Archive | September, 2021

Book In Common: The Road leads to paranoia and fear

22 Sep

No, I’m not going to talk about the sales tax increase that came before Chico City Council last night. I’ve been trying to tell people for years now, Orme has been pushing this tax. To the chirping of crickets. So, when you little crickets get an idea what we should do about the sales tax measure, you just let me know.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue the discussion regarding my Halloween Book in Common, The Road, by Cormac McCarthy.

Like I said in my last post, this is a very dark book. The subject matter is familiar – the world had been destroyed by war, and a man and his child wander through the wasteland, trying to survive. For what?

In those first years the roads were peopled with refugees shrouded up in their clothing. Wearing masks and goggles, sitting in their rags by the side of the road like ruined aviators. Their barrows heaped with shoddy. Towing wagons or carts. Their eyes bright in their skulls. Creedless shells of men, tottering down the causeways like migrants in a feverland.

Wow, sounds like Chico, California. From Woody Guthrie: “I never see a friend I know, as I go ramblin’ round…” It’s like an insane asylum.

Years later, alone on the road most of the time, the man and boy move constantly. Driven by bitter cold and constant darkness, masked with filthy rags against the smoke and ash, they head south. They are looking for a way out of “Instant Winter” brought about by years of war and the subsequent natural disasters. I can actually relate to that, and so can most of you – on the day of the Camp Fire, a giant cloud of smoke and ash moved over Chico, choking out the sun. The temperatures dropped from nighttime lows in the 50’s to daytime temperatures in the low 30’s.

Moving down the road at a speed of a mile or so a day, they scavenge what they can. Passing through abandoned towns long looted, the man manages to scavenge something, anything – discarded motor oil, dried up apples, seeds of grain from an old thresher. They don’t dare slow down, or spend too much time in the open, because the of trolling cannibal gangs. Afraid to talk to anyone, unable to trust out of fear, the man teaches the boy to hide like an animal for hours.

Frankly, I can also relate to that. Between what’s happened to Chico, along with summer after summer of unabated wildfires, and then COVID, I feel pretty anti-social myself. I’ve developed an uncomfortable distrust of strangers, I don’t make new friends, and I avoid social gatherings. I have a pair of “throwaway” shoes that I wear out and about. I don’t trust government agencies anymore. I feel the need to become more resourceful and self-reliant. Frankly, we do our eating at home or take out, we don’t even go to coffee shops anymore.

That bugs me, and it becomes increasingly uncomfortable for the boy, as he watches his father descend further into the darkness.

Next time I’d like to talk more about Cormac McCarthy and other books he’s written.

Book In Common: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

18 Sep

Every now and then I need to take a break and read a good book. As Halloween approaches, I try to read a scary book or story every year. This year my son handed me a book by Cormac McCarthy, a “post apocalyptic” story called “The Road”. He told me it was weirdly appropriate for the times, and he’s right.

I’ll say, this book is scary, violent, and raises images of a world way beyond civilization. Makes Mad Max look like a children’s story. Very depressing as well. But, it’s well written, well thought out, and, frankly, who would expect the Apocalypse to be like a Disney movie?

We don’t know what has happened, we don’t get names. We pick up “the man” and his child on the road, making their way through a burnt and destroyed landscape, ash and smoke from perpetual fires blocking out the sun. Scavengers, continually looking over their shoulders for “the bad guys”.

With the first gray light he rose and left the boy sleeping and walked out to the road and squatted and studied the country to the south. Barren, silent and godless. He thought the month was October but he wasn’t sure. He hadn’t kept a calendar for years. They were moving South. There’d be no surviving another winter here.

The first thing that struck me was the vision of perpetual fire – is he describing the California of the future? “Burnt forests for miles… fire-blackened boulders like the shapes of bears on the starkly wooded slopes…The grainy air. The taste of it never left your mouth. The barren ridgeline trees raw and black in the rain.”

And of course, they wear masks. That really made me laugh out loud. Masks are now an institution, I don’t know if Cormac saw that coming.

What a world to raise a child. Well, look around yourself. What are children learning from the perpetual state of disaster we are enduring, the hysteria over disease, and the fascist edicts coming from the state capitol and the White House?

The man repeatedly reminds his son that “we are the good guys,” and “we carry the fire“. I think he means, our culture, our civilization. Isn’t that what most parents expect to hand down to their children? The same values they were raised with, or at least, the values they consider to be important. But right now, right here in Chico, our values are being challenged, our sense of decency is being questioned, by our own government.

You have to ask yourself – how did these people get elected? They don’t represent the community as a whole. I’ll blame the voters there, people don’t follow the issues, they just follow the hyperbole. They vote based on what others are saying, instead of doing the research. That’s the problem with Democracy, you get what you vote for.

I don’t feel our state government reflects the values of our statewide community either. I don’t believe most California voters want to continue to shut down the schools and the economy with mask and vaccine mandates. I don’t think they’re happy with Newsom’s edicts or his blatant hypocrisy, based on his own science. I think most California voters are very unhappy with the state of our state.

So why did the recall fail? Because there was no unified support behind it. The California Republican party is a total disaster. They didn’t support the recall petition, they didn’t endorse any candidate, they just stood by with their thumbs up their asses and let Larry Elder pull the cork out of the whole thing.

So we are enjoying a similar post-apocalyptic scenario today. That’s why I’m declaring “The Road” our “Book In Common” for 2021. Hope you’ll join me! Here’s a link to a PDF copy. There are other sites that carry it for free.

15 Sep

Some guy named Ryan came to the blog yesterday and said Sean Morgan is about to get us sued again. I can only guess – he’s talking about the city’s absolutely ridiculous handling of the bum situation. I know, they really blew that. Why do we need to set up a “resting site” on a piece of baking hot asphalt miles from town when we have shelters that are accepting tax money but turning people away when they have empty beds?

A while back, I said the city should sue the county. If you read county board agendas, you see the transfers they accept, along with cash for each transfer. You will also see that most of it goes to cover law enforcement salaries, benefits and pension deficit.

Ever tried checking in to the Torres Shelter?

COVID-19 UPDATE: We are accepting new and returning guests who have a negative COVID-19 test. Please bring a copy of your negative test results with you to the shelter.

  • New guests: Please arrive between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to check in.
  • Returning guests: If you are seeking services and have stayed at the shelter before, please make an appointment with your case manager.

The Torres Community Shelter is open for guests 24 hours a day. Guests leaving for the day can check back in prior to 3 p.m. Otherwise, check-in is between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. nightly for returning guests. New guests may check in at 2 p.m. to complete an intake. Please call and get prior approval for an alternate check-in time. If you are a guest, please review the shelter guidelines under services.

Read their website further – the requirements are onerous, they aren’t getting people off the street, they’re sending them out to camp in the park and other public areas. You have to make an appointment just to be considered as a “guest”. You have to have a recent negative COVID test – whether or not you’ve been vax’d. The wait time for the results is approaching three days, during which time you could easily be exposed. And, while you wait for your test results and your appointment to be considered for a bed, where are you supposed to go? Self-quarantine at Commanche Creek? Teichert Ponds? Even though the Torres has empty beds?

Meanwhile, the Jesus Center boasts a lot of different programs and shelters for various individuals, but is only housing about 60 people at this time. In fact, they only have one overnight shelter for men, and all their housing requires sobriety, enforced by drug testing.

Anybody who is familiar with the local homeless population knows it’s over 50 percent drug addicted males. These shelters take money from the city and county (Torres is located on city land) but they cater to a fraction of the people that are living on Chico streets.

You might remember “Project Room Key”, a program that handed out motel vouchers good at participating motels. That dried up when those motels would no longer take the vouchers because the guests were not properly vetted, were not supervised, and ended up trashing motel rooms, molesting other guests, and refusing to leave when their time was up. Nobody at Project Room Key would take responsibility. The county also tries to get local landlords to rent to these people – former BCBH staffer Dorian Kittrell wanted them to “make sure their tenants are being respectful and taking their meds…” Here’s what came of that.

Ramsey said in the release that the assault victim was a 59-year-old CSUC science professor who had rented a room in his home to Muscat as a favor to a friend who was an employer of Muscat. The professor had begun to evict Muscat for his alcohol and drug use when Muscat attacked him during the early morning hours of Oct. 29, 2017. The professor suffered severe and permanently disabling injuries to his face, shoulder and brain.

The County of Butte, City of Chico, Torres Shelter and Jesus Center get millions a year to “serve the homeless“, but anybody with a set of eyes can see they aren’t doing anything but paying 6-digit salaries and bringing more transients in for the money.

Let me say it – most of the “homeless” belong in jails or mental hospitals. But, like I said, the money that comes with the transfers of prisoners and mental patients is spent on salaries, benefits and pension deficit. The highest salaries at Butte County are in Behavioral Health – shouldn’t that mean we shouldn’t be having this problem?

But we have the Happy Wanderers, the folks who say we need to provide shelter other than jail or a mental hospital for these individuals. Until you have housed an indigent druggie under your roof, with your family, or spent a week living with them in your tent at Commanche Creek or Teichert Ponds, don’t even talk to me.

How many of your civil liberties have your surrendered in the last 20 years?

11 Sep

Happy “9/11”! While the government reminds you how many people died on that day and in the days following, I’d like to remind you how many of your civil liberties you’ve surrendered since then. The following list, made five years after the incident, sounds a lot like the COVID shutdown!

Here’s a memory of what America was like before 9/11. And yeah, I miss Tom Petty too.

This is what passes for journalism at the Enterprise Record – just quote the part of the story you agree with!

5 Sep

Frankly, I don’t read the Enterprise Record these days unless somebody sends me a link. Dave sent me the following excerpt from a recent editorial by Mike Wolcott, along with his questions for Wolcott.

Wolcott wrote, “Imagine a world where hospitals are not only overcrowded with unvaccinated COVID patients, they’re overcrowded with people who are overdosing on invermectin

Hard to imagine, isn’t it?” asked Wolcott.

Dave answers, “You’re right.  It is hard to imagine.  Because it’s not true at all. You cited articles quoting Dr. Jason McElyea.  Regarding McElyea, here’s the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say.” Go get ’em, Dave Baby!

Although Dr. Jason McElyea is not an employee of NHS Sequoyah, he is affiliated with a medical staffing group that provides coverage for our emergency room.

“With that said, Dr. McElyea has not worked at our Sallisaw location in over 2 months.

NHS Sequoyah has not treated any patients due to complications related to taking ivermectin. This includes not treating any patients for ivermectin overdose.

All patients who have visited our emergency room have received medical attention as appropriate. Our hospital has not had to turn away any patients seeking emergency care.”

Finally, Dave asked Wolcott, “Will you be printing a correction?  If not, would you please tell me why?  Thank you.”

I will be surprised if Dave gets any response, least of all a correction. I’ll add, Wolcott used two questionable sources, one of which is locked unless you have a subscription. The second is a media group owned by Wall Street investors, one of the founders and biggest donors to the group having been Jeff Bezos of That is questionable to me, I think these people are more interested in manipulating public opinion than in journalism.

And yes, it looks like Wolcott only quoted the part of the articles that he liked, leaving out the rest of the conversation. That is a new low for a guy who has run our local newspaper into the ground.

If Dave gets any response from Wolcott I’ll be sure to run it. But I won’t be holding my breath.

Wildfire on the mountain: who in their right mind would call this “management”?

1 Sep

Woke up to another nosebleed today. Our tiny ac unit, R2D2, died yesterday. We were using it more for air filtering than cooling, for those days when we don’t dare open the windows. But Dave sent me some good news.

Seems the Butte County Board of Supervisors stood up on their hind legs and sent a “scathing letter” to the Secty of Agriculture and the USFS Chief, calling them on the carpet for poor maintenance of our forests and using wildfires as controlled burns. Go get ’em Bill Connelly! Here’s an excerpt.

Scathing Letter

Butte County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Connelly on Aug. 12 drafted a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Chief Randy Moore over how the Dixie Fire and last year’s North Complex Fire were handled. However, the letter was revised to “make it less tense,” and to reflect the views of the entire board before it was sent.

The original draft accused the Forest Service of dereliction of duty and demanded an investigation into the way the Dixie Fire and last year’s North Complex Fire were handled.

“Because of the gross negligence of the USFS fire management philosophy, we no longer have trust and confidence in the decision-making process being used by the USFS,” it read.

The final letter was sent 12 days later. It stated: “The fire suppression philosophy of the USFS needs to be questioned. The ‘fire use policy’ which has been used consistently by the USFS [which allows a fire to burn provided it does not pose an immediate risk of damage to homes or lives] is clearly not effective in these times. This practice in recent years has not worked. With the extreme dry conditions and weather patterns, fires are able to burn over 15 miles in one day.”

The letter also acknowledges that the Forest Service has recently stated it “will discontinue this policy for this fire season.”

Both versions of the letter request reimbursement for costs related to the county’s response to the fires and recovery efforts.

I’ve also read recently and posted here that USFS Chief Randy Moore has called for an end to the current “let it burn” policy. “The letter also acknowledges that the Forest Service has recently stated it “will discontinue this policy for this fire season.” What does that mean? If only Moore would make them put this fire out NOW, instead of “managing” it for overtime and other benefits. I’m not talking about the kids who hike in with shovels and backpacks, I’m talking about the management types who drive in and out every day in their emaculate uniforms and glistening white pick-up trucks. There’s too many salary hogs at Cal Fire, not enough “boots on the ground”.

Who, in their right mind, would call this mess “management”?