- Giovanni Demuri
- Book Sale
- Mendo Geology
- Ed Notes
- State Street
- Flow-Kana Investors
- Schwan's Suit
- Thanks MCDH
- Tourist Map
- Mountain Lions
- Silver Petols
- National Emergencies
- Library Renovation
- Yesterday's Catch
- Tired Claus
- Shooting Cycle
- Worms Turning
- Brexit Stamps
- Mass Squalor
- Minimum Wages
- Plants Thriving
- Salmon Discussion
- American Affair
- Public Broadcasting
- Bargain Tat
- Thanks Universe
WIDESPREAD RAIN SHOWERS AND MOUNTAIN SNOW will continue into this afternoon as the latest in a series of systems moves through the region. Showers may contain small hail this morning. Snow levels will hover around 2500 feet today and possibly lower to around 1000 feet on Sunday. High pressure will briefly settle in early next week before wet weather returns. (National Weather Service)
GIOVANNI THADDEUS DEMURI, 52, of Fort Bragg, previously of Albion, has been identified as the man found deceased at the foot of the Noyo bridge on February 7, 2019.
Demuri’s body was discovered about noon Wednesday on the south bank of the Noyo directly under the bridge. No official cause of death has been determined although Fort Bragg police say that Demuri appeared to have injuries associated with a fall with no obvious signs of foul play. An autopsy is being conducted.
COMPTCHE COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION is sponsoring a Book & Bake Sale Saturday, Feb 23, 10 to 3 at the Hall a quarter mile east of the Comptche Store. Now’s the time to drive out to Comptche and score new-to-you reading materials and munchies. Bargain prices. Huge Selection. Don’t miss it. Call 937-5854 for more info.
HEADING NORTH FROM BOONVILLE FRIDAY MORNING
MENDOCINO GEOLOGY FOR $1
by Katy Tahja
You never know what you’ll turn up at a book sale. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. While working on the Mendocino County history I’m writing I was thrilled to pick up “Mineral Commodities of California” (1957) for $1. In it were 736 slightly musty pages of geology and geography and references to Mendocino County.
Even with college classes in geology and geography in my past I wanted interesting LOCAL facts for my book. I discovered there is asbestos within the serpentine rock in the county. Graphite was mined 15 miles east of Point Arena. Chromite was mined near Leggett. On Salt Creek near Dos Rios was a coal vein mined for decades. Yorkville had a copper mine and the miners named their cluster of houses Little Penny.
Ever heard of Leech Lake, northeast of Covelo? There was a photograph in the book of jade mining there in the 1950s. If the claim is still there it is behind the locked gates of the Middle Eel-Yolla Bolly Wilderness area now.
While our geology in the county is not real exciting (lots of squished crumbled Franciscan formation) there are several guidebooks that can take rock lovers to interesting places for exploration.
A new one I really enjoy is “Shaping the Sonoma-Mendocino Coast: Exploring the coastal geology of Northern California” by Thomas Cochrane down at the Sea Ranch. It includes an 85 mile road log of Highway One to take you on a self guided geologic tour.
Places I describe in my new book, like Bowling Ball Beach down near Schooner Gulch, get detailed descriptions in this book along with information on the Devil’s Punchbowl and sea caves and blow holes near Point Arena.
If you enjoy poking around on public lands looking at rocks, traditional guides include “Gem Trails of Northern California,”
“Rocks and Minerals of California,” and “Rockhounding California.” The nice thing about these guides is that you can buy them used. Rockhounding locations never change. The access to the site may change but rock formations stay put.
One of my favorite guides is a 1974 copy of “California Gem Trails” by Darold Henry. Someday I’m going to go look for the jade family rocks described within on Tomki Creek and near Hearst and the North Fork of the Eel River. From my new old 1957 book I also want to try and find crocodolite, just because it has such a cool name. It’s a fibrous blue form of asbestos.
If readers like knowing more about local rocks and especially jade we have our own best living breathing source of information in Big Sam Gitchell at the Rock Stop on Highway 128 at Floodgate. Catch him on weekends and ask him to show you River Blossom Jade from a claim he has. That man is a walking encyclopedia of local geology.
The best places to find the guidebooks above are local independent bookstores and on-line www.abebooks.com for out of print titles.
TRUMP'S speech Friday morning was even more incoherent than he usually is. He just lumbers out and wings it, like some barely informed drunk awakened from a near stupor and shoved out in front of the microphones to speak to the whole world. The absurdity of this guy is funny and frightening at the same time. But he's only the least capable among a crew of national "leaders" who inspire zero confidence, and things lurch along from disaster to disaster, adding more every day to the larger rolling catastrophes that is life in the early years of the 21st century.
NOT THAT MORE evidence is needed that Trump isn't wed to democratic principles, but the admiration he expressed this morning for China's drug-fighting strategies — summary execution — is a repeat of his warm endorsement of the fascist president of the Philippines whose police forces have murdered thousands of drug dealers and drug users without even the pretense of trials. And the bi-partisan consensus right here in Liberty Land that the enormous market for drugs wouldn't exist if people like El Chapo weren't bringing them in by the ton neatly ignores the widespread despair prevalent in the country, the "malaise" Jimmy Carter described. Millions of Americans look at the hopelessness of their situation and say to themselves, "What the hell. Gimme that crank. At least it makes me feel like I'm coping." Or they zone out totally via the downer dope.
AS THE SAGE of Boonville has pointed out a zillion times, and is again confirmed with the Trump experience, the FBI is a national political police force. Has been since that old cross-dresser, J. Edgar. Now we have confirmation that the FBI was working to elect Hillary, and that there never was any Russian "collusion." The entire "intelligence" apparatus of the United States (13 of them? 14?) got behind Hillary and mounted what amounts to a coup attempt to remove Orange Man.
TRUMP'S NATIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION. Did he ever get around to declaring one this morning during his free association presentation? It can work both ways. I imagine President Ocasio-Cortez's 2020 inaugural speech. "And listen up all you Magamen. You have 24 hours to give up your guns or we bomb your houses. We know who you are and we know where you live, thanks to our wonderful intelligence services. Stack arms, mofos!"
THE CITY OF UKIAH pays a lot of money for its government, probably more, proportionately, than Fort Bragg and Willits combined. How then to account for the sorry condition of many of Ukiah's streets, including State Street, the town's main drag. Check that: I may have answered my own question. Maybe Ukiah pays its management so much there's nothing left to fill the potholes with.
UKIAH STREET SCENE
FLOW KANA RAISES $125 MILLION TO EXPAND CANNABIS SUPPLY CHAIN
Flow Kana, a Mendocino County-based cannabis company that sells prerolled joints and flowers grown on small farms throughout Northern California, announced a $125 million infusion of capital Thursday to fund its ambitious growth plans. The company touted the investment as the largest private funding round in history for a privately owned cannabis company in the United States.
ELK FROM CLIFT RIDGE
WOMAN SUES SCHWAN’S CO. AND EX-DRIVER CONVICTED OF MENDOCINO COUNTY SEX ASSAULT
KUDOS FOR COAST HOSPITAL
Early in the morning of February 1, 2019, my wife Laverne suffered an emergency. Calling 911 we received an immediate reply and in a very short time 2 very professional technicians arrived at our door and a ride by ambulance to your facility occurred. Your emergency room staff was extremely efficient, qualified and professional making the necessary tests and assessments. She was admitted to your hospital in the wee small hours of the morning and the excellent care and treatment continued.
We were discharged on February 3, with full confidence that our medical emergency had been taken care of in the most professional way. I apologize for not obtaining the EMT'S or emergency room personnel's names, but I think "shock'' took over. The hospital staff, Dr. Ryan, nurses Robert, Ashley and Donna were extremely professional, courteous and very personnel.
A great big "Thank You" to Mendocino Coast Hospital!!
Arrange these in ascending order of deadliness — mountain lions, vending machines, cows, domestic dogs and toothpicks. Actually I have already done so.
In the U.S., mountain lions have killed 17 people in 100 years, but every year, on average, falling vending machines kill 2.2 people, cows 20, domestic dogs 33 and toothpicks (accidentally swallowed) 170.
As any biologist knows, top predators are vital to the health of ecosystems. Their impact on humans is incredibly minimal compared with all the good they do.
Tuesday’s article about a young mountain lion being killed because it had killed two sheep made me sad and angry. For goodness sake, these people live in a rural area and leave their sheep outside without proper fencing, and then shoot the mountain lion that they basically invited to dinner? How is this different from baiting for bears?
And please spare me the, “Oh, but think of the children.” If that is the rationale, then I suggest living in the city, where I’m sure they will be much safer with all the cars and criminals.
The Silver Currency of Cannabis Country
UKIAH LIBRARY TO BE CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS
The Ukiah Library will be closed from March 10th - March 31st for interior renovations. During the closure there will be an alternate location at 280 E. Standley for holds to be picked up and returns to be dropped off as well as a time to visit the Bookmobile on Fridays.
The temporary location will be just down the street from the Ukiah Library and recently housed a haunted house and previously was the County Probation building. Starting on March 12th it will be open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm, and Friday from 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm for the return of checked out items and for hold pick-ups. The small lobby will be open for library item pick-ups and drop-offs only, and no other services will be available during the closure. There will be no public restrooms or places to sit, and WiFi will not be available. During the closure on Fridays the Bookmobile will be stationed at 280 E. Standley from 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm for patrons to check out items from the Bookmobile.
The Ukiah Library renovations will include the installation of a new circulation desk, new carpet, fresh paint, and new public internet carrels. The Ukiah Library will also be receiving an exterior washing and painting this year, but the timing is dependent on the weather and will not require a closure. The library improvements and maintenance are paid for by proceeds from Measure A which is a 1/8 cent sales tax approved by voters in 2011 to support Mendocino County Libraries.
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 15, 2019
JOSE AGUILERA, Ukiah. Possession of deadly weapon while in custody, prior strike.
BEVERLY AHERNS, Clearlake/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
SONO CARRIGG, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
ANDREW FABELA, Philo. Probation revocation.
ANDRES FUENTES-LUCERO, Ukiah. Battery on peace officer, probation revocation.
NICHOLAS HALVORSEN, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
LAMAR MANUEL, Ukiah. Parole violation.
TONY PAUL, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
LUIS SANCHEZ JR., Ukiah. Domestic abuse, probation revocation.
KIRSTYN SMALL, Ukiah. Domestic battery, protective order violation.
WE ARE MORBID
by Juan José Millás (translated by Louis S. Bedrock)
We are interested in this Santa Claus. We are interested in the street he is crossing.
We are interested the parked cars, the burning lights, the graffiti, the air conditioners.
We are interested in the night.
The dark night of the soul, we would add, that hovers over the solitary character and over us too, his troubled spectators, who could be a part of the picture; who perhaps have just disappeared along the vanishing point of linear perspective drawn by the photographer.
—Oh what a beautiful thing is perspective! —exclaimed Paulo Uccello five or six centuries ago. I’m not sure.
The sentence is still relevant because perspective, like that energy drink in the commercial, gives us wings, shows us the horizon, and permits us to imagine that around the corner, instead of a mugger, there is an angel that will guide us to happiness, to, to, to, …
We are interested in Santa Claus, we tell ourselves, because we’re morbid and relish images of defeat. Here is a man who is worn out. He’s almost certainly coming from some large department store in which he’s provided a modicum of happiness for some children who sat on his knee. There are work days that exhaust a person—above all when it consists in providing a joy that he himself does not have.
We don’t know if Santa is happy—he doesn’t look like it. But he appears to be an ordered person because even on this empty street he’s crossing at the zebra crossing.
We were going to say something about the suitcase but that suitcase is so sad and adds such distress to the story that perhaps it’s better not to go there.
by James Kunstler
And so now along comes Andy McCabe, former Number Two at the FBI, publicizing his new book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, on this Sunday’s CBS 60-Minutes show, confirming what I said on this blog two years ago — that the Deep State would try to run over the Golden Golem of Greatness with the 25th Amendment.
The specter of Mr. Trump entrained by the nuclear “football” — the briefcase with launch codes for World War Three — gave US Intel communitarians such a case of the heebie-jeebies that they first sought desperately to impede his election by unlawful means and, failing in that, concocted a fog of Russian collusion conspiracy to cover up all that and much more nastiness emanating from the Hillary Clinton orbit.
It’s been the opinion here at CFN that Mr. McCabe and a long list of DOJ / FBI / and Intel employees would eventually be summoned to grand juries on charges ranging from lying to their Internal Affairs colleagues all the way to sedition. Those worms now seem to be turning. Both house and senate committees investigating the Russia narrative declared that they turned up no evidence for it. And late this week, William Barr was confirmed as a new Attorney General, meaning the extreme case of bureaucratic constipation in that department may be resolving in a shitstorm of counter-revelations and prosecutions in what amounted to an attempted coup d’etat. A lot of the evidence for that is already public and overwhelming. It includes:
[•] Using FBI counter-intelligence assets improperly and illegally.
[•] Using fabricated “opposition research” provided by Mrs. Clinton to obtain warrants to spy on her election opponent, and failing to verify it as evidence (according to strict “Woods” procedures) submitted to FISA court judges.
[•] Recruiting Britain’s MI6 to spy on US citizens as a work-around from US laws prohibiting US Intel from spying on Americans.
[•] Setting up the notorious Trump Tower meeting to entrap Donald Trump Jr., using a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, in the employ of Fusion GPS, Mrs. Clintons oppo research contractor.
[•] Orchestrating leaks of secret FBI proceedings to the news media to feed a Russia collusion hysteria.
[•] Malicious prosecutions by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and egregious political conflicts-of-interest among Mr. Mueller’s team of prosecutors.
[•] Coverup of the Uranium One scheme facilitated by Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
[•] A scheme to surreptitiously and illegally record conversations with Mr. Trump once he became president.
[•] Conspiring to bury multiple inquires into illegal conduct of Mrs. Clinton, her employees and associates by failing to obtain evidence and allowing it to be destroyed.
[•] Misconduct in office by former CIA chief John Brennan, former National Security Director James Clapper, former AG Loretta Lynch, and members of President Obama’s White House inner circle.
These matters and a lot more have deserved official attention that was bypassed during the peculiar DOJ regime of former AG Jeff Sessions — and now some light may be about to shine on them. The Trump “resistance” already seems demoralized by the collapse of the Russia collusion story, which had been the centerpiece of their impeachment hopes. Several reconstituted house committees under the new Democratic Party chairs, have pledged to keep mining that vein of fool’s gold to keep the hysteria alive long enough for the 2020 elections. But what will happen in the meantime as their enablers are dragged into courts of law to answer for their roguery? My guess is that it will drive the “resistance” to new depths of delusion and, eventually, derision, as its narrative cloak gets shredded in public testimony and their audacious mendacity is revealed. The heat from these future events may be so intense and disruptive that it will interfere with the 2020 election.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
ASSEMBLYMEMBER JIM WOOD'S HEALTH CARE AGENDA: SINGLE-PAYER SOMEDAY, WAY OFF IN THE FUTURE; MEANWHILE…
Wood: “Since being elected in 2014, one of my top priorities has been to expand health coverage and care for all Californians.
I have successfully passed legislation that allows rural hospitals to hire doctors directly, eliminated unfair "out-of-network" billing practices for consumers, improved access to mental health services, and I've fought for those affected by the deadly opioid epidemic. I have ensured state oversight of health plan mergers to protect consumers from higher costs, created a system that requires drug companies to explain proposed drug price hikes, and have made pharmacy benefit managers provide details on what they charge for their "negotiating services" between health plans and drug companies. I have also worked to prevent pharmaceutical companies from using marketing coupons to keep patients on high-priced brand name drugs, when other equally effective generic drugs can be prescribed.
But health care is under attack by the Trump administration, and they have been eviscerating it little by little - I call it "death by a thousand cuts." Even in California, health care for all can't be accomplished with the stroke of a pen in a single bill. Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledged in his State of the State Address saying that while we are pursuing "the long-term goal of single payer financing," there are things we can do now.
What the Governor is suggesting is nearly the same plan that my colleagues and I proposed last year, including enhancing premium assistance for low-income families, allowing those with higher income levels to be eligible for premium subsidies, expanding coverage to undocumented youth and lowering prescription drug costs. Unfortunately, the majority of these bills didn't make it because of the cost. But you can expect to see these proposals introduced again this year!
I will also continue my work on mental health, increasing access to primary care, affordability, controlling the cost of health care and protecting our seniors and most vulnerable. I will be introducing legislation to broaden the ability of nurse practitioners to provide health care services without physician oversight - a progressive move that will increase access to quality care, especially in rural areas of the state.
I believe health care is a right, and I know that it is a top concern for most Californians. I also know that many legislative solutions to fix the health care system face the ire of entrenched special interests - all fighting to protect their own territory. It is a reality and challenge that we as policy makers face when trying to do the right thing.
Creating the long-term goal of a universal health care system that guarantees coverage and care will be a herculean effort, but I believe we have a partner in our new Governor and I look forward to working with him.”
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Disparity and inequality. That’s the bitch of the Deplorables supposedly. That’s according to perfumed pundits and greatly enlightened writers.
Actually, disparity and inequality were never the problem and never will be. Disparity always existed and always will and was never an issue as long as the elements of fairness and justice went along with it. For example, the local doctor makes more money than you. So? You complainin’?
The problem is a mass squalor in America, tens of millions who have nothing to do, no work and therefore no means of making a life, or, if they have work, it pays shit and every month is a desperate worry about getting evicted or having the car towed.
No work, no money, no girl, no wife, no kids, no house, no nothing and the flimsiest notion of purpose in life. If you want societal mayhem, this is the recipe for it. Some people succumb to despair, dying of its associated diseases. But there’s another side to that coin, one whose shape we’re just beginning to discern.
What does it look like? Look around, not just in the USA. There’s the Brexiteers, the Yellow Jackets, the AFD and the multitude of other European movements and parties. And other stuff too. Look at the mayhem in the middle east and Africa.
Societies aren’t comprised of chess pieces. All the individual elements have got minds and agendas of their own and so it takes a while for a swarm to form up into ranks such that you can discern a direction, and such that movement starts to happen. Marx wrote in the 1850s but it wasn’t until 1917 that a group of his followers took power in Russia and later still in other countries.
There’s a lot of incoherence at the present time. But necessity will impose some order with political thought aligning itself with exigencies of the time.
PLANTS have been growing faster and larger due to higher CO2 levels in the air and warming temperatures that reduce the CO2 emitted by plants via respiration.
EEL RIVER SALMON DOCUMENTARY AND PANEL DISCUSSION ON FEBRUARY 21 IN WILLITS
The Eel River Recovery Project (ERRP) and the Now and Then Film Series are showing the documentary Signs of Resilience, which portrays Eel River fall Chinook salmon trends from 2012 to 2017, at the Little Lake Grange in Willits on the evening of Thursday, February 21. The film raises questions about the health of Outlet Creek salmon runs and there will be a panel discussion of fisheries, monitoring and restoration experts after the showing, including question and answer period with the audience.
Signs of Resilience is a well-crafted film with great video of fish under water and beautiful shots of remote parts of the Eel River watershed where few people visit. The film documents a resurgence of Eel River fall Chinook salmon and confirms that the population is in the tens of thousands, far above levels that indicate any risk of extinction. This 2018-2019 run estimate by ERRP is 15,000 to 25,000 Chinook salmon, a slight increase from last year and well above the 10,000-15,000 fish estimated in 2015, but far fewer than the 30,000 to 50,000 fish returning in 2012.
Recovery of the population is not uniform across the watershed. Some areas are showing signs of ecological stress and diminished returns when compared to returns in the late 1950s. This particularly true of Tomki Creek east of Willits, which had 3,500 to 5,000 Chinook salmon spawning in the years from 1985-1988, but only dozens to hundreds in recent years even when the basin wide runs are robust. Although Outlet Creek has more spawning activity than Tomki Creek, high levels of fine sediment may be diminishing spawning success.
The panel discussion following the movie will include the film maker and ERRP Managing Director Pat Higgins, Joe Scriven from the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, water conservation expert Larry Desmond, Kirk Lumpkin of Friends of Outlet Creek and Ben Cook and Matt Clifford of Trout Unlimited. Restoration discussions after the film will include recovery of steelhead trout and coho salmon that require cold summer stream flows.
Doors of the Little Lake Grange at 291 School Street in Willits will open at 6:30 PM and Signs of Resilience will show at 7 PM. For more information, see the ERRP Facebook page. Those with questions may also call Pat Higgins at 707 223-7200. Signs of Resilience is available by streaming at the website www.eelriverrecovery.org and available on DVD on the web or at the event.
Patrick Higgins, Managing Director
Eel River Recovery Project
P.O. Box 214
Loleta, Ca 95551
THE REALIZED TEMPTATIONS OF NPR & PBS
by Ralph Nader
Recently an elderly gentleman asked me about my opinion of NPR and PBS, knowing of my vigorous support in the 1960s for these alternatives to commercial radio and television stations.
Here is my response:
Congress created NPR and PBS to provide serious programming, without any advertisements, for the American people. Former media executive Fred Friendly and others worried that the commercial stations were not meeting the 1934 Communications Act requirement that they operate for the “public interest, convenience and necessity.”
In 1961, before a shocked convention of broadcasters, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Newton Minow called commercial television “a vast wasteland.”
Over the decades, NPR and PBS have produced some good programming – original features (among the best coming from Boston affiliate WGBH) and interviews. NPR has the largest radio audience in the country. David Brancaccio, the bright host of Marketplace Morning Report, has a daily listening audience of 11 million.
However, over the years, without regular critiques by liberal and progressive groups, both NPR and PBS have bent to the continual right-wing antagonism in Congress that decreased public budgets. PBS started to allow advertisements (called “support for x station or x PBS network program comes from y corporation.”) These ads have become more frequent and can be as long as 15 seconds.
During the 8am to 9am hour WAMC-Albany recently aired 28 such “support from…” commercials. That is almost one “ad” every two minutes!
The omnipresence of the ads hour after hour has irritated many NPR listeners around the country. By way of comparison, a major commercial station in Hartford – WTIC – clocked 18 advertisements in that 8am hourly slot – albeit they were longer than the NPR ones.
It seems that NPR and PBS, often by their omissions and slants, bend over backward in order not to offend right-wing lobbies and corporations. They invite guests on air who ideologically oppose public broadcasting – that’s fine, but then they minimize the appearances by leading progressives.
Occasionally, I speak with the NPR and PBS Ombudsmen. The purpose of the ombudsman is to maintain proper standards and ethics as well as to consider audience complaints. A while back, an NPR Ombudsman volunteered to me that NPR was giving far more time to representatives of conservative evangelical groups than to representatives of liberal religious organizations.
Charlie Rose on PBS had many more CEOs on his program than civic leaders. During a rare appearance by me on his show with Jim Hightower and William Greider in 1998, the audience reaction was robust. The response from around the country was so pronounced that in an internal e-mail, that was inadvertently sent to my office, a Rose staffer complained that we might have been encouraging the positive response. Absurd and false, but revealing nonetheless.
Rose, by the way, set the stage for PBS and NPR by interviewing his two favorite reporters again and again instead of active specialists or scholars in various fields. For example, Judy Woodruff, the ultra-cautious, exclusionary anchor of the “News Hour,” interviewed reporters on complex tax legislation instead of authentic experts such as the long-time director of the well-regarded Citizens for Tax Justice, Robert McIntyre, often invited by her predecessors.
In 2016 we convened for eight days in the largest gathering of civic leaders, doers, and thinkers of more reforms and redirections ever brought together. They made over 160 presentations in Constitution Hall (see breakingthroughpower.org). Although we advanced this remarkable Superbowl of Civic Action directly to NPR and PBS producers, their reporters never showed up. Certainly, they have not treated right-wing conventions in Washington, D.C. in that manner.
There are other practices of public broadcasting and its syndicated talk shows, that its audiences should know about to understand how much broader coverage they have been denied. One is that the amount of time devoted to music and entertainment pieces goes well beyond the intent of the legislators who created NPR and PBS (both created by the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967). Members of Congress knew that entertainment was adequately taken care of by the thousands of commercial stations.
Moreover, even commercial network radio would not use its weekday 6pm hour for music, as one NPR station does in Washington, D.C. Nor does commercial network TV news in the evening start their programs with several advertisements, as does PBS’s The NewsHour and Kai Ryssdal’s jazzy, drumbeat, breathless NPR evening show – Marketplace.
Recently, I discovered another woeful transformation. Wondering why I could not get calls back from the state-wide NPR stations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, I sent them written complaints. These stations had venerable programs that used to interview me and other civic leaders on consumer, environment, and corporate crime topics.
Minnesota Public Radio politely wrote back, regretting that they had not called me back and explained that they now adjust their programming to react or expand on “what is in the national conversation.” Since Trump et al. command the heights (or the depths) of the news agenda, very important subjects, conditions and activities not part of this frenzied news feed are relegated to far less frequent attention.
These are just a few of the issues that should be analyzed by print journalists who cover the media full time, such as the estimable Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post, formerly the “public editor” of The New York Times. But then, she also doesn’t return my calls.
The slide toward commercialism and amiable stupefaction will continue on PBS and NPR until enough people review public broadcast’s history, raise their expectation levels consistent with why PBS and NPR were created, and insist on adequate public funding (a truly modest amount compared to giant corporate subsidies by taxpayers). These redirections would enable public broadcasting to fulfill better its serious statutory public interest missions.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
TRUST THE UNIVERSE AND HAVE A COOKIE
Trusting the universe is, in the end, about all we can do, but that does not, of course, always mean that we'll get what we want. Or even expect. Here, nearing my end, trusting the universe has brought me to understand that it means giving thanks even when what it has brought us has caused suffering. Even when it brings us to the banks of some forgotten creek with an axe in our face. Before that happens, know that the universe, this place we call home (some appear to have come from some other place), will bring what it brings. And we must muster the strength to give thanks for putting us here.
My fate is nowhere near as dramatic. Waiting behind door number one for me turned out to be congestive heart failure. It turns out that the medical folks have fudged some on the word 'terminal'. It now seems to mean 'managable' -- of course, with their help. They tell me that, with their care, I might have fifteen years, if I'm lucky. That seems doubtful. I'm confused.
Whatever gifts it has given to me, it has also brought the Orange One and his repellent and slimy family. And his equally slimy followers. And the slow and for a long time mostly unnoticed decline of what we thought was our country. None of this is pretty. It is not a picnic in the park. It is hellacious. And, of course it's denied. And it is as hard to understand as congestive heart failure. Like I said I think, it's confusing.
For now, we have to be satisfied that the universe will get around to all of them in their turn. They too, like us, will end. Our country will end. The universe too. For that and for everything we give thanks. And for each of us, we get what we need. I think. Did I say that before?