Letter to the Editor Response


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

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


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.


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



From TODD WALTON
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.

Why are so many celebrities dying after chemotherapy?


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 (http://www.taoofwellness.com). 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


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



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


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


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


From ROSALIND PETERSON
Redwood Valley

An article in Space.com (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 SPACE.com. “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:

Ukiah Mendocino: Monster Mall Offers 700 Slave-Wage Jobs


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

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


From LES MARSTON
Ukiah

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.

The Great Swine Flu Cover-up



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


From GENE LOGSDON
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


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.

Ukiah Mendocino: Who’s Polluting Our Local Water?


From RON EPSTEIN
Ukiah

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


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.

Big Food vs. Big Insurance



From MICHAEL POLLAN
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
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Biological Agriculture’s First Rule



From ELIOT COLEMAN
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.

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


From MICHAEL POLLAN
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


From DON SANDERSON
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 …”

Ukiah Mendocino: No on Measure A – Letter from Laytonville


From ROBIN THOMPSON
Laytonville

[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?

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