Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for September, 2009|Monthly archive page

Depressed? The Drug Industry Hopes You Are

In Around the web on September 30, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Acres USA

You may have seen in the papers recently that antidepressants are now the number 1 prescription drug in the United States, and the demand keeps skyrocketing each year. Over 30 million of us are now being numbed by drugs.

No wonder! Between the low-fat craze (the brain is 60 percent fat), the flood of omega 6 fat and trans fats, and vitamin D deficiency (approaching 100 percent of the population where we live), it’s going to happen! Mineral depletion is also known to be a major contributor to emotional imbalance. Then it’s excitotoxins (MSG and worse), heavy metals and other contaminants.

Combine that with all your children with ADHD, your job gone, your house spiraling down in value by the minute, crime in the nighborhood, the war and all else, it’s pretty inevitable. Doctors tend to prescribe these drugs like candy, and even people who are suffering from sadness or dislocation have a bottle of pills thrown at them as the M.D. hollers, “Next!” Once you are on the numbing drugs, it gets harder and harder to feel normal. Rampant and provocative TV ads for drugs remind you how easy it is to just pop a pill. It’s a black hole for many people who will never free themselves from being drugged.

Personally, if I ever feel the need to take prescription anti-depressants, I’m just going to start drinking city water and get all my antibiotics, hormones and brain chemicals in one glass!

Don’t be Hornswoggled by Measure A

In Vote No on Measure A on September 30, 2009 at 9:17 pm


In an answer to those who believe that DDR will not use our tax money for the stress on our infrastructure (street and highway rebuilding, water, sewage, traffic lights, fire and police protection), you are being conned. They are lining up for a bailout with our taxes already. DDR is already using our tax money with a bailout of $600 million in TALF funds. Most sources say they get the money in early October. That will certainly give them some cash to sell a zone change. Our tax money may well pay for DDR’s election campaign.

Michelle Jarboe
Plain Dealer Reporter:
August 2009

…Developers Diversified Realty Corp. could be one of the first participants in a Federal Reserve program aimed at bolstering the battered commercial real estate market… from a government-subsidized bailout fund. Developers Diversified Realty Corp. (DDR), a retail REIT, could be one of the first REITs to reliquify assets through TALF.

“Who but DDR, do you suppose, was very first in line for a TALF handout ($600 million) from the New York Federal Reserve Bank?” -Tom Anderson Keep reading→

The Deep Surface: A Note on Edward Abbey and Wendell Berry

In Around the web on September 29, 2009 at 9:16 pm

From Jason Peters
Front Porch Republic

In the introduction to Desert Solitaire Edward Abbey denied any interest in “true underlying reality, having never met any.” “I am pleased enough with surfaces,” he said; “in fact they alone seem to me to be of much importance.”

The catalog of surfaces Abbey gave by way of example couldn’t have been Abbeyer: “the grasp of a child’s hand in your own, the flavor of an apple, the embrace of a friend or lover, the silk of a girl’s thigh, the sunlight on rock and leaves, the feel of music, the bark of a tree, the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind—what else is there? What else to we need?”

Later in the book Abbey would say there is a way of being wrong that is also a way of being right, which is to say he provided the necessary hermeneutic for understanding all that deliberate hogwash about surfaces. Abbey was plenty interested in “underlying reality”; it’s just that he knew full well that you don’t get any underlying reality without first acquainting yourself intimately with the surface. The silk of a girl’s thigh is the beginning of knowledge, not its end.

Abbey certainly wanted to know the sweet aroma of a juniper fire, but he also wanted to know the “peculiar quality or character of the desert that distinguishes it, in spiritual appeal, from other forms of landscape.”

Keep reading at Front Porch Republic

Flu Shots and Alzheimer’s Disease

In Around the web on September 29, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Thanks to Linda Gray

According to Hugh Fudenberg, MD, the world’s leading immunogeneticist and 13th most quoted biologist of our times (nearly 850 papers in peer review journals): If an individual has had 5 consecutive flu shots between 1970 and 1980 (the years studied) his/her chances of getting Alzheimer’s Disease is 10 times higher than if he/she had one, 2 or no shots. Dr. Fudenberg said it was so and that it was due to mercury and aluminum that is in every flu shot. The gradual mercury and aluminum buildup in the brain causes cognitive dysfunction.

Flu shots contain 25 micrograms of mercury. One microgram is considered toxic.

About Hugh Fudenberg, MD

Hugh Fudenberg, MD, is Founder and Director of Research, Neuro lmmuno Therapeutic Research Foundation. Information from Dr. Hugh Fudenberg came from transcribed notes of Dr. Fudenberg’s speech at the NVIC International Vaccine Conference, Arlington, VA September, 1997. Quoted with permission.

Mercury Contributes To Alzheimer’s Disease!

Scientists have shown that trace amounts of mercury can cause the type of damage to nerves that is characteristic of the damage found in Alzheimer’s disease. Keep reading at

Letter To The Editor: DDR’s Claims Are Leaky

In Vote No on Measure A on September 28, 2009 at 10:40 pm


If you plan to vote in favor of Measure A I hope that you will not do so because you believe DDR’s economic claims or its propaganda about how Measure A will help the local economy.  DDR’s economic “facts” are half-truths at best, when they are not simply misleading.

From the start DDR has repeatedly asserted that its new mall would save “$169 million dollars in retail sales …currently ‘leaking’ from Mendocino County”.  Not even the (DDR funded) Applied Development Economics study they rely on for so many claims supports that assertion.

For example, $35 million of the $169 million figure (about 21%) is for automotive sales.  As DDR is not proposing to build car lots on the old Masonite site, its proposal cannot possibly stop that “leakage.”  Another $58.5 million (nearly 35%) of the total is in the categories of grocery and convenience stores … again, not what DDR claims it will be building.  $41 million of the $169 million figure is “General Merchandise Group” leakage, but DDR ignores the next column in its study that shows a $34 million surplus of spending here in the same category.  By subtotaling plusses or minuses carefully, one can create impressive, but meaningless, totals. Keep reading→

Letters (2) to the Editor: Don’t Be Fooled

In Vote No on Measure A on September 28, 2009 at 10:38 pm


Mark Oswell recently professed his support for measure A in a very clear, straightforward letter. Unfortunately, nothing about Measure A is clear.

Mr. Oswell says the Mendocino Crossings project ”will provide much-needed road and traffic signal improvements on North State Street.” Yes — much work will need to be done if that project gets built. But read the fine print in DDR’s own document – the developers are not required to perform or pay for that work themselves. The taxpayers of Mendocino County will foot the bill.

Mr. Oswell says the project will provide “high-paying construction jobs.” Yes, it will. Temporary jobs, some of which may come from out of the area — which will then be replaced with mostly lowwage, dead end jobs and a retail development that will suck the life out of the surrounding communities. Instead, let’s think about utilizing this industrial-zoned land in a way that adds value to our county.

Increased tax revenues? Any additional revenue the County receives as a result of this project will come at the expense of the other jurisdictions in Mendocino County; plus, a giant chunk of it will continue to go toward addressing all the stresses (traffic, roads, public safety, water, etc.) this development would place on our county.

And that’s the problem with Measure A and all of DDR’s glossy propaganda — it looks like a great deal on the surface. Don’t be fooled. Keep reading→

Letter to the Editor: Think you’re getting a mall?

In Vote No on Measure A on September 28, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Redwood Valley

Think again!

And while you are thinking, ask yourself these questions:

Does an international corporate giant, based in Ohio, really have Mendocino County’s best interests at heart?

By now, most of us know about the financial difficulties of the nation’s largest mall builder, DDR – the large, short-term loans coming due, the big dip in their stock ratings, and the Federal bailout that kept them from bankruptcy. They need money now. But money to build malls is declining. As Paul Maidman noted in Forbes 9/24/09, “There are already too many stores and malls, and consumers don’t have the wherewithal to shop in the ones we do have. Around a third of every new square foot of retail space is vacant in the wake of a wave of retail bankruptcies and store shuttering.” Why would they take on more debt to build the pretty pictures they presented to us?

Doesn’t Measure A say they will create a mall?

Absolutely not! All Measure A says is that it is ‘designed’ to build a mall, not that they will do it. DDR is not constrained to do anything. It does force a change in the zoning of Masonite to commercial whether they do anything or not, and relieves DDR of any oversight by the people of Mendocino County or the State. They don’t have to build a mall, don’t have to make the property multiuse, Keep reading→

If You’re Fed Up With All The Corruption, Greed, and Bailouts, Here’s Something You Can Do About It Locally

In !ACTION CENTER! on September 28, 2009 at 7:42 am


We don’t have to march or protest. We don’t have to write letters to our congresspersons and President. We don’t have to fire all the President’s men.

We have it within our power locally, and only locally, to start dealing with this mess by stepping aside from the economic systems that have created it.

Are your credit/debit card banks relentlessly raising your fees and charging you usury interest? Start using local money instead. It will save you money, and eliminating the bank fees locally-owned businesses have to pay when you use plastic will lower their costs and lower their prices.

Local money cleans up filthy lucre by jilting the banks and investors who have used our money to build pyramid schemes of debt and ponzi schemes of greed. Local money stays home where it belongs instead of lining the bank accounts of billionaires in Arkansas.

Local money, used face-to-face and hand-to-hand, takes back something valuable we have lost: more control over our own local economy.

For locally-owned businesses, creating and exchanging local money is the cheapest and most effective local advertising ever created because it is carried around in our pockets and is passed around the community from neighbor to neighbor, business to business, as a constant reminder to Buy Local.

Local money has its own built-in insurance. It insures the health and wealth of our own communities, and the more it is used, the more community value and sustainability is built.

Local money is backed by the full faith and trust in our community; by the inventory you see through the windows of our merchants; and by the skills in the hands and hearts of our farmers and restaurateurs.

Go to Mendo Moola

Who Is Our Most Crucially Important Local Resource?

In !ACTION CENTER!, Dave Smith on September 28, 2009 at 7:31 am


What is more important than the skills of growing your own food to feed yourself year round? I can’t think of anything other than, maybe, the skill of finding drinkable water when you’re lost in the desert.

But, like most of us, what if you don’t have the skills or land to garden year round to feed yourself? Then I’d say the skills of growing food that other people can eat would be our most important local resource.

But what if most of the food being grown is so poisoned and processed that people are dying from diabetes, cancer and heart disease by eating it, and the cheap energy being used to poison and grow our food is declining in supply? Then I would say, growing healthy food without those poisons for other people is the answer.

But if the cheap energy that grows our food has peaked in supply and will be getting extremely expensive, then the cheap energy that gets that healthy food to our tables from far away will soon shoot food costs through the roof. Well then, the most crucially important skill is growing local healthy food for other people, and the most crucially important local resource is the group of local farmers who grow food using organic and biodynamic growing methods.

But the average age of farmers in this country is 55 and they will soon be retiring.

OK, OK, OK! Our most crucially important resource is our small group of young, local, organic/biodynamic farmers.

Adam Gaska and Paula Manalo farm 4 acres in Redwood Valley. Their biodynamic farm is supported by members who invest in a share of the harvest.

You can invest in our most crucially important local resource by joining their membership for the winter season coming up and help create a sustainable resource for your family and our community… and you will be eating the healthiest food a farmer can grow that money can buy.

Adam and Paula, Mendocino Organics CSA

We Won’t Be Fooled Again

In Dave Smith, Vote No on Measure A on September 28, 2009 at 7:28 am


Letter to the Editor:

The latest mass mailing from the DDR Monster Mall Developers located in Ohio brings us greetings and thanks from the folks down in Sonoma County for the millions of dollars we trundle down in our SUV’s to spend there.

If Sonoma County is so fond of all the money we take there, why have they just rejected another Big Box store? According to the Press Democrat 9/3/09, “the Santa Rosa City Council voted late Tuesday to stop Lowe’s from building a big-box home improvement store on Santa Rosa Avenue, heeding the concerns of local business leaders who warned the chain store would hurt the community… Council members also worried that Lowe’s success would come at the expense of local businesses and their employees…”

Oh, now I get it. DDR wants to make us feel like fools for turning down their Monster Mall initiative, so they just make stuff up and pretend they’re somebody else.

I say it’s better to learn from others who have already made the mistakes and regret them, than believe those who will make  big bucks off us making those same mistakes ourselves. Santa Rosa is confirming what we have been saying.

Thank you for voting NO ON MEASURE A to preserve our unique, locally-owned businesses, neighborly small town values, and livable human-scale communities.

Obama Trips Up On Al Qaeda

In James Houle on September 27, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Redwood Valley


On Thursday, September 24, 2009 President Barack Obama vowed in a speech to the UN General Assembly “not to permit safe heaven for Al-Qaeda to launch attacks from Afghanistan. In confronting them, America will forge lasting partnerships to target terrorists, share intelligence, coordinate law enforcement, and protect our people. He declared his administration’s strong economic support to Pakistan, a front line ally in the fight against terrorism. We have set a clear and focused goal: to work with all members of this body to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al-Qaeda and its extremist allies’ a network that has killed thousands of people of many faiths and nations, and that plotted to blow up this very building”.


Oddly enough, General Stanley McChrystal, who is in charge of US and NATO counter-insurgency efforts in Afghanistan directly contradicted the President’s findings in a speech on the 8th anniversary of 9/11 attacks: He said that: “I see no indication of any large Al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan”. The US currently has more than 47,000 troops on the ground and is building towards a total strength of 68,000 by year-end. All of these troops are engaged in battle with Taliban and Pashtoon tribal insurgency, none are fighting directly with Al Qaeda. Nevertheless, McChrystal, who seemed oblivious of having dismissed the President’s ostensible raison d’etre for the conflict, continued to defend the war, maintaining that it was winnable given increased effort and insisting that, while he had no evidence to back it up, he “strongly believes” our actions have prevented other terroris attacks.

All of this has left us a bit confused, so we went back to read the good General’s report to the Pentagon concerning the need for more troops to win the war. We expected that this would more clearly support the Administration’s objectives. While this report has not been made ‘public’ for fear of restricting Obama’s freedom to choose amongst various sources of advice, it was deliberately leaked to Bob Woodward, the highest profile investigative reporter in Washington. The leak was designed to gain maximum publicity and was snatched up by all the main stream media immediately. You might think that leaking a report the President had not seen would result in General McChrystal’s immediate dismissal or at least a rebuke. But the Pentagon had apparently reviewed and approved the leak and McChrystal is planning to testify about it before Congress quite soon.


So what did this ‘purloined’ report actually say about increasing our forces and gaining victory in Afghanistan? “Greater resources will not be sufficient to achieve success, but will enable implementation of the ‘new’ strategy. Conversely inadequate resources will likely result in failure. However, without a strategy the mission should not be resourced.” Keep reading→

Chemical Jigsaw Puzzles

In Around the web on September 27, 2009 at 9:46 am

Mendocino County

I’ve followed the chemical pollution conundrum for, what, fifty years and thought I understood all the risks to which we are exposed. The day before I began composing this, I stumbled upon an explanation of one alarming aspect of which I was somehow unaware: monoclonal antibodies as described by Stuart Kaufmann in his “Investigations”. This appears to be one of those critical patterns that connect of which most of us haven’t noticed, but which seem to me vital for us to understand. Can I not tell you? First, a bit of cellular biochemistry that has been cooked, I hope, to tender digestibility:

Every living cell has a cell wall consisting of fatty molecules that separate its interior chemistry from the world. The cell, however, must get nutrients from outside and otherwise sense what is going on out there in order to find that food and otherwise adapt to its living and non-living environment. In order to do this, certain molecular protuberances known as receptors poke from the inside through the cell wall to the outside. When a wandering molecule on the outside, referred to as a ligand, binds to a receptor, many things can happen depending upon the nature of the receptor.

A receptor may recognize a ligand as food and initiate a chemical process to move it through the cell wall. Alternately, when a binding occurs, the part of the receptor exposed within the cell may initiate a chemical reaction therein. For instance, if the ligand is the hormone cortisol, depending upon the nature of the receptor, a binding can result permitting fat storage, adjusting blood sodium levels, or cooling down an inflammation among others. That is, cortisol receptors may share an external molecular appearance while activating quite different functions inside. This is likely true for nearly all types of receptors.

Finally, there are those curious receptors known as antibodies that float around outside cells. When one end binds to a ligand, say a virus, the other becomes an active ligand for other receptors presented by immune system cells. This second binding results, hopefully, in the inactivation or death of the infecting agent.

Cells of all types, human, other animal, plant, and bacteria, have receptor/ligand pairs of multitudes of different types, many more of which are being regularly discovered. Thus, for us humans, there are those related to nerves (serotonin, dopamine, …), hormones (thyroid, female and male, cortisol, …), immune system (many, many), alertness (endorphins, …), wound and bone healing (interferon, …), food utilization (insulin, …), and so on. Keep reading→

A Cure For Cancer? Eating A Plant-Based Diet

In Around the web on September 25, 2009 at 8:39 pm

From Kathy Freston
Huffington Post

Through a variety of experimental study designs, epidemiological evidence, along with observation of real life conditions which had rational biological explanation, Dr. Campbell has made a direct and powerful correlation between cancer (and other diseases and illnesses) and animal protein…

…the nutrients from animal based foods, especially the protein, promote the development of the cancer whereas the nutrients from plant-based foods, especially the antioxidants, reverse the promotion stage. This is a very promising observation because cancer proceeds forward or backward as a function of the balance of promoting and anti-promoting factors found in the diet, thus consuming anti-promoting plant-based foods tend to keep the cancer from going forward, perhaps even reversing the promotion. The difference between individuals is almost entirely related to their diet and lifestyle practices.

Most estimates suggest that not more than 2-3 percent of cancers are due entirely to genes; almost all the rest is due to diet and lifestyle factors. Consuming plant based foods offers the best hope of avoiding cancer, perhaps even reversing cancer once it is diagnosed…

Our work showed that casein is the most relevant cancer promoter ever discovered…

The biochemical systems which underlie the adverse effects of casein are also common to other animal-based proteins. Also, the amino acid composition of casein, which is the characteristic primarily responsible for its property, is similar to most other animal-based proteins. They all have what we call high ‘biological value’, in comparison, for example, with plant-based proteins, which is why animal protein promotes cancer growth and plant protein doesn’t.

KF: Are you saying that if one changes their diet from animal based protein to plant-based protein that the disease process of cancer can be halted and reversed?

TCC: Yes, this is what our experimental research shows. I also have become aware of many anecdotal claims by people who have said that their switch to a plant-based diet stopped even reversed (cured?) their disease. One study on melanoma has been published in the peer-reviewed literature that shows convincing evidence that cancer progression is substantially halted with this diet…

Read more at: 

Keep reading at Huffington Post

Monster Malls Are The Cause Of, Not The Solution For, Youth Unemployment

In Dave Smith, Vote No on Measure A on September 24, 2009 at 10:04 pm


A student at Mendocino Junior College writes (Letter to the Editor UDJ 9/24/09 – see it below) in support of Monster Mall Measure A: “…we, as young people, have no options for employment in Mendocino County. I have been trying very hard and just can not find work, it is not out there. Please do not risk the youth of this County’s one opportunity for employment and experience before we enter the fast paced job market after graduation.”

A letter like this is heartbreaking. The youth of our county and our country are some of the hardest hit from this recession. It is a tragedy that is not going away soon. Both entry-level and fast-paced jobs after graduation have ground to a screeching halt.

But allowing a Monster Mall into Mendocino County will only make unemployment worse here, as it has across the country.

Fact: Independent studies show for every job the Monster Mall Big Boxes bring, 1.4 are lost. That means the 700 slave-wage jobs advertised by the Monster Mall will destroy almost 1,000 current, better-paying jobs. The reason is simple: the job losses are larger than the gains because Big Boxes accomplish the same volume of sales with fewer employees, and pay poverty-level wages. The money circulating locally from those lost jobs go somewhere else. Not only that, they have killed millions of non-retail jobs by pushing our manufacturing jobs overseas.

For the sake of our local future, and the youth growing up in our county, please Vote No On Measure A.

Letter to the Editor (UDJ)

I am a student at Mendocino Junior College. In addition to my academic responsibilities, I also participate in athletics for the college. If anyone goes to the college and walks around you will see that we, as young people, have no options for employment in Mendocino County. I have been trying very hard and just can not find work, it is not out there. This is why the young people of Mendocino County need Measure A to pass. Having a job and maintaining employment allows for us as young people to learn the real ways of the world. Without any type of job experience we are seriously hindered once we enter the open job market. Now is not the time to be selfish in our actions. I have asked many people why they oppose Measure A and the prevailing answer is that they want Ukiah to remain closed off to the rest of the world. Frankly, that position is one of selfishness. Keep reading→

How Do You Spell Bailout?

In Guest Posts, Vote No on Measure A on September 24, 2009 at 10:17 am


So, Developers Diversified Realty’s latest election glossy says Mendocino County has a bad case of the financial flu.

Look who’s talking.

Who but DDR, do you suppose, was very first in line for a TALF handout ($600 million) from the New York Federal Reserve Bank?

This weasel is pulling our collective leg, folks, if I may demean you with the term. Its ongoing, inevitable collapse is almost daily news if you’d care to Google it.

With 60 percent of its loans due by 2011, and 15 percent more in 2012, with an operating loss instead of profit, and no income except from assets it can sell at half price and whatever it can beg, Developers Diversified is about 23 months away from oblivion.

Although with $600 million from the feds in October, it can pay creditors now and throw the best election money can buy before it kicks off.

And the Masonite site will be a choice item at the corporate farewell sale, especially rezoned commercial/residential instead of drab old industrial. You get the point.

Can you believe these guys?

. . . Do you?

Love a local business? Buy a share

In Around the web, Small Business Skills on September 23, 2009 at 10:43 pm

From CNN Money

Sometimes it takes a village to fund a company.

John Halko was halfway through renovating an expanded space for Comfort, his mostly organic eatery in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., when the credit crisis hit. His source of funding — a home-equity line — ran out, so he applied for a loan at a local bank. He was turned down.

Halko wasn’t ready to throw in the dish towel. His solution? The modern equivalent of an old-fashioned barn raising. Instead of soliciting neighbors to lift timbers, he asked them to open their wallets. For every $500 they purchased in “Comfort Dollars,” his patrons received a $600 credit toward meals at the restaurant. As the community rallied around Comfort, Halko says, “it gave us hope.” He raised $25,000 in six months, and the new, larger space – now called Comfort Lounge — opened for business in May.

Plenty of entrepreneurs are turning to their communities for support in these tricky times. As the recession wreaks havoc on America’s economy, finding the money to launch, expand or even just sustain a small business is often a struggle. In the second quarter of 2009, venture capital funds raised the smallest amount since the third quarter of 2003, according to the National Venture Capital Association in Arlington, Va. Banks continue to pull credit lines and credit cards from many small businesses. Even proprietors who are willing to extract capital from their homes — often their biggest personal asset – can’t always do so, because the declining housing market has left so many homeowners underwater.

But entrepreneurs are resourceful, and as the economic crisis forces them to seek new sources of capital, a growing number appear to be finding money in their own backyards. After all, local customers have a personal incentive to invest in their favorite businesses. And while no one is officially tracking the trend, anecdotal evidence suggests that the practice is growing.

Keep reading at here

New Big Ag Push To Fight World Hunger Is Missing What Organic Ag Is Already Doing

In Around the web on September 23, 2009 at 11:28 am

From Timothy LaSalle
Rodale Institute

The compelling humanitarian goals expressed today at the corporately sponsored Global Harvest Initiative symposium were laudable, as were some of the hunger-relief projects cited. Missing, however, was an honest assessment of the limits of dead-end chemical agriculture to play a leading role in actually feeding people.

Also absent from the high-powered forum was a prominent role for what organic agriculture is already doing to meet the most important goals on the food-hunger-nutrition side of the problem.

The event, despite all the good people presenting and all the calls for curbing the environmental harm of chemical ag, amounted to glitzy green packaging for the same unnecessary gift of chemical dependence for the world’s farmers. GHI is sponsored by ADM, DuPont, John Deere and Monsanto. (Yes, the same Monsanto which has promised to double its profits by 2012 with continuing introductions of “high impact technology” seeds.)

In his opening remarks, GHI executive director William Lesher placed the focus firmly on the need for more food, highlighting a projected “productivity gap” that will require a doubling of current world food output by 2050. This thinking follows the outlines of a white paper by GHI in April: “Accelerating Productivity Growth: The 21st Century Global Agriculture Challenge: A White Paper on Agricultural Policy.” Yet more food alone won’t help starving people until the global agricultural system radically shifts its focus to address the barriers of poverty (the inability to buy food) and distribution (getting food people want to where they are).

By framing global food security in terms of “not enough food,” the Global Harvest Initiative seems stuck on doing the same old thing harder and faster. It backers still push expensive seeds and continued dependence on climate-damaging inputs. Organic and near-organic techniques offer robust, biodiverse, productive and regenerative systems that can out-produce chemical approaches in drier and wetter seasons.

Keep reading at Huffington Post

Big Box Bloodsuckers: Inside The Slave-Wage Beast (video)

In Vote No on Measure A, Walmart Blues Series on September 23, 2009 at 8:26 am

From How Wal-Mart is Destroying America
By Bill Quinn

[Wal-Mart not only sucks the financial life-blood from our community by nightly transferring our money to Arkansas billionaires rather than having it circulate in our community, but they also feed on the life-blood of their employees and their families. Other Big Boxes are forced to compete with Wal-Mart by adopting their draconian businesses practices, or be forced out of business. The Masonite Monster Mall will foist Big Box World on our small community changing it forever, raise the poverty level in our county, while their 700 slave-wage jobs will add immeasurable misery to our workforce. VOTE NO ON MEASURE A!-DS]

[See also I used to be proud to be a Wal-Mart employee video below...]

An interview with a former Wal-Mart manager of over 15 years…

Q: Joe, your wife tells me your hours as a manager were so long you barely knew your children?
Joe: Long hours were demanded—rarely less than seventy a week, most weeks eighty or more. Days off were rare. And I have gone as long as three years without a vacation. My wife literally raised our children by herself.
Q: Hourly workers, I’ve been told, are held to a minimum?
Joe: You won’t believed how they are treated. Managers try to keep employees’ hours under twenty-eight a week so they won’t be eligible for benefits. If business slows on any day, managers are instructed to send workers home anytime after they have four hours on the clock. Even department heads who are supposed to be regulars can be sent home, often working less than the eight hours they are entitled to…
Q: When you moved, did Wal-Mart pay your expenses?
Joe: No. Actually, the “system” was to ask store personnel to do you a favor by working off the clock to come out to your place and help you pack. You were moved to your next assignment, always, in a Wal-Mart truck. Keep reading→

Rural Matters

In Dave Smith on September 22, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Redwood Valley

From the Rural Entrepreneurship Newsletter: The Flipside of Brain Drain

In community conversations held by the US Department of Agriculture four years ago, the top-ranked issue across the nation was the exodus of youth, and thus the erosion of people and talent, from rural communities.  Often referred to as “brain drain” in the major media, young people in McCook, Nebraska have given this expression a new, healthier twist.

“When we talk about brain drain, we are referring to young people in focus groups downloading as many ideas as possible about how to improve the community, especially in relationship to youth interests,” explains Dan McCarville, one of the progenitors of the McCook Youth League.

Brain drain, McCook-style, may be the next best tool for reversing outmigration. In our new story, The Flipside of Brain Drain, written by Karen Dabson, you can learn more about how youth in McCook, through their own efforts, are generating activities for young people, gaining the interest and support of the town establishment, and making plans to stay or return as adults. Go here

Baby Boom Migration and Rural America

The Economic Research Service (ERS) of USDA recently released a very important new study on migration and its potential impacts on rural America.  Our team at the RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship has spent quite a bit of time digesting this research and its implications for other related migration research.  If you are interested in this topic, we strongly recommend that you take a look at this work by John Cromartie (ERS) and Peter Nelson (Middlebury College),

The focus of this research is on America’s Baby Boom Generation (typically Americans born between 1946 and 1964) and where they are going as they move from “work” to “retirement.”  Bottom line, this research is suggesting that the numbers of Boomers moving to non-adjacent rural counties will rise from 277,000 in the 90s to 362,000 in this decade and to 383,000 in the 2010-2020 decade.  The implications of this trend are huge for rural America.

Keep reading→

Cap and Trade is about Privatizing the Atmosphere, not Climate Change – Vandana Shiva

In Around the web on September 21, 2009 at 9:29 pm

The New Statesman

The science of climate change is now clear, but the politics is very muddy. Historically, the major polluters were the rich, industrialised countries, so it made sense that they should pay the highest price. The Kyoto Protocol, adopted in December 1997, set binding targets for these countries to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions by 5 per cent on average against 1990 levels by 2012. But by 2007, America’s greenhouse-gas levels were 16 per cent higher than 1990 levels. The American Clean Energy and Security Act, which was passed in June, commits the US to reduce emissions to 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020, yet this is just 4 per cent below 1990 levels.

The Kyoto Protocol also allows industrialised countries to trade their allocation of carbon emissions, and to invest in carbon mitigation projects in developing countries in exchange for Certified Emission Reduction Units, which they can use to meet reduction targets. But emissions trading, or offsetting, is not in fact a mechanism to reduce emissions. As the Breakthrough Institute, an environmental think tank, has pointed out, the emissions offset in the American act would allow “business as usual” growth in US emissions until 2030, “leading one to wonder: where’s the ‘cap’ in ‘cap and trade’?”.

Such schemes are more about privatizing the atmosphere than about preventing climate change; the emissions rights established by the Kyoto Protocol are several times higher than the levels needed to prevent a 2°C rise in global temperatures. Allocations for the UK, for example, added up to 736 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over three years, meaning no reduction commitments. And emissions rights generate super profits for polluters.

The Emissions Trading Scheme granted allowances of 10 per cent more than 2005 emission levels. This translated to 150 million tonnes of surplus carbon credits, which at 2005 prices translates into profits of more than $1bn.

Keep reading at The New Statesman

Remembrance Day in Ukiah

In Dave Smith on September 21, 2009 at 9:19 pm


There was a ceremony Monday (9/21) at the far end of the cemetery on Low Gap Road.  Under a graveled area that looks just like another part of the parking lot, lie the bodies of 400 mental patients who died at the state  hospital in Talmage (where the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas now stands.)  Another 1,200 are cremated and buried en mass in an unmarked area between other grave stones.

This has been very painful for former mental patients; and there has been a seven-year campaign to get recognition for these people – forgotten in life and forgotten in death.

Organizers were pleasantly surprised that 75 or more people came – much bigger than previous events. There were several ex-patients who spoke. One recalled being released in the 70′s when the hospitals were shut down.  When they asked her where she wanted to go, she had no idea.  But the Sacramento Bee caught her eye, so she said, “Sacramento.”  She was driven to Sacramento and set down on a street corner with about $150 – that was all.

But many people died in those hospitals and were buried without names.  There is now a stone to commemorate their lives collectively. The new marker at the cemetery on Low Gap Road is on the far west side.  It will eventually hold a plaque from the State of California acknowledging hundreds of state mental hospital patients buried in that place. The state has not yet released the money for the plaque.  Keep reading→

Professional Analysis: Nine Reasons Why The Monster Mall Will Not Happen

In Guest Posts, Vote No on Measure A on September 21, 2009 at 6:13 am


[Please VOTE NO ON MEASURE A because a yes vote puts the property up for grabs, under the initiative's unlimited use, to any buyer. That, in my opinion, is what DDR is hoping for and what its initiative is all about. The property is worth a lot more money as a slice of the old Wild West than as constrained by the general plan's industrial use restrictions. -TA]

Analysis: Nine Reasons Why Mendocino Crossings Could Not Happen Even If Local Residents Approved It.


Relative to return on an investment, funding for commercial development is far more costly now than two years ago. Funding exceeds residential income, and is just starting to exceed commercial income.

Example: In mid-April 2009, Frank Lembi, the largest owner of apartment buildings in San Francisco, with 300 apartments comprising 8,000 residential units, deeded back 50 apartments, totaling 1,500 units, to his institutional lender, UBS. The bank now owns the units and will take a major loss because interest payments are about twice current rental income.

While, residential rents have already declined, rents for commercial properties don’t start declining in a recession for a year or two after the downturn. That years-long commercial decline has just begun.


With commercial property values just starting their slide, debacles like the recent bankruptcy of General Growth Properties, the nation’s second largest shop­ping mall owner, will only reinforce the substantial decline of commercial real estate values. The bankruptcy especially relates to malls as an investment.


Commercial and industrial land values in California are now at about 60 percent of their value two years ago. Funding a major commercial devel­op­ment must be based on today’s depreciated values. Keep reading→

Letter to the Editor Response

In Dave Smith, Vote No on Measure A, Walmart Blues Series on September 20, 2009 at 12:01 pm


To the Editors:

A letter writer in Lower Lake continues to conflate our opposition to the Monster Mall with hating corporations and capitalism (Ukiah’s an armpit, UDJ 9/20/09). Again, not so.

I, and others, want good, green, well-paying manufacturing jobs by locally-owned, cooperatives, community-friendly corporations, and companies that keep our money circulating locally… not 700 slave-wage, poverty-level jobs by Big Box Bullies who suck the financial life-blood from our communities and send it to Arkansas, exploit their workers, keep their good high-paying white collar jobs at their headquarters, send manufacturing jobs to overseas sweatshops, and bring higher levels of poverty to our county. Before we know it there will be no stores left except one gigantic Wal-Mart per community.

Not only that, but they also cheat local vendors. According to a former Wal-Mart manager quoted in the book How Wal-Mart Is Destroying America, when local vendors bill for products and services rendered, they instruct the local Wal-Mart manager to always deduct 10% from the invoice, and dare the vendor to not accept it.

Thank you for voting NO ON MEASURE A to preserve our unique, locally-owned businesses, neighborly small town values, and livable human-scale communities.

Big Box Bully: Walmart Is Out To Kill Every Other Store In Town

In Vote No on Measure A, Walmart Blues Series on September 19, 2009 at 8:37 am

From Time Magazine

[While most retailers are shutting down stores, Walmart has opened 52 Supercenters since Feb. 1. Thank you for voting NO ON MEASURE A to preserve our unique, locally-owned businesses, neighborly small town values, and livable human-scale communities. -DS]

Walmart loves to shock and awe. City-size stores, absurdly low prices ($8 jeans!) and everything from milk to Matchbox toys on its shelves. And with the recession forcing legions of stores into bankruptcy, the world’s largest retailer now apparently wants to take out the remaining survivors.

Thus, the company is in the beginning stages of a massive store and strategy remodeling effort, which it has dubbed Project Impact. One goal of Project Impact is cleaner, less cluttered stores that will improve the shopping experience. Another is friendlier customer service. A third: home in on categories where the competition can be killed. “They’ve got Kmart ready to take a standing eight-count next year,” says retail consultant Burt Flickinger III, managing director for Strategic Resources Group and a veteran Walmart watcher. “Same with Rite Aid. They’ve knocked out four of the top five toy retailers, and are now going after the last one standing, Toys “R” Us. Project Impact will be the catalyst to wipe out a second round of national and regional retailers.”

Though that’s bad news for many smaller businesses that can’t compete, Walmart investors have clamored for this push. Despite the company’s consistently strong financial performance, Wall Street hasn’t cheered Walmart’s growth rates… “Walmart is under excruciating pressure from employees and frustrated institutional investors to get the stock up,” says Flickinger.

Read it and weep

Watch the bully metastasize before your very eyes

Take Action! Ukiah Mendocino – Veggie Trader: Trade, Buy or Sell Local Homegrown Organic Produce, Seeds, etc.

In Around Mendo Island, Dave Smith, Organic Food & Recipes on September 17, 2009 at 8:43 pm

From Planet Green

[Here's a way to trade on-line for local organic produce. I'm offering Mulligan Books as a centralized SAME DAY drop-off and pick-up point for goods being traded. You'll find my offer listed on the free Veggie Trader website. -Dave]

How great would it be if there were want ads in your local newspaper or on Craigslist for organic fruits and vegetables, grown in your town, by your neighbors? A new website – Veggie Trader has sprung up that offers exactly such a service–a purchasing and bartering clearinghouse for locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Veggie Trader describes itself as the “place to trade, buy or sell local homegrown produce.” The idea is simple: you register on the website and then offer to purchase, sell, or trade any manner of surplus fruits or vegetables. If you have too many tomatoes and want to see if anyone nearby has a surplus of peaches or peppers, you can log on, run a search, and find out who in the neighborhood may be willing to exchange with you.

It’s a great way to offload additional produce and exchange it for something that you might be unable to grow in your own yard, but that another gardener may specialize in growing. It’s totally free to join, and costs nothing to post an offering, or place a wanted listing.

The website only started four months ago, and is definitely still in its infancy. Despite that, they have over 6,000 people signed up so far. The folks who have registered thus far are concentrated on the U.S. West Coast in California and Oregon, but since the website is still starting out, it could very well extend to your neighborhood. You can help make the website grow by registering and offering to buy, sell, or trade for whatever produce you have or may want.

Veggie Trader has ambitions to expand to include dairy, eggs, and meat, all items that are heavily regulated. The future may hold great things for Veggie Trader, only time will tell if the site can attract enough members to gain enough momentum to make a difference in the local food movement, but we’re certainly rooting for them.
For organic recipes, see Organic To Be
Now posting regularly at Mendo Moola updated blog site

The Death of Literature

In Guest Posts on September 17, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Under The Table Books
Anderson Valley

It has come to my attention on several occasions of late that the history of the decline and fall of American literature to its current moribund state is as little known as Mendelssohn’s revised version of his Italian Symphony. Thus I feel it incumbent upon me to explain why the once great literary tradition of our collapsing democracy done collapsed.

In the beginning, circa 1800-1950, American publishing was a largely unprofitable endeavor and therefore the purview of wealthy men who made their profits elsewhere and plowed some of those profits into the cultural life of the country. Most of these fellows—Knopf, Doubleday, Scribner, etc.—held court in New York City, with Little and Brown making their stand in Boston. The literary arms of their publishing houses were staffed with bright, well-educated men and women intent on finding and supporting promising writers who might one day fulfill their promise on the larger literary stage. The unspoken rule that stood in every great publishing house until the 1960’s was that an author’s first two novels might not show a profit, but her third should pay for itself, and her fourth would begin to pay back the investment of the publisher. Books were kept in print for years in those days, which allowed time for new authors to gain an audience.

Thus the development of literary talent was a primary mission of these great publishers, and that mission inspired some of the most eccentric and original thinking people to give their lives in service to the art of editing, a highly advance skill requiring years of practice to attain. The greatness of American literature was inseparable from the greatness of her editors, which point cannot be overstated.

Because publishing did not show much if any profit, the publishing houses were of no interest to larger corporations looking for profitable entities to consume. This is another essential point, for it was only when publishing became profitable that the terrible decline in our literary culture began.

Keep reading→

Why are so many celebrities dying after chemotherapy?

In Around the web on September 17, 2009 at 1:54 pm

From Natural News

The cancer industry, by any honest assessment, is a sham. Pure quackery.

Patrick Swayze’s death came as a shock to many people. But not to his own cancer doctor: They know that the five-year survival rates of people being treated with chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer are virtually zero. And Swayze was only the latest in a long list of celebrities dying after being treated with chemotherapy and other toxic forms of western medicine:

Farrah Fawcett died following chemotherapy used to treat anal cancer and liver cancer.

Famed newscaster Peter Jennings died from chemotherapy treatments for lung cancer.

Former White House press secretary Tony Snow died after receiving chemotherapy for colon cancer.

Celebrities still battling cancer
Desperate Housewives actress Kathry Joosten is currently battling lung cancer. It’s not clear whether she has undergone chemotherapy yet, or plans to, but she did have cancer surgery in 2001 which obviously didn’t “cure” the cancer because it has now returned.

Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs looks deathly ill after undergoing not only chemotherapy but also a complicated cancer surgery that removed a part of his pancreas and digestive tract.

Sheryl Crow is battling breast cancer, but she famously decided to support her immune system with natural medicine by turning to a Traditional Chinese Medicine wellness center called Tao of Wellness ( No doubt her outcome will be vastly improved by this integrative approach. Unfortunately, her hubby Lance Armstrong is more into the conventional drugs-and-chemo approach, and most people probably don’t realize the two things that saved Armstrong’s life were intense exercise and regular exposure to sunshine during his cycling training (creating vitamin D, a powerful anti-cancer nutrient). (And wearing those little yellow Livestrong bracelets only tags you as being completely brainwashed about cancer and the cancer industry.)

Keep reading at Natural News

See also: Suzanne Somers: Patrick Swayze Was Poisoned By Chemotherapy

…and 10 Swine Flu Lies Told By The Mainstream Media

American Perestroika Needed

In Around the web on September 17, 2009 at 7:24 am

From James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Long Emergency
Excepted from blog posted here

[...] The Russian word roughly translates to “restructuring.” They flubbed it in 1989 because their system was too ossified and too far gone — though history and circumstance eventually did it for them.  A similar outcome is possible here, too, in which things just have to completely fall apart before emergent reorganization occurs.  But you can be sure that if we allow this to happen, an awful lot of things will get smashed along the way, including lives, careers, families, property, and cherished institutions…

American perestroika really boils down to this: we have to rescale the activities of daily life to a level consistent with the mandates of the future, especially the ones having to do with available energy and capital.  We have to dismantle things that have no future and rebuild things that will allow daily life to function.

We have to say goodbye to big box shopping and rebuild Main Street.  More people will be needed to work in farming and fewer in tourism, public relations, gambling, and party planning.  We have to make some basic useful products in this country again.  We have to systematically decommission suburbia and reactivate our small towns and small cities. We have to prepare for the contraction of our large cities.

We have to let the sun set on Happy Motoring and rebuild our trains, transit systems, harbors, and inland waterways. We have to reorganize schooling at a much more modest level.  We have to close down most of the overseas military bases we’re operating and conclude our wars in Asia. Mostly, we have to recover a national sense of common purpose and common decency.

There is obviously a lot of work to do in the list above, which could translate into paychecks and careers — but not if we direct all our resources into propping up the failing structures of yesterday.

The most dangerous illusion, of course, is a belief that we can return to a hyped up turbo debt “consumer” economy — and perhaps the most disappointing thing about Barack Obama, is his incessant cheerleading for a  “recovery” to what is already lost and unrecoverable. The man who ran for office on “change” doesn’t really have the stomach for it. But, of course, events are in the driver’s seat now, not personalities, even charming ones.  I’d venture to say that if Mr. Obama thinks he’s seen a crisis, and gotten through it, then he ain’t seen nothin’ yet.  We are for sure not returning to the kind of credit orgy that made the last twenty years such a nauseating spectacle — of which, by the way, the misfeasances and wretched excesses of Wall Street were just one manifestation…

There are too many truly good and intelligent people in this country, to leave our fate to the Palins and the Glen Becks.  But the good people had better man up and start telling the truth with some conviction that the truth matters.

A Saunter With Thoreau, Walker Errant

In Around the web, Books on September 17, 2009 at 6:06 am

From Jason Peters
Rock Island, IL

One of Thoreau’s most frequently quoted phrases—“in Wildness is the preservation of the World”—comes from an essay not frequently anthologized. First published in the Atlantic Monthly shortly after Thoreau died in 1862, “Walking” has been a darling of conservationists by dint of this favored quotation, and, true enough, the line enjoys a place of privilege in the essay. Thoreau leads into it with a specific pointing: “what I have been preparing to say is that …” and then he give us the banner phrase.

But the quotation is by no means the most felicitous quip in the essay and certainly not its salient theme. Thoreau had lectured on walking in the 1850s, and the title he ultimately assigned to the essay that emerged from those lectures was not “Wildness.” The title—for good reason—was “Walking,” and it can come as no surprise to anyone with Thoreau coursing through his veins that the discipline of walking turns out to be yet another thing that separates Walden’s sage from the mass of men who lead lives of quiet desperation.

“I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits,” Thoreau said, “unless I spend four hours a day at least—and it is commonly more than that—sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.”

That other people’s “busy lifestyles” might preclude their sauntering this much each day is no cause for being uncharitable toward them; indeed, Thoreau whispers their praises: “When sometimes I am reminded that the mechanics and shopkeepers stay in their shops not only all the forenoon, but all the afternoon too, sitting with crossed legs, so many of them—as if the legs were made to sit upon, and not to stand or walk upon—I think that they deserve some credit for not having committed suicide long ago.”

Nor is it any cause for grumbling that all that walking might bring the same old landscapes too frequently into view: “Give me the old familiar walk,” Thoreau wrote in a journal entry from 1858, “post-office and all, with this ever new self, with this infinite expectation and faith, which does not know when it is beaten.”

This ever new self: such was a favorite motif and image for Thoreau, who in Walden warned us of enterprises that require new clothes and not a new wearer of the clothes. We are called to a “higher life than we fell asleep from,” he said, and “the man who does not believe that each day contains an earlier, more sacred, and auroral hour than he has yet profaned, has despaired of life,” for “moral reform is the effort to throw off sleep.”

Keep reading at Front Porch Republic

Chemicals In Our Diet Produce Fat People

In Around the web on September 17, 2009 at 6:01 am

From Natural News

Most people don`t think about how chemicals in their diets affect their weight or weight loss efforts. But the man-made chemicals you consume on a regular basis can play a big role in whether you’re fat or not – even if those chemicals don`t contain a single calorie.

To understand this, you’ll need to know that your liver is your primary detoxification organ. Your liver is also your primary fat-burning organ. Therefore, the more unnatural chemicals you consume on a regular basis, the more time and energy your liver needs to spend detoxifying you. But, the more your liver is consumed with the role of detoxification, the less time and energy it will have for burning fat. It`s really that simple.

For example, we all clearly agree that pesticides are poisons; their primary purpose is to kill living organisms. We know that most non-organic foods are laced with pesticides, and we understand that pesticides don`t magically become non-poisonous inside our bodies. Our bodies see pesticides as poisons too.

How does your body treat a poison? It attempts to detoxify it. This means your body attempts to render the poison harmless, and then removes it from your body, generally through your colon. Your colon is your primary organ used to eliminate toxins from the body, and your liver is the organ most often responsible for rendering poisons harmless.

But what happens when people eat unnatural chemicals in most meals?

Our livers become overwhelmed with the need to detoxify all of those chemicals and poisons, and the poisons start to back up in our blood. The fact that this is happening in just about everyone has been confirmed by several looks inside the average person`s blood.

Your liver will also store toxins and poisons for you that is was unable to render harmless. It does this to keep those poisons out of your bloodstream and from circulating in your body.

But now your liver, in addition to being overwhelmed detoxifying all of the chemicals you’re consuming each day, is also losing its functionality and has become a storage facility for poisons it couldn’t render harmless. Some estimates are that three fourths of the average person’s liver is used to store toxins that the liver was unable to render harmless.

No wonder so many people think losing weight is challenging… Their primary fat burning organ is overwhelmed with another task, and it’s become only half functional.

What is the answer? There are a couple of them. The first is to stop consuming chemicals in your diet on a regular basis.

Keep reading at Natural News

Revealed: The ghost fleet of the recession

In Around the web on September 15, 2009 at 8:59 pm

From the Daily Mail UK
Thanks to Linda Gray

The biggest and most secretive gathering of ships in maritime history lies at anchor east of Singapore. Never before photographed, it is bigger than the U.S. and British navies combined but has no crew, no cargo and no destination – and is why your Christmas stocking may be on the light side this year

The tropical waters that lap the jungle shores of southern Malaysia could not be described as a paradisical shimmering turquoise. They are more of a dark, soupy green. They also carry a suspicious smell. Not that this is of any concern to the lone Indian face that has just peeped anxiously down at me from the rusting deck of a towering container ship; he is more disturbed by the fact that I may be a pirate, which, right now, on top of everything else, is the last thing he needs.

His appearance, in a peaked cap and uniform, seems rather odd; an officer without a crew. But there is something slightly odder about the vast distance between my jolly boat and his lofty position, which I can’t immediately put my finger on.

Then I have it – his 750ft-long merchant vessel is standing absurdly high in the water. The low waves don’t even bother the lowest mark on its Plimsoll line. It’s the same with all the ships parked here, and there are a lot of them. Close to 500. An armada of freighters with no cargo, no crew, and without a destination between them.

My ramshackle wooden fishing boat has floated perilously close to this giant sheet of steel. But the face is clearly more scared of me than I am of him. He shoos me away and scurries back into the vastness of his ship. His footsteps leave an echo behind them.

Navigating a precarious course around the hull of this Panama-registered hulk, I reach its bow and notice something else extraordinary. It is tied side by side to a container ship of almost the same size. The mighty sister ship sits empty, high in the water again, with apparently only the sailor and a few lengths of rope for company.

Nearby, as we meander in searing midday heat and dripping humidity between the hulls of the silent armada, a young European officer peers at us from the bridge of an oil tanker owned by the world’s biggest container shipping line, Maersk. We circle and ask to go on board, but are waved away by two Indian crewmen who appear to be the only other people on the ship.

‘They are telling us to go away,’ the boat driver explains. ‘No one is supposed to be here. They are very frightened of pirates.’

Nearby, as we meander in searing midday heat and dripping humidity between the hulls of the silent armada, a young European officer peers at us from the bridge of an oil tanker owned by the world’s biggest container shipping line, Maersk. We circle and ask to go on board, but are waved away by two Indian crewmen who appear to be the only other people on the ship.

Keep reading at the Daily Mail UK

Take Action! United States Navy to Conduct Massive Atmospheric Experimental Tests Starting As Early As September 15, 2009

In Climate Change Series on September 15, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Redwood Valley

An article in (1) titled, “NASA Rocket to Create Clouds Tuesday” by Clara Moskowits, Staff Writer – September 14, 2009, was unexpectedly forwarded to me today.

According to the article: “…A rocket experiment set to launch Tuesday aims to create artificial clouds at the outermost layers of Earth’s atmosphere. The project, called the Charged Aerosol Release Experiment (CARE)…”This is really essentially at the boundary of space,” said Wayne Scales, a scientist at Virginia Tech who will…study the physics of the artificial dust cloud as it’s released…CARE is slated to launch Tuesday between 7:30 and 7:57 p.m. EDT (2330 and 2357 GMT) from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia….”

“…CARE will release its (aluminum oxide) (4), dust particles a bit higher than that, then let them settle back down to a lower altitude.”What the CARE experiment hopes to do is to create an artificial dust layer,” Professor Scales told “Hopefully it’s a creation in a controlled sense, which will allow scientists to study different aspects of it, the turbulence generated on the inside, the distribution of dust particles and such.” CARE is a project of the Naval Research Laboratory and the Department of Defense Space Test Program. The spacecraft will launch aboard a NASA four-stage Black Brant XII suborbital sounding rocket…Researchers will track the CARE dust cloud for days or even months to study its behavior and development over time…If CARE cannot launch Tuesday, the team can try again between Sept. 16 and Sept. 20, 2009…”

The U.S. Navy, NASA, and the U.S. Defense Department have made a decision to conduct one or more atmospheric tests, in order to create an aluminum oxide dust cloud without the permission, and for the most part, the knowledge of the citizens of the United States. These aluminum oxide particles may eventually return to earth polluting our air, water and soils. The tests may damage the various atmospheric boundaries that protect life on earth – no one has any idea what damage this dust cloud and the testing on this dust cloud may do to our climate, agriculture, human health or the amount of infrared and UV radiation reaching the Earth.

It is time to contact elected officials today and protest this action which may begin as early as today, September 15, 2009. The Navy is already conducting warfare testing in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico and has more ranges in the planning and permit stages. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Barbara Boxer noted in a June 19, 2009. Letter to Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce: Keep reading→

Ukiah Mendocino: Monster Mall Offers 700 Slave-Wage Jobs

In Dave Smith, Vote No on Measure A on September 15, 2009 at 6:50 am


Letter to the Editors

Time was, retail jobs were called “entry level.” Jenny would have a summer job running the cash register at the mom-and-pop so owner Mrs. Simpson could work on the bookkeeping in back. Johnny would get a job after school stocking shelves at the department store. These were healthy, local, low-wage jobs where you joked with your neighbors and learned how the world works. And then you moved on to college and a profession or learned a trade skill in manufacturing. Or if you liked retail, you stayed around, learned some small-business skills… maybe saved some money and opened a store of your own.

Not any more. Retail has evolved into dead-end, exit-level, dumb jobs in Big Box chain stores where all the well-paid smart jobs — information processing, accounting, advertising, logistics — are at a distant headquarters, and the community’s money is swept up nightly and sent there too. Your slave-wage, mind-numbing, soul-killing job is to do what the computer has programmed and spit-out on screens and work sheets. Endless lines at the cash register, move ‘em in, head ‘em out. Endless numbers of trucks to unload, stock the shelves, clean up the mess, take a break.

The people at the top are raking in millions and living in castles. You on the bottom are living a boring nightmare, and thankful for barely making it because the manufacturing jobs are now on the other side of the world, and even the good paying, white collar jobs are heading out.

DDR is touting 700 slave-wage dumb jobs at their Monster Mall. Google “New Rules Project” and you’ll find documented research that for every retail job a Big Box brings, 1.4 current jobs are lost; that as more Big Boxes come to a community, the county-wide poverty level rises; that California taxpayers were spending $86 million a year in 2004 providing healthcare and other public assistance to the state’s 44,000 Wal-Mart employees… and there are many more of those employees now.

We have one good place left for future entrepreneurial green jobs as the consumer economy gasps its last breath, and changing the zoning of the Masonite site now will kill that opportunity.

Thank you for voting NO ON MEASURE A to preserve our unique, locally-owned businesses, neighborly small town values, and livable human-scale communities.
This post dedicated in memory of John Milder, who worked hard, with Phyllis Curtis and others, to stop the first Wal-Mart big box store in Ukiah, but failed by one vote of the Ukiah City Council. Thanks, John. You knew. We remember.

Ukiah Mendocino: Health care a right for all Americans

In Around Mendo Island on September 15, 2009 at 6:47 am


Letter to the Editor
Ukiah Daily Journal

Every person is endowed by the creator with life. But it is the quality of life that makes it meaningful. That is why for me, providing universal health care for all persons is a moral, not a legal or political issue. It is immoral for one person who has health insurance to be on the fourth floor of a hospital in relative comfort, having just received the life saving surgery necessary to have a long and active life, while another person on the third floor of the same hospital, suffering from the same life threatening illness, lies dying in pain because they do not have the health insurance coverage necessary to pay for the same surgery.

In a moral society, people should want to prevent suffering, promote life and simply care about what happens to their neighbors. When it comes to good health, which is dependent on good health care, every person in the United States must realize that we are all in this together. The one thing that all of us have in common is that during our life time we will all get sick, we will all suffer in pain and we will all die. But for those of us that are eligible for and can afford health insurance and therefore obtain the best medical care that the United States has to offer, we will suffer less, we will have a longer life and we will have a better quality of life. To deny any person the health care that is necessary for them to have a good quality life is wrong and immoral. Life is a fundamental right of all citizens. So should universal health care.

In the United States today, good health care is not about the doctor patient relationship, it is about big business. It is about Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry and the health insurance industry. It is about making money, cutting costs, paying dividends, bonuses, campaign contributions, lobbying, false advertising and causing public confusion over the issues so that nothing will change. As a result, persons with pre-existing conditions are denied coverage, the insured are denied the treatment or medicine they need, doctors are told what they can and cannot do and health costs sky rocket out of control. It

It is time to return health care decisions to patients in consultation with their physicians. It is time to give you and me back control of our health care.

In my opinion, the only way to ensure that all persons within the United States will have good quality health care is to allow every person the option to obtain their health insurance from the United States government. Medicare for everyone. Simply put, every person would have the option to apply for health insurance from the United States. No person could be denied coverage based upon pre-existing conditions. Everyone that applied would be issued a medical card that they could use to go see whatever doctor they wanted. No one would be required to obtain the government coverage. Everyone could keep their existing coverage through any private insurer, such as Blue Cross or Blue Shield or through their employment. Keep reading→

The Great Swine Flu Cover-up

In Around the web on September 15, 2009 at 6:45 am

From Americas Program

The first outbreaks of the H1N1 virus, or “swine flu,” took place in a small town in the state of Veracruz. Carroll Farms, the massive industrial farm animal production facilities co-owned by Smithfield Foods and AHMSA of Mexico is located near La Gloria, in the municipality of Perote. A local boy, Edgar Hernandez, gained the dubious distinction of becoming the first confirmed case. After weeks of denying any connection between the farm and the illness, the state governor finally called for an independent investigation into possible linkages. That investigation has not been made public or even carried out so far as is known.

The governor’s announcement followed a long line of denials regarding the role of the hog farm—or hog farms in general—in the outbreak of the A/H1N1 virus in Mexico. Unusual respiratory diseases began showing up in communities surrounding the industrial feedlot in early March, with some indications dating back to January. Local health authorities attributed the outbreak to the open-pit lagoons of manure and biological wastes surrounding the farms.

On April 5, authorities declared a health cordon in the area but failed to carry out tests to determine an exact diagnosis of the strange illness showing up in local residents. They discovered that 60% of the community’s 3,000 people reported an undiagnosed respiratory disease. Meanwhile, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) determined on April 17 that two patient samples from San Diego were a new H1N1 virus. On April 21 the CDC issued a dispatch to its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report to warn of the discovery. The San Diego cases were then linked to the suspicious cases popping up in Mexico and the alert went out of a possible pandemic.

Emergency measures in Mexico were not declared until April 23. On April 25, the World Health Organization (WHO) director-general declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. On April 27, with the epidemic already rapidly spreading throughout the country and the press and public pressuring for accurate information, the Mexican government announced that little Edgar Hernandez was the first confirmed case of a new swine flu transmitted to and through humans.

On June 11, the WHO declared the virus a pandemic. The latest WHO report shows 162,380 confirmed cases worldwide and 1,154 deaths as of July 31. The Americas where the virus originated is the hardest-hit with 1,008 deaths, concentrated in the United States, Mexico, and Argentina.

Defending the Factory Farm

Experts have long warned that “industrial farm animal production” (IFAP) leads to potentially serious human health impacts. A tragically prophetic study done by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production of 2008 concludes, Keep reading at Americas Program

Organic Money

In Guest Posts on September 13, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Upper Sandusky, Ohio

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.

Keep reading at OrganicToBe

Journalism Is Killing America

In Around the web on September 13, 2009 at 6:55 pm

From emptywheel

Five years ago, the traditional media helped Bush pitch a war that got 4,337 service men and women killed in Iraq (to say nothing of the thousands and thousands of Iraqis killed).

Now, traditional media journalism is back to killing Americans, in this case by deliberately misrepresenting public views on health care reform. EJ Dionne describes how at least one network refused to cover civil, informative town halls.

But what if our media-created impression of the meetings is wrong? What if the highly publicized screamers represented only a fraction of public opinion? What if most of the town halls were populated by citizens who respectfully but firmly expressed a mixture of support, concern and doubt?

There is an overwhelming case that the electronic media went out of their way to cover the noise and ignored the calmer (and from television’s point of view “boring”) encounters between elected representatives and their constituents.

Over the past week, I’ve spoken with Democratic House members, most from highly contested districts, about what happened in their town halls. None would deny polls showing that the health-reform cause lost ground last month, but little of the probing civility that characterized so many of their forums was ever seen on television. Keep reading→

Ukiah Mendocino: Who’s Polluting Our Local Water?

In Around Mendo Island on September 13, 2009 at 8:40 am


Across the nation, the system that Congress created to protect the nation’s waters under the Clean Water Act of 1972 today often fails to prevent pollution. The New York Times has compiled data on more than 200,000 facilities that have permits to discharge pollutants and collected responses from states regarding compliance. Information about facilities contained in this database comes from two sources: the Environmental Protection Agency and the California State Water Resources Control Board. The database does not contain information submitted by the states.

Go to 95482 map and list here

Go to story Toxic Waters at NYT here

Ukiah Mendocino: Slave Wage Mall Jobs Get DDR CEO His Castle

In Vote No on Measure A on September 11, 2009 at 8:58 am

From Cleveland Magazine (August 2008)
A Tour of DDR CEO Scott Wolstein’s Castle RAVENCREST

[There's an old Ry Cooder song "The Very Thing That Makes You Rich Makes Me Poor." As Chinese slave-wage  sweatshop labor turns out more cheap crap for our storage lockers and landfill, Mendocino County is being offered 700 slave-wage, soul-killing dumb jobs here at home to dispose of it all from our very own Monster Mall, while they keep the high-paying smart jobs in Ohio. Meanwhile, the recently-resigned Monster Mall CEO enjoys this 36,000-square-feet castle. Before the hoardes of Ohio homeless and unemployed start coming over the hill for food and shelter, he best get the servants out digging the moat. Let's take a tour, shall we? -DS]

When it’s time to get cleaned up, he hops in an 11-foot-long, custom-tiled porcelain shower. Afterward, he’ll relax and catch a show or two on the plasma TV that hangs just in front of the plush cushions he rests on.

Only we’re not referring to the man of the house. We’re talking about his dog.

What makes Wolstein’s house so special isn’t any one thing. It’s that it has everything: an infinity pool, indoor basketball court, indoor climbing wall, indoor pool with grotto-style hot tub, steam room, sauna and massage room.

Keep reading→

Big Food vs. Big Insurance

In Around the web on September 10, 2009 at 9:35 pm

New York Times

TO listen to President Obama’s speech on Wednesday night, or to just about anyone else in the health care debate, you would think that the biggest problem with health care in America is the system itself — perverse incentives, inefficiencies, unnecessary tests and procedures, lack of competition, and greed.

No one disputes that the $2.3 trillion we devote to the health care industry is often spent unwisely, but the fact that the United States spends twice as much per person as most European countries on health care can be substantially explained, as a study released last month says, by our being fatter. Even the most efficient health care system that the administration could hope to devise would still confront a rising tide of chronic disease linked to diet.

That’s why our success in bringing health care costs under control ultimately depends on whether Washington can summon the political will to take on and reform a second, even more powerful industry: the food industry.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat “preventable chronic diseases.” Not all of these diseases are linked to diet — there’s smoking, for instance — but many, if not most, of them are.

We’re spending $147 billion to treat obesity, $116 billion to treat diabetes, and hundreds of billions more to treat cardiovascular disease and the many types of cancer that have been linked to the so-called Western diet. One recent study estimated that 30 percent of the increase in health care spending over the past 20 years could be attributed to the soaring rate of obesity, a condition that now accounts for nearly a tenth of all spending on health care.
Go to article at NYT
Thanks to Janie Sheppard and Evan Johnson

Biological Agriculture’s First Rule

In Books on September 10, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Harborside, Maine
Excerpted from The Winter Harvest Handbook (2009)

Once you become determined to eliminate the cause of insects and disease rather than just mask the symptoms, a whole new world opens up. A plant bothered by pest or disease need no longer be seen in the negative. The plant can now be looked upon as your coworker. It is communicating with you. It is saying that conditions are not conducive to its optimum growth and that if the plants are to be healthier next year, the soil must be improved.

But to succeed at that you have to accept what I call the first rule of biological agriculture–”Nature makes sense.” If something is not working, it is the farmer’s, not Nature’s, fault. The farmer has made the mistake. You have to have faith in the rational design of the natural world, and thus have an expectation of success, if you hope to understand the potential for succeeding. To do so, it helps to restate Darwin more correctly as “the un-survival of the unfit.”

Learn by Observing

Take your lawn as an example. Say you have a lawn that is growing mostly crab grass, sorrel, dandelions, and other weeds but none of the finer grasses that you would prefer. There are two courses of action. For one you could purchase all the heavily advertised nostrums, herbicides, fertilizers, and stimulants to suppress the weed competition so the finer grasses would be able to struggle ahead. Conversely, you could study the optimum growing conditions for the grasses you want and then by adding compost, rock powders, peat moss, manure, aerating, draining, or whatever seemed indicated, you could try to create the soil conditions under which the finer grasses thrive. If you doubt this approach, look closely at wild vegetation on undisturbed land. Keep reading→

People Are Finally Talking About Food, and You Can Thank Wendell Berry for That

In Around the web, Books on September 10, 2009 at 4:58 pm

The Nation and Alternet

This article is adapted from Michael Pollan’s introduction to Bringing It to the Table, a collection of Wendell Berry’s writings out this fall from Counterpoint.

Wendell Berry’s now-famous formulation, “eating is an agricultural act” — is perhaps his signal contribution to the rethinking of food and farming under way today.

A few days after Michelle Obama broke ground on an organic vegetable garden on the South Lawn of the White House in March, the business section of the Sunday New York Times published a cover story bearing the headline Is a Food Revolution Now in Season? The article, written by the paper’s agriculture reporter, said that “after being largely ignored for years by Washington, advocates of organic and locally grown food have found a receptive ear in the White House.”

Certainly these are heady days for people who have been working to reform the way Americans grow food and feed themselves — the “food movement,” as it is now often called. Markets for alternative kinds of food — local and organic and pastured — are thriving, farmers’ markets are popping up like mushrooms and for the first time in many years the number of farms tallied in the Department of Agriculture’s census has gone up rather than down. The new secretary of agriculture has dedicated his department to “sustainability” and holds meetings with the sorts of farmers and activists who not many years ago stood outside the limestone walls of the USDA holding signs of protest and snarling traffic with their tractors.

Cheap words, you might say; and it is true that, so far at least, there have been more words than deeds — but some of those words are astonishing. Like these: shortly before his election, Barack Obama told a reporter for Time that “our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil”… Complete article at AlterNet

Community Building in a World of Shrinking Energy Resources

In Around the web on September 10, 2009 at 6:59 am

Mendocino County

Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better … and the catastrophe toward which this world is headed – the ecological, social, demographic, or general breakdown of civilization – will be unavoidable.
–Václav Havel, then president of Czechoslovakia, in a speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, February, 1990

The American political establishment and press were ecstatic that playwright Havel, the president of a recently communist country, should come the U.S. and praise freedom. But, they entirely overlooked what he was saying.

Earlier in the century, phenomenologist philosopher Edmund Husserl was contending that theoretical knowledge had lost contact with living human experience. In 1936, Husserl wrote a powerful treatise on the subject, “The Crisis of European Sciences” (in German), in which he asserted that the morally ordered world of our prereflective lived experience is inseparable from Nature, what he described as the common life-world. Lebenswelt. Havel wrote that Husserl’s understanding of “the natural world” and “the world of lived experience” are reliable vectors through which to approach “the spiritual framework of modern civilization and the source of the present crisis.” He identified children, working people, and peasants as “far more rooted in what some philosophers call the natural world… than most modern adults.” “They have not grown alienated from the world of their actual personal experience,” he wrote, “the world which has its morning and its evening, its down (the earth) and its up (the heavens), where the sun rises daily in the east, traverses the sky and sets in the west …” Keep reading→

Ukiah Mendocino: No on Measure A – Letter from Laytonville

In Vote No on Measure A on September 10, 2009 at 5:19 am


[Hey DDR Slicksters! C'mon down from your castles and let's get on with the debates! -DS]

To the Editor:
Ukiah Daily Journal

I recently received the Mendocino County Tomorrow (MCT) Open Letter (vote ‘yes’ on measure A) from Danny Rosales concerning the DDR vs. Mendocino County debacle (depending on which side of the issue it’s viewed from).

Mr. Rosales starts with the standard bag of worries by appealing to everyone’s fears about everything as a way of gaining a foothold in his argument. After almost a decade of that tactic, I grow weary of listening to that as the basis for discussion. Sure we are in hard economic times, but are Americans so afraid of challenges that we are willing place all our eggs in yet another big business basket? I hope that is not an accurate depiction of our society now.

Mr. Rosales states that the MCT vision statement “…is to promote responsible community growth…” How responsible is it to promote importing more millions of metric cubic tons of, essentially, garbage consumables from China and elsewhere? Aren’t our dumps full enough? Aren’t our storage units jammed full? Mr. Rosales goes on to parrot words like “sustainable.” Yeah, sustaining DDR and Big Box stores.

If DDR considers dealing with our county “…more difficult than climbing Mount Everest…”, then I don’t think much of DDR’s hand wringing and incapable staff. Could they even manage the whole thing well from here forward? DDR is the one with the big bucks to bash their way through any obstacle so why the whining? Keep reading→

Ukiah Mendocino: Is The Swine Flu Pandemic A Hoax?

In James Houle on September 9, 2009 at 7:11 am

Redwood Valley

The H1N1 pandemic seems to have taken on a life of its own – while the actual evidence of a serious and life-threatening epidemic has not supported the hysteria we hear in the main stream media. The news media and the World Health Organization have continued to pump out stories suggesting that we are just a few months away from Armageddon – and the mass inoculation of just about everyone with a still-untested vaccine is the only solution. Mark Horton, director of the California Dept. of Public Health announced that “millions of Californians, possibly one in four, may be affected by the coming H1V1 ‘swine flu’ virus”. Dr. Marvin Trotter, Mendocino County’s public heath officer “fears ‘a perfect storm’ scenario could lead to the rapid and potentially deadly spread of what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) calls a ‘novel virus’. Ukiah Daily Journal 8-30-09. The virus seems to particularly attack the lung tissue and this can lead to viral pneumonia. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology warned that “swine flu poses a serious threat: half the population could come down with the strain and 90,000 could die this season.” US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius warns that “this is not the flu we’re used to”. As if to speed up their production, Sibelius has signed a document specifically granting pharmaceutical manufacturers immunity from prosecution for death or injury from the vaccine.


Yet, the evidence collected to date seems to suggest that H1N1 is a relatively mild flu, similar to the common influenza we have dealt with for decades and is in fact practically indistinguishable from it. Keep reading→

Side With the Living – Derrick Jensen

In Around the web on September 8, 2009 at 7:34 pm

From Derrick Jensen
Orion Magazine

A note to those who would demonize nature

The other night I saw a commercial for a PBS program that breathlessly described how orcas “dominate” the oceans. And the nature program I had the misfortune to see before that talked of different species of bears “conquering” each other’s territories. The program repeatedly emphasized the powerful bite of one particular type of bear—making sure we got the point by always playing scary music when these bears were depicted—and only late in the program did viewers learn that these bears were exclusively scavengers, with powerful jaws not so they could “conquer” and “dominate,” but so they could break the bones of those already dead. This projection onto the natural world of this culture’s urge to dominate is so ubiquitous as to be at this point almost invisible to us, like air. And obviously, how we perceive the natural world affects how we behave toward it: if we perceive it as full of domination, we are more likely to attempt to dominate it.

Not infrequently, people will use the mass extinctions of the past to rationalize their efforts to dominate (read: destroy) the world at hand. For example, I recently read an essay by the influential scientific philosopher Sam Harris titled “Mother Nature Is Not Our Friend.” It begins, “Like many people, I once trusted in the wisdom of Nature. . . . I now believe that this romantic view of Nature is a stultifying and dangerous mythology. Every 100 million years or so, an asteroid or comet the size of a mountain smashes into the earth, killing nearly everything that lives. If ever we needed proof of Nature’s indifference to the welfare of complex organisms such as ourselves, there it is.” Never mind that only one of the major mass extinctions was probably caused by an asteroid. But the real point is that the moral I derive from mass extinctions is precisely the opposite of the moral Harris projects onto them.

Go to complete article here

Ukiah Mendocino: Hey Monster Mall Folks – Lighten Up! (Video and Free Concert Announcement)

In Vote No on Measure A on September 7, 2009 at 8:47 pm


Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing. ~Willam James

DDR generously, but erroneously, attributes to my organizing skills the sing-a-long at their recent “town hall” in Redwood Valley. Kudos should be directed to The Bronnettes for their clever lyrics and singing! The subject of the meeting was Measure A, the initiative to put a monster mall on the old Masonite site. Watch the YouTube video of the sing-a-long portion of the meeting below.

In the video, DDR accuses The Bronnettes of disrupting the meeting.   But if you look at the video, it’s plain to see that the meeting hadn’t begun; the room is nearly empty.  The sing-a-long was simply a bit of pre-meeting entertainment.   Hardly what I’d call “disruption.”

Why do so many oppose Measure A? If passed, Measure A would:  (1) Allow an Ohio corporation to bypass local planning regulations that the rest of us have to follow; (2) Avoid review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); (3) Replace jobs at existing local businesses with minimum wage jobs at the monster mall; (4) Create traffic nightmares; (5) Create polluting runoff from a huge parking lot; (6) Use lots of scarce water; and (7) Divert shopping dollars from downtowns across the county to big corporations that have no stake in Mendocino County.

Go to Sing-Along Video and Free SOLE Concert announcement→

Giant Hoax By Monsanto Continues – Genetically Modified Seeds Do Not Produce Higher Yields

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web, Industrial Agriculture on September 7, 2009 at 8:46 pm

From Union of Concerned Scientists

[As many of us have been saying for years, the only thing Monsanto has accomplished by genetically modifying seeds to withstand their poisons, is to increase the sales of those poisons, blanketing the earth and our bodies with their nasty, cancer-causing chemicals for profit. Their blatant bullshit about increasing higher yields is a con-job to force farmers to buy their seeds every year. Their executives and "scientists" should be pilloried in public humiliation in their own town's public squares and tried for crimes against humanity. Mendocino County was first to ban their plants from our county. We will feed the world with small, local, organic farms. Thanks to Janie for link. -DS]

Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops (Union of Concerned Scientists)

For years the biotechnology industry has trumpeted that it will feed the world, promising that its genetically engineered crops will produce higher yields. That promise has proven to be empty, according to Failure to Yield, a report by UCS expert Doug Gurian-Sherman released in March 2009.

Despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields. Failure to Yield is the first report to closely evaluate the overall effect genetic engineering has had on crop yields in relation to other agricultural technologies. It reviewed two dozen academic studies of corn and soybeans, the two primary genetically engineered food and feed crops grown in the United States. Keep reading→

How American Health Care Killed My Father

In Around the web on September 7, 2009 at 8:45 pm

From David Goldhill

[A devastating indictment of our current medical system. My own father also died needlessly within a couple of days of hospitalization for a cracked hip. -DS]

After the needless death of his father, the author, a business executive, began a personal exploration of a health-care industry that for years has delivered poor service and irregular quality at astonishingly high cost. It is a system, he argues, that is not worth preserving in anything like its current form. And the health-care reform now being contemplated will not fix it. Here’s a radical solution to an agonizing problem.

Amost two years ago, my father was killed by a hospital-borne infection in the intensive-care unit of a well-regarded nonprofit hospital in New York City. Dad had just turned 83, and he had a variety of the ailments common to men of his age. But he was still working on the day he walked into the hospital with pneumonia. Within 36 hours, he had developed sepsis. Over the next five weeks in the ICU, a wave of secondary infections, also acquired in the hospital, overwhelmed his defenses. My dad became a statistic—merely one of the roughly 100,000 Americans whose deaths are caused or influenced by infections picked up in hospitals. One hundred thousand deaths: more than double the number of people killed in car crashes, five times the number killed in homicides, 20 times the total number of our armed forces killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another victim in a building American tragedy.

About a week after my father’s death, The New Yorker ran an article by Atul Gawande profiling the efforts of Dr. Peter Pronovost to reduce the incidence of fatal hospital-borne infections. Pronovost’s solution? A simple checklist of ICU protocols governing physician hand-washing and other basic sterilization procedures. Hospitals implementing Pronovost’s checklist had enjoyed almost instantaneous success…

Go to complete article here

Pfizer Launches ‘Zoloft For Everything’ Ad Campaign

In Around the web on September 4, 2009 at 5:12 am

From your American Medical Industry

September 4, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

NEW YORK–Seeking to broaden the customer base of the popular drug, Pfizer announced the launch of a $40 million “Zoloft For Everything” advertising campaign Monday.

“Zoloft is most commonly prescribed for the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders, but it would be ridiculous to limit such a multi-functional drug to these few uses,” Pfizer spokesman Jon Pugh said. “We feel doctors need to stop asking their patients if anything is wrong and start asking if anything could be more right.”

Continued Pugh: “How many millions of people out there are suffering under the strain of a deadline at work or pre-date jitters, but don’t realize there’s a drug that could provide relief? Zoloft isn’t just for severe anxiety or depression. Got the Monday blues? Kids driving you nuts? Let Zoloft help. Zoloft.”

Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride) was originally introduced as a means of treating depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. In January of this year, however, Pfizer won FDA approval for use of Zoloft to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder, as well as social-anxiety disorder, or “social phobia.”

Last week, the FDA okayed Zoloft for treatment of “the entire range of unpleasant or otherwise negative social, physical, and mental feelings that an individual may experience in the course of a human life.”

“At first, Zoloft was only used to treat depression,” Pugh said. “But what is depression, really? Who died and gave doctors the authority to dictate who is and isn’t depressed? One man’s hangnail could be another man’s darkest depths of despair. Isn’t medication a tool to help people lead better, happier lives? Access to drugs should not be restricted to those the medical community officially deems ‘sick.’”

Pfizer president James Vernon said the “Zoloft For Everything” campaign will employ print and TV ads to inform potential users about the “literally thousands” of new applications for Zoloft. Among the conditions the drug can be used to treat: anxiety associated with summer swimsuit season, insecurity over sexual potency and performance, feelings of shame over taking an antidepressant, and a sense of hollowness stemming from losing an online auction.

In today’s fast-paced world, Vernon said, people don’t have time to deal with mood changes.

“Zoloft has always helped clinically depressed people modulate serotonin levels and other chemical imbalances that make life unlivable for them,” Vernon said. “But now, Zoloft can also help anyone who needs their emotions leveled off. Do you find yourself feeling excited or sad? No one should have to suffer through those harrowing peaks and valleys.”

Anita White of Yuma, AZ, sought out Zoloft after seeing one of the new commercials.

Go to article at The Onion


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