy Valadao)
CANNABIS CRISIS GOES ON: A Report from the Emerald Cup
by Jonah Raskin
The hour-long panel, “Tips for Making Money in the Newly Regulated Market,” took place in the Hall of Flowers at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. It was the second day of the 2018 Emerald Cup, the cannabis extravaganza, that brought together thousands of players in the industry who had come to gawk, talk, get stoned and swap tales of life in the “regulated” market.
None of the panelists or the moderator had “tips” for making money in the cannabis market, which changed dramatically when “adult use” became legal in California on January 1, 2018 and state and local government officials started to collect money and enforce onerous regulations. It's been a bad, sad, mad year for growers, as nearly everyone in the industry — especially “small farmers” in Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma — has known for months.
Hearing the bad news at the fifteenth annual Emerald Cup made it sound official. Tina Gordon, a board member with the International Cannabis Farmers Association, told the audience at the “Tips” panel to “be comfortable with the uncomfortable.” Indeed, government regulations and the cannabis bureaucracy have made life not only uncomfortable but also miserable for farmers who once made a good living on the black market, where they were also subject to arrests and rip-offs.
Most of the growers who were busted or robbed bounced back. Bouncing back isn’t as easy these days. The “Tips” panel moderator, Kristin Heidelbach-Teramoto, summed it up when she said, “Survival is what it’s all about.” A fifteen-year veteran with the Teamsters Union and currently the head of the Teamsters State of California Cannabis Division, Heidelbach-Teramoto didn’t hog the mic, but rather kept it moving from one panelist to another.
Mendocino County’s Max Meyers, a cannabis grower and educator, said, “Free up the knowledge, don't horde it.” He also offered practical suggestions about soil, water and ecological cultivation, though no tips about making money. Near the end of the panel, Tina Gordon told the audience, “I don't know how to solve the banking thing.” No one did, though nearly everyone at the Emerald Cup was buying or selling something, including cannabis, which was consumed right then and there.
Arthur Darling came to the Cup from San Francisco to continue the journey with marijuana that he started in the 1960s and that led him into the worldwide “drug culture,” to which he still proudly belongs. “Before I was a hippie, I was a beatnik,” Darling told me. “And before that I was a bohemian.” Now 78, he remembers his days at the Oracle, the San Francisco underground newspaper, his time in a commune called East West House, his friendship with Janis Joplin before she became famous and the drugs he took to flunk his physical exam for induction into the military, which kept him out of Vietnam.
Darling wasn’t stoned all the time, or if he was it didn’t stop him from working at all kinds of jobs, including dishwasher, baker, carpenter, electrician and plumber. Arrested a couple of times for possession of marijuana, he went to jail and didn’t moan and groan about it. “I think my story is in many ways also the story of my generation,” Darling told me. It was indeed.
Hezekiah Damian Allen, the former Executive Director of the California Growers Association, now has his own consulting firm, HDA. “I moved to Sacramento from Humboldt several years ago in the hopes of bridging the gap between rural California and the state government,” he told me. “I’m in rescue mode and trying to make the best of a bad situation.”
Tina Gordon spoke for a great many growers when she said, “We're here to stay. We won’t be uprooted.” Sadly, the Emerald Cup has lost much of the pizzazz it had during pot prohibition, but Arthur Darling was still curious after all these years, and it was uplifting to learn that the Teamsters were involved in the cannabis biz. Too bad Jimmy Hoffa isn’t still around to lend Emerald Triangle farmers his heft.
(Jonah Raskin is the author of “Marijuanaland: Dispatches from an American War.”)
NIGHT LIGHT OF THE NORTH COAST: COOKS VALLEY BRIDGE
by David Wilson
In 1993 I spent a year in Chicago. Even then I loved photographing at night; I have always been drawn to it. I would use either available light or introduce light of my own, painting it into a scene much as I do now. I wasn’t comfortable photographing with models then, confining myself mostly to scenes without people and making them interesting with unusual angles and lighting. I had a couple of photography shows while I was there, both in small galleries. After those two shows, I was charged up, and submitted my portfolio to a larger gallery. But I found a curious thing.
“They’re interesting,” the curator said, “but you need figures in them. Figures lend a human element and a story to an image.”
I was abashed, and somewhat offended, I have to admit. But as time passed, I realized she was right. Photography is a visual language that can convey feelings, messages, and stories. But there is only so much story you can get out of a sunset, or a flower, or interesting lighting when there are no people present. A pretty picture can be very attractive, no doubt, and I was proud of my photographs, but when you put a person in there, tales will pop out.
Each person viewing an image will have a different experience, which will sometimes make it difficult for the photographer to convey specific ideas or messages. Someone might chuckle where another gasps. Individual experiences people have in their lives shape how they view the world, and one person’s reaction to an image may be very different from the reaction of another person. At one show I had, a woman simply could not look at a photograph of my young son’s face that I had blended with leaves. To me it was a soothing image. But she had to turn away from it, and told me it was painful to see. I don’t know what experience she had had that could give her that reaction to the peaceful image of my little “Forest Spirit,” but it was very real to her.
On Saturday, October 13, 2018, model Lula May Williams and I met to make images at the county line that we knew would resonate with people in one way or another. The setting was Cooks Valley Bridge on Highway 271, which crosses the South Fork Eel River at the southern border of Humboldt County, parallel to Highway 101 just a couple miles south of Richardson Grove.
A photograph is worth a thousand words, they say. Some photos show, some describe, and some tell stories. Consider the stories forming in your mind as you study these images. What thoughts do you find surfacing? Whatever I may have been thinking when I photographed these moments, whatever Lula thought as she planned her outfits and props and poses, the stories forming in your mind are your own. I made these photographs knowing that the figures would tell powerful stories for some people. Though there are times when I want to send a message, this isn’t one of them, and these photographs aren’t messages from me. They are catalysts for your own thoughts. The thoughts you are experiencing are from you. My own role is to provide food for your thoughts.
What I am trying to say is that I’m not trying to express a message here. Yet I know these images will generate some powerful thoughts in some of you. We shot from several angles, with various lighting, and she wore different clothes and struck different poses, creating opportunities for narratives to develop in the viewer. One of the poses was whimsical, a dancer in the twirling glow of a whirling scarf.
As Lula and I photographed the dancing scene, a car’s headlights down the road approached and pulled in alongside my truck. The lights went out, and a car door slammed shut. Uh, oh, I thought. Miscreants?
“Is one of you David Wilson?” Called a woman’s friendly voice.
I laughed. “Yes! Who is it?”
“It’s Talia!” She cried. Far out! It was Talia Rose, famous around here for her wonderful wildlife photography down near the county line. She had just passed by us a few minutes before, and returned to see if it were me. And it was.
We laughed some more. She pointed out where she’d seen some of the critters she photographs. A couple days later, within spitting distance of where we were on the bridge, she saw and photographed a mountain lion stalking an otter. The cat may have been nearby while we were out there.
The light on the hillside in the distance is from passing cars on Highway 101, and the light in the foreground is my own. The model, Lula May Williams, is also known as “LulaMay The Model” on Facebook, and @lula_may_no_lula_will on Instagram.
(If you’d like to keep abreast of my most current photography or peer into its past, you can follow me on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx . I update my website mindscapefx.com less frequently, but you can contact me there.)
ARENA COVE GOT BANGED UP A BIT BY BIG WAVE ACTION
The city parking lot at Arena Cove is currently closed due to damage caused by this morning's ocean swell. However, all businesses and the parking lot next to the Chowder House are open. Be advised that there will a large ocean swell again this evening. Dated: 12/17/2018
COAST TOASTERS, TOASTMASTERS MEETING
Wednesday, December 19, 2018, 12 noon - 1PM
Redwood Coast Senior Center in the Activity Room, 490 N.Harold St, Fort Bragg, Ca
Meetings are held on Wednesdays, 12 noon to 1 PM at the Redwood Coast Senior Center, 490 N.Harold St, Fort Bragg
For More information about the local Toastmasters, you can go to the local Coast Toasters website: https://7040.toastmastersclubs.org
Keith Wyner, firstname.lastname@example.org
CATCH OF THE DAY, Dec. 18, 2018
MARIELA CERVERA, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse.
JOSE FELIX, Redwood Valley. Disobeying court order.
DAVID HALL, Willits. Domestic battery.
BRANDON JONES, Little River. Domestic battery.
AARON ORESCO, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
PEDRO REYNAGA, Calpella. Grant theft.
ANGELA RIVERA, Ukiah. Controlled substance, stolen property, probation revocation.
TERRY WEBB, Fort Bragg. Community supervision violation.
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE DAY
My mother cries about Trump. A religious person, I’ve never known her to hate anyone, but she hates Trump. Nearly blind and unable to read anymore, she listens to the spewing propaganda all day and half the night and gets herself all worked up. I can’t think it’s good for her. She’s going to have a stroke or a heart attack over this, but though she’ll watch other things occasionally, she is drawn back to the screeching harpies at CNN like an addiction. She has reached the conclusion that the end justifies the means, and that getting Trump out must be the number one priority of this country. She’s rabid, and I’m frankly alarmed. How many more like her are out there?
* * *
TDS. Trump Derangement Syndrome. It afflicts both the young & the old. Peeps keep getting reinfected by the Natural Disease Reservoirs of CNN, the NYT, Washpo, et al.
The object of the NDR #Resistance’s hatred is not Trump per se, but us Deplorables who voted for him. All that hatred has been focused in the person of Trump, but he is just the symbol of their enmity for us Fly-over dirt people.
We knew this from long before Trump was elected. That’s why we voted for him. He was the expression of our disdain for the opinions of the Opinion-makers. He was the Big Fuck-you Flip-off gesture to our “Betters.”
* * *
Funny, my own mother, 82 religious also but otherwise of sound mind, thinks Trump was the only answer in 2016, given she’d been brainwashed by years & years of screeching right wing harpies convincing her that Hillary is the epitome of evil, the handmaiden of Satan, a child-rapist and cannibal, a devil-worshipper and (quite possibly) a Reptilian!
But she’s blind to Trump’s faults and frankly, I’m alarmed. How many more like her are out there?
I gave her a copy of Michael Lewis “The Fifth Risk” to read…as soon as she gathered that it was about Trump’s appalling performance with the Transition, she put it down – simply doesn’t want to know what a dangerous virus is attacking the fabric of American culture & civility.
I recommend this fair, plain-spoken & fascinating book to all. It provides a real understanding of how the day-to-day government works, almost invisibly in the lives of Americans and how much it will be missed if its deconstruction continues at the current pace.
EVIDENTLY there are plenty of people in journalism who have neither got what they liked nor quite grown to like what they get. They write pieces they do not much enjoy writing, for papers they totally despise, and the sad process ends by ruining their style and disintegrating their personality, two developments which in a writer cannot be separate, since his personality and style must progress or deteriorate together, like a married couple in a country where death is the only permissible divorce.
— Claud Cockburn
DISREGARD FOR SENIORS
My neighbor and I took an Uber to the Strand Theater on Mid-Market Street in San Francisco last evening. On Market Street were a few empty buses and several cabs, but because cars are not allowed on the street, we were in bumper-to-bumper stalled traffic on the side streets trying to get to the theater. My neighbor is disabled, and again because of the “no cars” on Market Street, we had to walk a city block to the theater passing through the stench of urine and feces and camps of homeless people.
Exiting the theater, Uber and Lyft could only pick us up a block away, and because my friend is disabled we hailed a cab, which is allowed on Market Street, but the cab fare with the tip cost more than either of the ride-hailing service options. What is the thought behind what is being done in this city in the name of bicycle use and public transportation? There is a complete disregard to the needs of the senior population in San Francisco.
ALICE WALKER GOES FULL LOON
New York Times assailed for Alice Walker interview endorsing 'anti-Semitic' conspiracy theorist.
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ms notes: In his must-read book about the origins of new-agism, “Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon,” Peter Washington describes an incident in England where a group of new agers led by a mildly famous soccer player/ecologist named David Icke dressed themselves up in turquoise Star Trek jumpsuits and proclaimed that “love and wisdom resonate to the same frequency as the color turquoise.” (In England the purple plague is known as “the Turquoise Torpor.”) The British press had a field day making fun of the Turquoisians (Icke called his group “the Truth Vibrations”) and their goofy precepts, pointing out that 76% of the public surveyed felt that they had “gone bonkers” and were “obviously nuts.” But Washington pointed out that what the press and the public overlooked was something Mr. Icke knew quite well: that there were therefore some 24% of the population that was so enamored of the Turquoisians’ notions that they happily sent them some big donations. And so it has always been, all the way back to Madam Blavatsky and her sneering stuffed ape she kept dressed up like Charles Darwin.
KMUD Community Radio, Redway California, is the new home for Heroes And Patriots, a program about national security, intelligence and foreign policy. Hosted by John Sakowicz and Mary Massey, the one-hour live program includes guests who are whistleblowers, national security advisers, economic advisers, dipolmats, members of congress, military personnel, scholars, diplomats, and leading activists.
Most recently Adam Hochschild, an American author, journalist, historian and lecturer, appeared on the program.
On Thursday, January 3, 2019, Norman Solomon appears live 9-10 a.m. Solomon is an American journalist, media critic, antiwar activist, and former u.s. congressional candidate. Solomon is a longtime associate of the media watch group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.
Listener calls are encouraged and welcomed. The program is archived at kmud, and on facebook and youtube, Heroes and Patriots, KMUD radio.
KMUD can be heard live: kmud.org or locally fm 91.1.
STARTING SCHOOL ON THE RIGHT FOOT
During the first five years of life, our brains grow and develop faster than at any other time, which is why it’s essential to provide young children with safe, nurturing environments that promote healthy physical, social/emotional, and cognitive development. One of the ways we do this at the Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE) is through our State Preschool Consortium.
MCOE oversees 16 preschools spread among 10 school districts countywide. We provide well-planned, developmentally appropriate curriculum to income-eligible preschoolers three hours a day, five days a week. To meet the income requirement, a family of four can earn up to $6,383 per month (or $76,596 per year), which leaves the door wide open for most families in our county.
Program Director Kristin Hills has been in early childhood education for more than ten years; she was the site director at Nokomis before she moved to MCOE to become our program director. However, she began her journey with the State Preschool program years ago when her three children attended State Preschool. She started by volunteering in the classroom and eventually earned the education and experience to run the whole program. She jokes, “My kids graduated from preschool, but I’m still here.”
In her capacity as administrator and mentor, she helps site directors stay up-to-date on program regulations and best practices, tracks attendance, allocates county resources, and works with site directors to complete the rigorous data collection and reporting required by the state to demonstrate the quality and safety of each school.
She said, “The reporting is extensive. We observe each student to assess 43 unique measures during their first 60 days with us, which allows us to create a Desired Results Development Profile. We also invite parents to share feedback via anonymous surveys and parent-teacher conferences. Six months later, we do it all again so we can measure progress. And this is only one of the many assessments we do.”
In addition to providing classroom education, State Preschools work with families to connect them with any resources they may be lacking (e.g., information about nutrition, housing resources, referral to a dentist), and if children have special needs, those are often identified early. Kristin said, “We know a lot about education, but parents are the experts on their kids. We build rapport with parents, so we can work with them to support their children.”
Sometimes parents or others observe our students at play and wonder when they’ll begin to learn their numbers and letters. The truth is, play is an essential part of academic development. Our teachers know that by helping children create imaginary situations, providing props and expanding possible play roles, they are helping children develop abstract thought. Once representational abilities have been developed through play, a child is able to use these abilities to develop reading and writing skills.
Research offers clear evidence that the type of play we encourage in our preschools helps students develop problem-solving skills, increase vocabulary, mature socially and emotionally, and build literacy, math and cognitive skills.
When students do not attend preschool, they sometimes lack these skills. A good preschool education has a long list of benefits. A research brief published by Stanford University in September 2018, Early Childhood Education in California, points out that “children who attend high-quality preschools are less likely to be retained in a grade or placed in a special education setting. They are also less likely to become involved in crime and more likely to graduate from high school, go to college, and achieve higher earnings.”
Of course, none of this learning would be possible without our well-trained and experienced staff. We are incredibly fortunate to have such dedicated teachers at our schools. Right outside my office here at MCOE in Ukiah, the Talmage Preschool teacher, Pam Chiriboga, has 35 years of experience—she’s truly amazing.
State preschools are free of cost to participating families, so although most of the spots are full, it’s a good idea to put your child’s name on our waiting list if you’re looking for a preschool where your child can thrive. Contact Kristin at 707-467-5168 or email@example.com for more information.
Michelle Hutchins, County Superintendent of Schools
GET OUT YER ANTEEKS, MENDO!
AMERICAN PICKERS to Film in California!
Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz, and their team are excited to return to California! They plan to film episodes of the hit series AMERICAN PICKERS throughout the region in March 2019!
AMERICAN PICKERS is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique “picking” on History. The hit show follows Mike and Frank, two of the most skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizeable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them.
As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, Mike and Frank are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics. Along the way, the Pickers want to meet characters with remarkable and exceptional items. The pair hopes to give historically significant objects a new lease on life, while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way.
Mike and Frank have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. They are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them. AMERICAN PICKERS is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the Pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, send us your name, phone number, location and description of the collection with photos to:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 855-OLD-RUST. facebook: @GotAPick
ASSUME THE CRASH POSITION
In the New York Times:
Are You Ready for the Financial Crisis of 2019?
by Alex Williams
Here are five ways things could get bad for everyone.
For moneyed Americans, most of the past year has felt like 1929 all over again — the fun, bathtub-gin-quaffing, rich-white-people-doing-the-Charleston early part of 1929, not the grim couple of months after the stock market crashed.
After a decade-long stock market party, which saw the stocks of the S. P. 500 index create some $17 trillion in new wealth, the rich indulged in $1,210 cocktails at the Four Seasons hotel’s Ty Bar in New York, in $325,000 Rolls-Royce Cullinan sport-utility vehicles in S.U.V.-loving Houston and in nine-figure crash pads like Aaron Spelling’s 56,000-square-foot mansion in Los Angeles (currently on the market for $175 million, more than double what it fetched just five years ago).
Will it last? Who knows? But in recent months, the anxiety that we could be in for a replay of 1929 — or 1987, or 2000, or 2008 — has become palpable not just for the Aspen set, but for any American with a 401(k).
Overall, stocks are down 1.5 percent this year, after hitting dizzying heights in early October. Hedge funds are having their worst year since the 2008 crisis. And household debt recently hit another record high of $13.5 trillion — up $837 billion from the previous peak, which preceded the Great Recession.
After a decade of low interest rates that fueled a massive run-up in stocks, real estate and other assets, financial Cassandras are not hard to find. Paul Tudor Jones, the billionaire investor, recently posited that we are likely in a “global debt bubble,” and Jim Rogers, the influential fund manager and commentator, has forewarned of a crash that will be “the biggest in my lifetime” (he is 76).
What might prove the pinprick to the “everything bubble,” as doomers like to call it? Could be anything. Could be nothing. Only time will tell if the everything bubble is a bubble at all. But, just a decade after the last financial crisis, here are five popular doom-and-gloom scenarios.
BROWN AND TRUMP ADMINISTRATIONS ANNOUNCE WATER AGREEMENT THAT WILL DESTROY FISHERIES AND BAY-DELTA
by Daniel Bacher
As Jerry Brown gets ready to leave the Governor’s Office in January, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced Thursday that they and the Bureau of Reclamation reached an agreement on updating how the State Water Project (SWP) and Central Valley Water Project (CVP) are operated “to meet environmental regulations,” reported first here on the Daily Kos (www.dailykos.com/…)
Fishermen, conservationists, Tribal leaders, environmental justice advocates, Delta residents and family farmers see the deal as one that benefits corporate agribusiness interests in the San Joaquin Valley at the expense of fishing communities, Tribes, Delta farmers and the public trust.
“The state and federal projects are intertwined, and we have a joint interest and responsibility to ensure our water system meets California’s needs especially as conditions change,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth in a statement.
DWR and the Bureau also signed an agreement to formalize the cost sharing formula for projects needed to meet joint responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). “The new agreement calls for costs to be shared equitably between the state and federal projects for work to meet joint responsibilities under the ESA, including monitoring and habitat restoration,” according to DWR.
The cost sharing agreement, signed by Nemeth for DWR and Michael Ryan, Regional Director of the Bureau of Reclamation for the Trump administration, can be found here.
Ryan Sabalow and Dale Kasler reported on the agreements today in the Sacramento Bee in an article entitled, “California cedes water to feds in Delta deal with Trump.”
“Southern Californians could lose billions of gallons of water a year to Central Valley farmers under a deal Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has struck with water officials working for President Donald Trump,” they wrote.
“There’s no guarantee the agreement with Trump will accomplish what Brown’s team is seeking: a lasting compromise on environmental regulations that could stave off significant water shortfalls for farms and cities across California. A powerful state agency, the State Water Resources Control Board, hasn’t yet signed off on Brown’s compromise environmental proposal. Environmental groups have called the governor’s idea woefully insufficient to save ailing fish population,” according to the Bee.
“Brown’s administration also made a separate concession to the Trump administration on the governor’s controversial Delta tunnels project, to the dismay of environmental groups that oppose the tunnels,” the Bee stated.
California Department of Water Resources spokeswoman Erin Mellon also said, “The Brown administration gave federal officials a ‘no-harm agreement’ that says the Central Valley Projects customers won’t lose any water if the Delta tunnels are built.”
She elaborated that if CVP customers were to lose water, they would be compensated with cash, or some other water.
According to Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, “the irony in the Sacramento Bee story is that Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth describes this deal as not a quid pro quo, when that is exactly what it is. Similarly, Metropolitan Water District’s General Jeff Kightlinger ‘defended the horse-trading’ and increased water exports to industrial agriculture saying the compromise on environmental regulations is needed.”
“Governor Brown is giving the Trump Administration domain over California’s rivers, the Bay-Delta estuary, fish and wildlife, drinking water systems for millions of people, and the state’s water rights system, all for his boondoggle Delta tunnels project,” said Barrigan-Parrilla. “While President Trump is under investigation for betraying his office, Governor Brown is betraying California’s people, environment, and sustainable water future. This is who Governor Brown has chosen to do business with, instead of the impacted parties of his horse trade.”
“This isn’t an enduring environmental legacy. It is Governor Brown’s desperate, yet dangerous swan song for California, aided and abetted by California’s Department of Water Resources and Metropolitan Water Districts of Southern California, the largest landowner in the Delta. It is an attempted water coup, nothing less,” concluded Barrigan-Parrilla.
I have been one of the few writers who has consistently and truthfully reported on the environmental legacy of Governor Jerry Brown since he entered his fourth term in 2011.
It’s not just about the Delta Tunnels or fracking. Brown’s real "environmental" legacy includes 21,000 new oil and gas drilling permits, Delta smelt on the brink of extinction (if not extinct in the wild), struggling winter and spring chinook runs, deal after deal with the Trump administration, including the exemption of California oil fields from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the worst air pollution in the nation right here in the Central Valley, record water exports out of the Delta and record Delta fish kills (Sacramento splittail), pollution trading, clearcutting forests, fake habitat restoration like at the Ballona Wetlands in Southern California, Proposition 1, the Delta Tunnels scam and the Brown Water Plan, the SoCal Gas Blowout… and the list goes on and on and on.
Brown’s main claim to fame, his "climate leadership," consists of grandstanding at international climate conferences about unenforceable agreements largely based on pollution trading that benefits oil and gas companies and the corporate elite. Brown has also “denounced” the Trump administration for their proposal to open offshore drilling leases in federal waters (over 3 miles from shore) off California.
However, the Governor's Office press releases and many compliant media have neglected to mention that Brown’s oil and gas regulators, at the same time that Brown portrays himself as an “opponent” of offshore drilling, approved 238 NEW offshore oil wells in state waters under existing leases off Los Angeles and Ventura counties from 2012 to 2016. That’s increase of 17 percent, according to data released in a report issued by Fractracker Alliance in February 2017. To read the complete report, go to: http://www.fractracker.org/…
It gets worse. On June 20 of this year, Consumer Watchdog launched a web site that allows you to compare California offshore wells under the control of Governor Jerry Brown and President Donald Trump. The numbers are stunning.
“Brown has called Trump’s federal offshore oil drilling short-sighed and reckless, but the site — http://www.BrownvTrumpOilMap.com — shows Brown controls four times more oil wells in state waters than those Trump controls in federal waters,” according to Liza Tucker, consumer advocate for Consumer Watchdog.
We need to put political pressure on Governor-Elect Gavin Newson to make sure that he does the right thing and breaks with the many bad environmental policies of Jerry Brown.
BETO, WE HARDLY KNEW YE
by Norman Solomon
News media tell us that Beto O’Rourke has reached the top tier of potential contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. CNN polls now rank him in third place—behind only Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders— among likely Iowa caucusgoers as well as among Democrats nationwide.
Progressives are apt to be enthusiastic about O’Rourke—if they don’t know much about his record.
Inclinations to hop on the Beto bandwagon are understandable. O’Rourke was inspiring this year as he fought to unseat the despicable U.S. Senator Ted Cruz with a campaign that built a broad coalition of Texans, while gaining huge small-dollar support from across the country. In late summer, many were thrilled by a video of Beto’s response to a question about NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem; his ringing defense of dissent in the context of civil rights history was excellent.
Cruz had to sweat it out on election night and won by only 2.6 percent, a slim margin in such a conservative state. Since then, publicity about Beto O’Rourke potentially running for president has mushroomed, with corporate news outlets portraying him as a progressive.
Released a week ago, the much-publicized results of a poll that MoveOn conducted of people on its email list found O’Rourke in first place, neck-and-neck with Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Media spin intensified, portraying Beto as a challenge to Bernie.
NBC News broke the news of the MoveOn poll while calling it “a potentially troubling indication for Sanders.” A couple of days later, the New York Times speculated that “Mr. Sanders’s hold on the party’s progressive base may be slipping as a new generation of Democrats like Representative Beto O’Rourke demonstrate early strength in polls and straw polls, such as the one conducted this week by the liberal group MoveOn.”
Meanwhile, Democracy for America was concluding a poll of its own active supporters online. As the second week of December began, the organization’s website was showing Bernie Sanders far ahead in the top spot at 38 percent, followed by Biden at 15 percent, O’Rourke at 12, Elizabeth Warren at 8, and Kamala Harris at 7. (DFA later removed the running totals from its site until release of final numbers.)
Given their at-times extreme antipathy toward Bernie during his first presidential run, mainstream news media are likely to have an appetite for a 2019 storyline that Sanders’ support is eroding. O’Rourke is apt to be quite useful for such a narrative. The Democratic Party establishment that went all-out to get Hillary Clinton the 2016 nomination is palpably eager to block Bernie. And some in that establishment are already indicating that they believe O’Rourke might do the trick.
A revealing sign came early this month from a leading sentinel of the Democratic Party’s corporate wing—the relentless Clinton loyalist Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress. What set her off was a matter-of-fact tweet from investigative reporter David Sirota, who told people “Something I didn’t know: Beto O’Rourke is the #2 recipient of oil/gas industry campaign cash in the entire Congress.” Sirota provided a link to campaign finance data.
Tanden quickly went into onslaught overdrive with a tweet lashing out at the sharing of such information about the three-term congressman: “Oh look. A supporter of Bernie Sanders attacking a Democrat. This is seriously dangerous. We know Trump is in the White House and attacking Dems is doing Trump’s bidding. I hope Senator Sanders repudiates these attacks in 2019.”
A money-in-politics reporter, Alex Kotch, responded that he was “pretty shocked” to see Tanden attack Sirota for simply sending out a factual tweet: “Tanden, a close Clinton ally and Bernie Sanders foe, has had a contentious relationship with the left, with which Sirota is often associated. But her claim that a reporter’s tweet of campaign finance statistics about a potential 2020 candidate was a dangerous attack that Trump would have ordered? Who was really being attacked here?”
For some context, Kotch added: “It’s worth noting that the Center for American Progress has in the past accepted donations from multiple fossil fuel companies and, as of 2017, was still receiving money from Pacific Gas and Electric Company. During the 2016 Democratic Platform Committee’s drafting process, Tanden voted against a fracking ban, a carbon tax, and a measure to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”
Kotch followed up on Dec. 12 by reporting: “I have confirmed that according to the latest campaign finance report, which covers the period from Oct. 17 through Nov. 26, the O’Rourke campaign had not returned 29 ‘large donations’ of over $200 from oil and gas executives, violating the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge O’Rourke signed.”
Beto O’Rourke’s actual political record deserves scrutiny, and it’s not what progressives might expect from the overheated adulation that has sent his presidential balloon aloft. Some pointed reporting and critiques this month may have begun a process of bringing Beto fantasies down to earth. For instance: Under the headline “Why This Progressive Texan Can’t Get Excited About Beto O’Rourke,” columnist Elizabeth Bruenig looked ahead to the upcoming presidential race: “I think the times both call for and allow for a left-populist candidate with uncompromising progressive principles. I don’t see that in O’Rourke.” She noted that “O’Rourke’s statements on energy have been surprisingly thin”—and that “he has called the decision between oil and gas and renewable energy sources ‘a false choice.’” Bruenig concluded: “We still have time to pick a politician with a bold, clear, distinctly progressive agenda, and an articulated vision beyond something-better-than-this, the literal translation of hope-change campaigning. Beto is a lot like Obama, true; it’s perhaps time for left-leaning Democrats to realize that may not be a good thing.”
A similar insight came from another progressive Texan, Dan Derozier, who chairs the elections committee of Houston Democratic Socialists of America. He wrote: “O’Rourke’s message covers rhetorical territory familiar from the Obama era: It’s positive and innocuous, but noncommittal. It relies on lofty but meaningless phraseology like Shared Values, Finding Common Ground and Bringing People Together. The message describes itself with words like ‘ambitious’ and ‘bold,’ but doesn’t promote any specific policy that could actually be described as such.”
Derozier summed up: “Before choosing O’Rourke as their next presidential nominee, Democrats would do well to reflect on the perils of preferring style over substance, consider the benefits of expanding their political imagination, and, most importantly, remember that political moments like O’Rourke’s are rare. Democrats shouldn’t waste the next one.”
An in-depth article by political journalist Zaid Jilani—headlined “What Does Beto O’Rourke Actually Stand For?”—indicates that O’Rourke doesn’t stand for much that progressives should embrace. During his six years in the House of Representatives, O’Rourke has been politically close to inert. “While the Democratic base is coalescing around single-payer health care and free college, O’Rourke sponsored neither House bill. During his time in Congress, he never joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He has been, however, a member of the New Democratic Caucus, the group organized to carry on the ideas of Clintonite policies. During the 2016 presidential primary, he stayed on the sidelines.”
Nor can O’Rourke’s caution be chalked up to conservative constituents in Texas. His 16th congressional district, centered in El Paso, “is among the more liberal in the country,” Jilani pointed out.
“While O’Rourke steadily avoided left-wing legislation, he went above and beyond to ally himself to the corporate wing of the Democratic Party,” Jilani reported. “In 2015, Congress narrowly gave President Obama so-called ‘Fast Track’ authority as it related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership… which many labor, consumer, human rights, and environmental advocates worried would vastly expand the power of investors and corporations and undermine U.S. sovereignty…. O’Rourke was one of the Democrats who voted to grant the authority to Obama…. What populists like [Elizabeth] Warren and Sanders feared most about the TPP was its vast expansion of patent and copyright protections—which could lock in arduous high drug prices, among other things. Regardless, O’Rourke continues to be a defender of these sorts of agreements. During his Senate run, the local press noted that he and Cruz essentially agreed on the merits of the North American Free Trade Agreement.” Such positions in favor of so-called free trade can hardly play well in Rust Belt states that put Trump in the White House.
Jilani’s assessment concluded: “The next president should be someone with a record of sticking their neck out against concentrated power, someone who has made tough decisions even when it may anger donors and political elites, and someone who has accomplished a great deal of actual tangible real change in the world. There are number of people who fit that description, but it’s difficult to say O’Rourke is one of them.”
In Jacobin magazine, writer Branko Marcetic describes the political record a bit more favorably. On the one hand, he gives O’Rourke credit for “advocating for drug legalization and health benefits for same-sex and unmarried partners in El Paso” as well as “staunchly defending immigrants’ rights, the right to abortion, and speaking out against border militarization in Congress.” Also, O’Rourke “bucked Obama on several important issues, pressuring him to close Guantanamo, supporting legislation to curtail NSA spying, opposing war in Syria and arming the country’s rebels, and demanding Obama get congressional authorization for his continued war on ISIS.”
On the other hand, Marcetic explains, O’Rourke actively tried to “chip away at the Dodd-Frank financial reform law” and has cast many awful votes siding with big banks and against workers. His years in the House “have given him one of the better U.S. Chamber of Commerce voting scores among Democrats.” And O'Rourke’s congressional votes on criminal justice have often been on the side of repressive measures.
“O’Rourke is a decent, progressive candidate in slowly purpling Texas,” Marcetic wrote, “but when you put him on the national stage and drill down on his record, he becomes just another flawed Democrat…. Politicians like Beto O’Rourke represent a step forward for states like Texas. Making them national standard-bearers is a step backward.”
As candidates and in office, the last two Democratic presidents have been young, dynamic and often progressive-sounding, while largely serving the interests of Wall Street, big banks, military contractors and the like. Do we need to make it three in a row?
FOUND OBJECT (you provide the caption)