- Mueller Report
- Budget Review
- Gualala Tweakers
- Baseballer Andy
- Cult Radio
- Hoggren Remembers
- Streamlined Process
- Permitting Event
- NAMI Letter
- Yesterday's Catch
- College Demise
- Annoying Spring
- Greedy Boeing
- College Degree
- Climate Change
- Gender Inspection
- Aussie Skeptics
- AG Says
- Speed Forgets
- Stolen Land
- Earth Day
- Marco Radio
- Found Object
SHOWERS will continue through this evening, with a slight chance of thunderstorms primarily north of Cape Mendocino. After a dry day on Sunday, rain will return on Monday and continue intermittently through much of next week. A few thunderstorms will also be possible across the area on Monday. (National Weather Service)
MUELLER REPORT: special counsel delivers findings of Trump-Russia inquiry — no new indictments recommended, says DoJ official. … Robert Mueller has completed his Trump-Russia investigation without prosecuting additional associates of the president, and has reported his findings to William Barr, the US attorney general.
MENDO’S BUDGET CHICKENS CIRCLE THE COOP
And official Mendo isn’t paying attention.
by Mark Scaramella
On Thursday, Official Mendo posted its “mid-year budget update” nearly three months after the mid-year ended. The pretty presentation package collides directly with the ugly budget reality contained within.
To see the fruits of the graphic designer’s extensive effort (and the numbers pig with its make up on) go to:
and click on the presentation element of your choice.
Amid the rosy numbers due to be revealed in next week’s highly anticipated “mid-year budget review” are some glossed over large items that make the entire presentation seem much shakier than it appears to be.
For example, on the revenue side:
Sales Tax revenue from July 1 to December 31 2018 is listed as about $1.8 million, yet the Auditor forecasts and end of year sales tax revenue of $6.5 million, about $400k more than forecast three months ago. No explanation. How will the County somehow realize almost $3 million more in revenue than current rates would generate?
So that’s $3 million off.
The Cannabis business tax revenue so far is almost $400k, yet the County says they expect to receive $1.1 million even though pot grower sales are off and much fewer are permitted than were anticipated. No explanation.
Another $700k off.
Solid Waste franchise fee revenue so far is less than $50k, yet the County expects to receive about $800k. No explanation (but there may be some one-time fees due before June 30 on this one).
Nevertheless, another $750k off.
Interest income was budgeted at $500k; the county has received about $140k and yet the Auditor says Mendo will rake in $800k in interest. No explanation.
Another $300k off – probably more.
It’s hard to predict property tax revenues based on year to date because of the way the County collects them (in two lumps, December and April, plus finals followed by fees/fines). But the Auditor is estimating $1 million more than the $33 million budgeted and estimated three months ago without any explanation. We see no evidence that property tax revenues will increase at all, much less as much as the Auditor says. We were told last year by CEO Angelo that the Auditor’s prediction is nothing more than a 4% increase from last year without any attempt to actually estimate it.
So that’s at least another $1 million less in revenue than projected.
And, of course there’s the high-profile Cannabis budget gap now estimated at about $2.5 million (which is likely understated because the County has been and continues to be overly optimistic about everything associated with their failed pot permit program).
Total of just the quantifiable revenue shortfall so far is at least $11 million worse than whatever semi-rosy picture the County paints. And these are just the obvious gaps from a cursory review of the budget materials.
Add to that the County’s own departmental rundown, which shows another $1 million in net overruns — including law enforcement — AFTER applying about $3 million in carryover from last year. (The pre-carry-over overrun is about $4 million, almost half of which is in the Sheriff’s department.)
There are also several significant issues that are not mentioned: There’s nothing in the budget about Juvenile Hall, which is still costing way more than the average occupancy of 15 delinquents would justify.
There is no mention or estimate of the value of the employee position vacancy rate which might offset some of the deficit.
And there’s no mention of the salary survey and pending across the board pay raises that the Board has been dangling in front of line workers for more than a year now, saying that their long delayed salary survey is still not finished.
So, overall, with only a cursory first pass, we find a budget hole of at least around $12 million without explanation — AFTER applying $3 million in carryover funds from last year.
And that was three months ago. It’s probably worse by now, but at the sludge-like pace of Mendo’s high-paid budget mavens, we won’t know how much worse for three more months or more.
It’s particularly surprising that the revenue side of the budget, where most of the deficit is, has no notes, no comments, no explanations, even though on its face it’s way off. And if the common impression that property and sales taxes are worse than estimated is true, the revenue gap could easily be much higher. Mendo hasn’t even tried to estimate it. (Humco’s sales taxes for this fiscal year are way down.)
Can the Board of Supervisors allow this kind of presentation to be submitted without complaint or serious question? Is an unexplained $12 million (or more) budget gap something a self-respecting CEO can offer as a casual budget update?
Maybe we’ll find out at the Board’s “mid-year budget update” agenda item on Tuesday next week.
PS. Buried deep in the budget presentation is this brief teaser on the list of budget priorities for next year: “Development of property acquisition options around the new courthouse.”
What could that possibly mean? Is Mendo planning to buy property “around” the pending new courthouse over on the railroad tracks to house the as-yet-unaddressed ancillary law enforcement offices that are now several city blocks away from the new courthouse? Where is that money going to come from? And who’s suppose to finance the accompanying planning and construction?
PPS. Several budget notes relate to a jail overrun estimated at almost $800k including:
“The Sheriff reassigned one correctional deputy to Professional Standards. His assignment is to assist in completing background checks. This will improve the hiring process which reduces overtime expense.”
(Note: So the overtime overrun at the jail is mostly caused by unfinished background checks of applicants? We doubt it. There’s a much bigger staffing problem here which is unaddressed.)
“The Sheriff’s Corrections staff is currently working with the Public Defender and Courts to increase to usage of video for Court hearings. This will create efficiencies in the Court process and could result in less overtime used.”
(Note: Which begs the question of how much video (in the jail) is being used now for court hearings and why it wasn’t “increased” long ago. We’ve heard that the inmates, for one example, particularly don’t like talking with their public defender over a video line. But they don’t talk to their public defenders much anyway.)
In other words, the jail overtime problem is only going to get worse.
Another jail stat that we saw for the first time in the mid-year budget presentation was the number of arrestees booked versus the average jail population over the last three years. Average daily population over the last three years hasn’t changed much from just over 300 at any given time. But the number of prisoners booked has jumped from about 5,000 in 2016 and 4,000 in 2017 to over 7,500 in 2018. The budget text offers no explanation for this, however, it seems obvious that a lot more people are being arrested but spending a lot less time in jail. Isn’t this a trend that needs some kind of alternate approach? Or at least an explanatory note from law enforcement?
DEAR MENDO: EVICT THE GUALALA TWEAKERS
Mendocino County Department of Planning and Building Services, 860 North Bush St., Ukiah, CA 95482
Code Violation Complaint
Referred by: The public, March 19, 2019
Property owner name: Joseph Cullen, 40495 Old Stage Road, Gualala, CA 95445
Description of Complaint: The enclosed (below) article from the Anderson Valley Advertiser in 2016 pretty much says it all, with the exception that the occupancy both day and night has increased, the number of derelict vehicles has increased, the putrescent waste has increased. As far as has been researched, the property is without a septic permit, a water connection, nor a certificate of occupancy permit (unless the occupancy permit is conditional). The threat to the Gualala River watershed over which this property sits is definitely suspect. There is not much to say other than this property is an environmental health hazard as well as an obvious fire hazard. As a geographical property owner within shouting distance of this property, I do not wish to announce my name. But a copy of this complaint will be sent to the Friends of the Gualala River (FOGR) and Fifth District Supervisor Ted Williams. I suggest your department pay a site visit and if you come away with a do-nothing approach, you must be kidding!
From the Anderson Valley Advertiser: October, 2016:
THE GUALALA PROPERTY at 40495 Old Stage Road has been interesting to watch. It is owned by Joseph Cullen who has been popped several times over the years for possession of drugs. The place is referred to as "The Boat House" as it has a 30 plus-foot sail boat down by two double wides on a lot not permitted for that kind of crowded occupancy.
SEVERAL YEARS AGO, the owner installed a galvanized sheet metal fence and roped the whole place in so no one could see what was going on. The county, with help from the Sonoma County Sheriff and Mendo deputy Greg Stefani, went in and pulled the fence down and removed abandoned cars and all sorts of hazmat-quality debris at a cost to the county of more than $100,000 with a caveat that the guy clean up the rest of the property and pay his dues.
AIN'T HAPPENING. The tweekers have rebounded, accumulating more junk out in the entry way. What neighbors want to know is how did the county provide for the costs in the original clean up, and why is the situation unchanged?
A RESIDENT of the area wonders, "if it would make a difference in the neighborhood if the shitstorm down there would become long gone. Nobody seems to care, and we have the walking dead around here all the time (the other day one of their inhabitants was 'cleaning the forest floor' while smoking a cigarette). They don't steal from us, but what kind of accounting is due from the county in this rural area? I bet Hamburg is not even aware of the money spent so far to clean up this mess. More and more vehicles with flat tires, bent metal works and broken windows appear on the site. I have not contacted the respectable Tom Allman on it, but you know, I should not have to. Get this shit out of here ASAP!"
BOONVILLE'S NEXT MAJOR LEAGUER
Andrew Vaughn surrounded by Tony and Danny Summit And Bill Pressley
NORMAN DE VALL WRITES:
Once again we get another chance to start all over again [at KZYX]. So let the new management know your feelings about Public and Community Programing with local topics and discussions.
MARCO MCCLEAN REPLIES:
Another chance? The entire structure and culture of KZYX is as stultifyingly dead-wrong as when that sleazy rotten rat bastard Sean Donovan set it in stone 30 years ago and began kicking the first of us out. Sure, it looks like things are changing: They've gone through six different managers just since Windows 10 came out, counting interim managers --the new one they just brought in will be the seventh (!)-- and the new so-called program director, whoever that turns out to be, will be the fourth in that same time. The board has entirely turned over more than a dozen times. But the handful of people in the office, including the new new manager are still sucking out of the station for themselves $300,000 a year and then lying that there's no money to pay the local airpeople, and disappearing a total of $600,000 a year to run a dollar-an-hour transmitter system; and the local airpeople, selected for like docile pets in a pet-breeding program, are still so grateful to be on the air at all, to not get up on their hind legs and bitch about that. The station still gives a huge chunk of the total airtime to government radio and other recorded crap from a thousand miles away in secret deals (they refuse to show the books, refuse to respond to email, refuse to even reveal how much they're paying for individual NPR shows). That's the main problem; that will never change. And as a mass the nebulous inner block, including big donors to whom $10,000 is a bottle of wine for a special occasion, are still Machiavellian, noncreative Nice People who like the whole closed cult exactly the way it is.
Look up the Ship of Theseus problem.
To folks who really read our local papers as I do.
The sad part of being 95 years old is that we are stuck with a memory of what our country used to be.
Ownership of a first house only took me less than 10 years-t.v. repair-electrician work-tow truck part time and snowplowing helped wipe out the mortgage with double payments in seven years. Later, a limousine service helped update our house. Once you accumulate money no one can take it from you.
In the good old days, you could rent out your extra space for whatever amount you wanted to and choose who ever you liked.
Using my extra time, over eight hours, was called free enterprise in a free country. For some strange reason, today in, I guess, a socialist California, low income housing forces people into apartment units although looking around, 75% of the state is open land.
Driving in and out of Ukiah, you will see a horse on 5-10 acres and across the highway, 300 people on one acre.
In Chicago public schools, we were taught smoking destroys your lungs and any form of alcohol destroyed your brain, and Dear Abby held those teachings for years.
Today, smoking and drinking costs more than a small two bedroom house costs, thus the homeless. High school was all I had. I am 95 years this year, still here I hope.
In a spare space in our want ads, could you list a column called “person to person” sales at say $10 for one inch where folks sell, get rid of things someone else can use.
A disclaimer would cover you. I’ll bet for sure your circulation would improve.
Lake County has a little paper I’ve used many times.
MENDO’S ‘STREAMLINED’ POT PERMIT APPLICATION PROCESS
Cannabis Cultivation Phase I Application Submission Process
April 2019 - October 2019 Re-Opening
Beginning Monday, April 1, 2019, the Mendocino County Cannabis Program, now under the Department of Planning and Building Services, will accept Phase I Cannabis Cultivation Applications. All applications for cultivation must be submitted via drop box located at the Department of Planning and Building Services.
Application packets submitted to the Cannabis Cultivation Program will undergo a preliminary review to determine completeness. Within fifteen (15) business days of submittal, the applicant will be notify in writing as to whether the application packet is incomplete or complete. Incomplete application notifications will include information regarding application deficiencies. Notifications for complete applications will include instruction on how to complete submission of their applications, including payment of required fees.
All application submission packets must be placed in an 8 ½ X 11 inch manila envelope labeled with the date of submission, applicant name, phone number, mailing address and cultivation site address. Please include the following documents in this order:
- At least two forms of Proof of Prior cultivation (photographic and additional piece of evidence)
- A photograph of current cultivation activities on the proposed cannabis cultivation site location
- Cultivation Permit Application
- Completed Cultivation and Operations Plan
- Completed Building Structure List
- Remediation plan and Water Availability Analysis for relocation applications
- Completed Property Owner Consent form if applicable
- Color copy of valid identification of applicant and all listed employees/workers
- Site plan-No hand drawn site plans will be accepted for cultivation applications
- Copy of Live Scan fingerprint form for anyone engaged in cultivation of cannabis
- Business organizational documents if applicable
- Timberland Permit, Proof of Mitigation or 3-acre conversion if applicable
- California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) Seller’s Permit
- Water Board permits: Notice of Applicability (Notice of Receipt may be accepted) and or water rights or Small Irrigation Use Registration (SIUR)
- Copy of final Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement (LSAA), waiver, letter determining LSAA is not required, EPIMS registration or any other official documentation expressing current status with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) as required
- Results from the Cortese list
- Copy of well permit (if used for irrigation), copy of septic permit (if septic is used on property) copy of well completion report (if available) or a copy of the Residential Building Record from the Mendocino County Assessor’s Office
- Copies of credentials for cultivation activities issued by the California Department of Food and Agriculture if received
For more information, please contact email@example.com.
Electronic applications will not be accepted. Once submitted, items cannot be added or removed from application packets. Applicants are advised to make a copy of their application packet for their own records.
THE ANSWER IS NO
Cannabis Cultivation Permitting Event in Laytonville (3.26.2019)
Date: 03/22/2019 11:21 AM
There is a Cannabis Cultivation Permitting Event coming to Laytonville on March 26th, 2019.
Staff from CalCannabis, CDFW, and the State Water Board will be present from multiple permitting agencies to answer your permitting questions.
The event will take place at Harwood Hall in Laytonville, CA from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm.
Cannabis Program of Mendocino County
890 N. Bush St.
Ukiah, CA 95482
NOT JUST A PHF
The National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI, is a nonprofit organization advocating for improved mental health services at the local, state and national level. NAMI Mendocino is a growing membership of local people with mental illness, their families and friends who come together to advocate for additional and better mental health services in our community.
NAMI Mendocino worked side-by-side with Sheriff Tom Allman to support the well authored Measure B Initiative. There are many interpretations of what Measure B was voted in to do. We believe the true advantage of the Measure B Initiative is to improve the overall mental health system by creating services that eliminate service gaps. Delivering the appropriate level of care will create less need for mental health clients in our jails and emergency rooms.
Crisis Residential Programs (CRPs) are an imperative part of an efficient mental health system. CRPs reduce unnecessary stays in psychiatric hospitals, reduce the number and expense of emergency room visits and incarcerations, provide positive outcomes and can be utilized for preventative and after care services, individualized care, stabilization, support wellness and recovery and meet people at their current need at a lower rate of cost.
A Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) is an inpatient facility that treats individuals in psychiatric crisis who cannot be safely served in outpatient services. While a PHF is also a necessity in our community we believe it should be considered a last resort rather than a first option.
NAMI Mendocino encourages all Mendocino County residents to concentrate on the mental health system of care rather than any one level of service. Building a PHF and no other services will surely fail in this community. Our goal is to have a PHF but also to reach people before they need it.
NAMI Mendocino Board of Directors
Donna Moschetti – Chair, Sonya Nesch – Vice-Chair, Gladys Telschow – Treasurer, Jan McGourty – Secretary, Raven Price, Pokie Dunlap, Mel Lockey
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 21, 2019
BERRY BRADFORD, Garberville/Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ROBERT CAMPBELL, Ukiah. Vandalism, county parole violation. (Frequent Flyer)
ZEBULON COUTHREN, Willits. Controlled substance, petty theft with prior, suspended license, failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
KARI DONATONE, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
TEDDY FRANK, Point Arena. Domestic abuse.
THOMAS GALINDO, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent Flyer)
BRIAN HOWARD, Point Arena. Probation revocation.
JAMES JOHNSON, Willits. Disturbing the peace, resisting.
VERNON KNAPP SR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent Flyer)
JAMES LANGTON, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
CHELSEY LAUGHTON, Willits. Under influence.
AARON MASSEY, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, child endangerment.
JAMES PIKE JR., Ukiah. Probation revocation.
KIRK RICHARDSON, Ukiah. County parole violation.
JUSTIN SCHAEFER, Eureka/Willits. Trespassing. (Frequent Flyer)
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, Ukiah. Parole violation, resisting. (Frequent Flyer)
GIOVANNI VILLA-VICENCIO, Cloverdale/Willits. Probation revocation.
EMMETT WILLIAMS, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
COERCION MEETS ITS MATCH
by James Kunstler
Like the fabled spring zephyr came news that the Golden Golem of Greatness, (a.k.a. President Trump) signed an executive order that would withhold federal funding from colleges and universities that do not demonstrate support for free speech. It has been an amazement to behold the appalling, hypocritical suppression of the first amendment on campuses across the nation, with their ignoble speech codes, asinine safe spaces, sinister kangaroo courts, and racist anti-whiteness crusades.
Most wondrous of all has been the failure of college presidents, deans, trustees, and faculty chairs to assert their authority and do the right thing — namely, take a stand against the arrant muzzling of free expression by campus Stalinists. Their craven passivity is a symptom of what future historians will identify as the epic institutional collapse of higher education, which first made itself into an industry like any other moneygrubbing business, and then became a titanic racketeering operation. And now it is all coming to grief.
In the years ahead, you will see colleges go out of business at a shocking rate and the contagion will spread to the giant state systems around the country. In my little region alone, several colleges have published their own obituaries in the last few months: Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont; Southern Vermont College in Bennington; and Hampshire College over in Amherst, MA (which is desperately searching for a buyout). That’s just the beginning of a wave of closures that will send tens of thousands of academic hierophants flooding the unemployment offices while sleeping in their cars.
It’s not hard to see how this fiasco developed and blossomed. In the 1960s, when I was in college, Marxism offered a neat, pre-engineered template for opposing the odious Establishment that blundered into the Vietnam War. Students then at least had skin in the game: the threat of getting drafted into the army and shipped over to die in the jungle for a senseless conflict. In fact, many young men unsuited for college took refuge there to evade the military. Then, with a bull market in Boomer Generation PhDs, the faculties were soon filled with the former Sixties radicals.
Many were Boomer women, who set out to explain and correct the evolving relations of men and women in the office workplace of the day. By then the war was over. The sick economy of the 1970s put an end to the ability of men to support a family and more women were forced to enter the office environment. Meanwhile radical progressivism needed an ever-fresh supply of new aggrieved parties to justify its agitation against the old Marxist bugbears of bourgeois values and structural oppression — and incidentally fuel academic careers. Hence, the multiplication of victims into handy intersectional categories.
By the 1980s, it also became evident that 60s civil rights legislation to end Jim Crow laws had not solved the quandaries of race in America, and that disappointment refreshed the progressive crusade to heal the world of injustice and inequality. Every other effort to produce equal outcomes for different categories of people had also proved disappointing, so now progressives resort to plain coercion to force equal outcomes at all costs, and nowhere is that behavior more overt than on campus the past decade.
The delusion that everybody must have a college education finally turned Higher Ed into a racket, when the federal government decided to guarantee college loans — which only prompted colleges to ramp up tuitions way beyond the official inflation rate and undertake massive expansion programs in the competition for the expanding base of student customer-borrowers. Almost all colleges acted as facilitators to this loan racket, though with federal guarantees they had no skin in that game. Now, outstanding student loan debt is $1.5 trillion, and about 40 percent of it is nonperforming, in euphemistic banker jargon. The student borrowers have been fleeced, many of them financially destroyed for life, and they have only begun to express themselves politically.
The anxiety and remorse behind that dastardly financial behavior, and the prospect of coming institutional ruin, is probably a big factor behind the engineered social justice hysterias that paradoxically made college campuses the most intellectually unfree — and intellectually unsafe! — places in the land. And turned all those college presidents into cowards and cravens. Since coercion is the only behavior modification college administrators understand these days, it’s reasonable that Mr. Trump use federal grant largesse as a lever to end the structural despotism of campus culture. The stumbling economy will take care of the rest.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
GREEDY BOEING’S AVOIDABLE DESIGN AND SOFTWARE TIME BOMBS
by Ralph Nader
As internal and external pressures mount to hold Boeing responsible for its criminal negligence, the giant company is exerting its immense influence to limit both its past and future accountability. Boeing whistleblowers and outside aviation safety experts are coming forward to reveal the serial, criminal negligence of Boeing’s handling of its dangerous Boeing 737 Max airplanes, grounded in the aftermath of two deadly crashes that took 346 lives. Boeing, is used to having its way in Washington, D.C. For decades, Boeing and some of its airline allies have greased the wheels for chronic inaction related to the additional protection and comfort of airline passengers and airline workers.
Most notoriously, the airlines, after the hijacks to Cuba in the late Sixties and early Seventies, made sure that Congress and the FAA did not require hardened cockpit doors and stronger latches on all aircraft, costing a modest $3000 per plane. Then the 9/11 massacre happened, a grisly consequence of non-regulation, pushed by right wing corporatist advocacy centers.
Year after year, Flyers Rights – the airline passenger consumer group –proposed a real passengers bill of rights. Year after year the industry’s toadies in Congress said no. A slim version passed last year — requiring regulations creating minimum seat standards, regulations regarding prompt refunds for ancillary services not provided or on a flight not taken, and a variety of small improvements for consumers.
Boeing is all over Capitol Hill. They have 100 full time lobbyists in Washington, D.C. Over 300 members of Congress regularly take campaign cash from Boeing. The airlines lather the politicians with complimentary ticket upgrades, amenities, waivers of fees for reservation changes, priority boarding, and VIP escorts. Twice, we sent surveys about these special freebies to every member of Congress with not a single response. (See my letterand survey .)
That is the corrupt backdrop that at least two Congressional Committees have to overcome in holding public hearings into the causes of the Indonesian’s Lion Air crash last October and the Ethiopian Airline crash on March 10, 2019.
Will the Senate and House Committee invite the technical dissenters to testify against Boeing’s sequential corner cutting on its single sensor software that miscued and took control of the 737 Max 8 from its pilots, pulling down on the plane’s nose? Boeing’s sales-driven avoidance of producing effective manuals with upgraded pilot training was courting disaster as was outrageously leaving many of the pilots in the dark.
The Congressional Committees must issue subpoenas to critics of Boeing and the FAA in order to protect them from corporate and agency retaliation.
Moreover, the Committees must get rid of the grotesque self-regulation that allows Boeing to control the aircraft certification process for the FAA. This dangerous delegation has worsened in recent years because Trump and Republicans in Congress have cut the FAA’s budget.
Brace yourself. Here is how the Washington Post described this abandonment of regulation by FAA, endorsed by Boeing’s Congress:
“In practice, one Boeing engineer would conduct a test of a particular system on the Max 8, while another Boeing engineer would act as the FAA’s representative, signing on behalf of the U.S. government that the technology complied with federal safety regulations…”
“Hundreds of Boeing engineers would have played out this scenario thousands of times as the company sought to verify the performance of mechanical systems, hardware installation and massive amounts of computer code…”
So, citizens, watch out for bloviating Congressional Committee members castigating Boeing executives at the witness table before the television cameras and then doing nothing once the television broadcasts fade away.
Boeing’s 737 series started in 1967 and has had a good engineering safety record in this country. But Boeing was in a rush with its Boeing 737 Max 8. They had to catch up with the growing orders for a similar-sized passenger jet built by Airbus. Being in a rush meant a modification that added more seats (a key motivation), that led to larger engines that affected the aerodynamics of the plane that led to the inadequate, mostly uncommunicated software fix to the pilots. Step by step, top management pushed the engineers in ways that compromised their professional expertise and each slide set the stage for a deeper slide. Now, the press is reporting a criminal probe by the Justice Department. The Inspector General of the Department of Transportation is also investigating the FAA’s certification of 737 Max 8.
Years ago, aviation experts say, Boeing should have developed a brand new aircraft design for such intermediate distances. But Boeing dug in and compliant FAA officials dropped the ball. And President Trump has failed to fill three top slots at the FAA since January 2017.
That is why, after flight 302 crashed outside Addis Ababa, both Boeing and the FAA kept issuing statements filled with gibberish saying that the 737 Max 8 was safe, safe, safe—the malfunction-prone software time bomb to the contrary. A brand new plane, crashing twice and taking hundreds of lives, can’t be blamed on pilot error.
Caution: the grounding of the planes may receive a whitewash unless the media keeps light and heat on this corporate-government collusion.
Installing artificial intelligence replacing or overpowering human intelligence in ever more complex machines, such as modern aircraft or weapons systems or medical technology is the harbinger of what’s to come. In a 2014 BBC interview Stephen Hawking, the famed theoretical physicist, said:
“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” And in 2018 Elon Musk said: “If AI has a goal and humanity just happens to be in the way, it will destroy humanity as a matter of course without even thinking about it. No hard feelings.”
At the wreckage near Bishoftu in a small pastoral farm field and in the Java Sea off Indonesia lie the remains of the early victims of arrogant, algorithm-driven corner cutting, by reckless corporate executives and their captive government regulators.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I was an engineer in oil & gas. I recently got laid off when prices sank and stayed down. When prices fell, what was once the best job I ever had quickly became the worst job I ever had. At the local bar I hung out at there was a guy who needed help with his blind business. He had once been an auto repair shop manager at the big local dealerships, but he had soured on it and quit. He picked up an Entrepreneur Magazine and looked for the business with the least capital outlay. He picked blinds. All you need was a good drill, a measuring tape, a piece of paper and a pen, and a ladder and you were in business. Ten years later he’s making nearly twice what he made managing the repair shop, he works from 8 -12 noon, has lunch and is through for the day. Needless to say he made more than I did without a college degree, and he worked half the time. A college degree is bullshit. An engineering degree is one of the worst today, because everything is outsourced. Examine the market, fulfill a need, establish a reputation for quality work and solid work ethic, stand behind your work, and you will get rich. A college degree today is often a path to ruin, not to riches. It is the professional equivalent of “Save your money.” When I was a kid if you had $1 million dollars, you put it in CDs and earned 7%. Today you are lucky to get 1%, maybe 1.5%
The past year or two has seen an unprecedented number of natural disasters in the U.S.: major hurricanes back to back, tornadoes ripping through the South, the most destructive wildfires in California’s history, record-breaking subzero cold in the East and Midwest, some of the hottest years on record, etc. The rest of the world has suffered from ever-increasing drought, desertification, melting glaciers, typhoons, flooding, etc.
These phenomena are not unrelated. They are part of a larger pattern of climate change. According to the vast majority of climate scientists, these are the beginning effects of climate change that will, without question, get much worse in the foreseeable future.
For the next 12 years, according to the latest report from the U.S. government, we have the chance to limit those effects to something other than total global collapse. After that, it will be out of our hands.
It’s easy to go into denial about the catastrophic nature of what humankind faces. But we need to ask ourselves one serious question: What will our children and grandchildren say about us 30 or 50 years from now? Will they curse us for willfully ignoring clear signs of impending destruction of a livable planet for them? This question requires our active attention.
It’s past time to take a stand.
A READER SENDS ALONG…
Climate change debate
I noticed the letter to the editor from Karen McClellan, published in the online edition of Lake County Record-Bee (March 20, 2019) In a response to a letter from Leona M. Butts on climate change, Karen says, about Australian scientist and climate change denier Ian Plimer, that: “He is a life member of Australian Skeptics, a climate change skepticism organization.” This needs correcting. Australian Skeptics Inc is not a “climate change skepticism organization.” We are an organization devoted to scientific investigation of claims of pseudoscience and the paranormal. We have always based our approach on scientific method, and as a result we recently published a statement that “After more than 60 years of research, the agreement among scientists is that the climate is changing and that this change is mostly human-induced. The agreement is as strong as that concerning evolution and the safety and efficacy of vaccines.” Australian Skeptics Inc views climate change skepticism as a form of denialism. Like creationism and antivaccination rhetoric, it ignores the experts in the relevant fields, and engages in conspiratorial thinking. ASI recognizes anthropogenic climate change as a pressing global concern. We urge individuals, organizations and governments to prioritize limiting greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate their negative effects. We are therefore far from being a climate change skepticism organization. Rather, we are the opposite. A further clarification is needed on the awarding of Life Membership of ASI to Ian Plimer. This was done in 1997 in response to his work debunking claims by Creationists, and in particular his book “Telling Lies for God.” He was not awarded life membership for his activities campaigning against climate change.
—Tim Mendham, Executive officer & editor Australian Skeptics Inc
SPEED is the form of ecstasy the technical revolution has bestowed on man. There is a secret bond between slowness and memory, between speed and forgetting.
— Milan Kundera
I WISH TO KNOW where I live in order to be here wholly. To be, as they say, here. Now. At the time the first trapper arrived here about 1803, Lewis and Clark were setting out from St. Louis on their voyage of discovery. Around 15-20 thousand folks lived in what would eventually be called the Willamette Valley from the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers at what is now Portland to Where I live now in downtown Eugene. It is all Indian land.
The story how it came to be no longer Indian land has set the world standard for brutal genocide. We live our lives and become what we are on stolen land.
To try to understand what has been lost is the measure of what has been found. In this place, right here, right now, we find ourselves. The afternoon that grizzled old trapper checked his rheumy eyes to be sure he was seeing what he thought he was seeing, the world he was born into -- the only world that he knew -- disappeared forever. Into Roy Rogers and Trigger. Into Clint Eastwood. The message for us is that this life we lead as though it is normal has come at a dear price. To have some respect for that place is to know ourselves. To know with the surest certainty we have ever known, that this too shall pass, indeed. It is already passing. Look around and see with new eyes.
NOYO FOOD FOREST
13th Annual Earth Day Fest!
The 13th annual Noyo Food Forest Earth Day Festival is on Saturday, April 20, 2019 from 12-4pm, at The Learning Garden on the East side of FBHS campus on Dana Street. This free community celebration is regarded as "on of the best family events on the Mendocino Coast," with educational activities, informational workshops, entertainment, plant sale and delicious food from local chefs and the garden! Sponsorships and donations welcome to support the Farm-to-School and Youth Intern Programs. Please observe school campus rules: no dogs, no alcohol or drugs, and no smoking. Information at: NoyoFoodForest.org/earth-day/
learning garden, firstname.lastname@example.org
MEMO OF THE AIR: GOOD NIGHT RADIO. Friday night, the night of National Bavarian Crepes Day! Also, on this day in 1960 Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow received a patent for the laser. Schawlow had applied for this earlier but screwed up the paperwork somehow so they said no. But Townes and Schawlow persisted. And that's why we celebrate Laser Patent Day with crepes.
Anyway, tonight, Friday March 22, 9pm to 5am, I'm reading Memo of the Air by live remote from Juanita's apartment, not from the back room of the KNYO performance space at 325 N. Franklin, next door to the Tip Top bar, so alter your plans to instead show-and-tell there next week, Friday March 29, when I'll be there rather than here, and I'll be delighted to see you. I think Willow Arthur will be there again then, reading palms and cards and stars and tea leaves and bumps on your knees and every other damn thing all at once, so you might show up just to get comprehensively psychicked at for free.
Deadline to get your writing on the air tonight is around 7pm. If you're still working on it after that, just email it whenever you're done and I'll save it and read it on the show next time. Or save it yourself for next time and come in and read it in person, see above.
The crux of the message: Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio: Every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, and 105.1fm KMEC-LP Ukiah. And also there and anywhere else via http://knyo.org and click on Listen.
And you can always go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and hear last week's show, and shows before that. By Saturday night, tonight's MOTA will also be there, right on top. And then of course there's the whole rest of the world of information underneath that, settling into the sediment of ancient oceans of fun and knowledge and lovely Bavarian Crepes kept fresh by the cold and dark and lack of oxygen in such depths, among blind creatures bumping into each other, apologizing, shifting left and right, bumping again, oh, for fuck's sake, you go, no you go. Tch.
Here are a few items to occupy your fingers while you wait for tonight:
Don't get old, kid. You won't like it. (There's a jump-scare at 2:14 in the pumpkin one. I'm just letting you know, in case you have a heart problem. No jump-scares in any of the other ones.) https://laughingsquid.com/decomposing-food-timelapse/
How to clean up a murder, incl. making your own cleaning supplies. (It turns out to help a great deal to live near a borax mine.) (15 min.) https://theawesomer.com/making-cleaners-from-scratch/517635/
And How we get ketchup. "The worker continues to add la cocaina to the mixture until it's ready for the pee." https://theawesomer.com/ketchup-how-its-made/390214/
Marco McClean, email@example.com,https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com