The Aim is Joy


From GENE LOGSDON
Upper Sandusky, Ohio

July 22, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

I’ve taken lovely vacations over the years, but the latest one, at an exclusive hideaway we were lucky enough to know about, had to be the best ever.

My idea of a good vacation is one that combines natural wonders with good food (the greatest natural wonder of all), hopefully convenient to exhibitions or programs of art or history not yet widely publicized, and so removed from the possibility of crowds and traffic jams. Places that offer such a rare combination are few and far between, and simply discovering this magical retreat was a keen pleasure.

I don’t know where to begin in telling you the delights of this vacation. We awoke on Saturday morning to a pervasive silence, broken only by the song of a wood thrush outside our window. We dined on an upper deck, where a flaming orange and black Baltimore oriole scolded us from a huge oak tree whose limbs reached out almost to our table.

At one point, the blue flash of an indigo bunting streaked across the orange flame of oriole, and I jumped in delight. That so startled the lovely lady vacationing with me that she lost the strawberry she was spooning from her saucer, and the fruit bounced into the cream pitcher. Giggle, giggle. The strawberries came directly from the establishment’s own garden. Yeasty homemade bread also originated in the kitchen, and the eggs were fresh from a nearby barn—we could actually hear the hens cackling. The thick strips of drug- and hormone-free, hickory-smoked bacon came from hogs raised in that barn, too.

We decided to go bird-watching that morning, encouraged by the variety of birds we saw just from the breakfast table. We did not see the bobolinks rumored to have returned to the fields behind the hideaway, but I did spot a stocky lestes (Lestes dryas), a species of damselfly, resting in the meadow grass. Though lestes is not exactly an uncommon species in these parts, I had never seen this striking insect before.

Wait just a minute! (Answer to UDJ Letter to the Editor)


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

July 21, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

Editor:

Wait just a minute!

I don’t mind being called “ignorant” or being accused of trying to scare people “just like Bush and Cheney” or that I “want to be Amish” (Letter to Editor: What’s wrong with Capitalism? UDJ 7/20/09 – see below). But when someone who lives in Lower Lake comes over here and calls Downtown Ukiah “an armpit” — that’s just going too far!

It’s especially offensive during these hot, hundred plus temperatures when everyone is doing their best to stay cool. After all, we in Mendoland don’t have the ability, like Lake County folks, to take those crisp, clean dips in Clear Lake algae water to stay freshened up and re-fragranced!

But it was only when I read on and found “please people (sic), quit whining about marijuana” that I realized the writer had mistaken the aroma of our number one crop, now maturing on the landscape and in boarded-up houses, for our personal lack of good hygiene.

Can’t we import some Monsanto scientists to genetically modify our main crop with some aromatherapy oils? It could save our personal reputations, not to mention our tourist industry… tourists must think we’re just a bunch of yokels and hippies up here who don’t bathe!

Who knew?
~

What’s wrong with capitalism?

MONDAY, JULY 20, 2009
Ukiah Daily Journal
To the Editor:

Dave Smith and all the people who think big box stores are so bad because they send local money overseas are ignorant. Let me explain the cycle of selling widgets.

Take Action! Healthcare Reform Now!


From JANIE SHEPPARD
Ukiah Valley

July 20, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

How can we get real healthcare reform NOW?

Not next year, not in five years when the economy may have recovered, but now.  We want single payer healthcare by the end of August.

For a succinct discussion of the health care policy debate, go to Wikipedia here.

We are stuck with two reluctant reformers:  Dianne Feinstein, Senator, and Mike Thompson, Representative.  So far as I know Barbara Boxer is not a problem.

Thompson gets campaign money from the “health sector”, to the tune of $254,625 in 2008.  He does, however, profess to be in favor of the public option (second best after single payer).

Our job is to turn him to single payer.  Here’s his contact information:

E-Mail Mike Thompson

WASHINGTON, DC OFFICE
231 Cannon Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3311
Fax: (202) 225-4335

MENDOCINO DISTRICT OFFICE
430 North Franklin Street
PO Box 2208
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
Phone: (707) 962-0933
Fax: (707) 962-0934

Feinstein’s website tells us nothing about her position on health care.  Let’s force her to play her cards. What does the Senator think?  I asked:

Dear Senator Feinstein:

As your constituent, I would like to see your position on health care reform posted on your website.

Take Action! Training Tonight July 21 to stop the Monster Mall


From HANNAH BIRD
Mendocino Environmental Center

July 20, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

We all want to help the environment, but it can be hard to make the time and work out the best things to do. The Mendocino Environmental Center (MEC) is a hub for local environmental advocacy, working on issues that affect Ukiah Valley residents and beyond.

Ukiah is a place blessed with stunning surroundings and varied habitats, and the MEC strives to protect this environment and work with the community to minimise our global footprint. I encourage all members of the community to join us and let us know what issues are important to you. Together we can take effect.

One of the most prominent issues currently being tackled by the MEC and other community groups is the possible re-zoning of the Masonite site which will be voted on in November. The MEC’s main concern regarding the rezoning and plan for the site is the lack of an ‘Environmental Impact Report’. It is imperative that an independent report be carried out before planning decisions are made. The methods which have taken this issue onto the ballot avoid the requirement to carry out such an EIR but we believe that the community has the right to know what environmental impacts any development may have before it is agreed. We therefore encourage voters to vote against the re-zoning in November.

MEC is encouraging all those who are against the re-zoning of the site, or who would like to learn more, to join us at a training event led by Richard Shoemaker from SOLE (Save Our Local Economy). The event will be held at the MEC, 105 West Standley Street, downtown Ukiah on Tuesday, July 21 from 6-7pm. Light refreshments will be provided.

Those wishing to attend should e-mail hannah.bird78@gmail.com to reserve a place. The event is free but donations to the MEC are gratefully appreciated.
~~

Why I will never buy a Kindle


From tristero
Via Hullabaloo

July 20, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

This is why I will never, ever buy a Kindle:

On Friday, it was “1984” and another Orwell book, “Animal Farm,” that were dropped down the memory hole — by Amazon.com.

In a move that angered customers and generated waves of online pique, Amazon remotely deleted some digital editions of the books from the Kindle devices of readers who had bought them.

Unacceptable, and on so many levels, I don’t know where to start.

Actually, I do. I’m buying, as I have for a long time now, only from a local bookstore, and I’m buying only real books…
~

Comments…

I own a Sony ebook reader. I use it to read freely available content online. Only occasionally (when going on a vacation etc) do I actually purchase any reading content from sony. On those rare occasions I feel ripped off because I have no physical ownership of an actual book. I can buy the same book in a store and then re-sell it, lend it to anyone etc. etc. The finances behind buying ebooks is just all off. I’m also the person that owns an Ipod and love it…but I still buy my music via an actual CD that I can download on my computer and own…ie: can re-sell, lend etc.

Until ebook readers all work on the same format….offer ownership in the form of re-sell value etc. I think there will always be those hardcore book owners like myself. Come see my shelves….its far far more exciting than me handing you an electronic device and saying “you really should see my library!” What a downer that truly is….
~

…those are great points. I agree with you – as Sony Reader owner, myself. I use it when I’m traveling, especially on free e-books that can be downloaded because of expired copyrights or other freebies given away on the web.

I will never, never give up my books and will keep adding to them until the day I die, I suspect. E-books are kinda cool but they are not really books and they never will be.
~~

Ukiah’s Transition Timeline


The Book Dealer – Larry McMurtry’s Grand Obsession


From DANIEL BARTH
Ukiah Valley
Originally appeared in…
The Redwood Coast Review (pdf)

July 17, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

Larry McMurtry is one of the most prolific and successful modern American writers. Primarily a novelist—The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment, Lonesome Dove and twenty-seven others—he has also written eight books of essays, a biography, numerous books reviews and, by his count, 70 screenplays (most notably, with Diana Ossana, the Golden Globe and Academy Award winning Brokeback Mountain). But to hear him tell it, in Books: A Memoir, all this scribbling has been merely a sideline to his primary pursuit—the buying and selling of books.

From his early days as a graduate student at Rice University and as a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford—in the famous class with Ken Kesey, Wendell Berry, Peter Beagle and others—McMurtry was in the habit of “book scouting,” prowling local used book shops for bargains he could sell elsewhere at a profit. Malcolm Cowley, a visiting professor at Stanford in the fall of 1960, writes about this in his memoir, The Flower and the Leaf:

“It was a pretty brilliant class that year, including as it did some professional writers

How Masonite Monster Mall’s Developer DDR Treats Small Town Folks Like Us


From Daily News of Newburyport

July 17, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

Town sued on denial of Monster Mall Plans

SEABROOK — An Ohio-based shopping center giant is suing the town over the Planning Board’s denial of its proposal to build a 500,000-square-foot retail outlet in town.

The shopping center, which planned to have a Target store as its anchor, would have been the largest in Greater Newburyport, and more than twice as large as Newburyport’s Port Plaza. It would have been located just to the northeast of the busy intersection of Routes 1 and 107.

The town was served notice of the lawsuit yesterday. The more than 60-page brief and its attachments were filed with Rockingham County Superior Court on June 17, according to the stamp on the document, within the 30-day appeal window of the Planning Board’s May 19 denial.

In the brief, Developers Diversified Realty attorney Malcolm McNeill Jr. wrote: “The Planning Board in denying (DDR’s) request for site review approval for its retail shopping center was unlawful and unreasonable and the product of bad faith by the Planning Board, and was arbitrary, capricious and confiscatory.”

Where I lived, and what I lived for – Henry David Thoreau


From Henry David Thoreau

July 16, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to “glorify God and enjoy him forever.”

Keep reading at The Thoreau Reader

The Agrarian Standard – Wendell Berry


From Wendell Berry
Orion Magazine

July 16, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

The Unsettling of America was published twenty-five years ago; it is still in print and is still being read. As its author, I am tempted to be glad of this, and yet, if I believe what I said in that book, and I still do, then I should be anything but glad. The book would have had a far happier fate if it could have been disproved or made obsolete years ago.

It remains true because the conditions it describes and opposes, the abuses of farmland and farming people, have persisted and become worse over the last twenty-five years. In 2002 we have less than half the number of farmers in the United States that we had in 1977. Our farm communities are far worse off now than they were then. Our soil erosion rates continue to be unsustainably high. We continue to pollute our soils and streams with agricultural poisons. We continue to lose farmland to urban development of the most wasteful sort. The large agribusiness corporations that were mainly national in 1977 are now global, and are replacing the world’s agricultural diversity, which was useful primarily to farmers and local consumers, with bioengineered and patented monocultures that are merely profitable to corporations. The purpose of this now global economy, as Vandana Shiva has rightly said, is to replace “food democracy” with a worldwide “food dictatorship.”

To be an agrarian writer in such a time is an odd experience. One keeps writing essays and speeches that one would prefer not to write, that one wishes would prove unnecessary, that one hopes nobody will have any need for in twenty-five years.

Keep reading at Orion

Death of the Category Killers


By Stacy Mitchell
New Rules Project

July 15, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

Borders Books is on “death watch,” according to one industry observer. Virgin shut down its last U.S. record store this month. Office Depot and Staples are struggling. Circuit City is gone. Best Buy has launched a desperate ad campaign.

The specialty chains that grew so aggressively in the 1990s and early 2000s — the so-called “category killers” that bankrupted thousands of independent businesses — are now themselves rapidly losing ground to a handful of giant mass merchandisers, namely Wal-Mart, Amazon, Target, and Costco.

While the decline of independent businesses has leveled off and many are finding ways to survive and even thrive by building local business alliances and emphasizing their community roots, the rest of the retail sector is undergoing dramatic consolidation as a small number of massive companies become ever more dominant. This is an ominous trend for manufacturers and consumers, and it exposes serious flaws in U.S. antitrust policy.

Books as Loss Leaders

“For much of 2008, the industry focused its attention on the viability of the struggling Borders, but Barnes & Noble faces many of the very same issues,” wrote Peter Olson, the former CEO of Random House, earlier this year in Publishers Weekly. Olson predicts that the two chains will continue to lose ground, struggle to finance their inventories, and be forced to close outlets.

Big-box mass merchandisers, like Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco, have taken over 30 percent of the book market. These chains are now selling as many books as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

‘Localwashing’ Corporations Move to Co-opt Consumers Desire to Buy ‘Local’ & Sustainable Products & Services


By Stacy Mitchell
New Rules Project

With Americans’ new focus on buying products made close to home, corporations are moving quickly to co-opt the term “local.” But if everything is local, is anything local?

[This is why we use the terms "locally-owned" and "independent", and why we need a local currency that circulates only in locally-owned, independent businesses. -DS]

July 15, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

HSBC calls itself “the world’s local bank,” which belies the intent of the “local” movement, a campaign to urge consumers to buy locally produced goods and support independent businesses in their hometowns.

HSBC, one of the biggest banks on the planet, has taken to calling itself “the world’s local bank.” Winn-Dixie, a 500-outlet supermarket chain, recently launched a new ad campaign under the tagline, “Local flavor since 1956.” The International Council of Shopping Centers, a global consortium of mall owners and developers, is pouring millions of dollars into television ads urging people to “Shop Local” — at their nearest mall. Even Walmart is getting in on the act, hanging bright green banners over its produce aisles that simply say “Local.”

This new variation on corporate greenwashing — localwashing — is, like the buy-local movement itself, most advanced in the context of food. Hellmann’s, the mayonnaise brand owned by the processed-food giant Unilever, is test-driving a new “Eat Real, Eat Local” initiative in Canada. The ad campaign seems aimed partly at enhancing the brand by simply associating Hellmann’s with local food.

Ukiah Farmer’s Market Saturday 7/18/09 – Food Bank Drive



From SCOTT CRATTY
Ukiah

July 17, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

Friends of the Farmers’ Market, Greetings!

This weekend is the Saturday Farmers’ Market week to adopt the Ukiah Food Bank. Community group Yes, We Can! is pitching in to help get the word out and will be collecting donations under the pavilion along Clay St.  Please consider buying a bit extra to donate or bringing along a can of veggies that you can live without.  Tough times are made a bit easier when we share the load. Please pitch in and come find out about Yes, We Can!  Spread the word.

New hot food vendor Harbor Lights from Lake Co didn’t quite make it last week, but they are planning to join us this weekend with Native American fry bread (with various toppings), fruit cups, clam chowder and fried cinnamon roll surprise.

Anyone in the area growing excess greens?  The Westside Renaissance Market is looking for a local supplier of lettuce and/or salad mix. Now, for your reading pleasure, the Lazy Gardener Blog
~~

Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change – Derrick Jensen


From ANNIE ESPOSITO
Ukiah

July 15, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

[We often hear about change starting from within.  We change ourselves and it manifests outward in ripples that begin change for the world.  But the reality is that no matter how virtuous we are as individuals, or think we are, effective change needs to be systemic.  Ecologist Derrick Jensen is circulating an essay making that point - we need to go after corporate power to create real change.  And it's dangerous, but necessary. -AE]

[Todd Walton and Annie exchange comments about this article in the Comments section below. Your thoughts? -DS]
~

Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption

Small Scale Grain Raising: Revisiting a Classic


From GENE LOGSDON

July 14, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

Not many writers get a chance to revise a book that they wrote thirty years earlier. There’s an eeriness to it. I feel like Rip Van Winkle—like I fell asleep out in my corn patch and, when I woke up, things looked about like always, but it wasn’t even the same century anymore.

The satisfying part of this eerie feeling is that much of what I said on the subject of small-scale grain raising thirty years ago is more current now than it was then. The pancake patch has come of age. If that sounds like a brag, I’ll not apologize. To all those agribusiness experts who ridiculed my call to garden grains thirty years ago, I now draw myself up in pompous self-righteousness, stick out my tongue, and gloat as sickeningly as possible.

Seriously, though, I have little justification for gloating. Much of the credit goes to an editor and dear friend whom I worked under at Rodale Press, Jerry Goldstein. A book about garden grains was more his idea than mine. Although I was already doing most of the things I would write about in the book, I did not think very many other people were that crazy. I was raised up in the generation that decided farmers had to get big or get out, that local gristmills like the water-powered “Indian Mill” of my boyhood, had faded away into ancient history (it’s actually a museum now), and that local bakeries like Neumeisters’ in my hometown were gone for good. One of the fond memories of my youth was fishing below the dam at Indian Mill and being in town about four o’clock in the afternoon when the bread was coming out of Neumeisters’ ovens. That heavenly smell would float all over the village. Made me weak in the knees.

There’s only one: Authentically unique Ukiah


by LOUISA ARONOW
Redwood Valley
Ukiah Daily Journal 7/12/09

July 14, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

In the summer of 2002 my family and I took a car trip from Massachusetts to California. I was curious to see how the many towns and cities we visited along the way might reflect the incredible beauty of the vast and varied landscapes we passed through, so I decided to search for those elements that make a place authentically unique. I wondered what features might distinguish one town from others. Were there interesting restaurants, architecture, stores, parks, historical places, vegetation, or anything special I wouldn’t see in other regions of the USA? How does a town represent its inhabitants and the land from which it grew?

My entertaining investigation became sadder and sadder and we visited more small cities and found nothing authentically unique. Most cities consisted of the same franchise businesses by the highways or interstates, and a depleted downtown. Sometimes the downtown included city and county offices, but all included many empty buildings.

One small city we stopped in was a rural county seat; I wondered if it would be similar to Ukiah. The downtown had many elegant old three-story buildings, with copper trim and sculptures, but it seemed to be a ghost town. In the late afternoon, no humans were in sight and our footsteps echoed in the canyon-like streets. I felt that the heart and guts had been ripped out of the city. There was activity in the chain stores and restaurants by the interstate exit, but the shopping center included nothing authentically unique.

The few exceptions were the places that had preserved a bit of history to attract tourists. It was interesting to learn a few tidbits of history across the US (especially the sod house in Kansas), but it didn’t seem that the attractions were interesting for local people.

Monster Mall Ukiah: Another Snake Oil Letter to the Editor


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

July 13, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

Editor – Ukiah Daily Journal:

In her letter to the editor titled Still Shopping in Santa Rosa (UDJ Sunday, July 12) a writer asks “Why is Ukiah so afraid of allowing this town to grow?” and then proceeds to cheer the Masonite Monster Mall Big Box Stores. She states “If we don’t let a few of them in, then we will have to go to Santa Rosa to shop and spend our hard earned money, it won’t be spent in Ukiah.” This argument continues to be put forward in the paper even though it continues to be countered with facts. This is the old Big Lie tactic of repeating falsities over and over, hoping to win over those who are not paying close attention.

OK, I’ll counter it again. The City of Ukiah is not afraid of growing. It has set aside properly zoned land in the City for more retail stores. They recently purchased even more land for retail. That is where retail for Ukiah and the surrounding area belongs, with its appropriate requirements of environmental, design, and traffic impact reviews and requirements. The Masonite site should not be rezoned for retail because it is properly zoned for green industrial, better-paying jobs, which the Obama administration is intent on helping us create.

Just the facts, ma’am.
Image Credit: Evan Johnson
~
See also Big Box Mart cartoon
~~

Book Reviews: The Delights of Rural Life



By Jane Ciabattari
TruthDig

June 13, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

As Alice Waters hovers in the wings as a muse for the Obama era, inspiring the White House garden and healthy school lunches, the fantasy of a pastoral life far from derivatives and emissions and other excreta of our times abounds. Right on track are these two memoirs—journalist Jonah Raskin’s “Field Days: A Year of Farming, Eating, and Drinking Wine in California,” an account of organic farming in Sonoma County, and novelist Brad Kessler’s “Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, a Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese,” a chronicle of learning to raise goats and make cheese on a farm in Vermont.

Each provides vicarious and delicious adventures for those of us more likely to buy locally at farm stands or plant a garden patch than respond to the call of the land at full bore.

In the process of writing these memoirs, both Raskin and Kessler made drastic shifts in daily routine, and followed an imperative to digest a universe of new information, much of it nonverbal. Paramount for each was a personal quest—for healthier living, for connection to the land, for simplicity—or, possibly, simply for peace and quiet.

Raskin, author of “The Radical Jack London” and “American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation,” sketches Northern California’s organic farming lineage quickly, beginning with Jack and Charmian London, who settled in Sonoma’s legendary Valley of the Moon in 1906 and grew much of their own food. He includes Warren Weber of Marin County’s Star Route Farm, and makes it clear that Sonoma County’s farms have supplied Alice Waters’ restaurant kitchen for decades and impressed Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food movement

Keep reading at TruthDig
~~

Prince Charles: Just 96 months to save the world


By Robert Verkaik
The Independent

July 13, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

The price of capitalism and consumerism is just too high, he tells industrialists

Capitalism and consumerism have brought the world to the brink of economic and environmental collapse, the Prince of Wales has warned in a grandstand speech which set out his concerns for the future of the planet.

The heir to the throne told an audience of industrialists and environmentalists at St James’s Palace last night that he had calculated that we have just 96 months left to save the world.

And in a searing indictment on capitalist society, Charles said we can no longer afford consumerism and that the “age of convenience” was over.

The Prince, who has spoken passionately about the environment before, said that if the world failed to heed his warnings then we all faced the “nightmare that for so many of us now looms on the horizon”.

Charles’s speech was described as his first attempt to present a coherent philosophy in which he placed the threat to the environment in the context of a failing economic system.

The Prince, who is advised by the leading environmentalists Jonathon Porritt and Tony Juniper, said that even the economist Adam Smith, father of modern capitalism, had been aware of the short-comings of unfettered materialism.

Keep reading at The Independent
~~

Some Choice Words for the ‘Select Few’



by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship
Common Dreams

July 11, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

If you want to know what really matters in Washington, don’t go to Capitol Hill for one of those hearings, or pay attention to those staged White House “town meetings.” They’re just for show. What really happens — the serious business of Washington — happens in the shadows, out of sight, off the record. Only occasionally — and usually only because someone high up stumbles — do we get a glimpse of just how pervasive the corruption has become.

Case in point: Katharine Weymouth, the publisher of The Washington Post — one of the most powerful people in DC — invited top officials from the White House, the Cabinet and Congress to her home for an intimate, off-the-record dinner to discuss health care reform with some of her reporters and editors covering the story.

But CEO’s and lobbyists from the health care industry were invited, too, provided they forked over $25,000 a head — or up to a quarter of a million if they want to sponsor a whole series of these cozy get-togethers. And what is the inducement offered? Nothing less, the invitation read, than “an exclusive opportunity to participate in the health-care reform debate among the select few who will get it done.”

The invitation reminds the CEO’s and lobbyists that they will be buying access to “those powerful few in business and policy making who are forwarding, legislating and reporting on the issues…

“Spirited? Yes. Confrontational? No.” The invitation promises this private, intimate and off-the-record dinner is an extension “of The Washington Post brand of journalistic inquiry into the issues, a unique opportunity for stakeholders to hear and be heard.”

Let that sink in. In this case, the “stakeholders” in health care reform do not include the rabble… Keep reading at Common Dreams

Dollars with Good Sense: DIY Cash


From Yes! Magazine
by Judith Schwartz

July 10, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Local currencies value time, build community, and keep business moving even when credit dries up.

Total dependence on one currency is like total dependence on one crop, or, for that matter, a single energy source: there’s always the risk that crop failure or a cutoff in supply will topple the whole system. This is the scenario we’re seeing now—credit has dried up and unemployment is soaring. In small pockets throughout the world, in rural areas and inner cities, and spots as far-flung as Bavaria and Thailand to Massachusetts and Michigan, people are responding by launching their own currencies. Such monetary renegades are not simply thumbing their noses at the dollar (or the yen, or the euro, or the baht…) They are making a carefully considered choice to promote the well-being of their communities.

“From the beginning we had two objectives—to promote the region and promote local charities,” says Christian Gelleri. In 2003, Gelleri and a group of his students at a Waldorf School developed the Chiemgauer currency in the Lake Chiemsee region of Bavaria, Germany. Since then, some 3 million Chiemgauer notes (equivalent in value to the euro) have been placed in circulation. The currency, accepted by 600 businesses in the region, typically is spent and spent again 18 times a year, three times more than the Euro. This means that the currency is encouraging trade and cooperation in the region, which keeps the shops and restaurants

Busted: 9 Economy Myths


From Yes! Magazine

July 10, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Reinflate the old economy? Get Real!

NEW ECONOMY, NEW WAYS TO DO MONEY

Stephanie McMillan for YES! Magazine The measure of a healthy economy is a growing GDP.
Stephanie McMillan for YES! Magazine A healthy economy meets real needs within ecological limits.
Stephanie McMillan for YES! Magazine All you need is money.
Stephanie McMillan for YES! Magazine You can’t eat money. What we need is healthy families, communities, and ecosystems.
Stephanie McMillan for YES! Magazine Booms and busts are inevitable in a modern economy.
Stephanie McMillan for YES! Magazine The boom/bust cycle is a result of letting banks create money.
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