A NEW LIFE OF MALCOLM X BRIMMING WITH DETAIL, INSIGHT AND FEELING ~ NYT

THE DEAD ARE ARISING 
The Life of Malcolm X 
By Les Payne and Tamara Payne

Les Payne’s “The Dead Are Arising” arrives in late 2020, bequeathed to an America choked by racism and lawlessness. The book’s subject, Malcolm X, knows this place well, though he died in 1965. Readers may pick up this biography hoping for a celebration of Black pride and resilience in the midst of madness. Payne, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who devoted nearly 30 years to the book before his death in 2018, meets these needs intermittently, but that is not his primary goal. Malcolm’s presence is beautifully rendered, but “The Dead Are Arising,” which was ultimately completed by Payne’s daughter and principal researcher, Tamara Payne, is not a tribute or enshrinement of achievements. Instead, it reconstructs the conditions and key moments of Malcolm’s life, thanks to hundreds of original interviews with his family, friends, colleagues and adversaries. Nobody has written a more poetic account.

This book reveals more of Malcolm’s childhood than we have ever seen. The Paynes’ research elucidates a family history of American racial terror that preceded his birth in 1925. Malcolm’s middle-class parents moved several times, often into neighborhoods they knew were hostile, confronting the Ku Klux Klan, local officials and bigoted employers. His father, Earl Little, died when Malcolm (born Malcolm Little) was 6, the victim of a streetcar accident that Malcolm later suspected was a cover-up for the work of a racist mob.

His mother, Louise, kept the family together as long as she could, but eventually succumbed to poverty and mental illness. Malcolm, then 13, and his seven siblings were scattered into foster care and other arrangements. Still, the influence of his parents, who were steeped in the teachings of Marcus Garvey, cannot be overstated. They could not nurture Malcolm through childhood, but they steeled him with the truth: He owed white people nothing. Not deference, or trust, or gratitude for whatever comfort he might find in life. Malcolm’s character and beliefs changed over the years. Defiance of white supremacy was his essence.

Les Payne wrote “The Dead Are Arising” in part to correct the record in Malcolm X’s autobiography, as is evident in his treatment of Malcolm’s troubled adolescence. Malcolm’s time as a hustler is subject to debate. The historian Manning Marable’s award-winning biography, published in 2011, argues that Malcolm’s autobiography embellishes his early crimes to dramatize his later redemption. “The Dead Are Arising” does not directly engage Marable, but it refutes his interpretation and fills in gaps in Malcolm’s own account. Though he was rarely violent, Malcolm was embedded in a social network of thieves, drug dealers, racketeers and prostitutes as he split his late teenage years between Boston and New York City. His tragic and frequently despicable behavior marked him for early imprisonment, if not death.

Incarceration at 20 was the pivot of Malcolm’s life. He accepted the teachings of the Nation of Islam while behind bars, thanks to evangelizing correspondence from his brothers Philbert and Reginald. Upon his release, Malcolm dedicated himself to his new religion and its captivating and duplicitous leader, Elijah Muhammad. He quickly became the group’s most effective and recognizable spokesman, with fierce criticism of white America and a gospel of Black self-respect. Malcolm’s political celebrity and unapologetic approach ultimately turned the leadership of the Nation of Islam against him, and Muhammad gave the assassination order that led to Malcolm’s killing.

One possible criticism is that Payne does not provide an exhaustive account of Malcolm’s political philosophy. The book contains little analysis of Malcolm’s most celebrated speeches, debates or interviews. Instead, Payne most fully presents Malcolm’s ideas in contrast to those of both Muhammad and Martin Luther King Jr.

This discussion unfolds in one of the book’s strongest sections, a retelling of a bizarre arranged meeting between Malcolm and the leadership of the Ku Klux Klan in Atlanta in 1961. Muhammad sent Malcolm and his colleague Jeremiah X to attend the meeting on behalf of the Nation of Islam, and Malcolm never forgave him. Payne puts readers in the room, and Malcolm’s disgust at being forced to negotiate with terrorists is palpable. But Payne also shows how enthralling it was to watch Malcolm improvise and argue. In this scene and others, we are exposed to Malcolm’s teachings within the rhythm of Payne’s masterly storytelling.

The portion of the book that may receive the most attention is Payne’s account of Malcolm’s assassination at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. The details of the killing have never been totally clear, but Payne’s narrative is exacting. He spotlights key figures and examines the possible involvement of the F.B.I. and New York City police. But I found myself less intrigued by the loose ends of Malcolm’s assassination than devastated by the indignity and simplicity of the killing. Malcolm knew he was in danger and did little to protect himself. He had broken from the Nation of Islam, dedicated himself to Sunni Islam and begun experimenting with new tools for a global, human-rights-based movement for Black liberation. He was forceful, fine and weary, but not finished. And then three men rushed the stage, bullets ripped through Malcolm’s flesh and he bled to death on the floor. We lost him, again.

It is hard not to want Malcolm back, because his charisma is undeniable. His heroism grew from his courage, but also from his delight in his Blackness and his cause. Whenever I see footage of Malcolm, he seems on the verge of smiling, no matter how fiery his words or powerful his enemies. He can’t help laughing at white America’s hypocrisy, and mocking the calls to bargain with a government that wanted him silenced. There was an amused confidence that attracted his followers, along with his rhetorical genius and love for Black people.

But Malcolm’s power was more than embodied charm, and he need not rise from the dead. His diagnosis of calamity is enough to guide us. America has never been a nation of laws for Black people, he said. A country that is conditionally lawful is not lawful at all. It is weak, and will eventually be exposed, no matter how much wealth and military power it amasses. And in such a country, he wondered, what good is it for Black people to ask for trim legal solutions to police violence, electoral theft, segregation and poverty?

An epilogue to “The Dead Are Arising” comments briefly on Malcolm’s legacy, but it doesn’t take a Pulitzer Prize winner to see Malcolm’s inheritance in the Black Lives Matter movement. Black Lives Matter isn’t asking for anything. Like Malcolm, it demands everything that Black people deserve, by any means necessary. It does not advocate violence, but will not abide the sick moral logic that condemns destruction of property as “too extreme” a response to the police shooting us in the back. And thanks to the leadership of Black women and Black L.G.B.T.Q. people, the imagination of the current movement is even more expansive than its predecessors in the mid-20th century. This is the promise they keep, and the idea that pushed Payne to write until death took the pen: We will exceed even Malcolm’s wildest dreams.

Michael P. Jeffries is the dean of academic affairs and a professor of American studies at Wellesley College. He is the author of three books on race and American culture.

A New World Order?

JR.  I was having a discussion with Chino Martinez and John Clendenin, both of the Aspen Mtn. Ski School about the evolution of ski teaching.  

Chino is currently featured in the current issue of Forbes Magazine; so appropriately “Aspen” !I also shared this email response with Dick Dorworth.  

He suggested I share it with the rŌbert Report. If you wish…..    It is getting on time to start thinking about all things snow.
God Damn a Potato !Burnie

To Chino Martinez, international and global ski guide. Is it time to embrace a New World Order of Ski Instruction ?

Chino,   In the New World Order you will become a
Shaman of Skiing.  Your job will be to research how we perceive the universe and how we build
our values and beliefs and subsequently arrive 
at our sense of TRUTH.
Your skiing Demos, PSIA certifications, Aspen
Ski School Passport do not mean shit anymore !
Now you must understand WHY you ski.
Your skis or clothes or boots or fancy sunglasses,
they don’t mean fuck all anymore either.
Now you must understand your RELATIONSHIP
to the cosmos. Its up to you as a shaman how
you wish to manifest and express your love.

xo, Burnie

Documentary offers an insider’s view of Hunter S. Thompson’s 1970 campaign for sheriff in Aspen ~ The Aspen Times

Issues at center of campaign captured in ‘Freak Power’ are relevant 50 years later

What: ‘Freak Power: The Ballot or the Bomb’

Where: Pre-orders freakpower.com; Amazon and other streaming services

When: Beginning Friday, Oct. 23

How much: $19.99

More info: The Aspen Art Museum will host an in-person screening of the film on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 6:30 p.m. The event is sold-out. Public festivities for “Freak Power Day” and a voter registration drive will begin at noon at the Pitkin County Courthouse and will run throughout the day downtown and at the Gonzo Gallery.

Coinciding with the public release of “Freak Power: The Ballot or the Bomb” on Oct 23, the Aspen Times will publish a special 16-page insert reprinting the newspaper’s original contemporaneous coverage of Hunter S. Thompson’s campaign for sheriff in 1970. Look for it on newsstands and at aspentimes.com

An old film canister labeled “Hunter Thompson for Sheriff” turned up in artist Travis Fulton’s barn off Ute Avenue in Aspen three years ago, setting off a series of archival discoveries that have shed new light on the gonzo journalist’s influential 1970 campaign and led to the new documentary “Freak Power: The Ballot or the Bomb.”

The film, co-directed by Aspenites Ajax Phillips and Daniel Joseph Watkins, will be released to video-on-demand services, Oct. 23.

In all, the filmmakers found about seven hours of film footage shot during the campaign by Robert E. Fulton III. It had never been seen by the public — some of it never developed — and was spread between his archives in Aspen, New Jersey and Los Angeles.

“It’s been a treasure hunt,” Phillips said during a July 2019 editing session.

The revelatory footage — along with photographs by David Hiser and Bob Krueger — brings the viewer inside Thompson’s campaign headquarters at the Hotel Jerome, into the legendary debate between Thompson and incumbent Sheriff Carrol D. Whitmire and out to Thompson’s Owl Farm as threats of violence against him mount. It vividly captures the Nixon era scene on the streets as Thompson leads a youthful, peaceful revolution to get young hippies and “freaks” to vote and take control of local government.

“It seems to me the way to cope with power is not to ignore it but to get it,” Thompson says of his aims in the film.

INSIDE THE CAMPAIGN

The film opens with a scene of young Aspenites pouring into the Isis Theatre in downtown Aspen for the 1970 Thompson-Whitmire debate. On stage Whitmire claims not to understand what “freak power” is, while Thompson proudly brandishes the label.

“I am not at all embarrassed to be called a freak,” Thompson says. “To deviate from the style of government that I deplore today is not only wise but necessary.”

From there “Freak Power” is off and running, moving at a breakneck pace through Election Night.

A quick-cut montage sets the local and national scene of 1970 — war in Vietnam, assassinations, President Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover, political violence from the Weathermen, racial inequality and activism, student protestors killed at Kent State. It’s cut against the dawn of the drop-out ski bum era in Aspen, when hippies fled cities for the Roaring Fork Valley and clashed with the conservative tourism industry establishment epitomized by Whitmire.

Thompson, radicalized by the police brutality he witnessed and fell victim to while covering the Democratic National Convention in 1968, sought to try a new kind of politics and law enforcement here in his backyard, in the hopes of inspiring national change — a voter-driven revolution that could be duplicated elsewhere around the U.S.

“What we’re trying to do is to make the vote work, to bring people back into the government,” Thompson’s campaign manager Ed Bastian says in archival footage.

Police harassment of hippies and “land rape” by developers were local signals of troubling national trends, Thompson notes.

“I don’t think we can afford to ignore the national political realities any longer,” he says.

“Freak Power” offers a play-by-play of the campaign as it happens from Thompson, Bastian and “minister of information” Alex Sweetman, explaining the Freak Power philosophy and strategy. The film also shows up close the campaign’s fear and paranoia as the opposition begins to play dirty, death threats roll in and the FBI starts spying on the Thompson campaign.

The film cogently explains Thompson’s flamboyant platform to change the name of Aspen to “Fat City,” sod the streets and ban traffic from downtown, control drug sales and forbid non-residents from hunting and fishing. But it also outlines the more serious and prescient reforms he pushed for, like disarming sheriff’s deputies and down-zoning construction to save the local landscape from development.

The film makes pointed use of footage from prominent Aspenites of the day who criticize Thompson, Mayor Eve Homeyer and the notorious anti-hippie restaurateur Guido Mayer among them. It also suggests that the population of Austrian and German immigrants who had helped found the ski resort here in the 1940s included former Nazis whose intolerance had pervaded local government and politics by 1970.

The issues at the center of the campaign, as captured in “Freak Power,” are shockingly relevant 50 years later. Scenes of voter suppression and post-Kent State protests are strikingly similar to those playing out today nationally during early voting and at Black Lives Matter demonstrations. The viewer is often reminded of how little has changed, but also of how ahead of their time Thompson’s proposed solutions were, including police reform with oversight by an ombudsman, a “community policing” model that finally gained mainstream national traction this summer amid the nationwide protests over police brutality.

Here we see Thompson call for “preventative work” by police, arguing “unless you get at the cause you are never going to control the effect.”

People scoff in the film at Thompson’s drug decriminalization platform, but viewers will notice some of those proposals have became reality in the 21st century as well.

The film will help solidify Thompson’s legacy as a serious and wise political thinker. The man at the center of “Freak Power” is not the drug-gobbling cartoonish character of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” but a clear-eyed, committed and imaginative reformer (with, of course, a genius sense of humor and flair for political theater, showcased as Thompson shaves his head so he can call Whitmire “my long-haired opponent”).

“Freak Power” races to its conclusion with a gripping tick-tock of the rising tensions and many scandals of the campaign’s final days, including the arrival of an undercover federal agent who attempts to infiltrate the Thompson campaign and the specter of dynamite bombings against the Freak Power faithful.

“Having worked on the campaign, the movie brings out a lot of stuff even I did not know about, especially that paranoia,” former Sheriff Bob Braudis, a volunteer for Thompson in 1970 who went on to become a close friend and to implement many of Thompson’s ideas during his 24 years in office, said Wednesday.

Among the most stunning things in “Freak Power,” Watkins and Phillips noted, is the realization that the iconoclast Hunter Thompson was actually the candidate playing by all the rules in this race, the one using the legal tools of democracy as intended.

“If bombing is the last resort I’m not against it,” he says in the film. “The point is that we are not at that last resort. I don’t think we are anywhere near it.”

The film colorfully captures the heady scene inside the Hotel Jerome on election night, with costumed freaks expecting to usher in a new political era. It also depicts the heartbreak of young Aspen as Whitmire pulls away, winning by 500 votes.

“I made a mistake in thinking the town could handle an honest political campaign,” Thompson says in his concession, wrapped in an American flag and wearing a founding fathers’ wig, adding: “The American Dream really is f—ed.”

MAKING ‘FREAK POWER’

~~~ CONTINUE ~~~

COLORADO’S FIRST-EVER CRIMINAL CHARGES FOLLOWING AN AVALANCHE COULD BE SLIPPERY SLOPE FOR BACKCOUNTRY TRAVELERS ~ THE COLORADO SUN

BACKCOUNTRY USERS BEWARE, ‘THE MAN IS GONNA GET YOU!!!!’ ~ RŌBERT

The two snowboarders talk about snow conditions and route selection as they drop in, one at a time. Gusting wind is blowing snow across the ridge as they wind between reefy rocks.

“Avalanche!” yells Tyler DeWitt as he cranks to a stop below his friend Evan Hannibal. 

The two watch the slide — captured on video by Hannibal’s helmet camera — grow from a small slough of wind-deposited snow into a deep avalanche that buries the service road above the west portal of the Eisenhower-Johnson tunnels with 20 feet of snow. 

“F***, dude that is what I was worried about,” Hannibal says.

“F***, dude that is not good,” DeWitt says. 

“I really hope nobody was on that road,” Hannibal says.And this time, for the first time ever in Colorado, the statements and video given by Hannibal and DeWitt are the basis of criminal charges filed by a prosecutor who is seeking $168,000 from the snowboarders to pay for an avalanche mitigation device destroyed in the March 25 slide. 

“We called the authorities in on ourselves. We handled it in a professional manner and tried to be as professional as we could be when a mistake was made,” said Hannibal, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician in Vail who has been snowboarding in Colorado’s backcountry for more than a decade. “I think the backcountry community should be worried about the repercussions here when you report an avalanche and tell the truth and get charged with a crime.”

Boarders charged with reckless endangerment

The avalanche below the Continental Divide barreled down a chute directly above Interstate 70. It started small — 4- to 6-inches deep — and then stepped down to deeper, weaker layers in the snowpack, eventually scouring the ground. More than 400 feet of the Loop Road above the west portal of the tunnels was buried. 

What began as a small slide of a few inches of fresh snow stepped down to a weak layer and ultimately scoured the ground in the March 25 avalanche. The snowboarders who triggered the slide face reckless endangerment charges and fines to replace a damaged avalanche mitigation system, which is marked by the blue ovals. (Provided by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center)

Bruce Brown, the district attorney for Colorado’s 5th Judicial District, said he studied the video of the accident. He points out that the two snowboarders were aware of the risk of an avalanche and discussed how to avoid that risk.

“We charged them with reckless endangerment because it was foreseeable they were putting other people at risk of serious bodily injury in that they recognized the potential for a slide and they could obviously see, right below their skis, I-70, where 100,000 cars go by each week,” Brown said. “They knew if there was a slide, it could end up on the roadway, endangering the traveling public.”

DeWitt and Hannibal had all the avalanche equipment needed for rescue and the video shows them practicing safety protocol —  discussing safe routes, noting hazards, moving one-at-a-time and stopping in safe zones — as they navigated through avalanche terrain. DeWitt had been riding different chutes in the area the weeks prior, with no incident. The chute the two chose to descend on March 25 had two remote controlled O’bellx avalanche mitigation cannons, which the Colorado Department of Transportation installed in the fall of 2018 to bring down smaller avalanches to minimize the chance of a larger slide burying the interstate.

“The riders assumed that the avalanche mitigation to protect the tunnel infrastructure decreased the avalanche hazard on the slope,” the CAIC report on the avalanche reads, also noting the difference between avalanche mitigation to protect infrastructure, which reduces the potential for large slides, and mitigation at ski areas, which reduces the potential for small, human-triggered slides. “Backcountry travelers who are unaware of the differences often overestimate the hazard reduction from an infrastructure mitigation program.”

The Colorado Department of Transportation, which spent $371,000 in 2018 installing three remote control avalanche mitigation systems above I-70 around the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels and another on Berthoud Pass, had never lost an O’bellx or Gazex avalanche device in a slide. 

The agency and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center use more than a dozen of the remote controlled systems on Loveland and Berthoud passes to reduce avalanche hazards above U.S. 6 and U.S. 40. CDOT has not replaced the O’bellx unit lost in the March avalanche. An agency spokeswoman said CDOT is looking at “alternative plans to ensure the slide path is safe” throughout the 2020-21 season.  

~~~ CONTINUE ~~~

ALL OF COLORADO IS UNDER DROUGHT STATUS FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2013

The results are in: All of Colorado is, to some degree or another, in a drought.

As of the U.S. drought monitor’s latest update on Thursday, every part of Colorado is in at least moderate drought, with 16.72% in the most severe category of “exceptional,” mostly on the Western Slope. The state has not been entirely in drought since July 2013.

The U.S. Drought Monitor for Colorado as of Oct. 13, 2020. The weekly update was published Oct. 15, 2020. (National Drought Mitigation Center)

Oct.1 marked the start of a new water year, and “stating the obvious here,” said Curtis Ringanti, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center, wrote this week’s drought monitor, “it’s not a good place to be starting from.” The previous water year started off promising, riding the boon of heavy snows during the 2018-19 winter, but finished on a disappointing note.

Riganti noted that because of data limitations, the map is more of a broad overview, and there could be localized situations that are slightly different.

The U.S. Drought Monitor for the 50 states and Puerto Rico as of Oct. 13, 2020. The weekly update was published Oct. 15, 2020. (National Drought Mitigation Center)

Since the drought monitor is updated weekly, it’s also possible that if a big storm rolls in bringing lots of moisture, next week’s assessment will not have the whole state in drought. But Peter Goble, a climatologist with the Colorado Climate Center, noted that the state will need more than just a good snow to rebound. 

Goble said the drought came about through a series of events starting with a lackluster monsoon season in the fall of 2019. Last winter brought a meager snow season, and this year’s monsoon season failed to materialize. 

“This year has been pretty bad all over,” Goble said.

The drought has intersected with Colorado’s wildfire season in unexpected ways. Goble said in previous dry years, fires started ramping up in June as snowmelt runoff dried up, but late summer rains would help dampen the blazes by fall. This year, rain has been almost nonexistent.

“This year has rewritten the script in Colorado,” Goble said.

Goble considers the weekly drought monitor a “conversation starter,” as it can indicate when to activate drought intervention programs. And though it’s very thorough due to the types and sources of data it uses, it’s not very effective as a long-term predictive tool.

On one hand, this degree of drought is likely to occur again in future years, thanks to the warming impacts of climate change. Drought, especially on severe levels, certainly makes climate resilience — for humans and for the environment — more difficult. However, Goble cautioned against the idea that warmer temperatures will automatically equal less and less moisture every year, full stop. 

If anything, climate models indicate a more varied — and difficult — future ahead.

“The warmer it gets,” Goble said, “the more the dry years will hurt.”

In My Mountain Town, We’re Preparing for Dark Times ~ NYT

As the contagion spreads, we look ahead to winter and wonder whom we can safely pull close.

By Christopher Solomon

Mr. Solomon is a contributing editor at Outside.

The North Cascades in Washington, mid-October.Credit…Ian Allen for The New York Times
TWISP, Wash. —

At dawn the deer are as thick as cattle in the valley bottom, feeding on what remains after summer’s final haying. Soon, hunting season’s first shot will scatter them to higher country, where winds shake the aspens’ first golden coins to the ground. There’s not much time. So they eat the stubble without pause, fattening up for the hungry months ahead.

At the river, the water is skinny but runs cold again with the return of freezing nights. The trout feel the change and are voracious. This makes them reckless, and the fishing is good in the squinting hours around sunrise. I tie on an October caddis and skate the fly over the water in the blue morning. Big trout lunge after it, detonating the quiet.
It is autumn again in the mountains of the West, and what is not gracefully dying is desperate to live.

I live in the lap of tall peaks in Washington’s North Cascades, where the turn from summer to fall always mixes beauty with melancholy. October’s yellow afternoons smell of winter at the edges. The soft ovation of the cottonwoods sends another round of leaves adrift on the water. Everything lovely harbingers an ending. Nothing gold can stay, as Frost wrote.

Even in the lovely moments, a franticness belies the season here, the underlying rhythm of life in hard places. The black bear roots for the last frost-shriveled berries. The fish lurches to the fly. The woodcutter’s saw screams in the quiet forest, as she piles the rounds that will warm her family. All of us in our fashion rush to lay in the things we need before winter descends.

I stand in the river, ice water girdling my hips, and I cast, and cast again. I am as ravenous as the trout. I, too, need something to sustain me. But what, exactly?

This autumn feels different than those of the past. The wistfulness of the season is stronger, and the pace of the days feels more urgent. All spring and summer, as places such as New York suffered terribly because of the pandemic, we enjoyed our relative isolation and the lack of outbreaks. Our valley wants for many things, but we do not lack for elbow room. When the news, and the numbers, grew ever more awful, we simply headed outside, alone or together, as we sought the solace of open spaces, as Gretel Ehrlich put it.

The other asset that makes this place special is its sense of community. Late each autumn the already-small population of the valley shrinks smaller still, as avalanches close one of the few roads to Seattle and the snowbirds migrate south. People who have scattered to the woods and peaks and fields all summer now return, and the community knits itself together again for the cold winter months, buried in snow.

There are Tuesday night science talks at the Red Barn, and pickup hockey at the rink on Wednesdays, and costume parties at the Grange Hall. Friends crowd into snug, stove-lighted places, and they share meals featuring the tomatoes they canned the previous summer. We are the rancher’s cattle pushed down from summer range by first snow to gather together closely for the winter, warmer together.

The turn from summer to fall always mixes beauty with melancholy
The turn from summer to fall always mixes beauty with melancholyCredit…Ian Allen for The New York Times

In an era of contagion, though, closeness is treacherous. We are told to stay out of one another’s homes. We are advised to avoid gatherings. What makes us human — the need for connection, for human touch — is now suspect.

And so my friends and I fish too long when we should be picking the last frost-sweetened plums. We put our hands on the still-warm granite of the climbing pitch rather than cook down the applesauce. We take ridgeline hikes among larch the color of struck matches when we should be at the work desk. We run for hours through the mountains without thought of tomorrow’s soreness, or the firewood left uncut.

We tear at the days immoderately, like animals, and we wolf them down, hoping to fill a hole we see yawning ahead. There’s not much time. The forecast calls for snow up high this week — “termination dust,” the locals call it.

And so we also grab at the invitations to dinner outside with others — invitations that once felt casual but that now feel urgent. We sit on the patio drinking summer drinks long after summer is gone, ignoring the shivering night. We look for more human connections to make, wondering who we can safely pull close, whose friendship will keep us both warm. We are laying by memories for winter, as the bear puts on fat, in hopes what we have will be enough for the long, dark times to come.

Old Mexican posts rot after 40 years

Even at Rancho Desperado the weather has affects

0ld friend Swami brought all the right tools and skills for the job. I just had a chainsaw and an old chisel.

Close Enough Construction
old Mexican pine
replaced ~
new cedar block

FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF TELLS FRIENDS THAT TRUMP ‘IS THE MOST FLAWED PERSON’ HE’S EVER MET ~ CNN Sunday night special

(CNN) — Former White House chief of staff, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, has told friends that President Donald Trump “is the most flawed person” he’s ever known.

“The depths of his dishonesty is just astounding to me. The dishonesty, the transactional nature of every relationship, though it’s more pathetic than anything else. He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life,” the retired Marine general has told friends, CNN has learned.The reporting comes from a new CNN special scheduled to air Sunday night, “The Insiders: A Warning from Former Trump Officials,” in which former senior administration officials — including former national security adviser John Bolton, former Health and Human Services scientist Rick Bright and former Department of Homeland Security general counsel John Mitnick — explain why they think the President is unfit for office. 

Kelly’s sentiments about the President’s transactional nature and dishonesty have been shared by other former members of the Trump administration who also appear in the special. Olivia Troye, a former top adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, has said the President knew about the impact the coronavirus pandemic would have on the US by mid-February, but that “he didn’t want to hear it, because his biggest concern was that we were in an election year.” Miles Taylor, a former DHS chief of staff who now serves as a CNN contributor, has assertedTrump essentially calls individuals within the federal government who disagree with him “deep state.” 

Elizabeth Neumann, another former DHS official, had criticized Trump for not condemning White supremacy after the first presidential debate in September.

“The fact that he continues to not be able to just point-blank say, ‘I condemn White supremacy.’ It boggles the mind,” she told CNN at the time.

Trump did say on Thursday during a town hall on NBC that he condemned White supremacy. “I denounce White supremacy, OK?,” Trump told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. “I’ve denounced White supremacy for years.” 

The President sometimes is successfully cajoled to condemn White supremacists, but often — such as in the first presidential debate — seems reluctant do so, perhaps so as to not alienate any potential votes.Kelly, who left the White House under contentious circumstances in January 2019, has occasionally voiced criticisms of the Trump administration since leaving his post.In June, in the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis police and Trump’s response to the subsequent protests and calls for racial justice, Kelly said he agreed with former Secretary of Defense Gen. Jim Mattis’ stark warning that Trump is “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people.” Kelly said he would have cautioned Trump against the idea of using law enforcement to clear Lafayette Square of protesters ahead of the President’s now infamous photo op in front of a nearby church. Kelly also defended retired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman for raising concerns about the President’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — the call at the heart of the President’s impeachment. And Kelly has said he believes Bolton’s allegation that Trump conditioned US security aid to Ukraine on an investigation into political rivals. Kelly has said that before he left the White House, he cautioned Trump: “Don’t hire a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth. … Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached.” 

Since Kelly’s departure, the White House and the President have maintained that the former general wasn’t cut out for his job in the West Wing. 

“When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn’t do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head,” Trump tweeted in February. “Being Chief of Staff just wasn’t for him. He came in with a bang, went out with a whimper, but like so many X’s, he misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut.”

Vail, Summit County snowboarders facing criminal charges, $168,000 in restitution for avalanche incident ~ Vail Daily

CAIC narcs on snowboarders?

~~~~

In matters of the law, it’s true that anything you say can and will be used against you.

But in submitting his GoPro footage to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center in March, Vail resident Evan Hannibal said he wasn’t expecting his comments in the video would help establish a case against him resulting in a reckless endangerment charge and a potential $168,000 in restitution.

Hannibal was snowboarding with Summit County resident Tyler DeWitt on the west side of the Continental Divide on March 25 in the White River National Forest above the Eisenhower Tunnel.

DeWitt said when they reached the area they wanted to ride, he tried to release a small slab, but ended up seeing a much bigger reaction than the pair was expecting.

“I was trying to release the small wind-drifted slab that had been releasing naturally along this wall throughout the day,” DeWitt said. “I wanted this to slide before I was in the choke and still on shallow snow.”

Releasing the small slab led to a large avalanche. Hannibal and DeWitt watched it happen, then made their way down the avalanche debris to the bottom of the slope and called the incident into the authorities, giving statements to the Summit County Sheriff’s Department.

Big slide

Brian Metzger, a special operations technician with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, responded to the incident.

In his report, Metzger estimated that debris covering Loop Road above Eisenhower Tunnel was 20 feet deep in places.

“The debris on the road was deep enough to have trapped and or completely buried a vehicle,” Metzger wrote in the report.

Metzger said CDOT notified him that the avalanche control system had been destroyed.

“The two snowboarders were on the slope above the O’bellx system and triggered the avalanche which destroyed the system as it came down,” Metzger noted in the report.

A couple of weeks after the incident, Metzger contacted the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and received a copy of their report, along with Hannibal’s GoPro footage, which he had submitted.

Metzger received the GoPro footage on April 6 and reviewed the footage.

“Throughout the video there are several comments made about areas of concern,” Metzger wrote in the report. “The pair were clearly worried about avalanche conditions but proceeded down the path anyway. After the avalanche was triggered there was a comment made about how he hoped there was no one on the road. There was also a comment made about being in trouble if the cops show up.”

Metzger attempted to contact Hannibal and DeWitt on the same day he reviewed the footage to issue them summonses for reckless endangerment. They were issued summonses on April 8.

Expensive equipment

Saying the new equipment will help prevent avalanches from reaching large sizes, CDOT invested in 15 new O’bellx avalanche control systems in 2019.

The devices cost $120,000 apiece, plus instillation.

In receiving a citation for reckless endangerment, Hannibal and DeWitt can also be ordered to pay restitution for the destruction of the O’bellx explosion chamber.

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