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Former Santa Rosa Junior College Football Coach Convicted of Second-Degree Murder for 2017 DUI that Killed Sonoma State Student
by Andrew Beale
A former Santa Rosa Junior College football coach could spend the rest of his life in prison after a jury convicted him of second-degree murder for a 2017 drunken-driving crash that killed a 21-year-old Sonoma State University student and injured five others.
Prosecutors convinced a jury that Logologoa “Logo” Tevaseu, 35, should be found guilty of murder because he knew about the dangers of driving while drunk after a previous DUI conviction for a 2011 crash in downtown Santa Rosa.
“He made the decision to drink and drive, knowing from previous experience drinking and driving is dangerous and there is potential for great harm to others on the road, including death,” Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said in an interview Monday. “Our argument was when he got behind the wheel, he knew how dangerous his conduct was.”
Ravitch said she hopes Tevaseu’s conviction will “serve as a reminder to anyone who gets behind the wheel this holiday season to be sure that they are sober.”
After a three-week trial, a jury found Tevaseu guilty Friday of second-degree murder, gross vehicular homicide while intoxicated and driving while under the influence causing injury.
He faces a sentence of 15 years to life in prison on the vehicular homicide charge.
The Nov. 5, 2017, crash occurred when Tevaseu crossed a double-yellow line to pass vehicles on Lakeville Highway, just north of Highway 37. His Dodge Ram pickup slammed head-on into a Toyota Corolla driven by Paulette Quiba, a 21-year-old business student at SSU. Three other cars crashed into Quiba’s Toyota or each other.
The Oakley student was killed and five people injured in the pileup.
Tevaseu, who worked as a defensive line coach for the SRJC Bear Cubs, had a 0.22 percent blood alcohol level at the time of the crash, or nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08, prosecutors said.
According to a Bay City News report, Deputy District Attorney Andrew Lukas told the jury Tevaseu started drinking around 11 p.m. on Nov. 4 and didn’t stop until 6 a.m. the next day, or roughly 15 hours before the 9 p.m. crash.
Tevaseu’s attorney, Joseph Stogner, told the jury that his client had a “significant tolerance” for alcohol. While conceding that Tevaseu’s decisions were “stupid” and “reckless,” Stogner argued that his client should have been charged with manslaughter instead of murder.
Tevaseu drove his daughter from Healdsburg to Pleasant Hill around 10 a.m. the morning of the crash, then played basketball for at least three hours, took his children to a dog park, ate pizza at a restaurant and drove to Pleasant Hill to pick up his daughter around 6 p.m., Stogner said.
“His actions were stable and steady during that day,” Stogner said, according to the Bay City News report.
Quiba was on her way home to Rohnert Park from a dinner with her family celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their arrival in the United States from the Philippines. Prosecutors said her family hopes that the attention brought to this case will cause people to make safe decisions about drinking and driving.
Tevaseu is due back in court on Jan. 7 for a hearing related to his prior conviction on DUI, when Judge Dana Simonds is expected to set a date for sentencing.
(courtesy The Press Democrat)
CLEARING SKIES and dry conditions are expected today across the area. Additional very light rain and mountain snow is possible Wednesday and early Thursday in the north. A stronger system is expected to bring rain on Sunday before a dry start to next week and the new year. (National Weather Service)
HIGHWAY 128 has already been closed this year for 10 hours due to "sandbar flooding." That was on November 30th 7:30 pm - December 1st 5:30 am. According to Paul McCarthy of the essential Mendo Sports Plus, who monitors the Navarro on a daily, nay hourly basis, the sandbar has been breached more than not and "there is NO threat of Highway 128 flooding - a Christmas present from Mother Nature." (MendocinoSportsPlus)
NEW YEAR’S EVE & Taunia Green’s Going Away Party: Lauren’s Café in Boonville. Starts at 9pm. The popular local's send off will be accompanied by an as yet unidentified Rock’n’Roll band and local favorite the Joe Blow Band, all of it shaping up as a memorable twofer.
THE KELLEY HOUSE MUSEUM is offering locals free guided walking tours of historic Mendocino this holiday season. It's our gift to the community for all the support the Kelley House receives during the year. Each day from Saturday, December 22, through Tuesday, January 1, guided tours begin at 11AM. Join our expert docents for a stroll past early pioneer homes, historic meeting places and buildings that make up the National Historic District -- along with lively commentary! The tour is suitable for all ages and lasts about 90 minutes. The cost for visitors is $10 and proceeds support the non-profit Kelley House Museum. For more information, please visit: kelleyhousemuseum.org/walking-tours/
* * *
IT OCCURS to us that a candid walking tour of Boonville would be the vivid equal of Mendocino’s until it also occurred to us that local history, any local history truly told, especially if it includes more or less contemporary events, would likely end with blood in the streets.
HOLIDAY QUIZ IN BOONVILLE THIS THURSDAY: Happy Holidays to One and All. THE Special Holiday Quiz at Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville this week starts at 7pm on Thursday, 27th December. Hope to see you there. Cheers, Steve Sparks, Quiz Master
FROM MENDOCINO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY DAVID EYSTER and all of his hard-working staff: "Merry Christmas and may you and yours enjoy safe holiday festivities!!! P.S. Assuming we don't overeat, we all will be back in the office and fighting the good fight first thing Wednesday morning."
HOSTILITY HOUSE DOES SHELTER
Coast emergency weather shelter will open tonight and will be open Christmas night also. But there will be NO "room at the Inn" if you're homeless and just arrived on the coast - you had to have pre-registered last week. Merry Christmas. A call to the shelter "hotline" (707) 961-0172 Monday @ 9:00 am found the Emergency Weather Shelter to be open Christmas night too - but NOT for newly arrived homeless or for those from out-of-county who used up their ONE NIGHT per winter allotment. For those people, the bushes or a doorway will have to suffice.
It's part of the Hospitality House's "Compassion with Strict Conditions" policy this year.
LEAVE THE ELEPHANT SEALS ALONE. Once a year, elephant seals go through a process called molting where they shed the outer layer of hair and skin. This molting process takes up to a month to fully complete. When it comes time to molt, they will haul out on land to shed their outer layer, and will not consume any food during this time. PLEASE do not bother or allow your animals to bother the Seals during this time. There was one at Noyo today and the volunteers got permission to move him back onto the beach. (He was near the parking lot.) DO NOT attempt to do this yourself. This is a natural process they go through and should be left alone. I had no idea and thought the poor thing was ill until I spoke with the people from The Marine Mammal Center. They are hoping it relocates to a different area where it will be left alone to finish the process. (Judy Valadao)
BIRD BOX is a new movie filmed, they say, in northern Humboldt County. And maybe it was, but I didn't watch long enough to make sure, but the river depicted was too clean and too healthy looking to be the Eel. Stephen King, King of Scary, advised on-line not to mind the negative reviews that Bird Box is really pretty good. And scary. What I saw made me laugh, especially since it bore no relation to anything I've ever seen anywhere in the Emerald Triangle, which is a consensus scary place, or certainly can be once you're off the pavement. The lead actors in BB are all up-market-looking, selected by a rote lib mentality with two black guys, an Asian, an insane white guy (older model), an old white lady gets immediately sloppy (reality-wise), two gay guys married to each other, a groovy white guy tatted to the max with dyed yellow hair, his babe of a girlfriend, and so on down to two pregnant women. The idea is that some sinister force — the North Koreans and Iranians are named while the Chinese aren't because they might stop shipping to WalMart — has suddenly caused the world's people to become suicidal, hence mass death in the streets via all manner of macabre means, mostly car crashes. Sudden mass insanity, if you think about how close most of us individually are in our daily lives, probably only needs a slight push, the possibility of which occurs to me regularly while I'm watching the Chuckle Buddies deliver the Evening News or listening to NPR. What if the presenters didn't stop laughing? What if all that forced laughter didn't stop? What if it became, arpeggio by arpeggio, more and more hysterical until it ignited terrified screaming and our tv screens exploded? Anyway, Bird Box didn't even offer up a bona fide North County bush hippie. Instead, a generic fat guy comes crashing out of the woods trying to help a fleeing woman and her two children only to be hacked up by the woman with her machete. Maybe the movie gets better, but I tuned out right there.
MEANWHILE, the reality, this reality at the Humboldt-Mendo county line deep east in outlaw country:
On Friday, December 21, 2018 at about 9:41 PM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were advised to be on the lookout (BOLO) for a white GMC Denali, which was reported to have been taken in a Robbery in the Alder Point Area of Southern Humboldt County. The vehicle was reported to be traveling over Bell Springs Road in Mendocino County towards Highway 101. Dispatch further advised several firearms (possibly six total), $30,000 in us currency, and marijuana was taken. Deputies located the vehicle traveling southbound on Highway 101 in the area of Ten Mile Creek Road in Laytonville. Units followed the vehicle while the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office worked with OnStar to disable the vehicle. Just south of Laytonville the vehicle appeared to be disabled and started to pull over but then pulled back onto the roadway, at which time a pursuit was initiated. This may have been due to the vehicle losing contact with OnStar in the Canyon along the Highway 101 corridor. The vehicle was finally stopped in the area of southbound Highway 101 near mile marker 63, where a standoff with the suspect began. With the assistance of the California Highway Patrol, Highway 101 was closed to traffic in both directions. The suspect refused to comply with commands to exit the vehicle, which were given in both English and Spanish. Deputies believed the suspect spoke limited English and that Spanish was his primary language. Initial contact was made with the assistance of a Spanish speaking Cahto Tribal Police Officer. A Spanish speaking Crisis Negotiator engaged the suspect in dialog after the Mendocino County Interagency SWAT Team responded with the Citizen Rescue Vehicle (CRV, aka BearCat).
During the negotiations, suspect Franklin Molina, 21, of Los Angeles, made several threats to kill law enforcement and indicated there were additional suspects accompanying him in a second vehicle. This information was confirmed with Humboldt County Sheriff's Office. Deputies saw what appeared to be an object in the suspect's hands that might have been a handgun. Fire and Emergency Medical units were staged after deputies observed the suspect spraying a substance inside the vehicle leading them to be concerned he might set the vehicle on fire. After a lengthy standoff, suspect Molina exited the vehicle. Molina was not cooperative and continued to place his right hand behind his back, as if he had a weapon. Due to the nature of the call, the suspect potentially being in possession of one or more firearms and his refusal to comply with demands to surrender, the SWAT Team deployed a less lethal 40 mm round, striking suspect Molina in one leg one time. Molina immediately fled on foot south on Highway 101. Sheriff's K9 Ruddick was deployed and apprehended Molina approximately 100 yards south of the original stop and took him to the ground. Molina was taken into custody without further incident. Molina was then transported to Howard Memorial Hospital for treatment of K9 bite and due to him being struck by the less lethal device. Molina was medically cleared for incarceration with only minor injuries received during apprehension by K9 Ruddick. In a cursory search of the vehicle, after Molina was apprehended, a CO2 air pistol was located which was very similar in appearance to a real handgun. After taking Molina into custody the SWAT Team attempted to locate a second suspect vehicle in the stopped traffic north of the incident location. No additional suspect vehicle nor suspects were located. Highway 101 was re-opened to traffic at approximately 12:45 AM. Molina was transported to the Mendocino County Jail and booked for felony evasion, Felony Resisting Executive Officer, and Resisting Arrest. Molina was to be held in lieu of $35,000 bail. In addition, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office secured a warrant for the suspect’s arrest on the charges of armed robbery, false imprisonment, kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon-firearm, and vehicle theft. Bail on the Humboldt County warrant was listed at $250,000. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office would like to thank the California Highway Patrol, Willits Police Department, Laytonville Cahto Tribal Police, Laytonville Fire and CalFire for their assistance with this incident.
RE ISLAND MOUNTAIN HOME INVASION, an on-line comment: “It will stop when we form our own militias, with road stops and ID checks. Since our roads are private, we can pull their ass out of their rigs to check them. And why let them in? Every village, especially along 101, should be protected from these thieves. How many home invasions occur in wine country? Those winery owners have big bucks. Do they get invaded like here? We need village training for invasions, even have drills. It will only take a few punks blown away, and this problem should slow down. or, you can be killed, or severely hurt, and call the sheriff, who is an hour away. The govt is not the answer, private security and lead is. There are private security firms all over the place, who patrol and can arrest. Just deduct their fee from your property taxes.”
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Hey! Seriously! Happy New Year! Sure, it's all coming apart, but have yourself a good time anyway.”
LOOKING FOR HOME
Long-time locals seeking new home
We are losing our home of twenty-two years and need to find a new rental quickly. Hoping for a two bedroom or larger house in Mendocino — in town, or within walking distance. We’re non-smokers, and don’t need to have pets. Currently ourselves and one son living in our home, with a second son away at college in Oregon.
We're interested in hearing about availabilities of any size, type, and price as there are various configurations our family, extended family, and our two long-standing local businesses could possibly work with. Will consider short-term as well as long-term.
A bit more about us: We’ve lived here in town for twenty-seven years. We’ve owned Zo Office Supply, the copy shop, for twenty-five years and the Village Toy Store for thirteen. We have three grown children, two of whom were born here and all three graduates of Mendocino High & Community High Schools. Our daughter works at the toy store with us, along with her own daughter and two other local moms, and she’s been very active with the Mendocino Theatre Company for the past several years. Wanda’s mother lives here in town, as well, teaching with our Community Center’s After-School Program.
Thank you for your help,
Wanda Traber & Ian Mayeno
Village Toy Store 937-4633
Zo Office Supply 937-2200
18? AND HE CAN'T FEND OFF A CROTCH GRABBER? Kevin Spacey will be arraigned on a charge of felony sexual assault next month. Michael O'Keefe, the Cape and Islands district attorney in Massachusetts, tells the Boston Globe that Spacey will appear January 7 at Nantucket District Court. The charge stems from an incident that occurred on the island back in 2016. The victim's mother, Heather Unruh, said last year that Spacey repeatedly stuck his hand down the pants of her 18-year-old son. The boy was eventually able to get away when a woman walked over to him while the actor was in the bathroom and said: 'Run!' At the time, Spacey was trying to convince the boy to join him at a party said Unruh, who now hopes to find the mystery woman who she believes saved her son "from a far worse fate."
JOE MUNSON: CANNABIS, COPS & MORE (Part 2)
as told to Jonah Raskin
Joe Munson had miles to go to reach his destination. It was time for another story that might seem glorious to some and inglorious to others. This one is about the time that “the cops won,” as Munson puts it. It’s also about his encounters with a 300-pound black bear that could fly through the air. Here’s raconteur Joe Munson in his own words...
It’s either boom or bust in the pot biz. You’re barely scraping by or you’re flush and buying a new car and a new washing machine and socks and shoes for the kids. A million things can go wrong on the way to harvest. After the harvest you have to make the crop disappear. That means customers and that’s not easy. In the old days, the black market attracted a lot of people who couldn’t function in the real world. Used to be a lot of numb-chucks could make real money. Not anymore, not with all the regulations and inspections and detections.
Back in the day, I used to sit at Honey Fluff Donut on North State in Ukiah, and I swear every third car would be a high-rise pickup with all the bells and whistles. You knew the numb-chuck behind the wheel couldn’t hold down a real job and neither could the pot princess girlfriend who was sitting in the cab next to him. But sometimes numb-chucks like them lucked out. They’d get a hold of a strain like Blue Dream that was un-killable, and then they’d go out and make a killing on the market. That’s not me. I’ve been up and I’ve been down. I’ve been in jail and out of jail. I’ll say this about me: I have acquired some wisdom. Will it help me? That remains to be seen.
After a couple of seasons in the woods, I learned to set up camp in the winter, bring in the equipment and the soil, which I usually bought in Willits. It was really expensive: $500 a pallet at Spare Time. I trucked it in, learned how to dismantle the guardrails across the roads without damaging them, and then put them back so they looked like no one had touched them.
After the winter rains there’d be no sign that anyone had been up those roads. Tire marks were washed away. For a while, I was up there solo. I set up two tanks to hold water and ran half-a-mile of irrigation line through the forest, from the pond to my garden. Then after I was all set up, I found a partner. We were gonna split 60/40, with me getting 60 percent. He would be in the woods during the season. I’d pay for, and bring him, all supplies he needed.
The first problem was with the water. The storage tank near the garden didn’t fill up, so I walked the line. It was all chewed up. I had to repair it again and again. I knew it had to have been a bear. No other animal could have done it. I didn’t wanna kill him. Yeah, I know bears can be scary, but they’re also playful and very smart. They have as much fun in the woods as humans do, and maybe more. I figured the bear was getting a kind of spritzer in the woods on a hot summer day.
When I talked to a wise friend he suggested, ‘Give him something hot and spicy. That’ll keep him away.’ I fried up a big pork chop, added a whole lot of chili peppers and a ton of wasabi that would have choked a human. I set out the pork chop in the woods. Bye, bye, pork chop! After that no more damage to the waterline. The tank filled up with water. No more bear.
Then the cops came; a whole lot worse than a bear. First, they found a big grow that the Mexicans had, a couple thousand plants over on the next ridge. The cops had two helicopters. A crew dropped down into the garden, cut the plants and stacked them and then the helicopters took out load after load as fast as possible and brought them to Lake Pillsbury. Then, four days later the cops came for my plants, which were already dead because they hadn’t been watered.
My partner bailed when he saw the raid on the Mexican place. He changed his shoes and hiked for seven miles until he got to the nearest pay phone. “We’re done,” he said. That was all he needed to say. A couple of weeks later I went up to see what I could see. I was on my Kawasaki KLR 650, which had a six-gallon gas tank. In those days it was my weapon of choice. It was easy to hide. It went really fast and didn’t leave tracks.
I was having a great time on the 650. I went around a curve and out of nowhere a blur of black fur flew over the KLR and landed on all fours. I skidded to a stop. The bear took off on a run, crashed through the woods and was gone just as quickly as he’d arrived. It could have been the same bear that ate the pork chop, just letting me know that he was still around and that he could mess with me if he wanted to. When I got to our garden I saw that the cops shot holes in the water tank, and made off with the generator and the pump. That season was a bust. Not long after that, I was arrested and went to jail. But that’s another story for another day.
NIGHT LIGHT OF THE NORTH COAST: THE CHANGING MILKY WAY
by David Wilson
I think many people take the night sky for granted, not realizing all that is happening in our view. It’s the night sky, what is there to think about, right? When the weather is clear, it is full of stars, there is a moon, which is probably full, or else it’s a crescent, and maybe the Milky Way. Oh, and some of those stars could be planets. And, hey, look, isn’t that the Big Dipper? But as I have been photographing and observing the heavens, my own appreciation has grown.
Admittedly, I’m no authority on the subject of astronomy. But my nighttime photographs do serve as studies of the sky at night. And though when taking them my thoughts are mostly on the esthetics of the shot, examining the last year of images does reveal to me some of the ways our night sky changes through the months and seasons.
In particular, the portion of the Milky Way that we can see shifts dramatically through the year as Earth’s night side — our window to the stars — changes its angle of view night by night in our journey around the sun.
Here at the end of a year I thought I’d share a few images that show the changing Milky Way from February through the end of October. I haven’t photographed the Milky Way much in the months between November and January, in part because the weather is less favorable, but also because the best part of the Milky Way, the galactic core, is no longer visible to us during those months; it has slipped out of view, leaving only the thinner stretches of it visible.
By late February, the Milky Way’s core is once again visible, but only in the wee hours of the morning. The earliest in the year I have photographed it (so far) was on the cold, snowy morning of February 21, 2018, up by the Kneeland airport. At that time of year the core is rising in the east shortly before it is overpowered by the dawn. I pried myself out of bed at 03:00 AM to photograph it, telling myself that if I didn’t go out, then I wouldn’t bring anything back.
As the weeks pass, the core will rise a little earlier each morning, closer to midnight each day, until finally it is visible a little before midnight in later April. My Goldilocks zone is before midnight; after midnight means either staying up too late or getting up too early. Though the core is the most spectacular region to photograph, the thinner stretch of it is often visible when the core is not, and it also offers a compelling reminder of how far the vastness of space, of which our galaxy is but a minuscule grain of sand, is beyond our imagination.
To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx or his website mindscapefx.com, which Wilson says he updates less frequently.
On February 21, 2018, the Galactic Core (I think of it in capitals) rose at 02:57AM, appearing just a little south of east. By 05:00 when I photographed it, it was 18º above the horizon, and the dawn would soon chase it away. The streaks of light in this self portrait are from my light as I walked up the hill during the exposure.
By mid May, catching the Milky Way’s core is no longer an early morning activity. Its position above the horizon a little after 10PM is similar to where it was in February at 05:00AM. This photograph is from somewhere on Monument Road outside of Rio Dell with model Morgan Crowl, May 14, 2018.
Mid-June finds the angle of the Milky Way a little higher in the late night sky. This old fire truck from the Sprowel Creek Volunteer Fire Company in southern Humboldt was photographed on June 6, 2018 at about 11:00 PM.
The Milky Way is higher still in this image photographed after 11:00PM in on July 18, 2018 up where the Kneeland Road meets the Galactic Core. Each night the Milky Way rises form a point a little further to the right. Here it rises from the horizon just west of south.
Photographed September 21, 2017 after 11:00 PM, the Core is lower now, and the Milky Way is rising almost straight up from the horizon, and a little further to the west.
The Milky Way rises from just south of due west as the crescent moon sets between two friends at Moonstone Beach on the evening of November 10, 2018. Two months earlier saw the Milky Way rising from a point that would have been nearer the left edge of the photo in relation to the setting moon. By this time of year the Galactic Core has all but disappeared beneath the horizon.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Dec. 24, 2018
DEREK BARKLEY, Willits. Domestic abuse.
JEREMIE BAZOR, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JOHN BOLTON IV, Willits. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
VADE BRADLEY, Little River. Trespassing, contempt of court.
CANDACE COOK, Willits. Failure to appear.
JENNIFER DEFRATES, Redwood Valley. Domestic abuse, probation revocation.
MIGUEL ESQUIVEL JR., Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
JEFFREY KOSTICK, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
KATHRYN LANIER, Willits. DUI causing bodily injury.
EUGENE WINTERHAWK LINCOLN, Covelo. Community supervision violation.
FRANKLIN MOLINA, Los Angeles/Ukiah. Assault with firearm, robbery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, burglary, taking vehicle without owner’s consent, evasion, resisting.
VERONICA OROZCO, Ukiah. Petty theft, failure to appear.
RHONDA SANDERS, Willits. Disobeying court order, failure to appear, probation revocation.
PATRICK TCHOUMI, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license, resisting.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, Redwood Valley. Parole violation.
BRANDON WIARD, Ukiah. Disobeying court order, probation revocation.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL
by James Kunstler
On this solemn night a great stillness falls upon the land as the Leviathan of Washington is sent to its room to get its mind straight, and the USA gets on with collapse in earnest. There will be no visions of sugarplums for the Deep Staters as the government enters its induced coma, only premonitions of anarchy and insolvency, and perhaps some dim nostalgia for that golden age when things seemed to work in America.
On the plus side of things, this may be the last year of Christmas shaming. Even the Wokesters of Wokesterdom appear weary and bored with Wokesterism — isn’t that a blessing?
I have a theory for what is behind the decline and fall of this once proud and capable country: nobody answers the phone. This one change in consensual social behavior has enabled virtually everyone in authority to evade responsibility for what they do. Corporations especially don’t want to be bothered by their pain-in-the-ass customers with their tedious complaints and demands. Every time I see the smirking face of that quasi-autistic ninny, Bill Gates, I have to wonder why he doesn’t apply a tiny fraction of his gargantuan fortune to hire a few actual humans to answer the phone at Microsoft instead of that insulting tele-robot. I suppose it would hurt his feelings to learn how badly his own products work, especially just after you purchase MS Office — as I had to do last week with the 2019 upgrade — and flounder your way through the maze of protocols to get the damn thing up-and-running.
Forgive the excursion into personal reminiscence, but I remember the time some decades back when I was a 26-year-old reporter on what was then called a newspaper (as opposed to a bulletin of moral instruction from Wokesterdom). I could call just about any company in the land saying I was a reporter for __ and get the Chief Executive on the phone in a New York minute. (It ain’t bragging if it’s true.) This was the case, of course, for thousands of other reporters on hundreds of newspapers in America. If a story was especially dicey, you could work your way up the whole C-suite food chain collecting all kinds of contradictory, ass-covering information until you got to the Big Orca at the top, and lever his mouth open with what you learned from his underlings. It worked when dealing with the government too. You could lay a line of talk on some receptionist — say, invoking the term “grand jury” — and get her boss on the phone pronto. I think it went quite a ways to keeping the people who run things honest.
Woodward and Bernstein could never investigate a case like Watergate under today’s conditions. Deep Throat wouldn’t even answer his phone. The two reporters would find themselves so far up an automated answering tree that they would disappear across an event horizon and find themselves in an alternative universe where Richard Nixon was a relief pitcher for the Montreal Expos and Fred Rogers sat in the Oval Office… And there would be no story to tell. These days, apparently, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee can’t even get a hold of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. They left a message on his phone a few months ago and he hasn’t even deigned to send a text back.
This national telephone quandary is a prime example of the diminishing returns of technology. We’ve spent thirty-odd years and countless billions of dollars computerizing all the phone systems in this country, and then overlaid so many bells and whistles on top of it, and the net effect is that it only made communication worse. Combine that with one of my cardinal rules of human social behavior — that you can’t overstate people’s ability to misunderstand each other — and you might apprehend the darkness we’ve entered.
We’re currently being treated to another playing-out of these diminishing returns of technology in a related realm of communication: financial markets. Go ahead and put algo robots in charge of the system and see how things work out. Today we’re informed in The New York Bulletin of Wokesterdom that “the President’s Working Group” (also known as the Plunge Protection Team) is convening to assess the ongoing damage to stock indexes. The PPT at least is composed of humans. But are the trading algos a fair match for them? I doubt it. I suspect the PPT and the rest of America will discover we’ve blundered into the Sorcerer’s Apprentice scenario, a techno-magical, runaway, recursive feedback-loop fiasco. How odd, though, that this is all happening during the holiest week of the year.
Sleep in heavenly peace this week, everybody, as Santa makes his way across the rooftops and homeless tarps of our Republic. Your call is important to us!
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
TREASURY SECRETARY STEVEN MNUCHIN, calling from a golf course in Cabo San Lucas, has tried to the calm stock market jitters (plunge) by calling the head ponzos of our six largest banks to check their liquidity (enough cash to cover themselves) after markets reached disastrous lows on what appears to be Trump's all out blitz on government as we know it. Mnuchin phoned his pals at J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Citi, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America, concluding that each bank had “ample liquidity” to lend to consumers and boasting of “strong economic growth in the U.S. economy with robust activity from consumers and business.” “With the government shutdown, Treasury will have critical employees to maintain its core operations at Fiscal Services, IRS, and other critical functions within the department,” he wrote. Mnuchin will also hold a call Monday with the president’s working group on financial markets “to discuss coordination efforts to assure normal market operations,” according to the statement. Translation: Ruling circles are afraid this sucker's going down.
OH PLEASE. A segment on 60 Minutes Sunday night featured an oh-so credulous Andy Cooper presenting some of the most preposterous National Security “accomplishments” we’ve ever seen. Cooper interviewed several hard-working G-Men and G-Women who caught a guy who was supposedly selling unspecified secrets (presumably information about who might be spying on the Chinese) to the Chinese with a cellphone which had the damning evidence right on it. The “spy” hadn’t worked for the government for more than five years when he started “spying.” This was the premier example of what we’re allegedly up against? At one point Cooper said the Chinese have been trying to acquire such prized industrial secrets as “everything from genetically modified rice to wind turbine designs,” and the G-Men were dutifully helping corporate America keep their own (non-) secrets. Then, when Cooper lobbed a gooey softball to the lead G-Man wondering if the US was stealing secrets from the Chinese in return, the G-Man replied that “we” would never — never — do that. If, by “we” he meant his little counter-espionage division, he’d be right, but that wasn’t the question. Or, if by “we” he meant the US government or corporate America, Cooper should have just laughed in his face. (Mark Scaramella)
I hope I am not alone in finding the premise for the soon-to-be released movie “Vice” extremely distasteful.
Glorifying Dick Cheney as some kind of crafty “rascal” who cleverly manipulated George W. Bush ignores the destructive results of his tenure. His lying to Congress, his distortion of the facts, his corrupt abuse of the office eventually led to the mess the Middle East is today. To make light of it is appallingly insensitive to the thousands — if not millions — who have died.
The movie trailer currently shown on television depicts the relationship between Dick and “W” as a bromance comedy when, in fact, it is a tragedy without end.
I hope it bombs at the box office. Bigly.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Just a thought.
Do you think that if the partial shutdown continues for an extended time, and everything just hums along okay, that we can just make it permanent. Maybe that is what really scares the Deep State the most, exposure that their bureaucracy is not necessary. Hopefully, Trump realizes this too. Same with our foreign adventures! Now that the Deep State is sticking a knife into Trump, maybe he will get the cojones to plunge it back into them.
27TH ANNUAL PROFESSIONAL PIANIST CONCERT JAN 11-13
On January 11, 12 & 13, 2019 the 27th Professional Pianist Concert will hit the stage with three concerts featuring eleven different pianists at the Mendocino College Center Theatre in Ukiah. Performers letting the keys fly this year are Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Wendy deWitt, Gabriella Frank, Frankie J, Tom Ganoung, Chris James, Elizabeth MacDougall, Sam Ocampo, Ed Reinhart and Charlie Seltzer. The musical styles range from classical to jazz, boogie-woogie to Cuban, Broadway to ragtime…..each performance will be different!
This utterly fun and stimulating series features the finest regional pianists on stage in a living room environment throughout the performance trading stories and melodies with two pianos on stage to accommodate impromptu collaborations. The event is an annual sellout because of the diversity, quality in a multitude of styles of music and humor that takes place throughout the evening. A special sculpture art show benefitting fire victims featuring Spencer Brewer and Esther Siegel will also be on display at the Mendocino College Art Gallery throughout the weekend…not to be missed!
Friday, January 11th at 7:00pm will feature Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Chris James, Elizabeth MacDougall, Ed Reinhart, Sam Ocampo and Charlie Seltzer. Saturday, January 12th, 7:00pm performance features Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Wendy DeWitt, Tom Ganoung, Elizabeth MacDougall, Ed Reinhart and Charlie Seltzer. Sunday afternoon’s 2:00pm performance will feature eight pianists for the 1st time in 25 years! The afternoon performance will include Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Wendy deWitt, Gabriela Frank, Tom Ganoung, Chris James, Frankie J and Elizabeth MacDougall. No two concerts are the same, so if you love piano and piano music, enjoy more than one performance.
The concert benefits the Ukiah Community Concert Association, Mendocino College Recording Arts & Technology Program and the Allegro Scholarship Program. Tickets are on sale at Mendocino Book Co. in Ukiah, Mazahar in Willits and online www.UkiahConcerts.org. Tickets are $20 general admission and $30 "I ‘Wanna’ See the Hands" limited seating. For more information call (707) 463-2738.
Sponsors are Sparetime Supply, Ken Fowler Auto, Savings Bank of Mendocino, Mendocino College Recording Arts, Willits Furniture Center, Waterman Plants, K-WINE/MAX, KOZT-The Coast and KZYX/Z. Wine & refreshments will be provided by Ukiah Community Concert Association. The Center Theatre is at 1000 Hensley Creek Rd in Ukiah. There will be autographed CD's by the artists for sale in lobby.
THE ANSWER TO HELPLESSNESS is not so very complicated. A man can do something for peace without having to jump into politics. Each man has inside him a basic decency and goodness. If he listens to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what it is the world needs most. It is not complicated, but it takes courage. It takes courage for a man to listen to his own goodness and act on it. Do we dare to be ourselves – that is the question that counts.— Pablo Casals, cellist & conductor
ON LINE COMMENT #2
When someone speaks plainly it’s as if they’ve committed a faux pas. People look at one another and say, tell us what you REALLY think. I’ve seen it done to others and myself on occasion.
It’s like Napoleon said, if you’re going to take Vienna, take Vienna. If you’re going to make a point, make a point.
Highly educated Americans have become adepts at either concealment or mischaracterization. Blowing smoke as you say. Concealing a fact doesn’t make it disappear. Mischaracterizing a fact doesn’t change that fact. Calling something other than what that something is doesn’t change the reality of it.
You can’t get anybody on the phone nowadays which puts the lie to any smooth sounding phrases from the corporate communication department that the company gives a damn about its customers.
But email is a different thing. In the workplace it’s become an impediment to getting things done with everybody getting in each others way. Back in the good ole days before PCs and word processing software, you’d write up a memo, get the secretary to type it up, then you’d review it, find a couple typos and omissions and give it back for re-typing. And so you’d think twice before doing it given the rigmarole.
Same type of thing before the advent of voicemail. Playing telephone tag by leaving messages with somebody’s receptionist, secretary, switchboard operator was a pain in the ass. And so you’d think twice about that too. And so would your counterparts.
What this reluctance to communicate accomplished was to free everybody up to do their damn jobs, to make decisions and get on with things. IMO what has happened with the coming of communications technology is to slow productivity in the workplace and to piss off customers.
Do you enjoy getting an Indian call center with the impenetrable accents?
PRESIDENT TRUMP is walking out of the White House and heading toward his limo when an assassin steps forward and aims a gun at him. A secret service agent, new on the job, shouts “Mickey Mouse!” This startles the would-be assassin and he's captured. Later, the secret service agent’s supervisor takes him aside and asks, “What in the hell made you shout 'Mickey Mouse'?” Blushing, the agent replies, “I got nervous. I meant to shout, 'Donald, duck'!”
by Bruce Brady
Without, as they say, putting too fine a point on it, I feel as though I aged twenty years in about as many days. Metaphorically, at least, thus goes a chapter in nearly everyone's self-story, at least the version commonly glimpsed by the world. But this one had a gritty enough reality to land me in the hospital. For one thing, my earlier years of being able to walk or run pretty much without planning carefully had obviously ended rather abpuptly. Not instantaneously as in a car accident, but more like what it, in fact, is: a rapidly progressing terminal disease, almost always fatal.
To someone like me, a person usually with a passion for watching calmly while philosophizing endlessly and inhaling deeply while trying to hold the coughing, especially lately, there is a good deal to watch. As luck would have it, much of is bad, and some of it is much, much worse than that. Rebecca Solnit observes that the present moment -- that ever-moving moment of Zen -- is charged always with a sense of arrival, that we have a steady sense that the world is ever new. Here is, at once, not only an admirable example of inhaling deeply, but a plausible alternative to despair.
A relative beginner at this (learning the lessons that most of us will learn), I am finding daily that it makes little sense, at least to me, to allow the gradual loss of skills to define what has been, for all its sometimes reckless improvisation, my particular dance. Consciously then, and perhaps with greater necessity that I realize, I see myself now as a ready example for family and those who know me of what a human can be. Steadying myself, I inhale deeply, trying to stand without a wobble, as do, usually without having to think about it, we all.
CONTROVERSIAL DELTA TUNNELS DOCUMENTS EXPOSED DAY AFTER GOVERNOR
Says "They'll Be Built"
by Dan Bacher
At an event at the Sacramento Press Club that I attended on December 18 entitled, “Jerry Brown, the Exit Interview,” Brown reflected on his five decades in public office, the state of political discourse in the country and the future of the Golden State.
After journalist and author Miriam Pawel and Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton asked Brown a number of wide-ranging questions, during the question and answer period, KCRA 3 asked him about what would happen to his two biggest projects, the Delta Tunnels and High Speed Rail, after he leaves the Governor’s Office in January.
“They’ll be built in a timely responsible way,” Brown said in reference to both projects.
“There's no real objection to the idea of a conveyance around the Delta,” said Brown, dismissing the massive opposition and pile of lawsuits by a plethora of counties, cities, Tribes, fishing groups, environmental justice advocates, Delta residents, family farmers, conservation groups and elected officials to the the project. “The Delta will be destroyed unless we build some sort of peripheral canal or tunnel.”
The Governor also said those who fear that the water contractors will pump too much out of the Delta after the tunnels were constructed “would be constrained by our wise water laws.”
The day after Governor Brown said the Delta Tunnels will be built, documents released to the Planning and Conservation League via a California Public Records Act request revealed the details of the controversial l“No Harm Agreement” between the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Federal Bureau of Reclamation (the Bureau) regarding California WaterFix, according to a press release from Restore the Delta (RTD).
Also included in the document release was a “Letter of Dismissal,” a document demanding that specific water districts and local government agencies abandon their case-in-chiefs opposing WaterFix before the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). This was not previously reported in media accounts of the water deal cut between the Brown and Trump administrations, You can read both documents hereand here.
The “Letter of Dismissal” — a statement of DWR’s expectations of specific parties to withdraw from WaterFix hearings — does not indicate that the listed parties have agreed to the terms asserted by the Department of Water Resources within the letter itself, according to Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta.
“The ‘Letter of Dismissal’ by DWR’s Karla Nemeth addressed to specific parties participating in the WaterFix hearings reads like a “surrender Dorothy” demand – absolute in its insistence without any indication of interest in cooperation by the listed parties,” said Barrigan-Parrilla. “It seems like Governor Brown’s final grand water bargain is an attempt to bully protesting parties into capitulation, and a presentation of alternative facts in side deals that do not match up with what is transpiring before the SWRCB regarding the future of the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary.”
She also noted that while the “No Harm Agreement” reads on the surface simply as a deal cut between DWR (the junior water rights holder) and the Bureau of Reclamation (the senior water rights holder), details contradict DWR’s case-in-chief before the State Water Resources Control for the WaterFix tunnels, calling the accuracy of the assumptions in the “No Harm Agreement” into question.
In the fourth paragraph under Explanatory Recitals, the agreement states:
DWR and Reclamation submitted the joint petition to add points of diversion for the State Water Project “SWP” and Central Valley Project “CVP” to the California State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) for the California WaterFix (“CWF Change Petition”).
“Yet, in their case-in-chief before the SWRCB, DWR and the Bureau have petitioned for a change-in-the-point of diversion permit to begin construction of the Delta tunnels, not an addition for points of diversion,” said Barrigan-Parrilla. “An addition of diversion points for the SWP and the CVP would require the Brown and Trump administrations to seek new water rights from the Delta and would have required a different case presentation with different facts to the SWRCB. DWR’s argument has been that they already obtained the water rights for the project, despite proposing that the intakes should be located in new places with the Delta. RTD and other parties made the case that DWR’s permit to continue adding diversion capability to the State Water Project expired in December 2009, which DWR never refuted.”
Restore the Delta’s Policy Analyst, Tim Stroshane, added, “The ‘No Harm Agreement’ reveals the Bureau asserting its seniority in the Delta to protect its water contractors’ deliveries from overreach by DWR’s Tunnels operations (assuming the project is built). These agreements undermine DWR’s case before the Water Board that they’re proceeding arm-in-arm with the Bureau on this project, when the agreements reveal that Reclamation and its CVP contractors view the Tunnels project with fear and hostility. There may not be any rush to surrender as DWR hopes.”
“I sense desperation on the part of the Governor here, for which he may or may not have good Latin phrases. It would be nice for all others to celebrate the holidays instead and let this die on the vine,” Stroshane concluded.