Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Breaking The Chains: Global Call To Action – Update: Masonite Monster Mall Will Be Defeated

In Dave Smith on April 30, 2009 at 4:00 pm

From Organic Consumers Association

Dear Friends,
We, the undersigned, call on ethically responsible people across the world to Break the Chains of self-destructive consumerism by boycotting Wal-Mart and other national and international chain stores, fast food restaurants, corporate coffeehouses, and products bearing the logos of the multinational Brand Name Bullies.

Wal-Mart and the multinational chains are colonizing our communities and our minds, North & South, East & West, rural and urban, killing off small businesses, exploiting workers and farmers, devastating the environment, and sowing a toxic culture of cheap goods and social unaccountability. Unless we stop this Wal-Martization of our communities, we can say goodbye to Fair Trade, family farms, independent businesses, workers rights, and environmental sustainability.

From Manhattan to Mexico, from China to Chile, farmers, consumers and independent businesses are resisting the invasion of Wal-Mart and the Corporate Chain stores and building grassroots power through local, green, and just commerce. The answer to Wal-Martization and so-called “Free Trade” is ethical consumer purchasing and political action–building and supporting local and community-based producers and businesses through solidarity, collective purchasing power, and mutual aid. Fair Trade, not Free Trade, must become the global norm, with organic and sustainable production leading the way. Local and community control over essential goods and services provides the only solid foundation for economic democracy, a sustainable environment, and public health.

Help us mark the beginning of the end for Wal-Mart and the Corporate Chains. Please join us as we step up the pace to re-localize and green a just global economy. Consumers of the world unite! We have nothing to lose but our chains!

In Solidarity,


[Update]
Ukiah Citizen’s Group Predicts Victory Over DDR Inc. Mega-mall Ballot Measure

Keep reading→

The media laps up fake controversy over climate change – George Monbiot

In Around the web on April 30, 2009 at 6:59 am

by George Monbiot

Proof of paid-for climate denial at the Global Climate Coalition comes as no surprise, but it is no less depressing for that

There are three kinds of climate change denier. There are those who simply don’t want to accept the evidence, because it is too much to bear, or because it threatens aspects of their lives that they don’t want to change. These are by far the most numerous, and account for most of those whose comments will follow this post.

I have some sympathy for their position. Denial is most people’s first response to something they don’t want to hear, whether it is a diagnosis of terminal illness or the threat presented by the rise of the Axis Powers. The moral, intellectual and practical challenge of climate change is unprecedented. The urge to duck it almost irresistible.

Then there is a smaller group of people – almost all men, generally in their sixties or above – who are not paid for their stance, but who have achieved a little post-retirement celebrity through well-timed controversialism…

Anyone who has taken the trouble to read the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or who subscribes to Science or Nature knows that they cannot possibly believe this, or are able to believe it only by tying their minds into such elaborate knots that they have succeeded in deceiving themselves.

..Last week the New York Times revealed that the Global Climate Coalition, the industry-funded body that led the campaign to persuade people that manmade climate wasn’t happening, knew all along that it was…

Go to The media laps up fake controvery at The Guardian→
~~

DDR halts construction of Connecticut Monster Mall

In Dave Smith on April 30, 2009 at 6:00 am

["Rockpile Lifestyle Center" returning to just a pile of rocks. -DS]

They fought long, hard, and at great expense to build a “lifestyle center” atop the “Rockpile” in town. Now it appears that bad timing and a sluggish economy have caught up with Developers Diversified Realty Corporation (DDR) of Ohio.

According to DDR Senior Executive Vice President of Leasing and Development Paul Freddo, construction of the 150,000 square foot, $37 million retail center called Guilford Commons has stopped, for the interim, he says.

“For now, Developers Diversified’s Guilford Commons, a 26-acre lifestyle center development, has suspended further construction,” stated Freddo. “We view the suspension as a temporary delay.”

Not surprisingly, Freddo said that current economic conditions, including shrinking consumer confidence and poor retail sales, have caused retailers who prefer the lifestyle center format to slow their expansion plans on a national level.

In many of its presentations to the community, DDR indicated that tenants such as Talbots, Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic, Chico’s, Coldwater Creek, and Panera Bread Company would most likely be part of their “lifestyle center” family…

The developer has four other projects in Connecticut in Manchester, Plainville, Waterbury, and Windsor.

Go to Recession Hits the ‘Rockpile’
Thanks to SHERRY GLAVICH
~~

Ukiah Farmers Market Spring Opening Day – Saturday 5/2, 8:30am

In Dave Smith on April 30, 2009 at 1:21 am

From SCOTT CRATTY
Ph: 707-462-7377

Friends of the Farmers’ Market,

Greetings.  This weekend is OPENING DAY for the regular market season.

Minty, Emily and Clorinda say “C’mon down!”

A number of your favorites who have been missing from the winter market will return.  For example, I expect Aqua-Rodeo oysters to return.  Also, the Garden Bakery.  We will have a new local Palownia tree vendor and Busalacchi Farm will be hauling in their cherries.  Others such as Gowan’s Apple Tree and Flowers by the Sea may surprise us both with an appearance as well …

Got a Screen?

At about 9:30 I will be giving my presentation about farmers’ markets and the consequences to our community that follow from our decisions about where we get our food to the students in Mendocino Collages 1st ever Local Food class.  If you would like to check it out you can pull up a chair nearby at 9:30. I can do the presentation with or without slides but will try to have a projector on hand just in case someone brings a portable movie/slide screen to project it on.  Following my presentation the class will get to hear from and talk with Paula Manalo of Mendocino Organics and The Greenhorns Project and Stephen Decater of Live Power Community Farm (LPCF). BTW – it is still possible to get a subscription to LPCF before the season starts.  To find out more check with Stephen or Gloria at the market on Saturday.

Keep reading→

Down with raised beds

In Garden Farm Skills, Guest Posts on April 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm

From Gene Logsdon
Garden Farm Skills

The only raised bed I’ve ever found useful in sixty years of gardening is the one in my bedroom. And after I quit double-digging, I didn’t have to spend as much time there either. Or if I did, it was for reasons other than resting.

I must be wrong, but I don’t understand the modern enchantment with raised beds. Yes, if you are a market gardener, you will no doubt feel obliged to plant on raised beds to get the earliest possible crops but you can get early vegetables in unraised beds too. I have a very disgusting sister who plants peas in March here in northern Ohio, and often gets away with it, without raised beds.

If you want to plant a garden on an old parking lot (I have a hunch there will be many abandoned ones in the future) then by all means you will need a raised bed.  (It should give us all pause, however,  to realize that plants can come right up through cracks in pavement and grow vigorously— so what’s that say about all our dearly held beliefs about gardening?) And definitely, if you want to plant a garden on something akin to swampland, you will surely want a raised bed. But the poorly-drained  soil under it will still “lay wet” and give you problems when your plants put down deep roots.

Other than those situations, raised beds guarantee only one result as far as I can see. You will have to irrigate more when dry weather comes and it comes quicker on raised beds. All of us gardeners pride ourselves in being eco-friendly. What is so ecological  about using water (and the power to pump it) when you can avoid doing so? Also, if you are bound and determined to make raised beds, a veteran market gardener just told me that you should be sure to mulch the paths heavily around the raised beds. Otherwise moisture will be drawn out of the bed even faster. So why not just go with unraised beds and mulch them?

Keep reading→

Homeopathy successfully treated Flu Epidemic of 1918

In Around the web on April 29, 2009 at 7:12 am

(NaturalNews) Homeopathy was successful in treating the flu epidemic of 1918 and can provide answers to questions about the 2009 Swine Flu. Homeopathy can provide quick and inexpensive relief for symptoms of the flu. A system of medicine based on the principles of “like cures like,” homeopathy uses plant, mineral and animal sources for the natural flu remedies. Homeopathy is based on ideas from ideas dating back to Egyptian medicine. The term “homeopathy” was coined by the medical doctor and medical reformer, Samuel Hahnemann in the 1800s. Homeopathic remedies have been used to treat flu symptoms for two centuries.

Was homeopathy successful in treating the flu epidemic of 1918?
Yes.
While the mortality rate of people treated with traditional medicine and drugs was 30 percent, those treated by homeopathic physicians had mortality rate of 1.05 percent. Of the fifteen hundred cases reported at the Homeopathic Medical Society of the District of Columbia there were only fifteen deaths. Recoveries in the National Homeopathic Hospital were 100%. In Ohio, of 1,000 cases of influenza, Dr. T. A. McCann, MD, Dayton, Ohio reported NO DEATHS.

What homeopathic remedies were used to successfully treat the Spanish flu in 1918?
Gelsemium and Bryonia
According the Dr. Frank Wieland, MD, in Chicago, “(With) 8,000 workers we had only one death. Gelsemium was practically the only remedy used. We used no aspirin and no vaccines.”

Homeopathy was 98% successful in treating the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918?
Yes.
Ohio reported that 24,000 cases of flu treated allopathically had a mortality rate of 28.2% while 26,000 cases of flu treated homeopathically had a mortality rate of 1.05%. In Connecticut, 6,602 cases were reported, with 55 deaths, less than 1%. Dr. Roberts, a physician on a troop ship during WWI, had 81 cases of flu on the way over to Europe. He reported, “All recovered and were landed. Every man received homeopathic treatment.

Keep reading Homeopathy successsful at Natural News

Hat tip Organic Consumers Association
~~

Newcomer says: Don’t make the same Sonoma County mistake – Masonite Monster Mall (Updated)

In Around the web on April 28, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Letter to the Editor
Press Democrat

As a newcomer to Ukiah, I find it disheartening to find my new home possibly about to make the same mistake as my old one, Sonoma County.

DDR, a development company, is pushing for a shopping center on Ukiah’s Masonite site, and while the project is promoted as a small strip mall, the developer’s 2009 proposed specific plan amendment calls for construction of a mixed-use center with maximum building area of 800,000 square feet — making it comparable to Coddingtown or the Santa Rosa Plaza.

In the 1980s, the Santa Rosa Plaza emptied Santa Rosa’s downtown of commerce, and it’s taken decades for that downtown to recover. I would hate to see the same fate for downtown Ukiah and its nearby smaller shopping centers.

There’s evidence nationwide that Americans are rejecting mall culture as gas prices rise, turning instead to smaller local shopping areas and to online shopping that doesn’t require car travel at all. DDR’s large mall would require a large shopping population drawn from a wide radius, not just from small Ukiah.

How sad if we in Ukiah allow construction of a major shopping center when other Americans are learning the lessons of the past decades, coming to prize their downtowns and avoiding huge malls.

VICTORIA GOLDEN

Ukiah


[Update -DS]

GUINESS McFADDEN talks about the Monster Mall plan on BARRY VOGEL’S Radio Curious (podcast)

McFadden discusses why he is strongly opposed to the attempt by Ohio-based Developers Diversified Realty Inc. (DDR) to pass a ballot initiative which would rezone the 76-acre Masonite plant site to allow a shopping mall of up to 800,000 square feet.


Obama’s First 100 Days Makes and Remakes History

…what team Obama has accomplished in its first 100 days is nothing less than an unprecedented reversal of decades of unsustainable national policy forced down the throat of the American public by conservatives.  While I will present a longer list below — and welcome your additions — three game-changing accomplishments stand out:

  1. Green Stimulus:  Progressives, Obama keep promise to jumpstart clean energy, economy — conservatives keep promise to jumpstop the future
  2. Sustainable Budget:  The first sustainable budget in U.S. history.
  3. Regulatory breakthrough:  EPA finds carbon pollution a serious danger to Americans’ health and welfare requiring regulation

Obama has clearly demonstrated he has a serious chance to be the first President since FDR to remake the country through his positive vision.  Indeed, if Obama is a two-term president, if he achieves even half of what he has set out to, he will likely be remembered as “the green FDR.”

Go to article at Grist
~~

Economies in Transition – Money needs growth and growth needs energy

In Dave Smith on April 28, 2009 at 7:14 pm

From Transition Culture UK

A useful place to start in an exploration of what exactly is happening to the global economy, in particular in the light of how it relates to peak oil and climate change, is with a look at what are the assumptions we have made thus far about the economy. Do they still hold after the events of recent months? Did they ever actually make sense in the first place? What are the assumptions about the economy and the financial system, as well as about the basic resources, both natural and cultural, on which we have based our decisions for the last 50 years – are they still valid? Chris Martenson, author of the Crash Course, puts it thus;

“Here’s how it all sums up. There are some knowns. We know that energy is the cause for all growth and complexity. We know that surplus energy is shrinking. We know that the age of cheap oil is over. And we know that because of this, oil costs will consume an ever-greater proportion of our total budget. And because of these knowns, there are some risks. There is the risk that our exponential money system will cease to operate in a world of declining energy surplus. It might simply not be suited to the task. And there is the risk that our society will be forced to become less complex. If you really think about it, that is a very loaded sentence right there.”

Chris Martenson http://www.chrismartenson.com/

Our assumptions, in brief, have been as follows;

  • economies can grow forever, that every year we will trade more, make more money, produce and consume more goods and reach more customers to sell them to
  • this indefinite economic growth and the raw materials needed to make ever more goods will always be available cheaply, and that the energy required to make them will always be available, cheaply
  • we will always be able to access cheap credit, and that we can borrow from the future on the assumption that the future will be richer, more technologically adept and more solvent than the present
  • the UK can move from being a society with a manufacturing base and a diverse and resilient agriculture, to having an economy based on services and knowledge, or as comedian David Mitchell puts it, “ringtones and lattes”
  • the value of our homes would increase in the long run, and that we could use them as cash dispenser machines, and so the more houses we built, the more people could borrow huge sums, forever
  • somehow all that extra economic growth and ‘progress’ will give us more flourishing lives and communities and the only likely alternative is poverty, unemployment and a break-down in law and order

Clearly these assumptions are now highly questionable.

Keep reading Economies in Transition

See also Richard Heinberg interview

Hat tip Energy Bulletin
~~

What happened to Obama and Medical Marijuana? (Part 1)

In Dave Smith on April 28, 2009 at 8:30 am

From SUSAN B. JORDAN

April 28, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

First, the history.  On the campaign trail, then candidate Obama announced that raiding medical marijuana dispensaries was not going to be a priority for his administration.  Within weeks of moving to the White House, he seemed to be keeping to this promise and word began emanating from the White House through aides that the president believes that “federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws.”

Medical marijuana advocacy groups,  NORML, and defendants facing many years in federal prison for operating medical marijuana dispensaries were for the first time in years jubilant that a sane marijuana policy might begin to take shape within the Justice Department and the DEA.

For over 10 years, the federal government has conducted a relentless war against the operation of California’s proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act. The government has closed down local medical marijuana dispensaries (one of the first being the here in Ukiah in 1998); it has tried to stop doctors from writing prescriptions for medical marijuana (they lost this one in the Supreme Court); it won a ruling from the Supreme Court that says that there is no constitutional right to have access to medical marijuana, even if your life is endangered without it; it has gone after landlords renting to medical marijuana dispensaries; and it has imprisoned, for long prison terms, individuals operating collectives and dispensaries.

When, in February the new Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the DEA would no longer raid retail medical marijuana outlets, it seemed that this bad chapter of federal muscle flexing might be over. Was a new and sane marijuana era coming into being?

Tom Ammiano, California State Assembly person from San Francisco, wrote a bill to legalize marijuana. Betty Yee, Chairperson of the Board of Equalization, whose agency currently collects $18 million in sales taxes from dispensaries, said that a regulated marijuana industry would bring in $1.3 billion. Unfortunately, the Ammiano bill died in committee.

It’s not time to celebrate yet.  Far from it in fact.

Almost immediately after Holder’s announcement, the DEA began to undercut the change they saw coming. Several raids on medical marijuana dispensaries have been conducted in California since the February announcement, four on the very day of the announcement. Backtracking, spokespeople for the administration started to talk about no raids, only “if the dispensaries were in compliance with state law.”  Until this moment, the federal government took the position that whatever state law was, it didn’t matter.  They could ignore state law.  It’s justification for busting dispensaries was, that they, like any ordinary dope dealers, were distributing marijuana.  Now, it was state law that was being violated.

Suddenly, it seemed we are going to have the DEA in charge of deciding who is complying with state law.  The smallest real or imagined failure to comply with state law will now do to justify a raid:  one of the recent raids occurred apparently because the woman who ran the dispensary was late on her payment to the BOE.

Keep reading→

Single Payer: They can’t hear us, or they aren’t listening?

In Around the web on April 27, 2009 at 3:35 pm

From JANIE SHEPPARD

April 27, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

It appears that Congressional leaders are being deliberately dismissive of single-payer to the point of ludicrous statements. It’s like they have put their fingers in their ears and are yelling “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you.”

Here they are in all their Congressional “member” glory:
Baucus a few days ago: “Everything BUT single payer is on the table. Single payer is off the table”
Pelosi: “In our caucus, over and over again, we hear single payer, single payer, single payer. Well, it’s not going to be a single payer.”
Pelosi’s aide: “Where are the phone calls, e-mails and faxes in support of single-payer? Speaker Pelosi has been in favor of single-payer for a long time. Now make us do it.”

OK. We are up to the challenge. Her aide wants to see the faxes. Let’s break their damn fax machines with the faxes.
You can send a fax right now to Pelosi, Baucus, the aide and the White House.

http://www.1payer.net/campaigns/efax-pelosi-single-payer-agenda.html

~~

Community Interpretive Watershed and Visitor’s Center – Community Development Plan for Masonite Site (Part 6)

In Mendo Island Transition on April 27, 2009 at 12:09 pm

From EARL BROWN

April 27, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Healthy communities depend upon healthy natural environments. We cannot survive long without water and the systems that keep it fresh and flowing.

Rivers and streams are full of sediment from timber harvest, mining, agriculture, urban development, and mostly roads. It is essential that the public be educated in natural systems and what a healthy watershed is. In the past one hundred years human encroachment into our watersheds has created many negative conditions that are now the jobs of the future. The salmon (Coho and Chinook) are listed as either Threatened or Endangered, under the Endangered Species Act, in many watersheds and in some areas the steelhead trout is listed as well.

The polarity between agri-business and environmentalists, between politicians and environmentalists, between business and workers, resource exploitation and making a living is pulling at the fabric of our communities and stimulating division, fear and aggression.

A public access center where information regarding Mendocino County’s stream, rivers and watersheds would be kept and made available would be a valuable asset for the community is several ways. The collection, synthesis and dissemination of information to the public would increase voter awareness of environmental issues; The Center could be a training center for unemployed and displace workers; it could provide Summer Youth employment and entry level skills building jobs for those just starting in the working world; work closely with Employment Development Department, MPIC, and other job training and placement services; help create and test environmental curriculum for local schools and beyond; provide landowners with information and other services to meet their environmental needs; and provide civil leaders with current and meaningful information on environmental issues. Repairing the damage to our watersheds, streams and rivers is a source of many jobs in the near future.

There is a dearth of environmental training opportunities from qualified sources although some advancement has been made in grades K-8 for nature based curriculum. In his book Last Child in the Woods Richard Louv coins the term Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD), noting the trend of children spending less time in nature and an increase in behavioral problems. Jane Goodall’s program Roots to Shoots is being taught in many impoverished areas of the world and is now making its way into American schools. An example of good environmental curriculum, based in local watersheds is A Child’s Place in the Environment and can be found at Lake County Office of Education. Other curriculum such as Project Wet and Re-Leaf are good for urban areas where access to natural areas is limited to parks, urban streams, and field trip to “the country”. Even with programs such as school gardens and fish in the classroom it is not enough. There is a dire need for the development of additional curriculum for environmental education in our schools, more opportunities for children to be out in full sensory contact with nature and more support for teachers and administrators seeking to bring nature back into our schools.

Not only children, but adults, need environmental education and direct sensory connection with nature. Adults as decision makers regarding environmental issues are uninformed, disconnected and unaware of how natural “living” systems work and therefore are incapable of making correct choices. Raised to see the board feet in a tree rather than the tree itself has left people incapable to see the other services a tree has to offer. As the sensory connection with nature deepens within the individual the more they understand we are all connected in inexplicable ways, to each other and to nature. This increased awareness of the importance of naturally functioning ecosystems combined with their own direct experiences with nature gives our voters and civic leaders the information needed to make wise choices concerning development, water usage, pollution enforcement, resource extraction and law enforcement. Awareness of how natural systems work and our dependence upon them also leads to the realization that there is a lot of work that needs to be done to protect, enhance and rehabilitate our watersheds.

Repairing the damage done to our watersheds and natural systems will require the work of thousands, if not millions, of people trained to work in and with natural systems. In Mendocino County alone there are years of work, for hundreds, if not thousands of jobs for properly trained people, in ecosystem management and restoration. Between the years 2000 and 2004 the Mendocino County Department of Transportation, via the Board of Supervisors, participated in a revolutionary study with five other counties that ignored political boundaries and based a drainage survey of their county road systems (not state highways or freeways) for sediment delivery into watercourses. The project was grant funded and titled, “The 5 County Effort” involving Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity, Siskiyou and Del Norte counties. The results for Mendocino County are complied in the “D.I.R.T. Database” and kept at Mendocino County, Department of Transportation. Over 8000 individual “sights”, or places where sediment was transported to a watercourse via the road drainage system, were identified/located, assessed for past, present and future sediment delivery with individual data forms, located with a Global Positioning System (GPS) for electronic mapping and given a specific treatment to eliminate, or minimize, the sediment delivery at each site. Material alone, to refit Mendocino County road drainage systems to meet, not exceed, environmental law is over fifty million dollars, not including labor and administration.

As large a number as eight thousand may seem, while conducting this surveyors (myself) witnessed tens of thousands of sediment delivering sites from private roads, residential and industrial alike. Much of the sediment from private property is conducted to watercourses by the county road drainage system. Dirt roads are responsible for up to 60 percent and more of the sediment reaching stream channels. Due to human impacts soil loss has become accelerated to the point of becoming an environmental hazard, as outlined in Section 303-d of the Clean Water Act. This sediment is filling in the pool habitat in streams, reducing flow capacity and increasing the frequency of flooding, removing deep cool water increasing water temperature, clogging spawning gravels and adversely affecting aquatic macro-invertebrates, which help form the base of the riparian food chain and necessary for healthy naturally functioning watersheds. Even if the County’s road system was hydrologically invisible (zero negative impact- no delivery) there would be no visible, or I believe measurable, difference in the quality of our rivers and streams; the magnitude of sediment from private property far exceeds that from the county roads.

This is not to support the County’s refusal to fix the road system but to identify a job source for the next one hundred year, or more. Soil loss due to timber practices, mining, construction sites, agri-business farming, fire fighting (fuel load management), and more contribute to the degradation of our watersheds and rivers. Many jobs in the future, if we choose healthy natural systems and communities, will be in healing the damage caused by short sighted plans and goals. In order to properly address the environmental health of Mendocino County and build a job base upon watershed protection and rehabilitation we need to change local governance. The old paradigm of growth and consumption as a way to economic health is quickly being shown to be the fraud it is. We cannot grow our way into the future and only a sustainable worldview will buy us the time to develop new methods and institutions that will preserve future generations. This also indicates a need to localize our economy and develop alternative currencies and barter systems. We need to demand local democracy and not be satisfied with the “for sale” pseudo-democracy we constantly have to watch-dog with the “I want to be somebody” politicians we try to hold accountable. We need leaders who have a long range vision, an appreciation for life and at least some connection to future generations.

A watershed center could gather, organize and disseminate reliable, non-biased, information to civic leaders, social groups, activist groups, schools, business leaders and interested public, leading to informed local management and purposeful voting on issues. It could be the hub of “green job” creation and coordinate with schools, local service agencies such as the Mendocino Private Industry Council (MPIC), the Arbor, and the Employment Development Department (EDD) to provide education programs, on-the-job training, work crews, summer youth, youth intern opportunities and much more. Work in our urban streams, the Russian River, county and regional parks could also be aided through the watershed center. It could be an attraction for visitors to the area wishing to learn about Mendocino County watersheds, eco-tourist destinations, and other ecological interests they may have.
~

A Potential Community Development Plan for the Masonite Site – Part 1
Eco-Train, Rail and Depot – Part 2
Ecologically-Oriented Tourism – Part 3
Rail to Trail – Part 4
Autonomous Waste Water Treatment System – Part 5
Community Interpretive Watershed and Visitor’s Center – Part 6
Food Processing Facility – Part 7

Small Diameter Pole Processing Mill – Part 8
Fiber Processing and Re-Manufacture Mill – Part 9
~~

Anyone can afford good food

In Guest Posts on April 27, 2009 at 11:19 am

From John E. Ikerd
Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics
University of Missouri Columbia
College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

“Perhaps people who have money can eat like that, but what about poor people?” I hear comments such as this in nearly every discussion of the growing opportunities for people to eat more locally grown, sustainably produced foods. My typical response is that just about anyone anywhere can find good locally grown food these days and just about anyone can afford it.

Locally grown foods, particularly meat, milk, and eggs, are probably going to cost a good bit more than comparable items in the supermarkets. But most people, even those with modest incomes, can afford to buy good local foods, simply by spending a bit less on other things that add less to their health and happiness. As I have written before, costs of good local foods tend to be higher because local sustainable producers pay the full cost of production; they don’t pollute the environment or exploit other people in the production process. Once people understand the differences between typical industrially produced foods and local sustainably produced foods – in terms of freshness, flavor, wholesomeness, and nutrition, as well as social and ethical integrity – good local food acquires a priority that makes it seem easily affordable.

The average American family spends only about a dime out of each dollar of disposable income for food. So, spending ten or even twenty percent more for good food only requires spending one or two percent more of the typical family’s income for food, rather than for some other discretionary budget item. In some cases, good food may not require actually giving up anything else. For example, the average American family today spends about fifteen percent of their income for health care, and as we learn more about the linkages of diet with health, it’s becoming evident that spending a bit more for good food could result in spending a lot less for healthcare.

Keep reading→

Big buck climate change deniers copied the cigarette cancer liars

In Around the web on April 25, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Industry Ignored Its Own Scientists on Climate

For more than a decade the Global Climate Coalition, a group representing industries with profits tied to fossil fuels, led an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign against the idea that emissions of heat-trapping gases could lead to global warming.

“The role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood,” the coalition said in a scientific “backgrounder” provided to lawmakers and journalists through the early 1990s, adding that “scientists differ” on the issue.

But a document filed in a federal lawsuit demonstrates that even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.

“The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied,” the experts wrote in an internal report compiled for the coalition in 1995.

The coalition was financed by fees from large corporations and trade groups representing the oil, coal and auto industries, among others. In 1997, the year an international climate agreement that came to be known as the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated, its budget totaled $1.68 million, according to tax records obtained by environmental groups.

Throughout the 1990s, when the coalition conducted a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign challenging the merits of an international agreement, policy makers and pundits were fiercely debating whether humans could dangerously warm the planet. Today, with general agreement on the basics of warming, the debate has largely moved on to the question of how extensively to respond to rising temperatures.

Keep reading Industry Ignored Its Own Scientists at NYT→

See also Deniers are just one off of the truth
~~

Send U.S. Senator Sanders your Credit Card horror stories

In Around the web on April 24, 2009 at 9:19 pm

From Bernie Sanders

The outrage…is building. Doesn’t anyone get it?

People in Vermont and throughout the country are outraged by skyrocketing credit card interest rates. At a time when the taxpayers in this country are bailing out Wall Street financial institutions, these very same banks are charging them 20, 25, 30 percent interest rates on their credit cards.

President Obama recently met with top executives of the nation’s largest credit card companies and threw his support behind credit card reform legislation. Senator Bernie Sanders agrees, but he would do more. He proposed a bill to cap interest rates at 15 percent, similar to credit unions.

A Vermonter writes, “I am appalled at the hikes in credit card rates! Everywhere in our small town in Vermont, everyone is talking about the latest surge in interest rates. People who are never late in payments have seen their rates climb overnight. The outrage, which I am sure doesn’t surprise you, is building. Doesn’t anyone get it?”

SOUND OFF! Click here to send Bernie an e-mail about credit card companies that he could read on the Senate floor.

WATCH : To watch the senator read e-mails on credit card rates, click here.

READ MORE : To read some of the e-mails, click here.

~~

The power of money – Masonite Monster Mall

In Around the web on April 24, 2009 at 8:28 pm

From JANIE SHEPPARD
Save Our Local Economy (SOLE)
P.O. Box 1530, Ukiah CA 95482
SOLE@pacific.net – www.NoMegaMall.com

April 25, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Efforts of Diversified Development Realty (DDR) to put a mega mall on the old Masonite Site demonstrate the power of money.

See what corporate money buys:

Jeff Adams, spokesman for DDR, says $1 Million has been spent so far for mailers and public relations. He says DDR will spend another million to get its initiative on the ballot.

H & H Petitions hired signature gatherers to blitz the county. The signature gatherers are paid $2.00 per signature. DDR foots the bill through a consultant.

Arno Political Consultants, a very big-time outfit paid by DDR, subcontracted H & H Petitions to gather signatures. On its website, Arno brags that it has turned signature gathering into an “art form.” Among the services offered is “assisting letter writers in putting their own thoughts on paper [for letters to the editor].” Be skeptical when you read those letters that are subsidized by DDR.

Brian Sobel, principal consultant at Sobel Communications, is paid by DDR to go to the local media. Sobel boasts that his clients include Chevron and Unocal. His services are not cheap.

Mendocino County Tomorrow purports to be an exclusive club. If you want to join, be prepared to pay least $80 and be scrutinized for suitability. “Mendocino County Tomorrow reserves the right to refuse membership to anyone.” In reality, it’s a front group paid for by DDR.

All the money is being spent to pass a 324-page “specific plan” which is the actual initiative language. That’s what we would vote to accept or reject if the H & H signature gatherers get enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. How specific could it be when it is “subject to change” in 28 places?

The initiative, if passed, allows DDR to do whatever it wants. If passed, we would have no control, no public hearings, and no environmental review. We would, however, have a mega mall.

Help Save Our Local Economy. Join SOLE by going to its website, nomegamall.com, and signing up. If you can, please make a donation.

SOLE’s coffers are empty. You can send a check to SOLE, P.O. Box 1530, Ukiah, CA 95482. Thank you very much.

Janie Sheppard
Treasurer, SOLE
~

From EVAN JOHNSON:

The list of known entities DDR/”Mendocino Crossings” has hired to ram this project through:
1. Mendocino County Tomorrow
2. Hogle-Ireland, Inc.
3. Muelrath Public Affairs
4. Ruff and Associates
5. Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor, LLP
6. Sobel Communications
7. CoxCastleNicholson
8. Arno Political Consultants
9. MCG Architecture
10. Fair & Powerful Communication
~~

Ukiah trains for our future – Tues May 5th, 8:30 – 5, Ukiah Conference Center

In Dave Smith on April 23, 2009 at 7:36 pm

By Glenda Anderson
The Press Democrat

The future is green in the Ukiah Valley, where city officials have joined with the Solar Living Institute to train workers for an anticipated new age of alternative energy. “It’s economic development,” Ukiah City Councilwoman Mari Rodin said of the two-year pilot project, dubbed Ukiah Greenworks.

The program is aimed both at providing workers with job skills and luring green energy businesses with the promise of a skilled work force.

It also will boost the local economy by attracting visiting students from throughout the country, said Erica Cooperrider, the institute’s marketing and workshop coordinator.

Ukiah will contribute $30,000 in redevelopment funds to the program and will provide classroom space and equipment for the alternative energy workshops, Rodin said.

A green jobs conference in Ukiah on May 5 will kick off the classes.

The first Ukiah class is scheduled for June 10, said Cathleen Moller, Ukiah’s economic development manager.

The weeklong course focuses on photovoltaic systems, from safety to mechanical design and performance analysis.

Typically, Solar Living Institute one-day workshops cost up to $150 and weeklong courses cost about $900, Cooperrider said.

The city and the Institute are investigating funding opportunities for people who are unemployed or low income.

If successful, the Ukiah training center is expected to become permanent.

Keep reading Ukiah trains for the future at the PD

For more info and signup at Solar Living Institute
~
Thanks to MARI RODIN
~~

Such Torturous Twisting and Turning

In James Houle on April 23, 2009 at 7:11 pm

From JIM HOULE

April 24, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

In the past 6 days, Obama has shown us much about his political style and courage as our President. Intent upon opening up the records concerning torture, and after a Freedom of Information suit that forced his hand, he allowed four legal memos to be published Thursday 4/16/09. They provided legal cover for torture of political prisoners during the Bush years. He was immediately accused by four former Directors of the CIA of jeopardizing national security and aiding the terrorists; then he was challenged by Dick Cheney to tell the good results of torture; next, roundly condemned in a Wall Street Journal editorial; and finally pilloried by a plethora of patriotic Republicans. Obama’s panicky responses to these attacks reveal much about what we can expect during the future Battles of Barack: ringing words, cautiousness when attacked, signals that he’ll compromise, a very watered down piece of legislation, and then a nice closing speech.

“The Obama administration is caught in a devastating political contradiction” reports Patrick Martin, WSWS.org 4/20/09. “Legal documents drafted by the US Department of Justice in 2002 and 2005, and released by Obama, clearly establish that acts of torture were authorized and justified by the highest levels of the Bush administration. Yet, the President said on 4/16/09: “This is a time for reflection, not retribution”. He asked that we “put the pain behind us, and right our course in concert with our core values and move forward with confidence.” Keith Olbermann objected immediately on MSNBC 4/16/09: “This country has never ‘moved forward with confidence’ without first cleansing itself of its mistaken past.” To ignore our past may very well keep the haunting images of Abu Ghraib alive in peoples minds, and allow torturers to assume that the lack of prosecution indicates that their actions were indeed justified. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel made it even clearer on Sunday 4/19/09 on the ABC News program ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos’ that Obama’s opposition to any prosecution extends not only to CIA agents who directly participated in torture but also to all the top officials of the Bush administration who authorized and justified the policy. This caused shock waves.

WHO’S COVERING UP FOR WHOM?
The United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak immediately responded that:”This directly implicates the current administration in the cover-up of crimes carried out by its predecessor and as such, places the White House decision in direct violation of international law”. In an interview with the Austrian newspaper Der Standard on 4/18/09, Nowak pointed out that the UN Convention Against Torture “requires the prosecution of those who engage in actions like waterboarding that are universally regarded as torture. The United States, a signatory to the UN convention against torture, is committed to conducting criminal investigations of torture and to bringing all persons against whom there is sound evidence to court. The fact that you carried out an order doesn’t relieve you of your responsibility”. Nowak, an Austrian law professor, has previously urged the Obama administration to bring charges against George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld for torture and abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. He said the UN was in possession of documents that proved Rumsfeld gave orders for the torture of the prisoners and that the abuse was not the result of a handful of rank-and-file soldiers acting on their own.

Keep reading→

Will Obama Reboot Capitalism Anew? – Thom Hartmann

In Around the web on April 23, 2009 at 8:57 am

By Thom Hartmann
April 23, 2009

Over six million people are now out of work, and unemployment figures released today show that now-record number is continuing to climb. Meanwhile, still-profitable American corporations manufacture goods for American consumption using Chinese labor and pay virtually no income tax by keeping their profits offshore.

A hundred years ago, Republican President Theodore Roosevelt tried to reign in some of the most toxic behaviors of capitalists that he found incompatible with modern democracy by pushing through congress a law that banned the practice of corporations giving money to politicians. He slowed down the robber barons a bit, but three consecutive Republican presidents in the 1920s led us straight into the Republican Great Depression.

Franklin Roosevelt, his distant cousin, rebooted capitalism in the 1930s, ushering in an era of regulated capitalism – embraced by Republicans like Eisenhower and Democrats like JFK – that brought us the largest, strongest, and most stable middle class ever seen. We also became the world’s economic superpower, as the world’s largest importer of raw materials, exporter of finished goods, and banker to the world. We imported iron ore and exported televisions and cars and washing machines. The rest of the world was in debt to us. A worker with a high school diploma could find a job that paid enough to raise a family and have a safe and comfortable retirement.

The Reagan Revolution of the 1980s was the third “rebooting” of capitalism in the 20th Century, and continues to this day. Scorning the “regulated” part of “regulated capitalism,” economic Reaganites from the Gipper himself to GHW Bush to Bill Clinton to GW Bush flipped our economy upside down. Today, after just thirty years of “free trade” and “right to work” and other oxymoronic nostrums applied as policy, we’ve become the world’s largest importer of finished goods and the world’s largest debtor. We now export minerals to Asia, and import back from them televisions, cars, and washing machines.

So now the big question: Will Obama reboot capitalism anew? Will he move us into a new realm of capitalism, back toward regulated capitalism, or continue the slide toward a poverty-ridden Dickensian economy that Reagan started?

At the moment, nobody knows.

Reagan began the war on working people when he busted PATCO in the first year of his administration, and then began the process – largely uninterrupted right up to a few months ago – of dismantling the protections organized labor had enjoyed since the New Deal. When Bill Clinton totally abandoned the national industrial policy that Alexander Hamilton had put into place in 1791 with NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO, we made the shift from a “Made in the USA” to a “Do you want fries with that?” economy. And the near-total deregulation of the commodities (including energy) and financial sectors begun in the last years of the Clinton administration and put on steroids by Republicans during the GW Bush administration led to a shift from a “Do you want fries with that?” economy to a “How much would you like to borrow from us?” economy.

Keep reading→

Judge Issues Restraining Order Against Paid DDR Petition-Gatherer – Masonite Monster Mall

In Around the web on April 23, 2009 at 7:08 am

Save Our Local Economy
P.O. Box 1530, Ukiah CA 95482
SOLE@pacific.net – www.NoMegaMall.com

NEWS RELEASE – April 22, 2009

For additional information:
Spokespersons:
Guinness McFadden (707) 621-2311
Mari Rodin 707-272-1937

A paid petition-gatherer for Ohio-based shopping center developer DDR Inc. was ordered to stay 100 yards away from Long Valley Market and to cease harassing its customers and employees.

On April 22, Superior Court Judge John Behnke issued a temporary restraining order against Jay Taylor, an employee of H&H Petitioners, the company hired by Developers Diversified Realty (DDR) to gather signatures for its proposed ballot measure to rezone the Masonite industrial site for a huge shopping mall.

Michael Braught, owner of Long Valley Store in Laytonville, sought the restraining order. Braught filed a sworn statement describing an incident where Taylor punched a 67-year-old customer and knocked him to the ground.  Braught’s statement also described how Taylor harassed customers to get them to sign DDR’s petition using tactics such as blocking the store entrance and following customers to and from their cars in the parking lot.   [Braught was interviewed on KZYX news on April 22.  The audio file of  the interview is posted at http://www.nomegamall.com/audio/20090422_KZYX_TRO.mp3%5D

Braught was represented by Ukiah attorney Barry Vogel (462-6541), who says that Judge Behnke set a hearing date of May 1 to decide if the restraining order should be continued.

DDR began its petition drive on April 9, blitzing the county with approximately 20 paid petitioner-gatherers from as far away as Orange County. Numerous petition-gatherers told questioners that they are being paid $2 for each signature they get for DDR’s proposed ballot measure.

DDR’s ballot measure would amend the County General Plan to rezone the 76-acre Masonite plant site  from industrial use to uses outlined in a 310-page “Specific Plan” written by DDR. The Specific Plan would allow DDR to build up to 800,000 square feet of retail stores, and 150 townhouses, in any combination it wants.  Thus far, DDR’s signature gatherers have not been honest about the meaning of the proposed ballot measure. In  letters to the editor published in the Ukiah Daily Journal on April 19 and April 20, Ukiah residents Ed Fox and Terry Poplawski describe how they were told that the petition was “to clean up the Masonite site.”  [The letters are online at http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/letters/ci_12183219 and /ci_12183226]

The petitioners are dishonest and abusive,” said SOLE spokesperson Guinness McFadden. “Their demeanor ranges from patently dishonest and misleading to confrontationally arrogant and disdainful. They act as though Mendocino is a Cow County where we locals are yokels and rubes whose main purpose in life is to shop.”

Keep reading→

Ukiah Farmers Market Saturday 5/25/09

In Dave Smith on April 23, 2009 at 6:59 am

Washington, Pennsylvania

From SCOTT CRATTY

Last Off-Season Farmers’ Market

3/23/09 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Greetings!

It appears that we will have a very comfortable day at the farmers’ market Saturday (although participation would have been comfortable for our local vegetation). Saturday is the last day for our little indie off-season market … come celebrate its demise. It will be no more because it was so successful that the year-round format will be part of the permanent county structure in Ukiah and Willits this coming year. Thanks for your support.

This season the farmers’ market is proving to be the place for locally raised and conditioned plant starts. We already have far more selection than that last season. More this week and much more on opening day in May.

Right now I need your help to get a full schedule of community group events, cooking demonstration, entertainment for kids such as readings, etc. for the prime season Jump on in.

Quote of the week:

“The ambition for broad acres leads to poor farming, even with men of energy. I scarcely ever knew a mammoth farm to sustain itself; much less to return a profit upon the outlay. I have more than once known a man to spend a respectable fortune upon one; fail and leave it; and then some man of more modest aims, get a small fraction of the ground, and make a good living upon it. Mammoth farms are like tools or weapons, which are too heavy to be handled. Ere long they are thrown aside, at a great loss.” Source: Abraham Lincoln, Sept 30, 1859, Wisconsin State Fair

A review of an interesting book here was supplied by Ron Epstein

FYI – Holly and I are now starting to operate the Westside Renaissance Market, 1003 W Clay. If you are in the area, stop in to check it out. We are still clearing out some of the old product and repairing things like the floor. We will not have produce in for another week or two but some of your favorite farmer’s market vendors already have their products on the shelf. We hope to launch with an opening sometime before the end of May.
~~

Saving Our Towns and Counties by Asserting Self-Governance and Stripping Corporate Personhood

In Dave Smith on April 22, 2009 at 9:19 am

From Amy Goodman
Democracy Now (video version)→
4/21/09

AMY GOODMAN: Speaking of issues in the community, I wanted to turn now to a coalition of community activists, union members and environmental groups that are here in the Spokane area that have begun gathering signatures to get a number of wide-ranging changes to the Spokane City Charter on the November 2009 general election ballot.

The changes are part of a proposed “Community Bill of Rights” drafted in a series of workshops and town hall meetings over the last year by a group called Envision Spokane. The changes include giving greater control to neighborhoods over new development, creating legally enforceable rights for the protection of the Spokane River, and guaranteeing access to affordable preventive healthcare.

Supporters must gather 2,700 valid signatures from registered city voters by July 6th to get it placed on the general election ballot. Then a majority of voters have to approve the entire package in a straight up or down vote.

Thomas Linzey is also with us. He’s an attorney serving as an adviser to Envision Spokane, joining us here at KSPS PBS studio.

Welcome to Democracy Now!

THOMAS LINZEY: Thanks for having us, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: So what is this plan that you have?

THOMAS LINZEY: Well, some folks would not probably normally think of Spokane as being a cutting-edge place for activism, but this, these twenty-four different groups that have come together, these labor union locals, environmental organizations and neighborhood councils for—in Spokane have actually come together to model a Community Bill of Rights, which deals with a bunch of different issues, from healthcare to housing to unionization to protecting the Spokane River to a greater extent from the pollution that it’s been subjected to over the past couple decades.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain the Community Bill of Rights.

THOMAS LINZEY: It’s actually—Spokane operates under a city home rule charter. Some cities in the United States operate under those. It’s basically a local constitution for the city. And citizens can come together to actually petition to change that home rule charter. And the idea about driving in a bill of rights was to say to folks in Spokane and these groups that came forward to work on this project, to say what aren’t we getting over the past couple decades of our work, because it seemed to some people that our conventional, traditional activism was failing—in other words, writing letters to congressmen and doing what we perceived as traditional activism in terms of protesting and soliciting comments at regulatory hearings and those types of things—that folks have increasingly felt a need to seize their local government entities to actually begin to build their values into those frameworks of law, rather than simply waiting for other people to come and save us, to do that work themselves. And so, these folks have stepped forward to actually drive their values into the city home rule charter here.

AMY GOODMAN: You’re a part of this whole corporate charter movement. Explain what that is.

Keep reading→

Fresh Food Revolution

In Around the web on April 21, 2009 at 9:49 pm


From Mark Hertsgaard
The Nation

When Michelle Obama began planting an organic garden on the South Lawn of the White House recently, there was no doubt she was sending a message, but the message was more subversive and far-reaching than most American media coverage recognized. On March 20, joined by a class of local fifth graders, the first lady lifted the first shovels of dirt onto a 1,100-square-foot plot that will feature fifty-five kinds of vegetables, including spinach, peppers, arugula, kale, collards and tomatoes (but no beets–the president reportedly does not like beets). Various herbs and berries will also be grown in the garden , which is fully visible to the thousands of tourists and other pedestrians that pass by the White House daily. (There will also be two boxes of bees for pollination.)

Michelle Obama’s stated message was simple and was clearly aimed at her fellow Americans: fresh food tastes better and is better for you, so kids and grown-ups alike should eat lots more of it. “A real, delicious heirloom tomato is one of the sweetest things you’ll ever eat,” she told the 10-year-olds, adding that freshly picked vegetables were what prompted her daughters to try new kinds of foods. What made Obama’s message so subversive was something she left unsaid: the food most Americans eat nowadays is not fresh, tasty or healthy. The superiority of fresh ingredients may be obvious to Italians, but it is a truth most Americans long ago forgot, if they ever knew it in the first place. Over the past fifty years, the United States has been transformed into a fast food nation, in author Eric Schlosser’s phrase. What the typical American eats is not so much food as it is highly processed food derivatives that have traveled thousands of miles since leaving the farm, losing along the way most of the flavor and nutritional value they once possessed. To disguise such losses, food manufacturers overload products with fats, salts and sweeteners, especially corn syrup–additives that, along with the massive portions typically served in the United States, help explain why nearly one in three Americans is obese.

Now, by publicly championing fresh local food, Michelle Obama clearly hopes to entice Americans away from their junk food past to a healthier, more delicious future. And that is what makes her message so far-reaching. Change America’s eating habits and you can change the world.

Shifting to a greener diet would be good not only for the health of America’s children and families but the health of the planet. The American diet, and the food production and distribution system that supports it, is one of the main drivers of global warming and a host of related hazards, from deforestation to air, soil and water pollution. Most people know by now that our civilization must fundamentally change the way it produces and consumes energy if we are to stop global warming. Far fewer people realize that it is equally important to change the way we produce and consume food.

Keep reading Fresh Food Revolution at The Nation
~

Farmer Suicides – Vandana Shiva

In Dave Smith on April 21, 2009 at 6:35 am

From Vandana Shiva

The Indian peasantry, the largest body of surviving small farmers in the world, today faces a crisis of extinction.

Two thirds of India makes its living from the land. The earth is the most generous employer in this country of a billion, that has farmed this land for more than 5000 years.

However, as farming is delinked from the earth, the soil, the biodiversity, and the climate, and linked to global corporations and global markets, and the generosity of the earth is replaced by the greed of corporations, the viability of small farmers and small farms is destroyed. Farmers suicides are the most tragic and dramatic symptom of the crisis of survival faced by Indian peasants.

1997 witnessed the first emergence of farm suicides in India. A rapid increase in indebtedness, was at the root of farmers taking their lives. Debt is a reflection of a negative economy, a loosing economy. Two factors have transformed the positive economy of agriculture into a negative economy for peasants – the rising costs of production and the falling prices of farm commodities. Both these factors are rooted in the policies of trade liberalization and corporate globalisation.

In 1998, the World Bank’s structural adjustment policies forced India to open up its seed sector to global corporations like Cargill, Monsanto, and Syngenta. The global corporations changed the input economy overnight. Farm saved seeds were replaced by corporate seeds which needed fertilizers and pesticides and could not be saved.

As seed saving is prevented by patents as well as by the engineering of seeds with non-renewable traits, seed has to be bought for every planting season by poor peasants. A free resource available on farms became a commodity which farmers were forced to buy every year. This increases poverty and leads to indebtedness.

As debts increase and become unpayable, farmers are compelled to sell kidneys or even commit suicide. More than 25,000 peasants in India have taken their lives since 1997 when the practice of seed saving was transformed under globalisation pressures and multinational seed corporations started to take control of the seed supply. Seed saving gives farmers life. Seed monopolies rob farmers of life.

The shift from farm saved seed to corporate monopolies of the seed supply is also a shift from biodiversity to monocultures in agriculture. The District of Warangal in Andhra Pradesh used to grow diverse legumes, millet, and oilseeds. Seed monopolies created crop monocultures of cotton, leading to disappearance of millions of products of nature’s evolution and farmer’s breeding.

Monocultures and uniformity increase the risks of crop failure as diverse seeds adapted to diverse ecosystems are replaced by rushed introduction of unadapted and often untested seeds into the market. When Monsanto first introduced Bt Cotton in India in 2002, the farmers lost Rs. 1 billion due to crop failure. Instead of 1,500 Kg / acre as promised by the company, the harvest was as low as 200 kg. Instead of increased incomes of Rs. 10,000 / acre, farmers ran into losses of Rs. 6400 / acre.

In the state of Bihar, when farm saved corn seed was displaced by Monsanto’s hybrid corn, the entire crop failed creating Rs. 4 billion losses and increased poverty for already desperately poor farmers. Poor peasants of the South cannot survive seed monopolies.

And the crisis of suicides shows how the survival of small farmers is incompatible with the seed monopolies of global corporations.

Keep reading→

Autonomous Waste Water Treatment System – Community Development Plan for Masonite Site (Part 5)

In Mendo Island Transition on April 19, 2009 at 11:18 pm

From EARL BROWN

4/21/09 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

The development of the Masonite property into a sustainable eco-village will include its own waste water treatment system, an autonomous waste water treatment system (awwts). An aerobic digesting system (or systems) specifically designed for the site will treat the waste water, without odor, be a model of how small communities can meet their waste treatment needs and save money.

These systems are modular, autonomous (stand alone) systems, use high concentrations of specifically cultured, naturally occurring bacteria, take up very little space, costs a fraction of what current municipal systems cost, re-claims water and provides a useable product at the end of the process. In an era of drought, unsustainable development, and irresponsible water use, systems such as these will become a necessity as communities strive to afford effective waste water treatment.

An aspect of making the switch from consumption to sustainability will be utilizing new technologies that provide the same, or better, results than traditional, large, inefficient systems that cost tens of millions of dollars, take years to build and take up large tracts of land. Understanding of how bacteria, fungi/yeasts, and other micro-organisms break down and digest organic and inorganic compounds such as human waste, organic waste from food processing, industrial chemicals, medicines, hormones, harmful anaerobic bacteria and petroleum hydrocarbons has created new innovations in the waste water treatment. Some of the benefits of the digester systems are that they occupy a very small plot of land, measured in square feet rather than in acres, and they are operational within six months of final permitting, not counting time to install the collection infrastructure. The re-claimed water is clear, nutrient rich and can be used it to irrigate the agriculture land, landscaping, open areas and other non-potable water uses. Treated water ran under an Ultra Violet Light can be brought to potable standards and released directly into the environment.

There can be two approaches to the development of the waste treatment needs of the eco-village, one system to handle all of the affluent, or one system to treat the black water (containing human or animal fecal material) and a separate one for all other water treatment needs (food processing, manufacturing). If the two waste streams were to be kept separate then two systems would have to be installed during development. The cost effectiveness of a single, larger, system would have to be weighed against the cost of two smaller systems, the permitting, construction concerns and the ultimate uses for the product water. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options. A separate “black water” system could collect the human waste water and transport it to the treatment system where it would be digested then held in a storage facility to be re-used, or looped, through the toilet system. This is to say that once the waste water is treated it could be stored in a holding facility and used to supply the water for the toilet system throughout the village. The “black water” would be collected, delivered to the waste treatment facility where the organic material would be digested and the finished water returned to the storage unit to be used again and again.  If it were deemed cost effective and the toilet systems were plumbed in a continuous loop, where the treated water would be re-used multiple times, this could be a very important feature of the eco-village infrastructure.

With the black water on one system, all of the other waste water could be plumbed into another digester facility. This could be important to permitting as the requirements for grey water is much different from those of black water. Treated water from the grey water digester could be used to irrigate the agriculture land, greenhouses, landscaping, and open/green space. It could also be used to fill ornamental ponds or released directly into the environment. It is to be expected (by me) that the cost of installing two separate digester systems would still be considerably less than the cost of current, large scale, treatment facility.

The space needed for the digester systems is minimal. A system that processes 40,000 gallons per day, continuously, uses approximately 3150 square feet, or a space 100 feet long by 35 feet wide. Also, after the ground work is completed a small crew can install the digester system and have it operational in less than six months. Current municipal systems cost tens of millions of dollars, take large tracts of land, take years to install and in the end the undigested sludge needs to be excavated and trucked to a certified landfill, or other treatment facility. The digesters break the sludge down into its natural organic components reclaiming the water, saving on transportation and labor costs, and all on a postage stamp sized plot of land when compared to current municipal systems.

Single system sizes treat from 22,000 gallons per day, taking up about 0.04 acres of land, to 1,140,000 gallons per day and taking about 0.27 acres of land. Three single systems can be plumbed together with a manifold to make one large system. Three of the largest systems, on a shared manifold, would process over three million gallons of waste water per day and occupy a space of around one acre. Because they are aerobic (with air) none of the odor producing gasses, such as methane, are allowed to develop (they are anaerobic- without air), and the liquid has no “off smell”. The treated water is clear, nutrient rich and could have many applications, saving our precious potable water for other uses. If the treated water was ran through a ultra violet unit to kill any remaining organisms it would be of potable standards, increasing the potential uses for the water.

An interesting potential use of this kind of system is that storm water runoff could be collected, delivered to one of these systems (modified for the purpose) and treated for eventual use in the village; used for ornamental and wildlife pond habitat, or released directly into the environment. Bacteria and other micro-organisms can be cultured (no genetic engineering involved) to address specific pollutants (medicines, hormones, petroleum hydrocarbons), certain harmful bacteria (E. Coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus), and various parasites and micro-organisms. This allows for the fine tuning of the waste water treatment system to meet the needs of each site and use.

The System- an overview:

There are five main parts to each treatment system: the sump, emulsification tank, biological tank, clarifier tank, chlorination/de-chlorination tank, and sand filter. There are six small electric pumps, one in the sump and four above that circulate the effluent through the system. However, the bulk of the effluent moves from tank to tank by gravity flow. The system does not depend exclusively upon the pumps to operate, except to pump the effluent up from the sump into the emulsification tank. A small electric generator is enough for this purpose in case of power failure. The system will still operate without the circulation pumps but the solids will build up on the bottoms of the tanks. The system would work and when power was returned the solids would be circulated and digested.

An Example:
Suppose we have a system designed to process about 68,000 gallons of waste water per day, or about 325 new homes for families of four. The effluent is delivered to the sump at the treatment site and pumped up into the emulsification tank at a given rate, in this case at approximately 47 gallons per minute (the rest is re-circulated in the sump). The bacteria culture is added directly into the effluent in the emulsification tank and a small pump periodically activates and re-circulates any solids that fall to the bottom of the tank, continually agitating the mixture. As more waste water is pumped into the emulsification tank the cleanest water, which is at the surface of the liquid, drops into a stand pipe that leads to the biological tank. The bacteria blend is also poured into this standpipe which then inoculates the biological tank.

The biological tank is where the main bacteria and micro-organism colony lives and does its work. Suspended in at the top of the water in this tank is a “bio-filter” made up of a hard plastic, honeycomb, structure about four inches thick and six inches around, that creates abundant surface area for the bacteria to colonize. A pump circulates the liquid from the bottom of the tank to the top of the bio-filter where it flows, by gravity, down through the colony back into the tank basin. There is a pump that periodically pulls any solids from the bottom of the clarifier tank and puts it into a sand filter, where another pump then re-circulates it to the top of the biological tank to pass through the colony once again. In this way nearly all of the solids are broken down and the sand from the sand filter is removed once a year (under most circumstances) and taken to a composting facility.

Again, the cleanest liquid is always at the top of the water level and there is another stand pipe, or drop inlet, at the waters surface. As new effluent comes in from the emulsification tank the cleanest water falls into the stand pipe in the biological tank and is taken to the clarifier. At this point the liquid is opaque and nearing completion. There is still an active bacteria culture and the digestion process continues. As the liquid sets in the clarifier tank any suspended particles settle to the bottom of the tank where they are returned, via the sand filter, to the biological tank for another go-through the colony. The water at the top of the clarifier tank is nearly as clear as regular water and as new water comes in, the cleanest drops into another stand pipe and goes into the chlorinator. As the water flows into the chlorinator unit it passes over a cartridge of chlorine tablets and into a series of chambers that is the chlorinator tank. The system is designed to allow a certain flow (47 gpm) which gives the chlorine time to volatize from the water. At this point the water is tertiary treated and ready to be used, or released into the environment. An underground cistern or surface pond can store the water until needed.

There are a few options to the system: One is to place a methane extractor at the front of the system to remove any usable gas. This is costly with today’s technology yet innovations are happening every day and this may soon become an available option. Secondly, an ultra violet disinfection unit can be placed at the end of the system, to replace the chlorinator, and the water can be brought up to potable standards.

As the financial crises mounts small communities will be forced to find new, appropriate, methods of waste treatment. The system mentioned above would cost a couple million dollars, compared to the 30, or 40, million dollars a conventional system would cost. Our community could use the extra millions to better our health, education and self-reliance.

Advantages of this system:
A fraction of the cost of conventional systems
Takes away very little land
Has no off odors
Does not use chemicals (is organic)
More efficient treatment than septic (minimal sludge)
Produces a usable product (water)
Can stand alone, or augment an existing municipal system
Can be used in combination with waste ponds for food processing, wineries, fruit packers
Requires very little energy and is solar friendly
Can be used with an underground, drip, discharge system for parks and open space
If a spill happens the bacteria continues digesting the waste
The treated water can be used to treat contaminated soil and reclaim it for use

Disadvantages of this system:
Requires more maintenance and supervision
Requires electricity
Pumps can break down
Pipes can break
~

A Potential Community Development Plan for the Masonite Site – Part 1
Eco-Train, Rail and Depot – Part 2
Ecologically-Oriented Tourism – Part 3
Rail to Trail – Part 4
Autonomous Waste Water Treatment System – Part 5
Community Interpretive Watershed and Visitor’s Center – Part 6
Food Processing Facility – Part 7

Small Diameter Pole Processing Mill – Part 8
Fiber Processing and Re-Manufacture Mill – Part 9
~~

Ukiah Earth Day/Bike Day – This Wednesday April 22nd

In Guest Posts on April 19, 2009 at 6:48 pm

From SANDY TURNER

4/20/09 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Here is some information about the upcoming EARTH DAY festivities the Mendocino Environmental Center is part of that are happening around Ukiah.

As a longtime bike person, I am jazzed that the Mendocino Environmental Center (sometimes called the MEC) is offering some cool bike related  raffle prizes at the spring raffle they are sponsoring. They will be kicking off the raffle at the  Earth Day event  at Mendocino College on Wed. April 22 and it will continue until Saturday, June 13th. The raffle prizes are a new Gary Fisher bike and helmet from Dave’s Bike Shop, or a $100 gift certificate, or a $50 gift certificate, also from Dave’s Bike Shop. The bike will also be on display at the upcoming fundraiser the MEC is having on Friday night, April 24th at the Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse. The longtime, legendary, local band Rootstock will be playing, and DJ Sister Yasmin will be in the house playing some tunes as well.

From what I hear, bikes are probably THE  most efficient transportation technology humans have developed, and they help us to have an extremely small environmental footprint when we travel. Although I frequently ride my bike from my house in Redwood Valley to Ukiah, I am glad that the Mendocino Transit Authority busses have bike racks so I can sometimes ride both my bike and the bus, rather than having to bike the whole 20 mile round trip. So I am really glad that the Mendocino Environmental Center is doing its part to promote biking. And I am glad they are having an EARTH DAY party on Friday night, April 24th. Folks who know me, know that biking and dancing are my favorite drugs of choice.  I hope lots of people will attend the Earth Day festivities and buy a raffle ticket or two.

So I do hope I will see many folks who read or write the info on this blogsite at the MEC party.  And I hope to see some of you around on a bike or on the bus.
~

[More -DS]
We can consciously plot a path into a lower-energy life — a life of walkable villages, local food and artisans and greater intimacy with the natural world — which, on balance, could actually be richer and more enjoyable than what we have now. Transition, Hopkins has written, meets our era’s threats with a spirit of “elation, rather than the guilt, anger and horror” behind most environmental activism. “Change is inevitable,” he told me, “but this is a change that could be fantastic.”

Go to The End Is Near! (Yay!) in NYT Magazine Green Issue

…and George Monbiot’s Top 10 Climate Change Deniers

…and Transition US new website

…and Why we forgot how to grow food
~~

Myth Five – Industrial Food Offers More Choices

In Books, Dave Smith, Industrial Agriculture on April 19, 2009 at 6:45 pm

From Fatal Harvest
The Seven Myths of Industrial Agriculture

4/20/09 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

The Truth

What the consumer actually gets in the supermarket is an illusion of choice. Food labeling does not even tell us what pesticides are on our food or what products have been genetically engineered. Most importantly, the myth of choice masks the tragic loss of tens of thousands of crop varieties caused by industrial agriculture.

A persistent myth created and sustained by food manufacturers is that only industrial production could provide consumers with the wide variety of food choices available today. Industrial farming and processing, so the myth goes, have broken down limitations on food choices imposed by growing seasons, plants’ geographical ranges, and crop failures. Wandering the aisles of a 40,000-square-foot supermarket, we may be readily taken in by the myth. The breakfast cereal section, for example, may contain upwards of 50 different brand names, each one uniquely packaged and presented. Take a minute, however, and try to find a variety made primarily of a grain other than corn, rice, wheat, or oats. For an equally daunting challenge, try to find a box that does not list sugar and salt among the leading ingredients.

With one simple test, the myth of industrial food variety begins to break down. We begin to see that despite clever packaging and constant advertising blitzes, much of what is presented to us as variety is actually little more the repackaging of extremely similar products. Meanwhile, most of the vastly diverse foods available to humanity since the beginning of agricultural history have been virtually eradicated, never making their way to modern supermarket shelves.

The Loss of Diversity
A seldom-mentioned impact of industrial agriculture is that it deprives consumers of real choice by favoring only a few varieties of crops that allow efficient harvesting, processing, and packaging. Consider the apple. It is true that without industrial processes we might not be able to eat a “fresh” Red Delicious apple 365 days a year. However, we would be able to enjoy many of the thousands of varieties grown in this country during the last century that have now all but disappeared. Because of the industrial agriculture system, the majority of those varieties are extinct today; two varieties alone account for more than 50 percent of the current apple market. Similarly, in 2000, 73 percent of all the lettuce grown in the United States was iceberg. This relatively bland variety is often the only choice consumers have. Meanwhile, we have lost hundreds of varieties of lettuce with flavors ranging from bitter to sweet and colors from dark purple to light green. The monoculture of industrial agriculture has similarly reduced the natural diversity of nearly every major food crop in terms of varieties grown, color, size, and flavor.

Keep reading→

Please take 3 seconds to vote on Obama’s First Hundred Days (Updated 4/28, poll over)

In Dave Smith on April 19, 2009 at 6:00 pm

From DAVE SMITH

Update 4/28 – We had pulled even in the counts when they took it off their site, and it’s not the 100th day yet. We’ll see how they use it.  Thanks, and way to go! They had a huge head start on us, but we caught them and were headed to a win. ~DS

4/20/09 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

MSNBC has a poll up about the President’s job so far for the first 100 days. Take a look. The opposition is flooding it with “F” votes. You go vote:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29493093/

Send this link to everyone you can. Our President needs our help. His 100 day mark is approaching fast.

Despite my own questions about some of his decisions, I’m supporting the guy 100%.

It is up to us, the grassroots, to support him while letting him know what we like and don’t like about his choices, and put the pressure on him and our representatives in this imperfect democracy that we have. If you think he’s given the technocrats enough time to fix the banks, tell him that the financial clowns have run their course, that the hard choices they are trying to avoid have got to be made, and to get people in there who can do it or do it himself.

It’s so easy to stand back and take pot shots when he doesn’t do everything as we had hoped… but he’s doing some pretty amazing things, and when he needs our support, like this — even when it’s a bullshit poll meaning nothing — we need to give it to him.

C’mon! Flood that sucker with A’s!!
~

Update 4/27/09

Neck and neck!!!!!!!!!!!!

We’ve made up a lot of ground! Now let’s pull ahead! GObama GO!!!

You can vote once PER COMPUTER.

Keep them A’s coming!!!
~

Thanks to HAL BENNETT
~

See also Is Obama Selling Out? at The Daily Beast→

…and Mr. Manners at Huffington Post→

… and Steady in Tough Times at The Atlantic→
~~

Farmers Market Tips

In Around the web on April 17, 2009 at 6:28 pm

By Jeff Cox
OrganicToBe.org

The first farmers’ markets are opening up in the warmer parts of the country, and soon they’ll be opening everywhere. You can find the markets nearest you by visiting www.localharvest.org.

But when you do go to a farmers’ market, some questions arise.

The seller may say he or she is organic, but how do you know for sure? Many small farmers and truck patch operators may very well be organic but don’t want to go through the paperwork and expense of getting organic certification. Some unscrupulous sellers may tell customers what the customers want to hear and claim their produce is organic when it isn’t.

First, ask the seller is he’s certified organic. Here in California, the certifying agency is CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) and the seller may have a CCOF sign displayed. That’s your guarantee that the food is raised organically. There are certifying agencies across America. If there’s no certification but the seller claims his produce is organic, here are some questions you can ask to make sure the food is organic.

Ask how he controls cabbage worms. Any organic grower will know right away that Bacillus thuringiensis, called Bt, is the sure-fire organic control for those little green worms that chew on the leaves of cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas, kohlrabi, bok choy, and many other vegetables). If he says that he doesn’t have a problem with cabbage worms, be skeptical. White cabbage moths, the adult form of the green caterpillars, are ubiquitous.

Ask how he controls corn earworms. Most organic growers will tell you that the worms don’t eat much, and to just break off the tip of the ear where the worm has set up shop. There are some organic controls like twist-tying the tip and putting a drop or two of mineral oil on the tip, but they are impractical for anyone growing a farm-sized amount of corn. A few earworms, by the way, are a good guarantee that the corn is indeed organic, and the farmer may tell you that.

Keep reading→

In Praise of Peasants

In Around the web on April 17, 2009 at 3:34 pm

César Chávez

by Jim Goodman
Common Ground

“Our lives are dependent on the sacrifice of the Campesinos”- César Chávez

On April 17, 1996 1,500 members of Brazil’s MST, the Landless Peasants Movement, having been evicted from their farms two years earlier, marched to the state capitol in Para to demand a return of their land so they could again feed their families. Instead of meeting with government officials they were surrounded by police, who, using machine guns, killed 19 and seriously wounded 69.

Farmers, peasants, the indigenous and the landless are entitled to land only until the government or the corporate interests find a better use for it.

La Via Campesina, the international movement of the small farmer celebrates April 17 as the International day of Peasant’s Struggles. The struggle against the evictions, oppression and marginalization of the farmer. The commemoration of the struggles of César Chávez, the United Farm Workers and the indigenous peoples of the world.

Those who farm in the US distance themselves from the term peasant, thinking it connotes a tenant, sharecropper, a small farmer or mere farm worker. I am a small farmer, a peasant and proud of it. Remember, roughly half of the worlds population are farmers who work the land and tend livestock. While I am a minority in the US, worldwide, I am part of the majority.

The vast majority of the worlds small farmers and farm workers continue to struggle against trans-national agribusiness corporations (TNC’s) that control the worlds food supply, they struggle against oppressive government policies that wish to convert local farming to industrialized agriculture.

The peasant farmer struggles for the right to grow what they wish, for access to water, land and credit and for the rights of women farmers who grow most of the world’s food. They struggle for protection from subsidized foreign imports and to protect their crops from contamination by Genetically Engineered seed. They struggle to eliminate food from international trade agreements, because food is different, food is a human right, not a commodity.

Keep reading→

Choosing a future for the Masonite Site

In Guest Posts on April 17, 2009 at 7:43 am

by MARI RODIN
Ukiah City Council
Opinion, Press Democrat

Developers Diversified, or DDR, is one of the country’s largest developers of shopping malls. The proposed zoning change would allow it to override Mendocino County’s ongoing general plan update, giving it the green light to develop a 500,000- to 700,000-square-foot mall just outside the city limits of Ukiah — perhaps without any environmental review.

Since DDR purchased the property, its representative, Jeff Adams, has been attempting to change the zoning to allow for retail use.

Adams began more than a year ago, at a time when a majority of the Board of Supervisors was favorable to the zoning change. In November, however, two new supervisors were elected (Carre Brown and John McCowen), and there is now at least a 4-1 board majority opposed to the project.

DDR’s project was a major campaign issue, and there has been significant community mobilization in opposition to it. The reasons for opposing the project include:

• Sprawl development right outside historic downtown Ukiah is bad for the environment and bad for small, locally owned businesses.

• The project would support mostly low-wage jobs. We should reserve the site for industrial land uses that provide jobs at a living wage.

• Depletion of sales tax revenue for the city of Ukiah would lead to a severe cutback in public services to the county seat.

DDR’s petition for a ballot initiative changing the zoning of the former Masonite site to retail/mixed use ignores the fact that Ukiah Valley voters have already expressed opposition to the project by electing supervisors Brown and McCowen. Moreover, DDR is sure to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a campaign to convince voters that a mega-mall is in our best interest.

Keep reading→

Reverend Billy’s Bailout

In Around the web on April 16, 2009 at 8:27 pm

One Street Preacher Makes the Case for Propping Up Community Banks

By David Weidner
Wall Street Journal

Would Jesus take a bailout?

Confronted with the once-in-a-century opportunity to remake the financial system, the reformers in Washington have a choice: Succumb to the temptation of serving financial supermarkets or lift up community banks and street-level economies.

Enter Reverend Billy Talen, the New York-based street preacher, performer and activist who — along with his flock, the Church of Life After Shopping — believes government has a moral obligation to support communities before big banks.

“I’ve been trying to drive people out of their institutions,” Reverend Billy says. “Their institutions aren’t working.”

It’s hard to imagine Timothy Geithner taking advice from an iconoclast dressed in a white suit, clerical collar and Elvis-inspired hair, but the Reverend Billy may be on to something.

In place of a system where big banks and corporations enter neighborhoods only to profit from them, Reverend Billy wants to empower small banks and credit unions that hold a stake in the communities they serve by offering incentives and making it harder for big finance to undercut local business.

It’s hard to argue against the system he envisions.

Think for a moment about what community finance could mean for the nation: Neighborhood banks would lend to local businesses. Profits [and revenue and paychecks -DS] could stay in the community.

Simply knowing who your customers are and living near them could bring common sense — the most basic and sound form of risk management — back to banking.

Keep reading→

A dark, dark day for America. We demand that the rule of law be applied. (Update 2)

In Around the web on April 16, 2009 at 7:13 pm


by Glenn Greenwald

…Needless to say, I vehemently disagree with anyone — including Obama — who believes that prosecutions are unwarranted.  These memos describe grotesque war crimes — legalized by classic banality-of-evil criminals and ordered by pure criminals — that must be prosecuted if the rule of law is to have any meaning.  But the decision of whether to prosecute is not Obama’s to make; ultimately, it is Holder’s and/or a Special Prosectuor’s.  More importantly, Obama can only do so much by himself.  The Obama administration should, on its own, initiate criminal proceedings, but the citizenry also has responsibilities here.  These acts were carried out by our Government, and if we are really as repulsed by them as we claim, then the burden is on us to demand that something be done.

More than 250,000 Americans attended protests yesterday (ostensibly) over taxes and budget issues.  If these torture revelations are met with nothing but apathy, then it will certainly be reasonable to blame Holder and Obama if they fail to act, but the responsibility will also lie with a citizenry that responded with indifference.

Finally, it should be emphasized — yet again — that it was not our Congress, nor our media, nor our courts that compelled disclosure of these memos.  Instead, it was the ACLU’s tenacious efforts over several years which single-handedly pried these memos from the clutched hands of the government. Along with a couple of other civil liberties organizations, the ACLU (with which I consult) has expended extraordinary efforts to ensure at least minimal amounts of openness and transparency in this country, something that was necessary given the profound failures of these other institutions to do so.

Read Glenn Greenwald at Salon

Update 2: Demand accountability and tell Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate the detainee abuse at ACLU website

and this absolutely shameful opinion piece in the WSJ
~~

Ukiah Farmers Market Saturday 5/18/09

In Dave Smith on April 16, 2009 at 7:52 am

Kissimmee, Florida

From SCOTT CRATTY
Ph: 707-462-7377

Apr 16, 2009, Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Friends of the Farmers’ Market

Greetings.  Looks like another beautiful day at the market is predicted for Saturday.

Given that, and thanks to the cooperation of the City of Ukiah, I think that means we will move the market back onto School Street next week … a full two week before opening day last season.

Other than the vendors, you are the first to know.  So, come on Saturday and join the first street party of the new season!

We should have an abundance of plant starts for your garden.  In addition to the vendors from the last couple of weeks, I expect regular season vendors Red Tail Farm and Mendocino Lavender to return this week.

Favorite Don Willis will be playing.  We will also have two River Oak Charter School students playing classical tunes from their new CD, a fundraiser for a field trip to Washington DC, at about 11. Please come and support them.

For this week’s think piece, follow this link to an article in BusinessWeek about the tension between the ideals of organic farming and the demands of large scale production.
~~TT

Confuse and Conquer: Bankers to the Barricades!

In James Houle on April 15, 2009 at 9:46 pm

From JIM HOULE

Apr 16, 2009, Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

The trouble with the original Hank Paulson TARP plan last fall that handed $700 billion to the biggest banks in compensation for their bad judgment was that it was too transparent. By the time we got to the Christmas holidays, everyone had figured it out and was grumbling.

Paulson spooned out the bailouts over a four month period after warning Congress that the world would end if they didn’t give Hank the money by the weekend. Some in Congress finally began to look at what they had approved, once they noticed that the public was beginning to suspect a con job. Obama, a far wiser politician, has taken steps to avoid these errors in his approach to our economy’s continuing collapse.

First he bribed us with a $787 billion dollar economic stimulus program designed to ease our pain, protect the unemployed, and give the states huge sums to hand out more or less as they wished. Second, he directed his new Treasury Secretary, the bright and shiny penny, Timothy Geithner, to fashion a series of second phase bank bailout programs that would be far more opaque than Paulson’s, and which would be distributed quickly, in very large tranches (a phony French financial phrase meaning Gobs of Cash), and for the most part outside Congress’ purview. That should take care of those grumbling voters.

Now Geithner has encountered a sea of troubles with his PPIP, the Public-Private Partnership Program. The idea was to show that private sector funds could indeed form a partnership with us taxpayers to soak up the troubled assets resulting from the collapse of the housing market, the financial derivatives trading, the credit default swaps and the like. Geithner has been working feverishly on a new strategy since February, but has yet to announce his definitive attack plan. We will examine Geithner’s various proposals in a minute. But first, let’s try to understand one basic question:

Keep reading→

The Real Boston Tea Party was an Anti-Corporate Revolt

In Around the web on April 15, 2009 at 7:28 pm

By Thom Hartmann

CNBC Correspondent Rick Santelli called for a “Chicago Tea Party” on Feb 19th in protesting President Obama’s plan to help homeowners in trouble. Santelli’s call was answered by the right-wing group FreedomWorks, which funds campaigns promoting big business interests, and is the opposite of what the real Boston Tea Party was.

FreedomWorks was funded in 2004 by Dick Armey (former Republican House Majority leader & lobbyist); consolidated Citizens for a Sound Economy, funded by the Koch family; and Empower America, a lobbying firm, that had fought against healthcare and minimum-wage efforts while hailing deregulation.

Anti-tax “tea party” organizers are delivering one million tea bags to a Washington, D.C., park Wednesday morning – to promote protests across the country by people they say are fed up with high taxes and excess spending.

The real Boston Tea Party was a protest against huge corporate tax cuts for the British East India Company, the largest trans-national corporation then in existence. This corporate tax cut threatened to decimate small Colonial businesses by helping the BEIC pull a Wal-Mart against small entrepreneurial tea shops, and individuals began a revolt that kicked-off a series of events that ended in the creation of The United States of America.

They covered their faces, massed in the streets, and destroyed the property of a giant global corporation. Declaring an end to global trade run by the East India Company that was destroying local economies, this small, masked minority started a revolution with an act of rebellion later called the Boston Tea Party.

Keep reading more about Real Boston Tea Party at Common Ground

Masonite Monster Mall Owner DDR – Fire Sale of 52 Shopping Centers

In Around the web on April 15, 2009 at 10:51 am

From Janie Sheppard

Apr 15, 2009, Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

See article here.

This only confirms local suspicion that DDR is interested in making a fast $30 million by getting the Masonite site zone changed, then flipping it to who knows who to develop.

Here is the link to the DDR Plan Amendment:
Note 2 things:  it is in pdf format and can be searched and it is on the website mendocinocrossings.com
~~

Rail to Trail – Community Development Plan for Masonite Site (Part 4)

In Mendo Island Transition on April 15, 2009 at 5:43 am

From EARL BROWN

Apr 15, 2009, Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Non-Motorized Access to the Eel River Canyon

The North West Pacific Railroad system up through Sonoma County, from the Bay Area, has been shut down for years. North of Willits the track runs along the edge of Outlet Creek to the confluence of Outlet Creek and the Main Stem Eel River, eight miles north of Highway 101, on Highway 162. At the confluence of Outlet Creek and the Main Stem Eel River the track turns north and follows the Eel River to about 3.5 miles north of the confluence where a large landslide is covering the track. The track is then closed for over 50 miles of “wild and scenic” wilderness river canyon to Alder Point, northeast of Garberville. The track north of Alder Point is either open, or easily re-opened, to Eureka and Arcata. Due to the cost of the work needed, the impact it would have on threatened and endangered species, the minimal amount of natural resources left to extract, the cost of on-going maintenance, and the political battle it would take to get permitted, the canyon will not be re-opened for train traffic.

Although there has been considerable effort and money spent on trying to get the Eel River Canyon re-opened with the fifty plus mile stretch deemed “within our technological ability” to re-open, it is not within the “public good” to do so. Much of the Eel River Canyon is comprised of the Yorkville soil series, Blue Goo, anaerobic blue clay that is completely unstable, commonly found with Serpentine outcroppings and slides naturally. The train track is constructed at the bottom of the canyon walls, just above the high water mark of the river, cutting away the toe (base/bottom- like cutting off your foot at the ankle) of the hillside destabilizing the slope even more. Blue Goo is like axle grease when wet, travels for miles in the water column and has particles so small they are among the last to settle out of the water column covering the spawning gravels. This, and other, fine sediment fills the spaces between the gravel and restricts fresh water to the eggs so they rot and/or it entraps the salmon and steelhead fry that do hatch under the sediment and they suffocate (lack of fresh water). A better use for the land can be imagined that creates multiple benefits to the people of Mendocino County, the Eel River, the landowners, and nature enthusiasts everywhere.

This plan suggests that a suitable use for the Eel River Canyon rail right-of-way is a wild and scenic, non-motorized wilderness trail. Dos Rios to Alder Point is forty seven river miles, traversing many habitat and geology zones, passing through many tunnels, including the one-mile long Island Mountain tunnel, once the world’s longest man-made tunnel. This section of rail is a natural “Rails to Trails” project, with huge benefit to the environment and could be a huge economic boon to Mendocino and Humboldt Counties. As the consumer economic structure collapses people will be looking for meaningful, nearby, enjoyable, memorable vacation experiences. Not everyone will want to walk, or bike, or raft, forty seven miles through the wilderness yet it could be the crown jewel of Northern California’s natural adventures for those who do. With the rail open up to Willits, residents and visitors to Mendocino County could choose to spend their vacation experiencing the Eel River Canyon.

There are forty seven miles of twin steel rails that could be utilized for bridging side streams and natural drainages that are tributary to the Eel, some of which are historic salmon and steelhead spawning streams. There are numerous box cars, track, washed out culverts for stream crossings and drainages, bridge sections from the old Island Mountain trestle, and a locomotive engine scattered in the river. All of this material needs to be removed from the river channel. The cost of removing this debris from the canyon would be very expensive. However, it could be cut up into smaller sections and removed from the river and taken above the high water line. An intriguing idea is to take these odd, irregular and often twisted pieces of metal and commission modern sculptors to create art along the trail where it was removed. This would save the cost of removal and create novelty and curiosity along the trail as additional attractions.

The tunnels along the track could be fitted with solar panels and be turned into wilderness hostels. They could have fold-down sleeping platforms anchored to the walls with twelve volt lights run off the solar and be emergency medical and communication capable. The tunnels would provide shelter and protection form the elements, docent quarters, information kiosks and more as the project is developed (an added attraction would be if landowners allowed limited access to points of interest along the trail). The community of Island Mountain could become a destination in itself, developing camping, river support service and supplies, hunting and fishing guides and other attractions to be developed.

From the eco-village in Willits, a small solar, or bio-diesel, shuttle train would take ecologically minded tourists and their equipment out to the Tunnel One reception center for staging for the wilderness trail. Some will be walking the trail, some biking, and others rafting or kayaking. There would be a mix of people, visitors and locals, going to the river for a day of picnic and river recreation, and a chance to interact with like minded people. The shuttle would pick up any visitors coming down the trail from Alder Point and take them back to the Willits eco-village to connect with a south (Ukiah), or west (Fort Bragg), bound train, for more fun and excitement.

For example:
People interested in spending the weekend in Mendocino County would get on the eco-train in San Francisco, or Sacramento, take a dinner ride up to Ukiah Friday (or Thursday) after work and stay at a comfortable Hotel, or Inn. On the train there is a diverse group of people coming to Mendocino County, each for their own reasons. Some are coming for a weekend wine tasting, some to take in a pleasant bike ride around the valley or maybe some mountain biking, others might rent a kayak on the Russian River, take the Skunk Train to Fort Bragg, or continue up to Willits. Some are headed up to Covelo and the Yolla Bolly Wilderness and need a shuttle from Willits; others are bound for the Eel River Canyon and the wilderness trail to Alder Point. While in Mendocino County the visitors would stay in local hotels and Inns, eat in local restaurants and purchase locally produced products. After a relaxing weekend enjoying the Mendocino County out of doors, the leisurely train rides through interesting landscapes, good food, good entertainment and friendly people, they take their experiences back home anticipating their next weekend get-away.

If the community of Alder Point joined in to became a support community for eco-tourism and localization, they could enjoy many of the same benefits, much of which would come from Humboldt and Trinity sources. A few, maybe more, of the visitors to Mendocino County may be touring the West Coast and after hiking/biking/rafting the wilderness trail they might take the train north from Alder Point to Eureka and points beyond. We live in a beautiful region with multiple attractions for visitors and residents alike. This plan lays out the basic concept of the Eel River Wilderness Trail, a few things that could happen during its development and a few potential benefits of doing so. The concepts are offered in simplistic form so people unfamiliar with eco-tourism can get the overall idea without being bogged down by details. There is considerable work to do in fleshing out the skeleton idea presented.
~

A Potential Community Development Plan for the Masonite Site – Part 1
Eco-Train, Rail and Depot – Part 2
Ecologically-Oriented Tourism – Part 3
Rail to Trail – Part 4
Autonomous Waste Water Treatment System – Part 5
Community Interpretive Watershed and Visitor’s Center – Part 6
Food Processing Facility – Part 7

Small Diameter Pole Processing Mill – Part 8
Fiber Processing and Re-Manufacture Mill – Part 9
~~

‘Too big to fail’ is too big — period – Jim Hightower

In Around the web on April 14, 2009 at 4:27 pm

by Jim Hightower

The “too big” claim forms the rationale for the diversion of regular people’s money into rich people’s pockets.

As skiers and backcountry hikers know, a whiteout is a blizzard that’s so intense that those caught in it can’t even see the blizzard.

That’s how I think of the Wall Street bailout now swirling around us. So many trillions of our tax dollars are being blown at the financial giants that we’re blinded by the density of it, unable to see where we are or know what direction we’re headed.

However, one way to get your bearings in this bailout blizzard is to focus on the central point that both the bailors (Washington) and the bailees (Wall Street) keep pounding as an irrefutable truth that everyone simply has to accept — namely, the institutions being rescued are too big to fail.

Even sheep know to flee when coyotes howl in unison — and we commoners need to confront the absurdity of this “too big” claim, which forms the rationale for the entire diversion of regular people’s money into rich people’s pockets.

Wachovia, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Bank of America, AIG — omigosh, cried the Powers That Be, these behemoths are linked to every other behemoth, so if we don’t stuff them with tax dollars … well, we have no choice, because they’re just too big for the government to let fail.

Point No. 1: They have failed. They are kaput. It costs more to buy a snickerdoodle than to buy a share of Citigroup stock. AIG is 80 percent owned by you and me, the taxpayers. These once-haughty outfits are insolvent — wards of the state.

Point No. 2: If they’re too big, why should we sustain them? Let’s be clear about something the establishment doesn’t want you and me to understand — these giants did not get so big and interconnected because of natural market forces and free-enterprise efficiencies. They amassed power the old-fashioned way: They got the government to give it to them. In the past 20 years or so, they lobbied furiously to get Washington to rig the rules so they could latterly bloat … and float out of control.

Keep reading To big to fail is too big at AlterNet
~

See also Corn, Soy Yields Gain Little From Genetic Engineering: Study at Common Dreams

and Germany Bans Genetic Engineered Corn as Dangerous to Environment
~~

New Citizen Coalition Will Oppose DDR’s Attempt to Buy Approval of Zoning Change to Allow for Mega-Mall

In Guest Posts on April 14, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Press Release

Apr 14 2009, Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Save Our Local Economy

P.O. Box 1530, Ukiah CA 95482

SOLE@pacific.netwww.NoMegaMall.com

NEWS RELEASE – April 14, 2009

For additional information:

Spokespersons: Cliff Paulin 707-463-0413

Mari Rodin 707-272-1937

Guinness McFadden 707-743-1122

A new coalition has formed to lead Mendocino County’s opposition to a ballot initiative funded by Ohio-based Developers Diversified Realty, Inc. (DDR) that would change the zoning of the former Masonite site to allow development of a mega-mall.

Save Our Local Economy (SOLE) will counter the corporate funding of DDR’s campaign with grassroots organizing, education, and fundraising. SOLE’s website is www.NoMegaMall.com and e-mail is SOLE@pacific.net.

SOLE includes local business owners, farmers, attorneys, and elected officials from throughout the Mendocino County who are concerned that a giant mall on the outskirts of Ukiah will economically drain locally-owned shops around the county, and cause a host of adverse environmental and traffic impacts.

When last November’s elections resulted in a majority of the Board of Supervisors opposed to DDR’s plan for a mega-mall, DDR decided to circumvent local review by sponsoring its own ballot initiative. “We’re confident that most voters will take offense at DDR’s attempt to use outside money and influence to undermine the general plan process for land use planning,” said Mari Rodin, Ukiah City Council member and a spokesperson for SOLE. “When the voters of the Ukiah area elected Carre Brown and John McCowen last November—and the future of the Masonite site was a major campaign issue—they were expressing support for the maintenance of the site for new industrial jobs.”

Keep reading→

Ukiah Tree Hero – Lisa Mammina

In Dave Smith on April 13, 2009 at 6:09 pm

From Annie Esposito

Apr 13, 2009, Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

The Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse on Oak Street is shaded by a beautiful redwood. But of course the Redwood isn’t the small obedient tree it was when it was part of a planting program after World War II. It is now pushing up the sidewalk and it was doing the same to the porch of the building. In the past there had been plans to cut it down to save the building.

Fortunately, however, the building was bought by Lisa Mammina who was determined to do anything she could to save the tree along with the structure. And where there’s a will, there’s a way. With help from Mike Riddell, they took off the stairs to go under the porch and support the structure while they cut two inches off the uprights. They set it back down and voila — the porch is level and the tree thrives. She may have to do something similar in ten or fifteen years, but it is well worth the effort.

It cost Lisa a couple of thousand dollars to “finesse” the building. To cut the tree down, she could have made a couple of thousand dollars from the wood. What a gift to the community to think things through and preserve part of the town’s canopy. Lisa is very happy with the result as well. The tall tree is a magnificent accent to the building, making it more than just an ordinary building.

There have been trees cut down for expedience that should have been preserved. Think before you reach for that chainsaw, and you’ll have a better town. That tree may just be an important part of the architecture and not ‘in the way’ after all.

(Coincidently, Thursday evening April 16th, the Audobon Society will present a slide show on Life in the Canopies of the Redwoods at the Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse. There’s a lot that goes on up there in the treetops.)
~~

The Great Organic Potato Race (With Johnny Carson Potato Chip Video)

In Around the web on April 13, 2009 at 6:05 pm

From Gene Logsdon

[What happened when a band of merry seminarians full of modern science, took on a traditional old farmer in a contest to decide whether potatoes grown organically would yield better than those grown chemically. An excerpt from the novel, The Lords of Folly, by Gene Logsdon.]

In a rural area where even a car passing on a country road was a Social Event, the Great Potato Race had taken on the trappings of festival: a cross between a county fair and a prayer meeting. Various interested parties began to descend upon Oblate Gabe’s and farmer Hasse’s two potato patches. Horticulturists and agronomists led discussions in the use of sulfur in potato culture and on the increasing immunity of potato bugs to insecticides. Young farmers argued about whether the oblates’ close plantings producing a greater number of smaller potatoes would out-yield Hasse’s wider plantings producing fewer but larger potatoes. Old farmers wondered if it made any difference whether big or small potatoes were used for seed. Harriet Snod’s Garden Club discussed whether Pisces, Scorpio or Capricorn was the better sign to plant under… Oblate Blaze arranged a special ceremony that involved the Prior walking up and down the rows of the Josephian’s potatoes sprinkling holy water, being careful not to do so in his usual ample manner, lest some of the precious liquid fall accidentally on Hasse’s potatoes too…

In case holy water was not enough, Gabe turned to irrigation during a summer dry spell. He showed farmers and agronomists how he could easily irrigate his potatoes by damming up the laterals of his drainage system so that the ever-flowing spring water from the swamps filled the ditches to the desired level, allowing the water to run out into the potato patch.

Keep reading The Great Organic Potato Race (with Johnny Carson video) at OrganicToBe.org

If you’ve signed the Masonite Monster Mall petition in error, you can un-sign it!

In Around the web on April 12, 2009 at 5:00 am

From Janie Sheppard

Apr 12, 2009, Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Un-sign yourself. Please spread the word . . . lots of people are really confused.

Dave will have forms available at Mulligan Books during store hours (11-6) to sign, and I will pick them up and take to the County Clerk.

According to the Ukiah Daily Journal:

Those who believe they have signed their names to a ballot petition in error recently can have their signatures removed, provided they provide paperwork to the county before the petitioners get there first, said Assessor/Clerk/Recorder Sue Ranochak on Friday.

“As long as we receive the written requests before the signatures get here that will work,” she said.

Ranochak said Section 103 of the California Elections Code covered the procedure voters could follow should they wish their names stricken from the record.

“Any voter who has signed an initiative, referendum or recall petition pursuant to the constitution or laws of this state shall have his or her signature withdrawn from the petition upon filing a written request therefor with the appropriate county elections official or city elections official prior to the day the petition is filed,” stated the code.

To read more about this issue click here.
~~

Ecologically-Oriented Tourism – Community Development Plan for Masonite Site (Part 3)

In Mendo Island Transition on April 10, 2009 at 7:10 am

From Earl Brown

Apr 10, 2009, Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Ecologically Oriented Tourism, or Eco-Tourism, is quickly taking root in the American mind. More and more people are seeking recreation activities and vacation destinations that are close to home and in rural to wilderness areas. People are seeking connection to wild nature for the thrill of it, for the beauty of it and for the soul stirring awe one can feel when faced with a mountain panorama, or ocean sunset, or simple animal experience. Mendocino County is the interface between the remaining wild-lands and the urban sprawl reaching up from the Bay Area and Sonoma County. Among this population there are many people who want wilderness experiences yet lack knowledge of a destination with support facilities. As fuel prices and the awareness of the hidden costs of oil exploitation (war, oppression, racism) cut into people’s desire to burn fossil fuels they will look for suitable alternatives closer to home and that are reachable by mass transit.

Mendocino County is on the fringe between the urban and the wild and is blessed with a splendid variety of landscapes, wilderness, coastline, rivers, people, towns and businesses. Somewhere in Mendocino a visitor can hike, bike, ride horse, raft, kayak and swim. There is fishing (ocean, fresh water), hunting, hang gliding, boating, 4×4 jeep and motorcycle trails, and sight seeing. One can enjoy organic wines, nature photography, rock and mineral hunting, native plants; learn about native cultures, alternative energy, sustainable organic farming and bio-dynamics. We have the Russian River (West Fork, East Fork, and Main Russian) the Eel River (Middle Fork, South Fork, and Main Eel), for people looking for water sports, and the Yolla Bolly Wilderness and the Lost Coast, for those wanting the quiet serenity of the wilderness with its many benefits. We, in Mendocino County, are uniquely situated to broaden our economic base by protecting and enhancing our wild lands and rivers. As increased ecological awareness spreads through the mass population Mendocino County could become a model of localization and self-sufficiency, and with an economy based upon healthy naturally functioning ecosystems.

In the Ukiah Valley there would be investment needed into urban stream restoration and walkways and bike paths, walking and bike trails along the Russian River, removing safety hazards in the river channel, campgrounds, and safe transportation. There is the regional park being constructed along the Russian River at the east end of Gobbi Street to complete; water activities at Lake Mendocino (non-motorized) can be developed. Road and mountain biking is gaining popularity and many of our rural roads are suitable for bike traffic and some bike paths will need to be built. It is possible that as the area’s popularity for weekend getaways increases, shuttle services to nearby points of interests — like Vichy Springs Resort, Orr Hot Springs, Montgomery Woods, Clear Lake, Lake Pillsbury, wineries, breweries — would be needed. Organized bike trails around the Ukiah and Hopland Valleys could link organic wine grape vineyards and wineries, tasting rooms, organic farms, river access and other attractions yet to be developed.

The Russian River from below Coyote Dam to the Talmage Road Bridge is a calm, class 1 stream, suitable for families and youth to kayak. With the removal and replacement of the Norgard Rubble Dam (safety reasons), at the end of Norgard Lane, south Ukiah, and the removal of the old car bodies and failed steel erosion control structures from the river channel, the river is a day kayak float to Hopland. The Russian River, south of Hopland to north of Cloverdale is another challenging, class 3, river with potential portage at Squaw Rock, for novices, or at low water flows for everyone. The removal of the safety hazards and maintenance of the river channel for navigation would open this up fairly easily to moderately challenging sections of river for commercial and recreational use. Wineries could put picnic areas along the river to promote their products and encourage visitors to their facilities.

McGee Park, on the East Fork Russian River, along Eastside Potter Valley Road to Potter Valley is undeveloped and closed for several months during the winter. The East Fork Russian is a challenging Class 3 (advanced level) stream and a fun kayak run down to Lake Mendocino, as well as a local swimming and fishing destination. Development of day use facilities, barbeque pits, picnic area, and river access would make this a meaningful recreation spot and encourage visitor use. This could be combined with a rental concession at the north boat ramp on Lake Mendocino.

North (non-motorized) and South Cow Mountain (motorized) is a multiple use attraction for off-road enthusiasts, mountain bikers, hikers, and rough-it campers. This is some of the only camping available, other than at Lake Mendocino ($20/night), in the Ukiah area and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

A little farther out is Lake Pillsbury, more off-road trails, hunting, fishing, camping, access to Covelo, and the Yolla Bolly Wilderness. The Eel River down to Pillsbury is a class 3 river and has camping at Trout Creek, a few miles upriver from the Eel River Bridge and Van Arsdale Dam. Below Van Arsdale Dam the Eel River is suitable for commercial river trips to Alder Point, some seventy miles of river. Mountain biking from Lake Pillsbury to Covelo could take several routes and side routes that would take multiple trips to see completely. Also, Hull Mountain, below the fire lookout tower, is a popular northern California handg gliding destination. Thermal currents take fliers up to around 10,000 feet, nearly out of sight, and they land on the airstrip near Oak Flat Campground.

This is just scratching the surface of the local attractions for out-of-doors activities in Mendocino County. In fact it would be a lengthy endeavor to list all of the possible outdoor attractions here in Mendocino County and this is to our benefit. We are primely located to utilize ecological tourism as a sustainable economic resource and job base.
~

A Potential Community Development Plan for the Masonite Site – Part 1
Eco-Train, Rail and Depot – Part 2
Ecologically-Oriented Tourism – Part 3
Rail to Trail – Part 4
Autonomous Waste Water Treatment System – Part 5
Community Interpretive Watershed and Visitor’s Center – Part 6
Food Processing Facility – Part 7

Small Diameter Pole Processing Mill – Part 8
Fiber Processing and Re-Manufacture Mill – Part 9
~
Image Credit: Kayak Mendocino
~~

Right Livelihood

In Books, Dave Smith on April 9, 2009 at 8:57 pm

By Michael Phillips
The Briarpatch Book (1978)
The Briarpatch Network

Right Livelihood is one of the hottest issues I’ve seen lately. Talks and workshops on the subject are on a “standing room only” basis. I think there has been a significant shift in work values. In the past it was considered reasonable for people to develop a marketable skill and pursue a career that would earn them enough money to do the things they really wanted to do. People worked at their jobs so they could do the things they wanted on weekends, go where they wanted on vacations and in some cases earn enough to retire “early” and then do what they wanted. Now our peers are saying, “That’s nonsense; why should I do something I don’t like 70% of my life so I can do what I want 30%?” They want to combine what they enjoy doing with their livelihood.

The Tough Question
Now that more people are thinking about doing, working at, and being what they want, the really tough question becomes, “What do I want?” The person who goes camping every weekend doesn’t necessarily want to be a forest ranger, nor does the weekend sailor want to be in the merchant marines. Hobbies, interests, and avocations don’t always translate directly into full-time activity. Finding right livelihood is difficult and takes plenty of time, often many years. Right livelihood is a concept found in Buddhism (one of the eight-fold paths), Sufism, and early Christianity. It is part of a whole view, part of being a whole person. It is a fundamental element in the Briarpatch. We want people to enjoy what they are doing fully, and to do it for the intrinsic rewards.

Keep reading→

Ukiah Farmers Market Saturday April 11, 2009

In Dave Smith on April 9, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Canal Winchester, Ohio

From Scott Cratty

Apr 9 2009, Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Friends of the Farmers’ Market,

Greetings! The market is off to a fast start this season. We already have three vendors with starter plants (we had one on May last year).  Plus, I keep hearing almost daily from prospective new vendors. The influx of new vendors may put a dent in our long running shortage of local eggs. One new vendor even plans to bring duck eggs.

A vendor from Redwood Valley may also be bringing some local pork, which has been missing from our market for some time.

Interest in federal draft legislation HR 875 seems to be running high in the community. The Market Message column in Friday’s UDJ will provide my perspective on it. Better yet, tune in to the Ecology Hour KZYX&Z next Tuesday at 7 pm to get Doug Mosel’s insights.

Keep reading→

Why I Am a Socialist – Chris Hedges

In Around the web on April 9, 2009 at 8:34 pm

From TruthDig

[In honor of much-loved local citizen Ken Anderson, an avowed socialist who gave of himself to our community, here is one of my (and most likely his) favorite journalists, Chris Hedges. -DS]

The corporate forces that are looting the Treasury and have plunged us into a depression will not be contained by the two main political parties. The Democratic and Republican parties have become little more than squalid clubs of privilege and wealth, whores to money and corporate interests, hostage to a massive arms industry, and so adept at deception and self-delusion they no longer know truth from lies. We will either find our way out of this mess by embracing an uncompromising democratic socialism — one that will insist on massive government relief and work programs, the nationalization of electricity and gas companies, a universal, not-for-profit government health care program, the outlawing of hedge funds, a radical reduction of our bloated military budget and an end to imperial wars — or we will continue to be fleeced and impoverished by our bankrupt elite and shackled and chained by our surveillance state.

The free market and globalization, promised as the route to worldwide prosperity, have been exposed as a con game. But this does not mean our corporate masters will disappear. Totalitarianism, as George Orwell pointed out, is not so much an age of faith as an age of schizophrenia. “A society becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial,” Orwell wrote, “that is when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud.” Force and fraud are all they have left. They will use both.

Keep reading Why I Am a Socialist at TruthDig

Manure More Precious Than Gold

In Around the web on April 9, 2009 at 12:48 pm

From Gene Logsdon

I half-jokingly suggested about a year ago that animal manure— used livestock, horse, and chicken bedding— was going to be the hottest commodity on the Chicago Board of Trade. There are indications now that such a seemingly absurd prediction might not be so absurd after all. Last year the prices of some farm fertilizers shot up to over a thousand dollars a ton. Ammonium polyphosphate is still nearly that high. Deposits of potash in Canada, a main source of our potassium fertilizers, are declining. Natural gas, from which commercial nitrogen fertilizer is manufactured, is rising in cost as other uses compete for it. Long term, there are reasons to believe that the era of abundant manufactured fertilizers is passing.

There is nothing funny about that prediction. Nor should organic farmers feel vindicated. If we run out of commercial fertilizers, there would be no way we could avoid a precipitous decline in crop yields while farmers switched to all-organic methods. It has taken us a couple hundred years to reduce the organic matter content in our soils to the low levels of today and experts say it might take at least half that long to build them back up again. Getting enough manure and other organic wastes to make up for a shortage of commercial fertilizer would be an enormous challenge requiring changes not only in agricultural attitudes but cultural attitudes as well.

Keep reading Manure More Precious Than Gold at OrganicToGo.org

How to Create Jobs So We Can Operate Our City and County

In Mendo Island Transition on April 9, 2009 at 7:14 am

From Michael Laybourn

Apr 9 2009, Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

An update on providing solar/renewable energy for Ukiah and even Mendocino County. REPs (renewable energy payment), FITs (feed-in tariffs) & So Forth…

Here is how we left it in January…

What if?… the City of Ukiah followed the proven German model and provided:

1. Low interest loans for solar conversion.
2. Gave a larger rebate: 1/2 or more of the system cost as California did in 2004.
3. Bought the electricity from solar homes and businesses at a rate that would pay back the loans.

Update:
I had heard -through the grapevine- that the first U.S. city had recently used the German model of a feed-in tariff or REP (renewable energy payment), which is the same thing. Here is what they did in Gainesville FL. (from the Gainesville Sun):

Keep reading→

Thoughts on Bill O’Reilly and Squeaky the Chicago Mouse – Roger Ebert

In Around the web on April 8, 2009 at 8:07 am


To: Bill O’Reilly
From: Roger Ebert

Dear Bill: Thanks for including the Chicago Sun-Times on your exclusive list of newspapers on your “Hall of Shame.” To be in an O’Reilly Hall of Fame would be a cruel blow to any newspaper. It would place us in the favor of a man who turns red and starts screaming when anyone disagrees with him. My grade-school teacher, wise Sister Nathan, would have called in your parents and recommended counseling with Father Hogben.

Yes, the Sun-Times is liberal, having recently endorsed our first Democrat for President since LBJ. We were founded by Marshall Field one week before Pearl Harbor to provide a liberal voice in Chicago to counter the Tribune, which opposed an American war against Hitler. I’m sure you would have sided with the Trib at the time.

Keep reading Thoughts on Bill O’Reilly at Chicago Sun-Times

Organic Money

In Around the web on April 8, 2009 at 7:10 am

By Gene Logsdon
Garden Farm Skills

Recently I was invited to a most unusual gathering. The event was not officially called a “Conference On Advanced Economic Trends” but if it had been held at a university, it would surely have been given a high-sounding name like that. Instead it was held on a working farm and was called “Our Garlic Festival.”

The farm is Jandy’s, after its owners, Andy Reinhart and Jan Dawson. They  make their living growing and selling vegetables from less than two acres of their little farm, mostly at the farmer’s market in nearby Bellefountaine, Ohio.  Locally Jan and Andy are revered organic garden farmers. One look at their crops will tell anyone who knows anything about organic gardening just how remarkably skilled they are at their craft. Sometimes a head of their bibb lettuce barely fits into a bushel basket. They don’t need to have organic certification. Their customers know that if Jan and Andy say its organic, rest assured that it is organic. They don’t sell commodities; they sell the fruit of their dedicated way of life, drops of their sweat and blood. Every year they hold an open house for friends, neighbors, customers and other market farmers looking for new ideas.

This year, with a record garlic crop on their hands, they decided to sell their produce at the open house too. They also invited a local deli owner, Nick Carter, to sell his homemade pesto and bread and a local beekeeper, Skidmore Apiaries, to sell their honey products. A local musician, Bob Lucas performed. I sold my books. Surrounded by shade trees and gardens, about 200 people, a surprising number for such a rural setting, stood around in little knots talking spiritedly about subjects that all came under the heading of Home Economics: local food; natural medicine; home-based alternative energy; home birthing; home schooling, even, get this, home churching.

It dawned on me that what I was witnessing was a near perfect example of a local economy in action…

Keep reading Organic Money at OrganicToBe.org

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,515 other followers